The Small Lebowski:
Alpha Flight #91
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #91
But you can see my problem.
I also notice that Diamond Lil has forgotten her costume again.
I almost wonder if Bair is trying to emulate the Rob Liefeld story. There is certainly no shortage of speed lines on the pages.
If there was any doubt that Puck's new invulnerability power was intended to make him more like a hockey puck, that's erased with the above dialogue.
Anyway, what's going on in these panels is that Alpha Flight is acting on information that arms are being supplied to the Latverian Liberation Front. And that information is supplied by Dr. Doom himself.
Doom (claims that) he is negotiating a treaty between Latveria and Canada. Latveria's water source has been tainted with a bacterial infection, and Latveria's neighboring countries, said to be the USSR and Symkaria, won't trade with him. So Doom wants Canadian water, and in return he will provide Canada with technological secrets. But he also demands that Alpha Flight protect him during his visit and deal with the "terrorist" LLF group.
Alpha Flight, meanwhile, are dealing with internal injuries. Talisman was lobotomized during the fight with the Sorcerer, Pathway is injured, and Shaman insists on wearing a stupid cloak (and Heather is stepping on word balloons).
Pathway's parents, who originally neglected her because Laura is a mutant, have come back, promising to turn over a new leaf. But Heather is moving to make Alpha Flight Laura's legal guardians (and Vindicators, ha ha!).
Another contingent of Alphans - Sasquatch and the newbies Windshear and Witchfire - are in Toronto supervising the building of a new headquarters. They are there with a government liaison named Kerry Patrick (or maybe Patrick Kerry), and they have to deal with a snapped cable that causes some construction materials to fall on their heads.
Later, back in Ottowa, where Alpha Flight is temporarily located,
More LLF agents attack while Doom is meeting with Canadian diplomats. Alpha Flight helps out...
...and Diamond Lil takes the opportunity to talk up Madison Jeffries' sexual prowess.
OMG the speed lines.
The exoskeletons that the first group of LLF agents that Alpha Flight fought self-destructed when Alpha was about to capture them, and that happens again this time. Vindicator determines that the self-destruct signal actually came from Doom.
Vindicator also says that rumors say that he is just a pretender to the throne, and accuses Doom (or Kristoff, if this is accurate) of setting up the assassination attempts to gain sympathy on the international stage.
Kristoff then teleports away using a variant of his time travel technology.
We next see Dr. Doom at a castle in Switzerland, providing a cure for Latveria's water troubles to a Symkarian ambassador, with the idea that Symkaria will present the cure to Latveria without revealing that Doom created it.
There is some evidence of rescripting on the above page, and the idea that a Swiss castle would be surrounded by Doom's robot guards seems odd. You could imagine that if this issue was scripted a different way, it would read as Doom teleporting away from Alpha Flight and reappearing in Latveria, with a cure that he acquired maybe during all the distractions in Canada. But since Dr. Doom has not yet been restored to the Latverian throne, this story had to be reconfigured. It's a bit confusing because aside from this story Marvel has always been careful to show Kristoff as not wearing Dr. Doom's cape and cowl, so that easily confused readers like me know who is who. On the other hand, if the idea that it wasn't the real Doom was meant to be a mystery, it makes sense for him to be wearing the cowl the whole time. But we saw Doom leaving from Latveria in issue #90 and most Marvel readers would have known the Dr. Doom status quo at the time. So i don't think it was meant to be a deliberate mystery.
Either way, it seems like the Dr. Doom that appeared in issue #90 and most of this issue is really Kristoff. I hesitate in saying that for sure because the MCP lists Dr. Doom in issue #90 and doesn't list Kristoff at all. If i'm missing something i blame it on the horrible stiff art and endless speedlines. But it sure seems to me that the story is that Kristoff is the one that went to Canada.
At the very end of this issue we see Kerry Patrick talking to the General Clarke that introduced Dr. Doom earlier in the story. Clarke has decided that Vindicator, not Guardian (by which i mean Mac, not Heather; why oh why did they swap names?!), should be in charge of Alpha Flight. That's a set-up for next issue's story.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's been "two weeks" since last issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAurora, Darby Dean, Diamond Lil, Dr. Doom, General Jeremy Clarke, Guardian (James Mac Hudson), Kerry Patrick, Kristoff, Madison Jeffries, Northstar, Pathway, Persuasion, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Susan Dean, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson), Windshear, Witchfire
Why would Latveria be trying to get water from CANADA? Countries usually try to get water from nearby countries and half the world would be closer to Latveria then Canada.
Posted by: Michael | August 12, 2015 9:34 PM
Because Nicieza is writing generic Marvel superhero plots and shoehorning Alpha Flight into them.
Mike Bair's art is horrific to look at. I have a hard time believing Marvel couldn't find a better penciler even with the increase of published books. There's several journeyman artists from the 1980s who could have been used who I don't think we're working for either Marvel or DC here.
Posted by: Chris | August 12, 2015 9:56 PM
You really have to wonder about these premium-priced books Marvel was doing (Alpha Flight, Cloak and Dagger). With abysmal writing and ugly art, who did they think the market was for these things?
Posted by: Bob | August 13, 2015 12:01 AM
There's a certain lgic to the high-price, low-quality premium books: these are books that Marvel knew wouldn't have a huge number of readers, so to maximize profit it made sense to milk the completists for as much as possible. And since completists is what Marvel must have figured these readers were, they would probably keep buying for years even if the art was terrible and writing second-rate.
Among his other failings, Michael Bair seems to have a thing for leather pants, as we see on Lil here and we'll see on Daimon Hellstrom in a year or so when he gets his own book.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 15, 2015 2:59 AM
Now I know why I never picked up another issue of this series once John Byrne left.
Posted by: Jim W. | August 22, 2015 6:49 PM
This isn't the only time Fabian messed up his own plot, remember he got the Psylocke thing wrong too. At least in this case it seems someone caught it and rescripted.
Posted by: Jeff | April 20, 2017 2:42 PM
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