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Alpha Flight #16 (1984, November)

November 4, 2014

New comics tomorrow. Today, by Byrne, “. . . And Forsaking All Others . . .”

. . . And Forsaking All Others . . .

Boot to the face!

The Master’s fish-shaped sub is moving around Lake Ontario, with Namor and Puck as prisoners. Namor’s being dehydrated, and Puck has almost no oxygen. The Master explains that during his last encounter with Alpha Flight, he used them to destroy his base so he could be free, and escaped into a ship he’d built a few thousand years ago. He then reveals Marrina, now monstrous. Then they’re shown the other Plodex.

Cut to Saskatchewan, and Roger Bochs. He gets a visitor, Madison Jeffries. Bochs wants Jeffries’ help avenging Guardian’s murder. Jeffries says he can’t help, but Bochs throws some scrap metal at him, which stops in mid-air, and then shifts into an arm. Jeffries is a transmutator, able to manipulate anything mechanical.

We then cut to Toronto. Heather’s climbing out of bed, feeling alone, and asks why Mac had to die. She’s visited by Wolverine. He mentions only knowing Puck by reputation, and saying their paths almost crossed once.

Back to the sub. The Master opens the tanks between Marrina and the monster. The water gets roiled up. Puck tries to escape, then falls unconscious, then dies. The Master wonders how he died so suddenly, and opens the tube to find out. Turns out Puck wasn’t dead. He used a trick to stop his heart and breathing. Then he frees Namor. Namor’s too dehydrated to help, and needs water. So Puck grabs the Master’s helmet and throws it at the water tank. He cracks it enough for Namor to finish it off. The Master’s control helmet turns out to have been a part of him, and ripping it off has made a mess of his head. He also can’t control his vessel any more. Or the freed Plodex monster. It does enough damage to sink the ship, and Namor has to abandon Marrina in order to save Puck.

Later, Puck is sitting on the shore, and Namor joins him. Namor couldn’t find any sign of the Master, or of Marrina. Puck says that if it’s meant to be, he’ll see her again, when she’s ready. Namor appreciates the sentiment, and leaves. Then he tells Marrina to come out. He knew she was there. She doesn’t want to see Namor. She feels awful. Sick and used. The monster was her mate. She doesn’t feel fit for human company, and leaves, thinking of herself as a monster.

This was good. Puck got plenty to do, which was nice. This was really a Puck-focused issue, and he’s cool, so I’m always glad for him to get focus. On the other hand, this story was ostensibly about Marrina, and aside from the last couple pages, she basically did nothing. It’s still going to take some time before we actually get a story where she’s given any agency. The Master dies here, and stays dead for a while. But he’ll be back. And still be lame and boring. The highlight of his career is eventually going to be getting killed by Carol Danvers.

The Bochs and Jeffries friendship gets its start here. It’ll become fairly interesting. As I recall, Bill Mantlo later ends up forgetting that Byrne set this up as their first meeting, and retcons them into having been good friends in Beta Flight. Jeffries was arguably the main character for Mantlo’s run, and his friendship with Bochs was a major focus for a while.

Byrne’s art is as solid as ever. It’s actually good to the point where I barely even noticed it while reading this. The splash page of the deformed Master was a bit meh. It was OK, I guess. The monster forming a baby’s face, then giving it giant teeth, was pretty good. Great art, all the way through.

Song of the day: Fashionable People by Joel Plaskett Emergency.

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  1. Alpha Flight #46 (1987, May) | xmenxpert

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