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Alpha Flight #8 (1984, March)

August 21, 2014

Today, we continue with Northstar and Aurora, by Byrne, in “Cold Hands Cold Heart.”

Cold Hands Cold Heart

Aurora kinda looks like a disembodied head.

At the hospital, an autopsy’s been done on Raymonde, but the doctor has no idea what killed him. There’s no way to prove he was murdered. But Northstar’s not going to let Ernest go free. He flies out to Ernest’s house and breaks in through an upstairs window. There’s no alarms. He goes searching, and finds something that shocks him.

Then it cuts away to a woman on top of a hospital. She’s got a sword, and is praying to the night. Her name is Nemesis, and she plans on killing Ernest.

Back at the house, Northstar has found Ernest and Aurora, apparently engaged in a perfectly friendly conversation. Aurora calls him Jacques, and after he’s hit from behind, she adds that he’s her cousin. He’s left unconscious in a bedroom. When he wakes up, there’s a sword at his throat. He and Nemesis have a little chat. She mentions that Alpha Flight was part of her inspiration, and agrees to let Northstar help her in her mission. She says her sword is an atom’s width thick, able to cut through anything.

Aurora and Ernest are having a nice dinner, and she asks about his death touch. He gives his backstory. he was a soldier in World War 1. He was nearly killed by a mortar, but when death came for him, he fought back. As a result, his touch was instant death. He says he feels like he’ll never die. A nice moment for Nemesis and Northstar to make their appearance. Nemesis says she’s there to bring peace to the soul of her father. She attacks him, and he grabs her, but his touch doesn’t kill her. She slices him into a whole bunch of little pieces.

Northstar thinks Nemesis is Danielle, but when he pulls her mask off, it’s definitely not. We don’t see her face, but her hair is different. She knocks Northstar down, and Aurora suggests she leave before cops show up.

Northstar and Aurora go back to Raymonde’s restaurant, and Aurora reveals that Danielle was Ernest’s partner. Aurora regrets the lack of a death penalty Danielle can be subjected to, and instead hands her to the police. As Northstar and Aurora fly off again, Northstar mentions that he thought Aurora had romanced her way to safety with Ernest. Aurora’s pissed, and especially angered that he, of all people, is passing judgment on her love life. She terminates their partnership.

Next, more Origins of Alpha. Heather and Mac visit Shaman at his shack. He introduces them to Narya. Heather and Mac are a bit suspicious of her. Heather follows her that night, and see her turn into an owl and catch dinner. The next morning, Heather and Mac ask Shaman about it, and he explains the story. Mac invites them into Department H.

Another great issue. I love Northstar and Aurora. The fight they have at the end is especially great. Northstar’s a dick, and Aurora’s righteously pissed off. Her comment about him judging her love life is presumably another veiled reference to his homosexuality.

Nemesis is a really cool character. We don’t learn much about her here, but the mystery is interesting. Deadly Ernest is a rather charming villain. This is the last we ever see of Danielle, which is kind of a shame. It’d be cool to see her pop up again. Maybe if we ever get another volume of Alpha Flight.

The back-up story is pretty good. Narya is creepy, which is a nice touch.

Byrne was doing fantastic work on this series. I actually kinda like the approach he was taking, focusing on one or two characters at a time in individual adventures. It’s a good way of exploring each of them in-depth. And his art, obviously, is stellar.

Song of the day: Since When by 54-40.

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  1. Alpha Flight #31 (1986, February) | xmenxpert

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