Alpha Flight #28
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #28
Reason #1: It's a Secret Wars II crossover. The Beyonder appears here in between panels of Secret Wars II #4, where the Beyonder rescued Talisman from Shaman's medicine bag.
Omega Flight is also on the run after their defeat last issue, which Courtney partially blames on the Beyonder's arrival, although we saw no evidence that that was a factor.
Madison Jeffries catches up with Omega in the parking lot.
It turns out he and Diamond Lil have a history. Jeffries also suggests that Omega were under the influence of mind-control from Courtney. In his experience Lil and Wild Child, at least, weren't naturally bad. This is entirely plausible from the little we've heard so far; Courtney was said to have the ability to influence people. But it's oddly not something that occurred to any of Alpha Flight.
Jeffries and Delphine Courtney seem to know each other pretty well, too, although it's not said how.
Talisman is deeply upset by her father's failure to live up to his promise. This isn't entirely rational, and it's really more about unresolved issues around her mother's death. When Heather tries to calm things down, Talisman teleports all of Alpha, including Jefferies, back to their facilities.
Snowbird, however, does not come back with them. Shaman says "Narya is not so easy to transport against her will. She will have remained in Edmonton, or travelled to a place of her choosing." You often think of Snowbird as just a shape-shifter; it's cool to be reminded that she is an actual goddess.
Reason #2: It's a crossover with the Hulk title. The team goes forward with Bochs' plan to pull in a body from the Crossroads of Realities for Walter, over Heather's objections and while Shaman is an emotional wreck, and they pull out the Hulk.
Reason #3: In a unique occurrence, the entire Alpha Flight creative team, including editors, is swapping with the entire Hulk team after this issue.
Excerpting from John Byrne's goodbye statement:
I never really expected Alpha Flight to get their own title. When I created them... the only thing I had in my mind was creating a bunch of super-folk who could go toe to toe with the X-Men.
Reading between the lines and based on subsequent statements, it's more like Byrne was dragged kicking and screaming into this series and he'd now had enough. As i've said before, i really love this series and i'm glad we at least got these 28 issues. It's been fantastic art, great stories, and distinct personalities (i love how gruff and cavalier Langkowski interrupts Shaman's self-flagellation with a "I feel sorry for Mike and all that").
I guess it's best to go out on a high note, in any event, with a nicely executed transition.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Beyonder appears here during Secret Wars II #4. In that issue, someone from Alpha says to the Beyonder "Mister, we must talk--" and the Beyonder agrees to stay, but then leaves "seconds later". We see that conversation at the beginning of this issue. The electronic fishing line that Alpha sends out to the Crossroads in this issue can be seen at the end of Hulk #312 and all through Hulk #313. Both this issue and Hulk #313 depict (slightly differently) the Hulk's arrival back in our dimension. So the Hulk issues basically take place between panels at the end of this issue.
Crossover: Secret Wars II
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
And after this, it was all downhill for this title.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 14, 2012 7:48 PM
Except for Jim Lee's pencils around the 50's. Almost made Mantlo's stories enjoyable.
Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2013 2:21 PM
I finished Byrne's Alpha Flight (and the hulk issue and issue 29) yesterday morning and I have a few thoughts.
I really can't imagine the tonal shift in real-time to the mignola-Mantlo team. It really is awful. While I appreciate this early Mignola work, I prefer his slightly later stuff. But, Mantlo. I thought I was prepared, but nothing can prepare you. No character behaves as previously especially Heather, Bochs and Shaman. Bochs refers to himself as crippled over 4 times in that 1 issue after never having done so once previous. We can see he has no legs and is in a wheelchair! He clearly overcame his issues with that. and the quick reversal of their status to a government sponsored team gave me whiplash. And the dialogue is awful and there's so much of it. It really is amazingly awful.
Posted by: wanyas the self-proclaimed | February 27, 2015 1:57 PM
One of the few AF issues I read in real time because of the SW II crossover. And it is pretty awesome, especially at how bad-ass Madison Jeffries can be if he wants to.
There's a weird sort of euphoria in what he does to Delphine Courtney. You don't necessarily want to revel in a hero killing a villain, even if you think the villain deserves to die. But when it's a machine, it feels different. So, in revenge for Guardian, it's nice to see Courtney get its comeuppance and it does it without making the reader feel too dark.
Posted by: Erik Beck | June 1, 2015 6:29 PM
I came around real hard on fnord's earlier suggestion that Byrne's run on AF came closer in spirit to Gerber's Defenders than anything else in the Shooter era.* I wonder what would've happened if someone like Kraft--who obviously had similar talents, and a huge amount of respect bordering on reverence for Gerber--had taken over here instead of Mantlo.
Posted by: George Lochinski | November 11, 2016 7:26 PM
I just realized Byrne draws (most) the Alpha Flight characters' artwork for the 1985 version of the Official Handbooks... by the tail-end of the series, the Alpha Flight characters have Mantlo's alterations applied so it's interesting to see Byrne draw stuff like Heather as Vindicator, Shaman's bondage costume, female Sasquatch, etc.
Posted by: AF | December 5, 2016 4:21 PM
Byrne's 28 issues run is not only the highlight of the series, but also one of the better comics in the early/mid-eighties. He does almost everything right. He has a bit too many one shot disposable villains, but even here he does a good job establishing a rogues gallery of repeat villains (the Master of the World, the Great Beasts, and Omega Flight). When the series was turned over, there was a solid foundation in place to build on.
You just needed to expand the rogues gallery a bit, introduce some normal recurring characters, and eventually resurrect Sasquatch/Langkowski (whose body fragments just need some additional soul power). Fairly simple agenda, but of course that is not what happens. Given the popularity of these characters, this excellent foundation Byrne left, and the fairly simple premise (their superheroes... in Canada!), it's amazing they've never be written well after this.
In retrospect both Mantlo writing and the Mignola/Talaoc art team were misplaced on this book. In terms of art, any artist with an attractive "clean" style would have been good - Mark Bright, Bob Hall, Paul Smith, or Paul Ryan would have been fine. In terms of writers, we're in a quandry. Marvel had a strong stable of writers, but they're all working on established books, and the writers left on the bench are merely adequate with various flaws. However, anyone else likely would not have done the long term damage Mantlo did.
Posted by: Chris | November 6, 2017 1:55 PM
As the kind of guy who likes to ponder these things, I've always been fascinated with Flashback, the worst time-travelling super-character ever. He can summon multiple copies of himself from the (a?) future, and the best thing he can think of to do with that power is turn himself into the Hordes of Hydra? With Multiple Man, it makes sense; his duplicates are disposable. This guy's fate was cooked into his MO from the beginning. I don't think it's ever spelled out, but it seems his future selves don't talk and have no independent thought. But why are they already wearing the costumes if they don't come voluntarily? A writer with more interest in character might have done something interesting with him, but that never happened. Scott Lobdell tried in 2005, but it was an unreadable mess.
Posted by: Andrew | January 29, 2018 9:17 AM
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