Alpha Flight #26-27
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #26, Alpha Flight #27
The fight turns out to be a test set up by the Canadian Airforce. The robots are simply called the Macro System. They talk like regular people; how did the CAF get such a sophisticated AI?
It looks like Walter Langkowski has quickly mastered the flight capabilities of Box. Flying is something that he wouldn't have had experience with as Sasquach.
Aurora is injured during the fight (due to Guardian's uncharacteristic carelessness), so Shaman and Box take her home for care. The rest of the team responds to a summons from Heather, and they get into a rematch with Omega Flight.
The battle takes place at the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, the world's largest mall (until 2005), so there's enough ground to cover that the team splits up, and they get taken out one-by-one by a surprise enemy.
The enemy turns out to be Guardian, who is really Delphine Courtney in disguise.
It's confirmed that Jerry Jaxon really is dead, despite Roger Bochs' earlier speculation to the contrary, and Courtney is merely carrying out her programming.
While the rest of Alpha is back taking care of Aurora, they stop in on Roger Bochs, who is searching the Crossroads of Realities to locate a new body for Walter.
They've found a candidate that has "virtually no brain-wave pattern" (Bochs' readings must be a little out of date or otherwise inaccurate; the Hulk had been exhibiting basic intelligence even before the re-emergence of Bruce Banner).
Shaman then receives an involuntary distress signal from Talisman. Snowbird, up in Doug Thompson's loveshack, feels it too.
Shaman's group teleports to the mall and is tricked by "Guardian"...
...who grabs Shaman's medicine bag...
...and turns it inside out, hoping to free Smart Alec.
That causes some serious crazy.
Omega Flight flees, and Shaman shakes Talisman awake, sending her into the dimensional void while inadvisably promising her that she'd be ok.
This a character flaw of Shaman's, deliberately echoing when he promised Elizabeth that he could save her mother. Talisman certainly would have jumped into the void to save her friends even without her father's promise.
Talisman is able to locate and send her friends back to reality, and, with Shaman from the outside, get the void back under control.
But Courtney returns, holding Snowbird as a hostage, and Shaman is forced to divert his attention (the rest of Alpha is still unconscious).
Talisman is trapped inside Shaman's bag as a result.
Shaman's grief, founded, as we've seen before and will see again, in doubt and self-loathing, is palpable. Talisman will be rescued by the Beyonder in Secret Wars II #4. The fact that rescue happens via deus ex machina is probably a factor in Shaman's inability to recover from this crisis; he put his daughter in a situation that he couldn't get her out of.
In issue #26 there's a panel of Heather in front of a hobby store. I'd like to check out all those D&D minis! And looking at the comics on display, among the likes of Alpha Flight #22 and Power Man & Iron Fist #119, both of which would have been out by this issue, there's a preview of Hulk #317, which would be drawn by Byrne but not released for almost sixth months.
Also, is Heather carrying a gun nowadays? I guess it makes sense.
We're coming up on the end of John Byrne's run. Every time i read an issue it amazes me that he was unhappy working on this series. I think it's an amazing run.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Alpha Flight next appears in Secret Wars II #4 before returning to Alpha Flight #28. I've decided to give the Hulk an appearance here based on that viewscreen image but it's not strictly necessary.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
One image is not loading. What a great superhero team was Alpha Flight! This could make a fantastic movie trilogy if well handled. I wish I could write the script.
Posted by: retrogaming | October 15, 2012 12:06 PM
I drew all over issue 26 as a kid...Why???!!!!!! I do remember reading it in real-time and being absolutely terrified of Wild Child. I was also in shock that a super-hero team could get their arses handed to them...memories.
Posted by: JSfan | September 22, 2014 1:10 PM
The more I think about it, the more it seems like Delphine Courtney is more of a plot device rather than a character. There's little reason for her to be a robot in the original Omega Flight story except to set up the Guardian fakeout in this arc, not least because it's kind of weird that Roxxon managed to create an artificial intelligence that can pass as human and has super-strength, and they use it as...an assistant in somebody else's revenge scheme?
Beyond that, Roxxon's whole reason for getting behind Jaxon's Omega Flight scheme was that they wanted the Guardian battlesuit. But in this arc, Courtney clear has the battlesuit -- it's why she can pose as Guardian -- and yet she's still leading an attack on Alpha Flight because she's been programmed to destroy them. Except that Courtney's backstory from issue #12 suggests that she was a preexisting Roxxon project, not something created specifically to help Jaxon. Is the idea that she was given destroy Alpha Flight" as an order by Roxxon, and that she's just sort of wandered off to do that without their supervision? Again, Roxxon just wants the Guardian suit; once Courtney has it, they have what they want and don't need a fight with superheroes
It's a fun story and a great twist, and it lets Byrne end his run on Alpha Flioght by playing off of the "biggest" storyline the book has done to this point. But like a lot of fun twists, it gets a little wonky if you look at it too closely.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | March 19, 2017 7:10 AM
Delphine Courtney as a robot is certainly a plot device, but I imagine Roxxon originally hope to create their own team of "superheroes" for their own purposes. Jaxon used them to find a group to kill Guardian, and Roxxon used Jaxon to recruit people whose loyalties would transfer to them because of the way Courtney could "influence"/control people. I presume killing Alpha Flight for "revenge" was the first part, and Courtney then would lead them to serve under Roxxon. That may not have been Byrne's purposes, but It's logical.
I always liked Omega Flight - great name and unique power set. Very surprising that no one after Byrne had Smart Alec rescued/restored and sent a renewed Omega against them.
Per FNORD12's comments on the AI used by the MACRO, as a kid I assumed they were robot drones controlled by operators by remote control.
Posted by: Chris | March 19, 2017 2:59 PM
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