X-Men #120 (1979, April)
I’m back with another review, and it’s a big one for me. This story is titled “Wanted: Wolverine! Dead Or Alive!”
It starts with James Hudson – Vindicator – being told by Prime Minister Trudeau to bring in Wolverine. He summons Alpha Flight – Jean-Paul Beaubier, professional ski champion, aka Northstar, located in Jasper National Park; Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, Shaman, outside Calgary; Corporal Anne McKenzie, RCMP, Snowbird, assigned to Yellowknife; Dr. Walter Langowski, SasquatchProfessor of Bio-physics at McGill University; Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, Aurora, teacher in LaValle.
In Japan, the X-Men are saying goodbye to Sunfire, and Wolverine gives Mariko a white chrysanthemum, and tells her his name is Logan. This is the first time we see Logan tell someone his name. On the plane home, they run into bad weather. One of the pilots (both women, as an aside) goes to tell Scott, and finds him sleeping cuddled up with Colleen, after they apparently spent hours talking. Storm is unable to do anything about the weather, as some outside force seems to be guiding it. The plane is herded to Calgary.
On the runway, James Hudson tells Wolverine to come out. Scott tells the pilot to get the plane back in the air, but it’s not moving. Nightcrawler glances out the window, and sees a huge man holding the plane. The man then lifts the plane and throws it. Vindicator yells at Sasquatch, then checks on the plane and finds it empty. The storm also closes in around it, and Vindicator asks Shaman what’s going on. Wolverine then explains to the X-Men about Hudson and Alpha Flight. Scott splits the team up so they can gather again at the Calgary Tower.
Nightcrawler gets taken down by a man and woman speaking French. Colleen takes Banshee and Storm to the Toronto-Dominion Mall for some quick shopping, to better disguise Storm. Banshee’s not sure it’s a great idea, isn’t sure he should be smoking his pipe, and wonders if it might be time for him to retire from heroics. Vindicator gets a reading from the TD Mall and checks it out. Banshee tries to hit him with a sonic scream, but quickly doubles over in agony. Vindicator tries to help out, but Storm picks the worst moment to come out, and gets angry at Vindicator. She whips up an instant hurricane while threatening Vindicator.
Claremazon Moment Tracker: 7 for Storm (5 for Jean). Vindicator flees like a whipped dog, and rightly so, and thinks about how Heather might be right about him not being cut out for the superhero lifestyle. I think this is the first time Heather’s mentioned. She’s since become, if anything, more notable than James. Anyway, Scott sees Vindicator’s energy trail, and realizes Alpha Flight probably has a Cerebro-type device. Wolverine’s walking through a poor neighbourhood, and gets ambushed by Sasquatch. Scott and Colossus have regrouped with Storm and Banshee, and decides it’s time to take the fight to Alpha Flight.
This is awesome. I’m Canadian, and proud of it, so seeing a Canadian superhero team is really exciting. Especially when they actually do get to seem pretty competent, for the most part. Vindicator is really compelling. His uncertainty and lack of confidence in his own abilities make him interesting to watch. And he comes across as a genuinely nice guy, which is a nice touch. There’s a fair bit of very subtle characterization, like Nightcrawler reflecting on how he feels like he’s back in Winzeldorf, Banshee thinking on how it might be time to retire, and Storm’s moment of awesomeness. Byrne, of course, continues to deliver the goods, as shown in the panel above. The Claremont/Byrne team (with Terry Austin on inks) really was one of the greatest teams in comic book history. It’s also kinda fun finding the creators in the comic itself. Here, they show up in Calgary International Airport. Well, according to the Marvel Wiki, Dave Cockrum, Bonnie Wilford (colourist) and Terry Austin show up. Anyway, the point is this issue is awesome.