Characters Appearing: Diamond Lil, Feedback, Goblyn, Madison Jeffries, Manikin, Master of the World, Nemesis II, Pathway, Persuasion, Reginald Tork, Shaman, Talisman, Wyre
Alpha Flight #125-126
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #125, Alpha Flight #126
As with the previous issues, the format continues to include a main story and a shorter story. Issue #125 begins with a 6 page story, billed as a prologue, which is illustrated by James Reddington and features Talisman and Shaman. Both are (supposedly) on the side of the Goddess, Talisman confronts Shaman over his lack of belief. Note we have the weird/interesting idea that Shaman has a "greater sense of awareness" but doesn't actually have "personal belief" and therefore isn't really in the Goddess' thrall.
Shaman knocks Talisman out, saying that he'll continue to work for the Goddess, but really for her and on "one particular matter".
The main story in issue #125-126 (with pencils by Dario Carrasco, inks by Frank Turner in #125 and Bruce D. Patterson in #126) then has Shaman gathering a group of Alphans who are not under the influence of the Goddess and convincing them to go after a demonic threat called Carcass.
The Alphans that are recruited include Madison Jeffries and Diamond Lil, who have been away from the team since leaving to get married. They have apparently been fighting over the fact that Jeffries continues to use the Box armor.
That gets interrupted by Shaman's arrival, but Jeffries' supposed addiction to the Box armor continues to be a point of concern in this story.
Also recruited are Nemesis and Wyre. We learn right away that Shaman is deceiving them and the Goddess as well, but the nature of the deception isn't revealed yet.
Shaman takes the Alpahans to Carcass' dimension. Carcass is said to be an agent of "Khaos" (presumably not the one from Excalibur annual #1; i feel like there ought to have been some checks and balances in place, like "Hey, i'm going with this dumb alternate spelling of "chaos"; is anyone else using that this year?"). They fight their way through the gross dimension and find Khaos, whose dialogue i refuse to read.
It comes out during the fight that Shaman had to kill the Alphan's physical bodies to get to Carcass' dimension, and that causes some in-fighting. Between that and Carcass using a simulation of Shaman's dead wife, the team is thrown into confusion.
Considering where we are in this series, this probably won't turn out to be an important development, but the turning point in the fight is the revelation that Shaman was able to absorb his pouch into himself (when it looked like Carcass was eliminating it) and that allows him to continue using his powers.
I suppose if this ability is never referenced again, it's not just because it happened at the very end of a series that no one was reading. They're also in a spirit world, so different rules would apply.
The group manage to defeat Carcass and get back to their bodies after all.
We already know that Shaman was lying to the Goddess about the need to stop Carcass to help her plans, but it's not clear even how he convinced her of this. Maybe she didn't really care. But aside from some references to the Goddess, the story doesn't even pretend to be relevant to Infinity Crusade, which just makes me wonder why they bothered to set the story during that event.
A back-up story in issue #126 (with art by Manny Galan and Mark Stegbauer - credited in the lettercol of issue #128) has the new mutant that we met in Alpha Flight #118-120 using the name Feedback and engaged in a training session run by Manikin.
To the degree that i can muster any interest in this at all, i'm surprised that Feedback is so enthusiastic about training to become a super-hero. The whole point of the Registration story is that he's been forced into this role thanks to the new law; he was just an ordinary guy before this. So you'd think the story would be about him being reluctant or even unwilling to suddenly have to train to use his powers to fight for the government.
We do see the bitterness later in the story, though, after he's recorded a PSA urging other super-powered people to register.
We also see more of the machinations of Joshua Lord, who ensures that the Hardliners that attacked Feedback in his first appearance are freed (although he's not happy with them). He also hints that he's immortal.
I guess i should give some credit for trying to further the Registration plot during these tie-ins, although cramming a 6 page back-up behind the main story isn't really the way to do it. The art, as with all of the art in these issues, is horrible and the story really just serves to keep the plot alive rather than develop anything. And certainly Feedback and Manikin aren't the characters that are going to keep people coming back (if the story had actually provided the upcoming revelation about Joshua Lord, it might have been a different story). But at least it's something.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: It seems like these issues can take place any time after Shaman and Talisman are recruited by the Goddess. Since i have the previous Alpha Flight issues between Infinity Crusade #2-3, i'm placing this after #3 (more accurately, it would take place during #3, before Pip attempts to steal the Goddess' cosmic egg.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I cannot believe that this series actually managed to last 130 issues. And, yeah, that lettering is ghastly. No wonder Diamond Lil literally puked up her guts.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 17, 2017 4:01 PM
What is surprising is that it's fairly obvious what worked in the Byrne era and what wasn't working in the post-Byrne era. Yet writers kept using all these superfluous characters other than the original team and even kept adding to them.
To the fans of the first Byrne issues, it was very obvious what we liked, but not only did the writers not know, but obviously Marvel editorial couldn't figure it out either even after eight years or so.
Posted by: Chris | January 17, 2017 8:55 PM
"Khaos?" Somebody narrowly avoided trespassing on Get Smart property.
Posted by: Cringe Worthy | January 17, 2017 9:48 PM
The scene with Diamond Lil puking her guts out caused some criticism in fanzines along the lines of "If this scene gets past the Comics Code, then what the hell is the CCA for anyway?"
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 18, 2017 11:05 AM
That sums up American sensibilities pretty well, I think. Violence and gore are acceptable, but sex and nudity are forbidden.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 18, 2017 12:45 PM
Comments are now closed.
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