Alpha Flight #81-82
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #81, Alpha Flight #82
To be fair, though, it is the current creative team that gives us this panel.
That is a Riding Cat, the mount of the Cat Elves living in Alfheim (one of the Nine Realms of Asgard). The Cat Elves are the group that Northstar has wound up with. And he gets his own Riding Cat.
I wish they showed him actually sitting on the cat. Because the Cat Elves are about the size of hobbits So does Northstar have an extra large cat (it's hard to tell from the art) or does he look like a 9 year old that won't give up his tricycle when he's sitting on it?
The big non-cat news, passed to us almost incidentally in some text heavy narration panels, is that Northstar is not really an elf after all, and you should never trust information given to you by Loki, you idiots.
Northstar is therefore trying to get home via those Stonehenge-y things, but instead he gets attacked and captured by what are apparently Dark Elves.
Meanwhile, Talisman is collecting a group of Alphans to go rescue him. That includes Northstar's sister Aurora, who is currently living as a nun, and who had just finished trying to convince the head priest that she's not a trouble magnet just because she's a former super-hero.
Talisman also picks up Purple Girl, who has changed her name to Persuasion and designed herself a new costume which... well, you know, we do dumb things when we're teenagers.
There are several panels building up to the reveal of the new costume, with Persuasion talking about nonconformity and how she's not a herd animal and how the coolest people are true to their inner selves and not afraid to show it.
Goblyn and Pathway have been staying with Persuasion, and they're included in Talisman's summoning as well. If the Riding Cats didn't make you jealous, how about the little green horse in Goblyn's pocket dimension?
Aurora finds herself put back in costume when she's taken by Talisman.
The French exclamation "Maudit!" is used at least three times in these issues. I'd never seen it before. Whatever happened to "Sapristi!"?
The characters picked up by Talisman are all mutants, and they're all sent to Asgard, allowing the "Mutants in Asgard!" line on the cover of #82, with the word Mutants being written in the New Mutants title font. I'm not sure associating themselves with that dire New Mutants run was the right move for Alpha Flight, but i guess any sales help they could get was welcome.
The mutant Alphans fight their way though some trolls (indistinguishable from the Dark Elves to me)...
...learning that Aurora no longer has her powers and Persuasion's are weakened in Asgard. But Pathway learns how to develop portals underneath her opponents, teleporting them away. After the trolls, the Alphans meet the Cat Elves (whose Riding Cats seem to have lost their wings)...
...and avoid a fight by saying that they're looking for Northstar. Noting the resemblance of Aurora to her brother, they take the team to the stone circle, telling them that Northstar was taken by the Dark Elves. The Dark Elves are said to be working for the Norn Queen (not Malekith?), who protects them from enemy magic, suggesting that the Alphans' powers won't work on them. Pathway finds a way to open the stones using her powers, and they travel from Alfheim to Svartalfheim to rescue Northstar.
As they're leaving, they learn that the Dark Elves are actually working for Llan the Sorcerer, not the Norn Queen (or are they in cahoots?).
Once they have Northstar, Talisman brings them home.
Also in these issues, Shaman is released from the hospital, but Puck, whose body continues to compress, is taken away into a secret room where the doctor is drugging him under the orders of "The Master".
And the group of Alphans that we saw during Acts of Vengeance are still being held in holding cells.
They are interrogated by General Brian Winslow, who accuses them of being behind a string of disasters that mostly occurred while they were in another dimension.
One of those incidents was spelling out the team's name with dead fish.
That was me, guys. Sorry. Just expressing my opinion of this run.
Actually, and yes i'm damning with feint praise, this is a little better than previous issues. Hudnall generally has had the right idea about getting the core Alpha team back together and in a recognizable status quo. The problem is that he's been taking too long to get us there or to do anything once he's got it. The return of Aurora and Northstar is along those lines. Yes, by all means, do away with the elf nonsense. But two whole issues of the secondary Alphans and a non-powered Aurora fighting through random assortments of Asgardian monsters is not necessary. The Llan the Sorcerer plot has also gone on way too long at this point. Llan isn't actually doing anything; if he's just a major bad guy why is literally nothing happening? The government distrust angle, although played way too ham-highhandedly here, is potentially more interesting, although it will turn out next issue that General Winslow is actually an agent of Llan. So really all our eggs are in that basket (even Alpha's Acts of Vengeance issues were really part of Llan's "plan"). On the other hand, i can't complain too much about issues featuring winged cats, and John Calimee's weird art is either growing on me or getting better.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The members of Alpha Flight that participated in the previous Acts of Vengeance issues have since been sitting in a holding cell for "hours". Next issue begins with the same members still being interrogated by General Brian Winslow. So neither the previous or next arc should be placed too far from this one. Note that since issue #79-80 were part of Acts of Vengeance, there was a lot of stuff happening concurrently, so the number of entries between this arc and the previous one doesn't necessarily reflect a long period of time. I've placed this soon after the end of AoV.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAurora, Diamond Lil, Goblyn, Madison Jeffries, Northstar, Pathway, Persuasion, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
Purple Girl's new costume would probably cause irritating crotch abrasion.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 30, 2015 7:20 PM
Hudnall reportedly didn't like Calimee's art, but he also illustrated issues of Strikeforce: Morituri that Hudnall wrote.
I also read that Hudnall lost a foot to diabetes. That's bloody scary.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | May 1, 2015 9:16 AM
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