Marvel Fanfare #28
Issue(s): Marvel Fanfare #28
When i say "part of the problem is it's written by Bill Mantlo" i don't just meant that as a cheap crack. Mantlo's writing is so full of histrionic scenes it can't help influence the art.
Storywise this issue is about either redeeming or watering down Northstar, depending on how you look at it. It returns to the fact revealed in Alpha Flight #22 that Northstar had been a member of a group of Quebec separatists and was involved in terrorist activities. This issue revises that to say that Northstar only played the role of a courier and never got involved in any of the violent activities, and even wouldn't have participated if he had known what the group was really up to.
The vehicle for this story is a retired RCMP Commander named Giles McHeath that had men lost in the separatists' attack, and has concocted a plan where he tells Northstar and the rest of Alpha Flight that someone is now hunting down and killing the members of the group, that have gone into hiding. Northstar tries to warn the separatists on his own, but it's revealed that the communicators that James Hudson implanted in the heads of some members of Alpha's skulls (as shown in Alpha Flight #1) are also tracking devices, so Vindicator and the team are able to follow Northstar. But what they don't know is that McHeath is tracking Alpha...
...and he's really the killer, using a variation of Guardian's early prototype armor to kill the terrorists (and of course, no relation to any other Scourge).
So it's a pretty big blunder on Alpha Flight's part; Vindicator's insistence to be involved in what Northstar wanted to be a solo effort is actually what gets everyone, including Clementine D'Arbanville from Alpha #22, killed.
Snowbird uses her rarely seen postcognitive powers (first seen in Alpha Flight #3) during this issue.
Regarding the revision to Northstar's time as a separatist, i fall into the "watered down" camp. I wouldn't have a problem with Northstar now regretting the violence that he was a part of, but to say that he wasn't really a significant participant takes away an aspect of the complex character that John Byrne established.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Normally Marvel Fanfare stories are pretty clearly inventory stories. That doesn't seem to be the case with this one. I think this is the closest i've ever placed a Fanfare issue to publication date. This issue was even referenced in Alpha Flight #39, and the team make up does not include Shaman, which means it was possibly meant to take place slightly earlier in Mantlo's run, but issues surrounding Snowbird's pregnancy make that difficult. Luckily Box is not shown phasing out of his armor, so this can take place after Alpha Flight #40, which is the first break after Snowbird's pregnancy is "resolved", and we just have to assume Shaman (and Madison Jeffries and the depowered Talisman) are not around at the moment. The reference in Alpha Flight #39 is just a reference to Northstar's terrorist past and therefore doesn't have to affect placement. Alpha Flight annual #1 takes place in this same gap between AF #40-41.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAurora, Box, Northstar, Puck, Snowbird, Vindicator (Heather Hudson)
The title is based on the song "Murder by Numbers" by the Police off their Synchronicity album.
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 26, 2014 10:05 PM
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