Alpha Flight #71-73
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #71, Alpha Flight #72, Alpha Flight #73
This picks up right in the aftermath of the "fight" with the Dream Queen at the end of last issue, with Vindicator insisting on a post-battle huddle despite the fact that everyone's been on the go for four issues.
One thing i didn't mention last issue is that the Canadian military was seen observing the problems in Edmonton without really knowing what was causing them. And they show up here and say, "We don't know what you did, but thank you very much!".
They'd like Alpha Flight to return to their previous status as agents of the government. Alpha also has an offer on the table from the local Edmonton government.
For now, Heather finally lets everyone go home, with Purple Girl, Goblyn, and Pathway quitting the team.
The next day, Diamond Lil shows up at Madison Jeffries' house. Her hair may be diamond-hard but it can still be bleached.
Heather of course sees them kissing, gets the wrong idea, and storms off. When she gets back to her own house, Talisman is there to warn her about the thing she was hinting about at the end of last issue.
While all of this is going on, a camper discovers an ancient relic that makes him not want to sleep with his wife.
The next day he kills her and drinks her blood.
And that turns him into Llan the Sorcerer.
Talisman tells Heather that a lot of what's been going on throughout Alpha Flight's run, namely the repeated appearances of the Great Beasts, the resurrection of Pestilence, and the emergence of the Dream Queen, were all harbingers of the Sorcerer, an ancient evil that the bearer of the Talisman (Elizabeth is just the latest) is meant to defeat.
Then the Sorcerer shows up.
Similar to the Dream Queen's early appearance in front of Alpha in the last arc, the Sorcerer doesn't actually attack Vindicator and Talisman. First he teleports them to a pocket dimension, puts Heather in costume, and starts bringing in the rest of Alpha.
He's not responsible for Diamond Lil's hair color change, though.
It gets pretty stupid next, with the Sorcerer taunting Alpha Flight to get them to fight him, Talisman telling everyone not to fight him, and then Alpha Flight fighting him anyway.
And the Sorcerer stomps them all so badly...
...that Talisman feels compelled to join in the fight. And that, apparently, is, by the Sorcerer's rules of engagement, what allows him to go back and attack Earth. So he departs, leaving Alpha stranded in the pocket dimension.
Issue #73 is just Alpha Flight hopping from random dimension to dimension trying to get home. Talisman locates a portal from the Sorcerer's pocket dimension...
...to what i assume is the Crossroads of Realities, although Sasquatch, who spent some time there during and after Hulk #313, doesn't seem to recognize it.
And from the Crossroads they travel to a bunch of other dimensions...
...eventually winding up in what they think is our dimension. Except Reed Richards is president.
You can see from some of the scans above that the main point of character interest in the dimension hopping sequence is Heather's relationship with Lil. And you also see Lil mentioning that the Candadian government has a new Canadian super-team in the works. There's also Talisman, who is supposed to be devoid of personality thanks to her acceptance of her headband, but she sometimes comes across more cranky than serene.
Aside from just not being very good, these issues squander the work that was done in the previous arc to get the team back in recognizable shape. It might have made sense to settle down and let Alpha Flight do some traditional super-heroics against the Master or Omega Flight or hell, why not a Sinister Six or something? Instead they are removed from Earth for five issues (these three plus two more) dealing with a supernatural threat right after the Dream Queen. I guess the idea was to have them eventually return to a Canada that had established a separate super-hero team in their absence, as we'll see in issue #76, and following that we do get to participate in Acts of Vengeance where the characters will fight some regular super-villains (even that is part of the Sorcerer storyline, though), but in the meantime it's close to a year of Hudnall's run where Alpha Flight are stuck in other dimensions. Odd choices.
To add insult to injury, the lettercol in issue #73 has an apology to all the Canadian readers for not depicting locations in Canada very accurately, and then asking readers to send in tourist brochures, photos and any data on Canada. I know i'm spoiled by the internet, but really? Rumors of this country called Canada were so sparse on detail that you had to rely on the kindness of readers?
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This begins soon after the end of the last arc and continues more or less directly in the following two issues. Each arc has a slight jump ahead so i'm keeping them in separate entries for organizational purposes.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showDiamond Lil, Goblyn, Llan the Sorcerer, Madison Jeffries, Pathway, Persuasion, Sasquatch, Shaman, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
Guess Diamond Lil is yet another victim of the "what is my hair color again?" curse that tends to happen with female superheroes.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 18, 2014 9:30 PM
Alpha Flight's being trapped in another dimension causes complications for the placement of Marvel Comics Presents 51-53 which features Wild Child, Heather and Wolverine. Wild Child's appearance takes place "a year" before Alpha Flight 90, where it's referenced. But Wild Child is a member of Gamma Flight from issue 76 onward, and Heather is trapped in another dimension from issues 71-76.
Posted by: Michael | September 18, 2014 11:19 PM
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