Alpha Flight #20-21
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #20, Alpha Flight #21
However, it turns out the house is "haunted" by someone known as Gilded Lily.
I realize now that Gilded Lily is a really stupid name. I always had it in my head that her name was simply "the Gilded Lady", which has more of a ghost story feel and isn't a dumb pun. But regardless.
Gilded Lily was a lover of Diablo back in the 19th century...
...and after the local village turned on him, she dedicated a portion of her life to hunting down the ringleaders, seducing them, and turning them into immortal golden statues.
She's also immortal herself. Sort of.
Much of this story is really about Aurora. She's made a number of changes. In issue #17, we saw that Langkowski performed some alterations to her genetics to hide her from mutant detection devices. This has decreased her speed somewhat, but not a lot, and it's also made her susceptible to heat and cold to a degree that she hadn't been before. She's also given herself a new haircut and costume.
And, as Sasquatch observes, her split personalities seem to be merging. She's speaking with the "zis" and "zats" that imply a French accent, something the Aurora personality never had. But she's otherwise acting like Aurora.
During the investigation of Gilded Lily's mansion, she gets trapped in the dark (resulting in nearly two pages of all-black panels; John Byrne is pushing his luck here!) and finds herself helpless captured by Lily. After it's all over, Sasquatch wonders why she didn't use her powers to fight back, but Aurora is unable to answer.
The Next Issue blurb for issue #20 and the cover to issue #21 both imply that Diablo actually appears in this book, but he's only in the flashback.
In other news, Elizabeth Twoyoungmen learns the hard way that she can't resign from the role of Talisman.
And the relationship between Heather Hudson and Puck develops.
It's a bit soon after Guardian's death, but Shaman tells Puck he's doing the right thing.
This book is more about character development than anything, with these issues really looking at Aurora, but spending at least a little time with all the characters appearing (in the beginning Sasquatch tries pushing himself to his limits to try to figure out why he's been occasionally lapsing into rages), and the creepy Gilded Lily story is a nice setting for looking at Aurora's personality problems.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The X-Men and Alpha Flight series takes place after this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAurora, Gilded Lily, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
Gilded Lily's design actually dates from 1920s Art Deco rather than the 19th century.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 17, 2012 5:31 PM
I had a French reprint of this in which the close-up panels of Lily's hideously aged face, as well as her skull, had been entirely excised. Instead she crumbles into dust right after Sasquatch grabs her.
Posted by: Oliver_C | May 10, 2016 6:19 AM
Lily's hairstyle is very 20's, but her overall look, with the impassive face and abstractly flowing robe, is more reminiscent of Victorian illustrators like Aubrey Beardsley and Erte.
Posted by: Andrew | February 5, 2017 6:42 AM
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