I recently re-read the original West Coast Avengers miniseries from 1984, which, if you don't already know, is the book where Hawkeye headed to California to head up a new Avengers franchise. Obviously, the guy was a trailblazer, since Avengers franchises keep popping up all over the damn place to this day. The first issue's cover, an old favourite of mine, showed the Brash Bowman putting out the call to a bunch of heroes--some with previous Avengers affiliation on record, some who were already committed to other teams, and still others who came way out of left field--and urged the curious reader to try and figure out who would make the lineup.
Looking at the silhouettes in the corner box, it wasn't too tough to figure out who made the cut--Mockingbird, Iron Man, Wonder Man, and Tigra all signed on, and thus began an East Coast-West Coast Avengers rivalry that, instead of resulting in vicious disses and unsolved murders, played itself out in the form of an annual softball game. Fun!
But, looking at the collection of floating heads on that cover to the first issue of the initial WCA miniseries, I couldn't help but wonder what might have happened if a different team had resulted. Putting on my metaphorical bald cap and cosmic toga, I played the part of Uatu the Watcher and imagined an even more random collection of heroes than the Defenders, a team who safeguards the American West Coast in some alternate reality somewhere...
...wow. That would have been the poorest-selling issue of What If? ever.