Alpha Flight #77
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #77
It's perhaps not a coincidence that in this issue with the guest artist we also have a story that has nothing to do with the Sorcerer storyline that has been occupying (plaguing?) the book basically since James Hudnall took over as writer. Last issue ended with Llan the Sorcerer at large and Alpha Flight being told that they were no longer legally allowed to operate in Canada. In fact it was said that Gamma Flight was supposed to arrest them. But this issue jumps ahead in time and begins with Heather shopping in Calgary. Alpha's illegal status is acknowledged in the script, and it's later said that Heather "only wanted a day off... a reprieve from the pressures of leadership, a rest before we track down the Sorcerer". But take out those lines and this could have been a basic inventory story, although it does have a topical subject.
Like a lot of books around this time, the subject is the funding of the Contras. These aren't the Nicaraguan Contras, though. They are from the fictional country of Costa Brava. But it's the same story; Congress has voted down a bill that would have funded the Contras, so the government is looking for other means to fund them. That includes a US Army General (hey, maybe it's the one from Iron Man annual #10) that is colluding with money supplied by the Kingpin.
What the heck does any of this have to do with Alpha Flight in Canada? Well, a US Senator that is looking into the illegal funding supposedly has a former draft dodging friend in Canada that has information on the conspiracy, so the Senator has come to Canada to get information and also stay ahead of the assassins that he knows are on his trail. Despite his wandering eye and creepy expression in the scan below, he seems to have been earnest in wanting to stop the illegal operation. But he doesn't get to give his assassins the slip, and Heather Hudson also winds up in the assassin's line of fire.
After recovering from being grazed by a bullet, Heather dons her Vindicator suit and goes after the assassin, but a bit of bad luck has her suit getting unexpectedly shut down.
Apparently neither James Hudson nor Jeffrey Madison or Roger Bochs ever thought about microwave towers when designing the Guardian/Vindicator suit.
Heather is arrested for fleeing the crime scene and not given especially nice treatment by the police, but she's eventually released when Canadian Internal Security takes over the case. They tell her to stay off the case, but she's not going to do that after getting shot.
Heather also has to deal with catcalls while walking out of the police station.
At that point the draft dodging friend of the Senator catches up with Heather and explains the story.
While in the diner with the draft dodger, Heather gives a call to Madison to tell him that she's not coming over. Turns out he has "something... to do" tonight anyway, specifically Diamond Lil.
The combination of art and script in the above sequence seems very amateur.
Heather notices that some men are watching her and the draft dodger in the diner, so after they say their goodbyes she circles around and follows them as they trail the dodger. Things get suspicious when the goons stop the dodger and they have to tell him that they're not his people.
But i guess Vindicator doesn't hear that, and she rescues him.
And doesn't seem to notice when she gets manipulated into going after the corrupt general in the United States.
Again, it's probably the clumsy art and scripting, but the sequence here makes Heather look really dumb.
As for our benign draft dodger:
This is when the Kingpin gets involved.
Heather flies from Canada all the way to Washington, DC, and finds that the general has already been assassinated by the same guy that shot her earlier.
She accepts the fact that she can't turn him in to the authorities, but she breaks all his fingers so that he can't assassinate anyone else for a while.
Meanwhile, the draft dodger turns out to actually be a Costa Bravan refugee, and his people kill him as a "trade" with the Kingpin.
Like me, Heather isn't quite sure about everything that's going on here. But unlike me, she's pretty sure that everything ended for the best.
Ugh. Well, it's certainly a change of pace from the endless dimension hopping and mystical threats. But it's also a very random story that really has to stretch to serve as a solo adventure for a Canadian superhero, and it just feels really low quality. It's not actively horrible in writing or art; it just feels... not ready for prime time, like two high school kids that decided to put together a generic superhero comic.
Just for fun, here are some Daily Bugle headlines.
I guess that "Hulk at large" article comes after he was seen at the airport in Iron Man #248. Maybe the Daredevil article is about him being spotted in various towns as he wanders across the country.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showDiamond Lil, Kingpin, Madison Jeffries, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
This artist sure likes to show people smiling with a full set of teeth showing. Apparently, they're always very, very happy.
Posted by: clyde | November 3, 2014 12:50 PM
This is really not up to Alpha Flight's usual low standards.
Posted by: Robert | November 3, 2014 6:52 PM
The microwave tower thing raises another question. Remember the Vindicator armor doesn't teleport- it uses the Earth's rotation to travel at fantastic speeds. It never passed by a microwave tower by doing that before?
Posted by: Michael | November 3, 2014 8:07 PM
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