Hawkeye’s West Coast Avengers Broke Every Team Rule in Marvel Comics

Hawkeye’s run as the leader of the West Coast Avengers made a lasting impact on Marvel Comics history as a strange, but fun take on team building. Created as a branch of the original Avengers team to cover more ground, the roles of each member were always in flux. With Hawkeye as the leader, he decided to expand the membership of the West Coasters to more unconventional superheroes who hadn’t had a chance in the limelight just yet.

The original West Coast Avengers team roster was composed of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Iron Man, Tigra, and Wonder Man. Two of these members — Hawkeye and Wonder Man — were former enemies of the original Avengers turned hero, while Mockingbird was once a SHIELD agent. Already unconventional, the group made waves as they slowly showed the world what they could do under Clint’s leadership.


Related: Captain America’s Original Avengers Rival Isn’t Iron Man… It’s HawkeyeAs a leader, Hawkeye had to take charge of this ragtag band of heroes, but he wasn’t perfect. His stubbornness led to many changes within the team, to the point of even adding a new member to it. In West Coast Avengers #9 by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom, Kim DeMulder, Petra Scotese, and Tom Orzechowski, Clint decides that their sixth member would be The Thing, whether he wants to be in it or not. So, in an effort to sway him over to their side, he continuously asks Ben over and over to join, while also inviting him on their adventures until eventually he caves. The reason he joins is because this group has a lot more fun with each other and their adventures. This leniency works with the group and helps them not get too bored or stuck in their roles.

As a new group they needed good press and advertising, which is normally handled by the team leader. However, that was not the case for Clint, as another member took his spot as media mogul: Wonder Man. Already used to being in front of a camera, Simon was the perfect hero to set up media relations to advertise the team. Allowing a star to be in front of the camera was the smartest move the team could make. This was made obvious by positive public feedback West Coast Avengers #5. With this ability to step back and allow other team members to take over certain roles, Hawkeye was able to have a more behind the scenes look at how the team ran and helped out individual members with their personal problems.

The team was tight-knit, and because their leader was just a normal man without a fancy title or a long history behind him, they were able to operate in a way that suited the individuals’ needs best. The West Coasters even went on missions that didn’t affect the world or any place they were protecting, purely so they could help their fellow team members. In order to help Tigra out when she was struggling to control her human and feline forms, the team all tracked down the source of her problem. Despite not technically needing to do that, they all wanted to help her out until her problem was resolved in West Coast Avengers #15. By recognizing their teammate’s struggles and prioritizing helping her out, they showed their devotion to each other and all grew together because of that.

Having different roles and developing their personal lives alongside the team helped the West Coasters run as smoothly as they possibly could and established them as a solid team to the citizens of their area. Despite inexperience, Clint pulled this ragtag bunch together by connecting with each member personally and establishing something like familial relationships with each person. Originally an experiment conducted by Marvel to create a more “fun-loving” group, the West Coast Avengers really took off under the leadership of Hawkeye and became a standout team in the universe.

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