Alpha Flight #74-75
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #74, Alpha Flight #75
I've told the story about how i accidentally wound up with a subscription to Alpha Flight when i was really just at the beginning of my comic collecting days, and i renewed it until suddenly the title got really weird and awful (due to, what i later realized, when i became more aware of such things, the creative team shift from Byrne to Mantlo/Mignola). After that i stayed far away from this title. But one day i saw Spider-Man and Wolverine on the cover, and if that wasn't enough they were fighting Diamond Lil. So i bought it, and was pretty intrigued by a story of Alpha Flight finding themselves in a fascist New York City, hunted by Marvel's super-heroes.
Actually it specifically opened with this. Definitely got my attention.
I hadn't read a lot of What Ifs at this point (my first foray into What If? was the final issue of the original series, #47, "What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?", and it confused the hell out of me), so i didn't recognize all the standard alternate universe tropes. I just thought it was all pretty cool.
Here's something for the Canadians in the audience.
Anyway, that opening scene occurs after Diamond Lil gets knocked away from the fight and is found by Spider-Man, who gets rape-y.
A Spider-Man who taunts with rape threats instead of lame jokes is definitely an evil twist.
Wolverine didn't show up until the end.
Now, i liked that issue but it never occurred to me to get the follow up issue until years later. And i have to admit that it wasn't until i started this project that i bothered to get the issues leading up to it. So despite its guest star fake-out, they didn't add me back to the sales count.
Issue #75 continues in much the same way, and, like a lot of What If stories, the death count of the battles is a lot higher than anything that happens in the regular universe.
The Hulk changes colors between issues, but we don't even have to call it a coloring mistake. This is actually a fantasy world, not just an alternate timeline.
It turns out that Alpha Flight is really in the Dream Queen's dimension. And that dimension is highly susceptible to reality manipulation, kind of like being in the Matrix. If you will it to become true, it is. The Dream Queen actually isn't here (despite Pathway, when opening the portal to kick her out of our world in the previous arc, saying, "I know just where to send her". So where did she send her?). This fake New York super-hero world was created by the Sorcerer.
I mentioned that it took me a while to get the second issue. By then i guess i was more jaded, because the alternate reality stuff was a lot less interesting, but the real turning point for me was this WTF moment when Puck shows up and grows himself some wings.
Just weird. I know now that Puck has been trapped in the Dream Queen's dimension, so it makes more sense. And i know now why he's no longer a dwarf. But it still just seemed like such an odd move for Puck, and he just didn't seem like the character i knew.
Puck helps out by summoning Elvis and Santa Claus to help.
Why doesn't he help by getting into costume and bounce around kicking people in the face like he's supposed to?
Greatest image hands down is from this scene, when an additional group of fascist heroes show up to bolster their ranks, and Cyclops is just so happy to see them. How dystopian a world can this be when people are this pleased to see their friends?
We saw Spider-Man's rape talk. Now here is the Vision. Diamond Lil takes him out with the Matrix powers she learned from Puck.
That bit about Sasquatch regenerating is a real thing, though. His arms, broken by the Sorcerer in the previous arc, healed very quickly too.
Puck eventually teaches everyone how to click their heels three times to go home, and Puck leaves with them. Not sure why the Dream Queen wasn't able to do that, or even Puck for that matter, but who really cares? (Ok, it's because they have to focus their wishing through Talisman.)
One repercussion that comes out of this is that Shaman takes a bludgeoning from Thor's hammer.
Within the Dream Queen dimension, Shaman is able to manipulate reality to heal himself. But we'll see next issue that the fix doesn't stick in the real world. Puck will be in similar shape.
There's no room for characterization in these issues, but maybe the fake guest appearances worked better for sales generally than it did for me personally, and it is definitely more fun than the last arc's drudge through more generic alternate dimensions.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Alpha Flight will find out next issue that "three months" have passed while they were in these alternate dimensions. So even though it's a direct continuation for the characters here, i'll be giving the next entry some distance to represent their time away from the real world.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showDiamond Lil, Madison Jeffries, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Talisman, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
Considering that awesome panel where Diamond Lil punches Shulkie, I'm surprised and upset that doesn't just make its way into a T-shirt or something. (I'd say obscurity unfortunately; though I do have more respect for Lil thanks to this page)
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 19, 2014 10:54 AM
Why is it that when a female is in some sort of peril it's because she's about to be raped? Can't she be about to be killed like the male super-heroes? It's poor writing and it makes the female super-heroes seem really like damsels in distress.
Posted by: JSfan | September 19, 2014 1:45 PM
"A Spider-Man who taunts with rape threats instead of lame jokes is definitely an evil twist."
Posted by: Michael | September 19, 2014 8:54 PM
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