Alpha Flight #9-10
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #9, Alpha Flight #10
But there were clues in the book that let me know that this comic was in some way connected to the Fantastic Four. We've got this scientist, Walter Langkowski, who is with a team of researchers in some remote facility in northern Canada. They're investigating an energy anomaly. They adjust something, and suddenly the Thing materializes!
Just like my toy! But he's unconscious, and really heavy, so how are they going to move him indoors? Well, this Langkowski turns himself into a giant shaggy orange monster called Sasquatch.
Later, Sasquatch mentions that he thinks the Thing may have been "'beaming down' from another planet". Could that be a reference to the fact that the Thing didn't return from this Secret Wars thing with the rest of the Fantastic Four as i saw in my Fantastic Four #265? And when Sasquatch mentions a tragedy relating to the FF that he was witness to - is that the problem with we saw with the Invisible Girl's pregnancy? Turns out the answer was "yes" to both of these questions, but piecing it all together was pretty cool, and it really reinforced the idea that all these comics were connected; even this weird "Alpha Flight" comic was tied in to the FF and Spider-Man comics i had (the Spider-Man comic was also referencing Secret Wars, and had a cameo by the FF). The idea that both FF and Alpha Flight were drawn and written by the same guy wasn't, of course, even on my radar screen. But all of these connections between books were molding my mind into a young Marvel chronologist.
Check out this little scene with a female scientist asking Langkowski questions about his transformation into Sasquatch.
When i first read it at 9 years old, i didn't think much of it. Just a scientific discussion. Then later i noticed she was playing footsie with Walt. Maybe "GI Tract" was slang for something naughty? But no, it turned out the naughtiness was implied in her conversation, not directly stated.
Later, the doctor that was investigating the Thing's death is killed, and the Thing's body is removed. Langkowski looks at clues, and starts to determine that whoever moved the Thing's body must have had super-powers, including stretching, burning, invisibility, and super-strength. "So far, that sounds like I'm tracking the whole Fantastic Four walking in one pair of boots," Langkowski thinks. Realization dawns on him, he charges back to the research facility only in time to get caught in an explosion that kills everyone else, and injures him. Then, his enemy appears: the Super-Skrull.
I just barely knew who the FF were, and here's a big alien guy who had all their powers. Cooooool!
Anyway, it would be a few years before i was able to get the conclusion to this story in issue #10. When i got it, i was a little disappointed. I was expecting an all out brawl between Sasquatch and the Super-Skrull. But Langkowski was injured in that explosion, so he fears transforming into Sasquatch. When he finally does, he goes completely savage and the Skrull hypnotizes him (Hypnotizes him?!?!? But yeah, that's one of his powers.).
At some point, Sasquatch's feral rage subsides and the hypnotism wears off, but Sasquatch continues to play along. He learns that the Super-Skrull has cancer from being trapped in the Van Allen belts since his last appearance.
He's trying to build a transport home, not realizing that his homeworld has been eaten by Galactus. When the moment is right, Sasquatch throws the Skrull into the transporter before it is fully completed, scattering his atoms "across the Van Allen belt".
When Langkowski gets home, he finds Aurora waiting for him there, looking for comfort after breaking up her partnership with her brother Northstar in the previous arc.
In a subplot, James Hudson secures an apartment in Brooklyn. He's accepting a job at Roxxon and moving to the US. His apartment will be in the same building as Captain America's.
Despite my fanboyish disappointment in the length of the Super-Skrull/Sasquatch battle, these are some intelligently written and very well drawn issues. Great stuff.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The back-ups from these issues are covered in a separate entry.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAurora, Bernie Rosenthal, Captain America, Guardian (James Mac Hudson), Sasquatch, Super-Skrull
Why do I suddenly think that Sasquatch conversation was inspired by "Young Frankenstein"?
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 14, 2013 4:21 PM
(Un)fortunately the Comics Code prevents *everything* from enlarging proportionately...
Posted by: Oliver_C | December 29, 2015 8:36 AM
That cameo of Steve and Bernie was probably Byrne's nod toward a Cap/Guardian teamup that he knew he'd never get to do since he was killing Mac off in a few issues. But of course he left plenty of space in the timeline for them to have worked together in their costumed identities previously (I'm not counting stuff like Contest of Champions).
Posted by: Dan H. | December 29, 2015 12:18 PM
Is this the first time that Walt loses (and assumedly, Tanaraq gains?) control of the Sasquatch form?
Posted by: George Lochinski | December 10, 2016 3:53 AM
George, there's arguably a hint in issue #2. Puck laughs at Sasquatch, who gets angry and chases him, and Guardian sends Aurora to calm him down. It mostly happens off panel and is played more as team banter, but in retrospect it may have meant something more. On the other hand, in issue #20 Sasquatch says that he's been having rages "of late" which may mean they didn't start until more recently.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 13, 2016 7:53 AM
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