The Small Lebowski:
Alpha Flight #109
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #109
Alpha Flight goes to Russia, and they are attacked by Hand ninjas. They are then briefed by a Mickey Romanov. Puck knows Romanov, and Heather knows the Hand, thanks to Wolverine.
The Hand have taken over the facility where Omega Red was held. The Russians aren't bringing in the People's Protectorate or asking for help from the Avengers for political reasons.
Puck (who wasn't on earlier legs of the tour) is here because there's "trouble brewing down in the States", which is actually a reference to the beginnings of Infinity War. Puck has brought fast transportation for the team. So between that and a general sense of wondering whether it makes sense for them to get involved in something going on in Russia, there is a little bit of a debate amongst the team, but Heather eventually decides that they'll help.
Puck talks about the Hand like they're the deadliest thing that Alpha Flight will ever have faced.
They're just ninjas, guys. Alpha Flight has fought the Great Beasts, and actual super-villains. I know that ninjas are kewl because they appeared in Frank Miller's Daredevil and Wolverine fought them, but let's not let their popularity overshadow the fact that they're just guys with swords and you guys have actual super powers.
I think Puck got the team so demoralized and scared that the ninjas actually do manage to give the group a challenge.
The good news is that Aurora's Jeanne-Marie persona wasn't around for Puck's anti-pep talk.
With the help of some Russian agents, one of whom is killed, Alpha Flight are able to fight off the Hand. They blow up the Omega Red complex.
The back-up story starts with the Alpha Flight characters, including Pathway's parents, that were teleported away by Pathway. They're back in the Dream Queen's dimension, and the Dream Queen has sent her flying monkeys after them.
Then we switch back to the core Alpha Flight team to see them getting the briefing on Infinity War from "Mr. Fantastic".
I suspect Madison and Lil's honeymoon was cut short because Ron Lim drew Madison into Infinity War, but good of Simon Furman and team to work it into the story. They didn't have time to do the same with Shaman, who will appear in Infinity War despite having been missing from this book, but Furman will justify that in the script of next issue.
Then we jump back to Pathway's group. They come teleporting back into our dimension. The monkeys are repelled by Windshear.
Windshear calls the group amateurs for nearly letting the monkeys into our dimension, and he grounds them. We also see that Talisman is up and about, and, as usual, ready for some end of the world prophecy to come to fruition.
It definitely feels like this issue was quickly put together to adjust for the fact that Infinity War is coming. I don't know how it happened that editor Rob Tokar got caught by surprise that Infinity War tie-ins needed to happen, but that definitely feels like it's the case, and it is acknowledged in a later lettercol that the World Tour was cut short because of Infinity War. So we have a very basic, purely mechanical fill-in plot with rushed sloppy art, and then the back-up.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: I have a lot of space between this and last issue, due to various dependencies (see the Considerations for the previous entries, and note that this issue bumps up against Infinity War). In response to someone who writes in complaining that Alpha Flight's "World Tour" only involved meeting with a few countries populated by mostly white people, the response is that the Tour originally was going to include visits to Japan and South Africa, but it got cut short due to Infinity War. So we can assume that the space between issues is when Alpha Flight was visiting those countries without incident. I'll just have to make sure that any Alpha Flight character appearances in between issues make sense. This story takes place during Infinity War #1; a scene with the Mr. Fantastic doppelganger talking to Alpha on a viewscreen is repeated in that issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAurora, Darby Dean, Diamond Lil, Dream Queen, Goblyn, Madison Jeffries, Manikin, Mr. Fantastic Doppelganger, Northstar, Pathway, Persuasion, Puck, Sasquatch, Susan Dean, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson), Wild Child, Windshear, Witchfire
That's an incredibly off-model rendition of Talisman - she was notable for her skinniness, as Byrne drew her...
Posted by: BU | March 29, 2016 11:22 AM
It has been a while since her last appearance. She could have gained weight from inactivity. Who knows if she has a regular exercise regimen.
Posted by: clyde | March 29, 2016 11:40 AM
I wonder why Alpha had to drop their storylines to participate in Infinity War but X-Men and Uncanny X-Men (and X-Factor) didn't. I'm guessing it was the Image Exodus? Lee & Portacio were writing the two main X-books at this point but about to hand them off to Lobdell and Nicieza.
Come to think of it Lobdell probably had to drop this title to take over scripting the two X-books right away, as opposed to the idea that he complained the world tour was cut short. If I'm not mistaken he was scripting Portacio's last X-Men plots at this point.
Posted by: Jeff | April 21, 2017 12:21 PM
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