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Alpha Flight #9 (1984, April)

August 30, 2014

Insert something clever here. Today’s story, by John Byrne, is “Things Aren’t Always What They Seem.”

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

That hand doesn’t actually belong to the Thing.

Up on Mt. Logan in Canada, under the Northern Lights, is a cosmic ray research station. Walter Langowski’s up there, helping with some research. They’ve found a weird signal that shouldn’t be there. Walt thinks it looks like a brain wave pattern. They use an adaptor dish to capture the signal, and the Thing forms on it and passes out. They can’t carry him inside due to his weight, so Walter decides to stop caring about his secret identity and turns into Sasquatch. He pulls the wall off the medical room and brings the Thing in. He mentions having recently returned from a consultation with the FF in New York. (I’ll try to remember to mention when that issue of FF comes out.) The doctor ushers Sasquatch out and manages to get a blood sample from the Thing, and finds something unusual. Then he’s killed.

Walt’s talking to the lone woman at the station when he’s told something happened in the infirmary. They find the doctor dead, burned badly. And the Thing is gone. Walter looks at some clues that leads him to believe someone busted out through the wall, and follows a set of tracks leading away from the station. The clues he comes up with sound like the Fantastic Four. Then the realization hits him who he must be dealing with. Then when he tries to rush back to the station, it explodes.

He thinks his arm is broken, and he worries about doing damage if he transforms to Sasquatch. He finds the woman, badly injured, and she dies. Walt calls out the one responsible. It’s the Super-Skrull! And the Super-Skrull is about to kill Walter.

Back-up feature! This time, Aurora’s origin. Jeanne-Marie’s 13, standing on the roof of the school she grew up in. She liked the roof, as it gave her an escape. She steps off it, intending to commit suicide, but instead she flies. Later, she’s in the principal’s office, and she tells the story of what happened, and calls it divine intervention, which pisses off the nun. She’s beaten, starved and sent to bed. She has to do a thousand prayers. She feels hateful towards the place, and that’s when Aurora first shows up and takes over. Jeanne-Marie returns to the school 3 days later, with little memory of what happened. Her punishment’s severe.

Years later, she’s accepted as a teacher at the school. She’s given her own room, and feels happy, that she has what she wanted. But Aurora disagrees, and takes over again. As she’s partying, she gets grabbed by a couple guys, and she takes one of them out easily enough. But she’s spotted by Wolverine. He stops the second guy from attacking her. He invites her to Ottawa to meet James Hudson. She agrees.

This is an OK issue. Somehow, it didn’t quite click for me. I like Sasquatch, and he’s good here. The supporting characters are interesting, and the overall story’s cool. The art is as great as ever. But somehow, I’m not committed to it. I can’t put my finger on it. There’s nothing wrong with it, and there’s a lot that’s right about it. I don’t know.

The back-up is great, though. I love Aurora. Her harsh childhood is interesting to see, and actually a pretty good explanation for her split personality.

Song of the day: BC Is On Fire by the Pack AD.

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