Alpha Flight #22
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #22
Aurora shows up at Northstar's home, with her Jean-Marie persona dominant. She's confused, but she remembers unwelcome advances from a strange man (i.e. Walter Langkowski, Sasquatch).
There's always a bunch of people hanging out in Northstar's house. I guess they're just servants, but i wonder if one of them is supposed to be his boyfriend.
Northstar characteristically decides to not tell Walter or the other Alphans where she is.
Instead, he takes her on a roadtrip to visit an old friend, Clementine D'Arbanville, who runs a traveling circus. Clementine is somewhat concerned that after her new fat lady, Pink Pearl, got hired, all of her regular employees experienced accidents, to which Pearl was always conveniently able to recommend a replacement.
Pearl is displeased that Clementine has called in some strangers.
Northstar is of course unable to defeat the Human Skeleton.
And Aurora is still in her Jean-Marie persona, and therefore no match for Pink Pearl's breasts.
Later, when they wake up, Aurora is back in control, and she has a good showing against the Bearded Lady.
Pink Pearl herself, however, remains formidable.
If Marvel didn't have a rich history of super-powerful circus people, i'd almost call an overweight woman being able to leap into the air and bring down a flying super-speedster "unrealistic", but i know better.
In the end, Pearl takes a misdirected knife to the chest and passes out. It's revealed that Pearl and company were working for a foreign power interested in detonating a bomb to prevent talks between the US and Canada on setting up a nuclear missile shield. Clementine was a former French Separatist with a criminal past, so she was going to be the fall guy. It turns out that Northstar took part in terrorist activities as well, something that Aurora says she intends to reveal to the rest of Alpha Flight.
Meanwhile, Heather is possibly having delusions, because she sees her dead husband in a crowd. It'll turn out to be the robot Delphine Courtney.
And Madison Jefferies has helped Roger Bochs create a new version of his Box robot.
Unlike the previous version, which Bochs operated via remote control, this one allows Bochs to actually phase inside it.
Some might call Pink Peark silly, but Byrne actually does a decent job of making her menacing enough to serve the purpose of the story (and what did i say about this book secretly being a sequel in spirit to Steve Gerber's Defenders? Here's some wackiness for you.).
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's pretty clear from the flashback scene described by Jean-Marie when she first arrives at Northstar's home that this story was meant to take place three days after issue #21, with the flashback scene taking place on the way home from Gilded Lily's mansion.
Additionally, Northstar says that he hasn't seen his sister since "that business with the Collector". And when the Aurora persona resurfaces, the last thing she remembers is the darkness of Gilded Lily's mansion. All told, it doesn't make sense for the X-Men/Alpha Flight mini-series to take place between Alpha Flight #21 and #22, despite the MCP's placement. On the other hand, after Aurora learns of Northstar's terrorist past, it's a bit incongruous that she doesn't speak up when he shows up in that series, but we'll say that things were moving too fast, and she was too shaken from Rachel Summers' attack, for her to make an issue of it.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
According to comments made by John Byrne at his website years ago, the man at Northstar's house IS his boyfriend...and the woman is his boyfriend's girlfriend. Apparently there were some interesting things going on in that house...
Posted by: Dermie | November 6, 2012 7:57 PM
Byrne has a flair for the bizarre that somehow doesn't work for me. The carnies here remind me, for no reason beyond their strangeness, of Byrne's villainess Headhunter from the early issues of Namor. She was a weirdly overdeveloped and impausible character -- albino, hypno-eyes, decapitated her opponents but really only stored them, bodies still attached, behind the wall of her office -- not quite body horror a la Cronenberg, not psychological terror, just off-putting convolution. Like Deadly Earnest, an immortal dude with a death touch, trying to take over small French-Canadian coffeeshops. It's just too stupid to be cool or scary.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 7, 2012 2:27 AM
Byrne originally intended this to be a Puck solo story.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 8, 2013 3:51 PM
A little surprised no one has mentioned the resemblance between Pink Pearl and the later Byrne creation Big Bertha. Certainly the personalities are very different but they certainly physically resemble each other.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 26, 2015 3:52 AM
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