When it comes to creating a superhero team, humor can often be more effective at bringing characters together than world-shattering stakes. Writer Kelly Thompson, artist Stefano Caselli, and colorist Tríona Farrell show how in the pages of West Coast Avengers, a title that introduces a compelling new superhero team by embracing silliness. Debuting a hunky new version of M.O.D.O.K. named B.R.O.D.O.K. in the first issue establishes a light-hearted tone for the series, and there’s a sitcom-y quality to how these characters interact that calls to mind Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ iconic Justice League International.
So much of a superhero team’s success depends on how the characters gel as an ensemble, and West Coast Avengers benefits from Kate’s existing relationships with her team members. Her mentor, her best friend, and her boyfriend are all by her side, and that familiarity gives the book a relaxed, cool vibe. It reads like a group of friends hanging out, with occasional interruptions to deal with giant cat ladies and the like. This exclusive preview of next week’s West Coast Avengers #2 has the team facing off against a member of the old WCA as they stop an oversized Tigra from destroying Santa Monica Pier, infusing the spectacular fisticuffs with a steady stream of banter.
Caselli’s art has always been very clean and smooth, and he maintains that look while loosening up a bit with his lines, which heightens the animated qualities of his work. He’s leaning into a style that is closer to Leo Romero’s outstanding art on the most recent Hawkeye series written by Thompson, which makes West Coast Avengers both an artistic and narrative extension of its predecessor. Farrell’s coloring fills the book with warmth, and the bright palette helps to emphasize the playful atmosphere that makes this book so much fun.