Alpha Flight #108
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #108
Alpha Flight is in Switzerland, and they're having a conference call with several European super-heroes: Le Peregrine, Shamrock, and Micromax, and two new characters, Prodigy (an eight year old Polish genius) and Omerta (an Italian monk/ninja observing a vow of silence). In Switzerland is Ursula, who says she's not a super-hero while wearing a ridiculous costume and floating in a ball of light.
That's an awful, space wasting, two page spread, so i'm not going to waste bandwidth on a larger version of it.
The conference is called the "First Pan-European Conference On Super-Human Affairs". Personally, i'd be pretty pissed if i had to travel all the way to Europe just to take a video conference call. Couldn't i telecommute?
Hidden in (what's called) an ice sculpture is everyone's second favorite Marvel brain in a jar, Brain Drain.
Brain Drain is allowed to rant about his origin and how he was recently unearthed, and then Aurora hilariously uses her super-speed to quickly dispatch him.
I'd like to think that he had all kinds of death-traps and defenses prepared but didn't get a chance to use them.
However, his brief appearance wasn't entirely without effect. He did manage to take control of the super-heroes that were on the conference call, so Alpha Flight has to split up and go stop them before they kill the respective leaders of their countries.
It doesn't take long.
The best bit is with Shamrock, whose luck powers protected her from Brain Drain's control, so she and Northstar just share a cup of tea.
Note Aurora's "Max" comment above. I didn't mention it, but last issue she made what i assume was a "multiple" orgasms joke to Madrox.
Le Pelegrine is also depicted as a real horndog.
The issue ends with the Master of the World scooping up Brain Drain for a new Omega Flight.
Note that by the end of the story, the Eurpoean super-heroes are all gathered in one place, which makes me wonder why they were conference calling in the beginning. But we never do get to see any of the details of the conference, which i think would be more interesting than some forced fights. That said, Lobdell uses his humorous inclinations to their fullest, and the fights, while pointless, are funny. The story does feel more like something you'd get from Marvel Comics Presents, and the fact that this is broken up into 8 chapters got me suspicious, but the page counts don't add up right for that. It still makes me wonder what we're doing here.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #109 begins with Alpha Flight in Russia, joined by Puck (who isn't part of "core Alpha" and wasn't on the earlier legs of the Tour). Puck tells the team that there's trouble brewing in the States, which seems to refer to Infinity War. So while i initially wanted to keep the World Tour issues relatively close together, it looks like #109 will have to wait until Infinity War starts. Alpha Flight should not appear elsewhere in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAurora, Brain Drain, Le Peregrine, Master of the World, Micromax, Northstar, Sasquatch, Shamrock, Vindicator (Heather Hudson), Wild Child
Somehow I'm wondering more and more if Shamrock just has a "crap defense" alongside her "luck defense". She just keeps shining in bad books!
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 26, 2016 3:39 PM
Marvel must've really disliked Europe to give us such lame heroes. I mean, the first Polish hero is...Dennis the Menace. Yeah, that makes sense in no universe. And when I think of Italy the first thing that comes to mind is a silent ninja.
Posted by: kveto from europe | January 26, 2016 4:42 PM
Yeah, Prodigy is such a wasted opportunity :( At least you Czechs got Unicorn (who is a villain, but still awesome) - we Poles are being represented by a child...
If, by some miracle, I'd end up writing for Marvel, one thing I'd give the MU is a good set of Polish supers!
Posted by: Piotr W | January 26, 2016 6:58 PM
Is the ninja guy's name Silence or Omerta? Yes, I know that Omerta means "code of silence" but what was the character's official name? I couldn't find a tag for him; is this his only appearance?
Posted by: JP | January 26, 2016 7:12 PM
His official name is Omerta, which we're told means Silence. I've updated the entry. This is the only appearance of him, Prodigy, and Ursula.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 26, 2016 7:19 PM
Thanks! I wasn't sure.
Posted by: JP | January 26, 2016 8:06 PM
Lobdell was fired from Alpha Flight because he refused to expand the size of the roster:
Posted by: Michael | January 26, 2016 9:04 PM
When Euro-Force resurfaced not long ago, they had a Polish general in a child's body as a member. What is it with Marvel and Polish children?
Posted by: Berend | January 26, 2016 11:28 PM
Lobdell will later introduce a new mutant who becomes an X-Men member also called Omerta in Eve of Destruction. He will fare not much better than this Omerta for longevity.
Posted by: AF | January 27, 2016 6:55 AM
You know, as an Italian, I always found it quite offensive Omerta. In Italian is not just silence, but it is the attitude of those who do not speak and do not report criminal acts, particularly associated with criminal organizations like the Mafia and Camorra.
Posted by: Midnighter | January 27, 2016 8:42 AM
Overall, it's a bit annoying how many non-American supers in American comics are created based on national stereotypes. Only the Americans are allowed to have normal supers... I mean, sure - the Avengers have Captain America, but that's it. The rest of the team isn't based on American national identity - heck, the team even has Thor, who clearly has nothing to do with America nationality-wise...
If I ever get to write a comic book, I'll create an American superteam with members such as the Quaterback, the Crimson Cowboy and Miss Applepie... ;)
Posted by: Piotr W | January 27, 2016 12:18 PM
National stereotypes are prevalent regardless of where you go: the home team can be anything imagined while the rest of the world is based on the little you know about them outside stereotypes. Heck, in a lot of anime, the American character is usually depicted as loud and ignorant or wearing a cowboy hat all the time (then again your idea reminds me a bit of Chibodee Crockett from G Gundam)
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 27, 2016 12:22 PM
Omerta as a comic mobster enforcer sounds good. As a silent ninja, not so much.
And all these national European heroes get their butts kicked by auxiliary members of the lamest super team out there.
I appreciate it's a fine line to walk. Readers clammer for diversity then when we get diversity, we are unhappy with it. I understand why most writers just don't bother.
But I think there is a difference in how hard they try. I feel sympathy for writers who try for diversity but fail just due to ignorance of the subject matter, like the one who tried to make an African Juju villain. I don't think he was trying to insult anyone, he just didn't know any better.
Contrast that with this comic, a writer who clearly wants to make fun of Europeans in a mean spirited way. I mean Dennis the Menace? It's either deliberately insulting or deliberately indifferent. It's either "Who gives a damn about what Poles think?" or "Hey, lookit those dumb ferrigners. They don't even speak English good."
I once tried to come up with a team of European marvel heroes. The pickings are slim.
Posted by: kveto | January 27, 2016 4:00 PM
Oh, I don't find Prodigy to be offensive... just lame. Extremely lame. Although I shudder to think what we would've ended up with, if Lobdell went the "obvious national stereotype" route for Poland, too...
Posted by: Piotr W | January 28, 2016 11:21 AM
Are you complaining about those"wonderful" Czech and polish súper héroes? What about The Spanish guys? El Águila? Also, a little bit off topic, but has anybody here read the adventure of Indiana Jones in Barcelona that Michelinie wrote? Somehow, Barcelona travelled through time and space and became a mexican village from 19th century.
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | February 8, 2016 5:16 PM
I visited the Appendix site today and I spotted this:
Okay, *another* enhanced child as a Polish superhero? What the hell, Marvel?
BTW. I really wish American writers did some research on names and surnames when creating foreign characters. "Mikhail Zamorska" is *not* a Polish name by any means...
Posted by: Piotr W | April 5, 2016 5:17 AM
They really seem to have it in for you Poles in particular. At least when the handbooks named the Unicorn they took his first name from Milos Forman and his surname from our first president (and non-communist) TG Masaryk.
The writers often don't seem to realise (or care) that many names are impossible in certain languages. My favourite is this guy, the Devastator. His name is Kirov Petrovna. That surname is impossible for a man in Russian. It is a woman's name. A man cannot have that name.
Posted by: kveto | April 5, 2016 5:15 PM
"Kirov Petrovna"... right. This name really makes no sense at all...
It's exactly the same with that Babykiller guy. For once, Mikhail is a Russian name - the analogous Polish name is Michał. And "Zamorska" - that would be woman's name, too. The proper form for a man would be "Zamorski". Not that I've ever met a Polish man with such a name...
Overall, American writers really seem to have trouble with grasping the concept that Slavic surnames have male and female forms. Over at the Appendix, I've found two other Polish characters, both males with female surnames:
Posted by: Piotr W | April 5, 2016 8:11 PM
I don't think its that they have trouble grasping the concept. I think its just that they don't give a shitski (or shitska) .
Posted by: kveto | April 6, 2016 3:32 PM
Personally I prefer Brain Drain to Dr Sun because he has eyes, even if he does have a stupid name.
Posted by: Andrew | September 26, 2017 7:22 PM
The sad part is that it's not that difficult to research. Even before the internet, it would just take a few minutes of time. Just find the names of some famous people from the country you are creating a character for, and combine two famous people's first and last name.
Posted by: Chris V | March 8, 2018 1:57 PM
Even Sunspot, who's nowhere as lame as these Polish superbabies or El Águila, is a bit off the mark. For one thing, he's often been portrayed as an indigenous Brazilian, or of some indigenous descent. Thing is, he's a millionaire, and there are few if any wealthy Native Brazilians. Claremont often put some Spanish words in his speech, which is pretty embarrassing considering Brazilians are the largest PORTUGUESE-speaking people on Earth. Also, his name is often styled "Roberto DaCosta", but that's not at all the Portuguese norm. It would've made more sense calling him "Roberto da Costa", with the particle "da" in lower-case and separated from the rest of the surname. Of course, it's much more forgivable than calling men Zamorska, Petrovna, Dluga and Cieszkowska.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | April 7, 2018 6:26 PM
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