Alpha Flight #79-80
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #79, Alpha Flight #80
It's too bad because the Acts of Vengeance premise allows Alpha Flight to go up against some traditional super-villains for really like the first time ever. Instead of just embracing the premise, though, Hudnall goes through hoops to make the story two steps removed from Acts of Vengeance. There's no reason why the Acts of Vengeance arch-villains couldn't have just sent villains after Alpha Flight for the same reason that they sent them after heroes in the US. But instead Hudnall has these villains fleeing from possibility of the Superhero Registration Act being passed in the US, which is silly because a) the act is just in discussion at this point; it's nowhere near ready to be passed and signed and b) these guys are all wanted super-villains anyway. Registration act or not, they'll be thrown into jail if caught. (It's also debatable that the Owl would even qualify as a super-villain as defined by the Act, but since the law hasn't been written yet there's no way to know.) I assume Hudnall was going for for a draft-dodger type of reference with this, but he doesn't explore it.
Anyway, that's the first step removed from Acts of Vengeance proper, but it's still vaguely related to the crossover since the Superhero Registration Act is a subplot of the crossover. The second step of removal has all the villains coming to Canada secretly under the influence of the Sorcerer, the main baddie that Alpha Flight has been dealing with in their series. So it's really not related to Acts of Vengeance at all.
And then, to furthermore avoid a straightforward battle between Alpha Flight and a team of villains, the story is set up so that Talisman teleports the Alphans one by one from their new "Maison Alpha" base to each of the villains. So it really just feels like a crazy random story. That's intentional if you're following along Hudnall's Alpha Flight story. Hudnall is writing Talisman as a cold master manipulator, which hilariously is triggering long-held and never-before-hinted-at feelings of jealousy in Heather...
...but it's completely unnecessary for this story, which could have been just a nice super-brawl.
Anyway, time to go!
Battle #1: Vindicator vs. Nekra.
Battle #2: Diamond Lil vs. Scorpion
Those battles attract the attention of Gamma Flight, since it's been made illegal for Alpha Flight to act right now.
So that means the Owl and the Asp won't get individualized fights.
It just devolves into a huge mess. So i guess i should be careful what i ask for. I did say i wanted a big group fight. But this is an uncoordinated nightmare
Witchfire eventually detects the Sorcerer's involvement and casts a spell to dispel his influence.
There's a little grousing about why Talisman didn't just do that, but Witchfire says that the Sorcerer actually removed control on his own and that he's "more powerful than anything" Witchfire has ever encountered. Her spell also knocks out the villains, and Gamma Flight arrest Alpha.
During all of this, the Sorcerer is seen floating above the Eye of the World (seen previously in Alpha Flight #23-24 and Alpha Flight #68), somehow channeling all the bad karma from the fighting into opening the Gateway of Night.
Shaman and Puck are still in the hospital for these issues, and no one will take a message from Puck to Heather.
There are also two scenes in issue #79 showing pollution coming from the US to Canada. Not sure if there's anything in this that will be relevant to future issues, but right now it reads like "bad things come from the US, be they pollution or super-villains". The editors were still soliciting feedback and information from Canadian readers, and maybe the pollution topic was one that came up.
Quality Rating: D
Historical Significance Rating: 1
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Tinkerer's appearance here occurs during Rick Mason, The Agent. Regarding the villain appearances in this issue, some of them (e.g. Owl, Asp, Nekra) appear in other comics during Acts of Vengeance but i'm not sure that the order matters. Presumably the Owl can escape at the end of this issue to appear in Fantastic Four #336 or vice versa, for example. Next issue will begin with Alpha Flight having given themselves up; we'll see them being held at the local drunk tank. So we can allow a little time to pass before the next arc, but not too much.
Crossover: Acts of Vengeance
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAsp, Auric, Diamond Lil, Llan the Sorcerer, Madison Jeffries, Nekra, Nemesis II, Owl, Puck, Sasquatch, Scorpion, Shaman, Silver, Talisman, Tinkerer, Vindicator (Heather Hudson), Wild Child, Witchfire
Note that Talisman is depicted as two years younger than Heather- in every previous flashback, Heather is at least 6 or 7 years older.
Posted by: Michael | March 30, 2015 9:24 PM
That is one ugly color and printing job.
Posted by: Bob | July 20, 2015 2:50 AM
Yeah, that back story of Elizabeth and Heather just makes this idiot writer look like he had never read any of the classic Byrne issues of this book. It bears no resemblance to anything that Byrne had written about their relationship.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 25, 2015 11:51 AM
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