It's amazing that for years, the Marvel Universe was dominated solely by New York City. With very few exceptions, almost every tale happened in NYC, the East Coast feeling dominant. So when Marvel announced in 1985 that they were going to begin a new title set on the West Coast, it was a huge deal. It paid off as the series was a hit, establishing the Avengers further and finally giving L.A. readers a team of thier own. While there have been seperate collections, this omnibus is the best collection yet to give you a great view of the team as it forms and builds.
We start off with brief inserts from "Avengers" #239 as new chairman the Vision announces plans for the team with Hawkeye and new wife Mockingbird leading it. Then bits from issues as they set it up. This leads to the four-issue "West Coast Avengers" limited series as they form the team with Tigra, Wonder Man and Iron Man (at the time, James Rhodes). Graviton is the first foe they face as they do their best to work together, conflicts such as when Hawkeye learns it's not Tony Stark under the armor and doing his best to handle things with fun bits like an undercover sting to take Graviton down.
Then "Avengers" #250 as the two teams unite for the first time to take on Hellstorm and his minons. Then we get the regular "WCA" series with the first issues containing a cross-over with "Vision and the Scarlet Witch" as the Grim Reaper abducts Vision and Wonder Man, leading to conflict with more of Wondy's past revealed. Tigra gets a spotlight fighting Kraven the Hunter and then the Thing (on leave from the Fantastic Four) drops by, with Hawkeye naturally eager to have him join the team, which the Thing refuses. But an attack by Master Pandemonium and the arrival of Firebird make him reconsider. We get an appearance by Werewolf by Night and Morbius leading to a journey to a cat dimension where Tigra finds more of her origins. Meanwhile, Hank Pym finds himself pulled between two versions of Ultron, one a killer, the other more human for a heart-wrenching conclusion. It all leads to a battle with the Rangers as the Thing agrees to join.
However, the Thing has to leave due to personal issues (a great sign of how inter-connected the Marvel Universe was then) and the team tangles with various foes while Tigra agrees to kill Pandemonium for the Cat-people. An interlude is a crossover between the "Avengers Annuals" where the team is arrested for treason and tries to find out who set them up. This leads to a return to the Cat dimension and Tigra's decision which brings up a big change in her.
The stories are terrific with Steve Englehart at the top of his game. This is a gem for Hawkeye fans as he steps up as a hero and leader, unsure of himself at times, wrestling with making his team good enough but still using his skills to thier best and matched well by Mockingbird, the two bantering as they battle and showing one of the best marriages the MU has had. Hank Pym is also shown well, refusing to be a costumed hero again and doing his best to help with science skills but still doubts in himself (which would play big-time later on) such as the moving tale of an Ultron who considers him a true father. Other good bits have Wonder Man coming clean over his criminal past and thus becoming a more confident person. Tigra is seen as a bit sluttish with hook-ups with both Wonder Man and Hank but matures with a great story of coming into her own. Overall, the West Coast vibe gives this book its own unique energy and drive that wins you over. It's intriguing to see Jim Rhodes as Iron Man before Tony Stark returns and conflicts with others over his absence and the Thing is used so well, you wish he'd been able to join full-time. All this with great clean artwork that reminds you how charming the '80's were for Marvel fans.
The Omnibus comes with great extras, pages from the "Marvel Handbook," previews from the old "Marvel Age" mag and various pin-ups and such. So if you want a single collection of the early days of the "Whackos," this is the book to get and one of the better Omnibus packages for Marvel.