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Alpha Flight #15 (1984, October)

October 17, 2014

So, the cast for the relaunched Uncanny Avengers has been revealed. I’ll talk about it in my next pull list post. For today, by John Byrne, “Blind Date.”

Blind Date

Oh, goody. A Marrina issue. Wonderful.

Doug Thompson is in his small home in the Northwest Territories, and Anne McKenzie comes to see him. He has a lot of questions, and she feels he deserves answers, which was the only reason she visited. She reveals herself as Snowbird, and gives a quick version of her story. He tells her he loves her.

Later, in Toronto. She goes into the lake to find the creature killing people, and is worried about it being one of her race. We get some captions about how big Lake Ontario is, including a list of 8 states that are less than a fifth its size. She senses a loneliness, and realizes she feels the same, and wants to know what it means. As she swims down a narrow tunnel, she gets wedged between some rocks, and then pulls herself free. She finally emerges into a cavern. She still feels herself being pulled forward.

Out in BC, Aurora is still recovering from Jeanne-Marie’s assault that morning. She looks in another mirror, and sees only herself. But she can still feel Jeanne-Marie trying to get out. Aurora decides to combat her by cutting her hair.

Back in Toronto, Puck is worried about Marrina. She comes out of the water, looking a bit crazed. She attacks him, and he fights defensively, despite his specialty being offence. He pulls off his jacket and does a matador act with her. Then Namor shows up. And, of course, he completely misunderstands the situation and decks Puck.

Out west, Elizabeth arrives on the Sarcee reservation outside Calgary. She walks into Shaman’s medical office. He’s glad to see her, but she tells him to back off, and it’s a business call.

Back to Toronto, some guy is watching Namor and Marrina fight. It’s the Master! He seems to think Namor’s race will have to die. He also knocks out Puck. Marrina slashes at Namor’s eyes. Then the Master knocks him out.

I want to mention one of the letters, talking about #10. Specifically, it mentioned the US importing Canada’s resources, including people. He says that LA is the seventh largest Canadian city, based on all the Canadians living there. I found that really funny. I sometimes joke that Canada’s plan is to conquer the US through the entertainment industry.

Anyway, this issue. It was good. Very good. We get a couple of subplots advanced, and the main plot is pretty good. Marrina, despite being the focus of the plot, doesn’t actually get much to do, which was always the biggest problem with the character. She was never allowed to develop a real personality, because she was always going crazy. When she wasn’t crazy, she was just “Namor’s girlfriend.” She’d go from “murderously crazy” to “loves Namor” and back again, and that was all. She wasn’t a compelling character. And she never had any real agency. She didn’t explore the tunnel and cavern because she chose to, but because she felt something drawing her there. This was the same reason she went to the Arctic in the first arc.

Puck, despite also getting little to do, winds up being much more interesting. We find out he knew Ernest Hemingway, and that Hemingway convinced Puck to train as a bullfighter. While I detest bullfighting, and find it a barbaric and disgusting sport, and I think it should be outlawed and that Spain should be ashamed of letting it stay as long as it has . . . despite all that, I do find Puck’s background in it adds a neat layer to him. He would’ve been doing it in a different time, before the idea of “animal cruelty” existed.

Byrne’s art – do I need to comment on it? It’s John Byrne. If you don’t like Byrne’s art, I don’t know how to help you. There would have to be something wrong with you. It’s always excellent. Great expressions, great action, great everything.

This issue’s very good.

Song of the day: Gosh, Darn, Damn by Rebekah Higgs.

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