The Small Lebowski:
Alpha Flight #13
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #13
Heather Hudson is having terrible nightmares, understandable after seeing her husband get shredded in a fiery explosion that was, in a very small way, due to her own accidental interference. With Puck and Shaman, she goes to visit Alpha Flight's former liaison to the government, Gary Cody, and he informs her that in terms of getting a pension or anything, she's out of luck.
I've always loved the expression on Heather's face while he explains it, although a few panels later, she's preventing Puck from "tak[ing] a pound of flesh out of [his] miserable hide as partial compensation", and acknowledging that it's not Cody's fault.
Also, as much as i sympathize with Heather, i don't really get the complaint. Guardian died in a grudge match after leaving Canada for a job offer in the US, and well after Department H was closed down and Alpha Flight officially disbanded. He didn't die "in the service of his country", as Heather puts it.
Regardless, Heather says "Without Mac there is no Alpha Flight. His dream died with him."
We didn't see the aftermath of the fight from issue #12. It's said that Omega Flight has been defeated and turned over to the New York authorities. Jaxon and Ms. Courtney have vanished. And Smart Alec, brain-dead after looking into Shaman's medicine bag last issue, has been shrunken down to the size of an action figure and stuffed into Shaman's bag for safe keeping. Puck says he'd prefer harsher punishment than that; i can't imagine what would be worse.
So, interesting, emotional stuff. Written very intelligently. And let's face it: those nightmare scenes were cool.
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's been "a month" since Guardian was killed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Wolverine doesn't know about Guardian's death at the start of Uncanny X-Men 183- Wolverine first learns of Guardian's death in Kitty Pryde and Wolverine 4, which takes place concurrently with Uncanny X-Men 188.
Posted by: Michael | July 24, 2011 1:15 PM
John Byrne has said that the beginning part of the nightmare sequence did indeed take place as shown...up until the nightmare part, that is. I'm unclear if that means that Wolverine was there or not, though. Possibly not, since Heather expresses surprise at Logan's presence in Canada in AF#16.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | February 2, 2014 6:17 PM
Well Heather, you still get free health care. So you got that going for you.
Posted by: A.Lloyd | October 8, 2014 2:08 AM
"So i don't know if that says there was something wrong with me, or if this was just really good."
I'd say you had good taste. When I read this, I had collected everything Byrne had done on XM, FF, and AF (and more as well), and I remember at the time it felt to me like this was a new high point for his art. I guess I still feel that way. It also felt like a very convincing expressionistic depiction of a nightmare, like something from a Bergman or Fellini film. The opening of this issue has also always struck me as the inverse of the experiment he did in #6, where you had a "soundtrack" without images (the whiteout). Here, you've got a "silent film" effect, and there seemed to be something about just concentrating on the images that brought out the very best in his art.
When Heather says that Mac died in the service of his country, I don't think you necessarily have to take it that literally. He had still been fighting to protect Canada against super-threats, even if he wasn't on the payroll, and the official (Gary) does admit, "unofficially we [still] supported him." I think her aim is just to see how far that unofficial support goes. Incidentally, the meeting can be dated very precisely, because it occurs (or, er, "occurs") the day after Trudeau resigned on 29 February 1984.
Note that on the cover, the headstones read, "[B]yrne," "-grom," "Mil-," and "Sienki[e]-" (who was starting Demon Bear this same month).
Posted by: Instantiation | July 21, 2015 7:22 PM
"The opening of this issue has also always struck me as the inverse of the experiment he did in #6, where you had a "soundtrack" without images (the whiteout)."
Lol I always thought the counterpoint to the white out scene was the "blackout" scene at the end of #20, where Aurora/Jeanne-Marie comes unglued, but now I like your take better (plus the funeral scene is much more comparable in length; I just dug out #20 and the blackout "scene" can hardly be called one--only two pages! Not at all how I remembered!)
Posted by: George Lochinski | October 29, 2016 1:27 PM
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