Characters Appearing: Attuma, Aurora, Box, Dara, Doug Thompson, Madison Jeffries, Marrina, Northstar, Puck, Shaman, Snowbird, Talisman, Thakos, Vashti, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
Alpha Flight #35
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #35
This issue is largely a Vision Quest that the media has taught me that Native Americans must occasionally go on.
In this case it's about Shaman regaining his powers. At the end of his quest, he confronts Talisman...
...and gets a lecture from the spirit of his grandfather. And he gets a new costume and some new accoutrements.
Some of Shaman's new powers are derived from the Inuits, even though they and Shaman's people, the Sarcee, were mortal foes in ancient days. Bill Mantlo apparently read a book on Canadian Native American culture called People of the Deer by Farley Mowat was damned if he wasn't going to use a good bit about colossal statues no matter who they were supposed to be made by.
Shaman shows off his new powers against the animated skeletons of ancient viking warriors that robbed the Sarcee.
Also in this issue, Heather vows to stop whining.
That is welcome! However, after becoming suspicious that her late husband had been manipulating her and Wolverine, she ignores Puck's romantic overtures, which he blames on his (mystical) dwarfism.
Heather and Puck arrive at Alpha Flight's headquarters to find Snowbird suffering.
And we continue to build to the story with Marrina. She's been captured by Attuma's forces and is tortured for information on the Sub-Mariner, which in her semi-monstrous state she's unable to provide.
But we also learn that since Namor abdicated the throne, Atlantis has descended into Civil War, and the Atlanteans, once again proving how useless they are without Namor, turned to Attuma for help. So he's actually in control of the kingdom at this point.
This is also the first time we see him without his helmet.
Shaman arrives at Alpha's headquarters to help Snowbird at the end of this issue.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the Considerations for Secret Wars II #9. I have Alpha Flight appearing there between last issue and this one, with Puck getting returned by Phoenix to where he was taken so that he can rejoin Heather (who was not in SW II #9) before she flies home. There's a little gag (and that's a pun!) about Puck's lunch which confirms this takes place soon after last issue, but the gap between issues is the only place to fit the Secret Wars appearances, so we're going with a "Rachel did it" explanation, albeit one that's relatively harmless. I wasn't sure if the Talisman appearing here was meant to be the real one or a spirit vision, but the MCP does list her as appearing.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Shaman's new costume is so much worse than his old one. The old one was clearly a superhero costume, stylized just enough to make it vaguely Indian inspired, but not too much. The new costume puts Shaman into the same territory as the ones for Black Crow, American Eagle, Red Wolf, and others - stereotypical Indian first and superhero a distant second.
I liked his original power of the Magic Medicine Bag more than this spirit one.
Posted by: Chris | January 22, 2014 1:27 AM
This issue made me unintentionally laugh my head off when I first read it. Not only does Shaman get a spirit knife, but he fights a spirit fish, spirit birds, and other spirit animals. It stopped before he could meet a spirit spirit.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 15, 2014 4:23 PM
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