Characters Appearing: Aurora, Diamond Lil, Headlok, Madison Jeffries, Manikin, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Vindicator (Heather Hudson), Wild Child, Windshear
Alpha Flight #104
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #104
In this case, the "resetting" is relatively minor, focusing entirely on Aurora. As we saw in the previous arc, Aurora is somehow being held in a prison cell with Headlok, and he uses his powers to reset her mental state to its original multiple-personality disorder status quo.
He's actually trying to merge her various personalities for his own purposes, but Aurora's personalities fight back (they say that their MPD is their "greatest strength") and we get the classic Aurora/Jean-Marie split. The practical effect of this is to remove the weird pacific super-nun version that has been appearing in the book lately, and the healing powers that came with it. Headlok is seemingly killed in the process, seemingly shattered by the final use of Aurora's healing power.
As for the new status quo, first, it's confirmed that the Weapon Omega that we saw last issue is really a reformed/cured Wild Child.
Second, Madison Jeffries and Diamond Lil announce their marriage and departure from the team. So Aurora and Wild Child are their replacements in what is now called the "core Alpha" team. And that comes with matching costumes.
The divisions established in Alpha Flight #95 may still exist, but when saying why Puck and Windshear aren't part of the "core" team, instead of just saying they're part of Gamma Flight, it's said that Puck is a "trouble-shooter" and Windshear a "desk jockey".
So, yet another iteration of the team. That oughta hold at least until Simon Furman becomes the new writer six issues from now.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This begins with most of Alpha Flight on their way back from the fight with Diablo, so i've pushed it back a bit in publication time.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Shouldn't the new (lame) matching uniforms boost the significance rating? They do wear them for a bit (maybe til the end of the series even?).
Posted by: AF | January 14, 2016 5:44 PM
Yeah, sure. :-)
Posted by: fnord12 | January 14, 2016 5:48 PM
Alpha Flight works when they guest star in other comics. The team and characters by themselves just aren't strong enough to stand out. Even John Byrne (who created them!) has admitted that they were shallow characters he only created to fight the X-men.
Posted by: Red Comet | January 14, 2016 6:10 PM
But Byrne's wrong--just as he didn't see how he'd failed to make Kearson DeWitt or Desmond Marrs effective villains, he failed to see how much he'd accomplished with AF. He established character concepts that could have dveloped brilliantly in the right hands.
Northstar's sexuality certainly had dramatic potential in the late '80s and early '90s, but there's also the idea early on that he was content to use his powers to cheat as a pro skiier. A non-villain who embraces the idea that his powers make him better than others could have been an intersting character.
So could Aurora, if the cheap whore/nun dichotomy had given way to an exploration of each identity as representative of an authentic ethos. Instead of being just a "slut" or just "repressed," the two personalities could each have been legitimized, which would have created an intersting tension.
How many comics look at father-daughter relationships? AF could have with Shaman and Talisman.
Puck's dwarfism shouldn't have defined him, but treated seriously (as Byrne tried to) it provides an interesting backdrop for character exploration.
And there weren't that many women who were leaders of super-teams, after a brief '80s blip with Storm/Wasp/Captain Marvel/Candy Southern (for about ine issue).
Even the fact that AF was government spinsored gave them a premise with different dramatic possibilities than those of the FF, X-Men, and Avengers. The last of those had government clearance, but AF's relationship to Ottawa was different.
That we didn't get good stories on these themes is less a comment in the characters than on the mid-tier creators who were assigned to the book. Most of these were good character seeds that were easy to botch, and botch them is what AF's half-dozen writers proceeded to do.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 15, 2016 10:16 PM
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