Alpha Flight #118-120
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #118, Alpha Flight #119, Alpha Flight #120
I've hung this on the wall of our living room, to the dismay of Min, who complains about Tiny Vindicator, whose ass seems to be velcroed to Sasquatch's forearm. My complaints are more macro, like is that even actually Sasquatch? I also think it's interesting that Wild Child - excuse me, Wildheart, has been completely upstaged. Like, we know we botched our attempt to put a Wolverine clone in this book, so we'll just kind of shove him in the back there. At least Wyre is nowhere to be seen.
Things start with a guy named Albert Louis, who is being pursued by armored goons called Hardliners.
Louis learns that he has super-powers. He'll later take the name Feedback, but don't look for him in the Historical Significance section, because he only appears in Furman's issues of this series.
Louis then flees.
Meanwhile, Heather Hudson is just learning about the Superpowers bill.
After that, Wild Child tries to learn more about his identity. A big contention in the previous arc was that Walter Langkowski (Sasquatch) buried a psych report on Wild Child, but it turns out he did it for altruistic reasons - he wanted Wild Child to not get rejected so that he could be helped the way Guardian helped Wolverine. In the end, Wild Child - actually Weapon Omega - decides he's now going to call himself Wildheart.
Other members of Alpha Flight are dealing with a rampage by Thunderball, who is on an unexplained Rampage.
That Sasquatch is so off model he distracts from the fact that Thunderball is in such an awkward pose. At least Sasquatch isn't wearing lipstick like he is on the cover.
It's Aurora, using her ill defined multi-use light powers, who subdues him.
I occasionally have to go back and look at Pat Broderick's Captain Marvel and Micronauts runs to remind myself that he wasn't terrible. What the hell happened?
Anyway, the rest of the Wrecking Crew aren't happy about Thunderball's defeat.
In the next issue, we're shown that Wrecker's motivation includes showing Bulldozer and Piledriver that he deserves to be reinstated as the Wrecking Crew's leader.
Years later, a 2007 Omega Flight series will feature the Wrecking Crew as villains. I didn't realize at the time that they had a history with Alpha. Of course, that Omega Flight team didn't really qualify as an iteration of Alpha.
Anyway, fight time.
Puck is trying to get the team to show some restraint in the fight, but Sasquatch and Nemesis especially aren't having any of it, and they wind up trashing half the city. It's said that Sasquatch has been getting more and more out of control lately even though he "may no longer be the Great Beast, Tanaraq". Puck notes that Thunderball was inexplicably berserk and needed to be taken down, but the rest of the Wrecking Crew are acting normally (so to speak).
Alpha gets some reinforcements when Pathway teleports in herself, Goblyn, and Wildheart.
Yeah, that needed a splash page.
We learn that Thunderball's unexplained attack was a ploy by Robert Hagon, the sponsor of the Superpowers bill. He's with someone named Joshua Lord, who looks to be playing a larger game.
Thunderball wakes up and realizes that he's been manipulated, and he grabs the Wrecker's crowbar and teleports his team away.
While the fight is happening, we see that inside the cocoon that Manikin created for himself after getting poisoned by the (or a) Jackal in the last arc, he's having a conversation with himself.
While the rest of Alpha except Persuasion are dealing with the Wrecking Crew, a militia group enters the compound, under the belief that Manikin has some kind of super-AIDS (as was set up in the last arc) and needs to be destroyed. Persuasion is knocked out, and the soldiers get ready to destroy Manikin's cocoon. But Wyre shows up to stop them.
The rest of Alpha are delayed from returning home when Albert Louis runs up to them in the street. He's still being pursued by the Hardliners. The Hardliners say that they have the authority to arrest Louis even though the Superpowers bill hasn't even passed yet. So Alpha Flight fights them.
Guardian/Vindicator/Whatever stops them by unleashing every offensive weapon in her suit at once. I'm not going to show it because it's another waste-of-space full page splash (and it's horrible).
When they get back to the base, they find that Manikin is out of his cocoon, but he's only survived at the expense of his alternate selves, who had to sacrifice themselves to heal him. Alpha then take a vote on whether or not they want to stick around and enforce the Superpower Registration bill for the government if it passes. The argument is that they'd be more compassionate about it than the Hardliners. Everybody, including a suddenly resurfaced Shaman, votes yes except Nemesis.
At the end of issue #120 is a form similar to the one that was in Uncanny X-Men #224 and similar books around the time of the Fall of the Mutants (except it's bilingual).
I totally get the impulse to take another shot at the Mutant Registration Act. Especially after, in my opinion, it was botched the first time. At least by doing it in Alpha Flight and Canada it can be a self-contained story without anyone having to worry about implications to the larger Marvel universe. I've said before that i've always kind of boggled at the degree to which post-Byrne writers have focused on the conspiratorial government angle when it comes to Alpha Flight, but it's definitely an established theme for the book at this point, so doing the registration thing here makes sense. And as you might be able to guess by looking at the Characters Appearing, it's not just a government thing.
In general it seems like Simon Furman is trying to do something to make this book work. I really like bringing in some bright colorful super-villains like the Wrecking Crew just to allow for some traditional super-heroics. But this book just seems to collapse under its own weight no matter who is writing. Too many secondary characters that never leave and too many weird iterations and revisions of the primary characters. And i don't know what Pat Broderick is doing, except to say that he's trying to tap into a Liefeld train that had already left the station, but it's not helping.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 81,316. Single issue closest to filing date = 131,475.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Windshear has had "no chance" to talk with Heather about the Superpowers bill, but i'm just assuming that's because they've all been busy, not because it takes place soon after last issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
Oh, Pat Broderick, what happened to you? Can noone draw Sasquatch except Byrne?
Posted by: Wanyas the Self-Proclaimed | September 23, 2016 3:57 PM
There's Phil Jiminez, at least. Even Byrne commended how on-model he was (though he didn't realize he was the artist at first).
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | September 23, 2016 7:01 PM
Wildheart?!? Wasn't that one of the Care Bears?
Posted by: Ben Herman | September 23, 2016 8:23 PM
Aurora is sporting Grace Slick Starship hair about a decade too late.
Posted by: bob | September 25, 2016 7:03 PM
@Vincent Valenti: Windshear is making a reference to an earlier statement by Puck in #120 that Alpha Flight were causing too much colateral damage and had not gone a long way from "Hulk Smash".
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 9, 2016 11:11 AM
Why does Pathway look like an adult? Isn't she like 8?
Posted by: Jeff | April 21, 2017 2:49 PM
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