Alpha Flight #25
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #25
After putting Northstar through an unofficial hearing regarding his past terrorist activities (something that i'm surprised he allows himself to be subjected to, considering Alpha Flight doesn't have any legal authority and he hasn't shown any interest in being accepted by the team)...
...the group responds to reports to a battle between Caliber and Guardian.
Talisman is already on the scene, and discovers that she can use her powers against a non-magical opponent by tapping into an areas latent magic.
Talisman thinks to herself that Guardian's death "isn't a matter of public record". Interesting that it would have been kept a secret.
With Caliber easily disposed of for a second time, the rest of Alpha arrives.
Later, Guardian explains his origin. Instead of dying during the explosion of his battle suit at the end of Alpha Flight #12, it turns out that Guardian was sent back in time some 10,000 years and also thrown to Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon.
There, he encountered the Quwrlln ("Don't bother trying to pronounce it. It took me months to get my mouth to wrap around it in a manner that satisfied them." Later issues have the spelling as Q'wrrlln, if that helps.).
The Quwrlln healed Guardian and put him in suspended animation so that he could go home during his own time period. They also built him a rocket to return to Earth. During his 10,000 year sleep, the Quwrlln wound up bombing themselves "back into the stone age", ensuring that they wouldn't be a factor in the modern Marvel universe.
It's a pretty outrageous story, but i bought it when i read it in real time. I swear i've subsequently read an interview with John Byrne where he said that he deliberately came up with something ridiculous so that people would know it was a fake, but i can't find that now.
Bill Mantlo is given a credit for "Creative kibbitzing". At the risk of sounding extra cruel, i'd like to imagine that John Byrne thought to himself, "Hmmm, i need a really outlandish resurrection story for Guardian. Who can i talk to...?".
In any event, in the short term it will turn out to be a fake, and yet in the long term it will turn out to be true (imagine my surprise when, after having been away from this series for a while, i picked up an issue of Alpha Flight because they were fighting Galactus, and saw the Quwrlln floating around).
Anyway, for now, the story is that when the Quwrlln were putting Guardian back together, they couldn't tell the difference between him and his exoskeleton, so they wound up merging him with his costume.
Pretty convenient considering that "Guardian" is really the robot Delphine Courtney in disguise.
"Not quite meanwhile" (i love that), Walter Langkowski learns that Aurora isn't too happy about having a robot for a boyfriend, but Roger Bochs has an idea.
Intriguing stuff setting up the next few issues.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAurora, Box, Caliber, Delphine Courtney, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
Bill Mantlo would later refer to robot Guardian as "Dark Guardian", either out of laziness or unoriginality or both.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 16, 2012 8:38 PM
Considering that Byrne and Mantlo would be switching titles (Hulk and Alpha Flight), it's probable that the last bit between Aurora, Box/Langkowski, and Bochs was to set up the crossover of the two titles so that the Hulk could return to Earthand Byrne take over. That's the more likely source of the "creative kibbutzing".
I had just started collecting comics when this issue came out - AF #23 was my first issue. Even a the time, I thought the resurrection was too outlandish, but I was just happy to have Guardian back because I thought his costume was awesome. Not having read AF #12, I didn't know that there were severe inconsistencies between Courtney's story and how Guardian really died.
Posted by: Chris | June 17, 2012 4:15 PM
You're almost certainly right about Mantlo's actual contribution.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 17, 2012 4:31 PM
Byrne originally stated that this issue would be a Puck solo flashback story showing him battling the Maggia in France as "The Dwarf".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 25, 2013 5:13 PM
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