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Alpha Flight #17 (1984, December)

November 22, 2014

I’m finally finishing up with 1984. By Byrne, “Dreams Die Hard.”

Dreams Die Hard

I always like seeing Wolverine get smacked around a bit.

We start with a flashback, to Mac first trying on the costume. Heather thought it looked great, but she was concerned for him. Other superheroes had more experience than he did, so she’s worried what’ll happen to him. I always found that argument a little weird. All superheroes start off as rookies, after all. Anyway, Mac hopes he won’t have to fight anyone, since he figures Canada doesn’t breed world-conquerors. Anyway, she wishes someone else would lead Alpha Flight, specifically Wolverine. Mac says Wolverine’s idea of subtlety is to use one claw instead of all six. Heh. I love me some good Wolverine-bashing.

Then Mac gets a call from Major Chasen about Wolverine slicing Chasen’s tie and leaving with Xavier. Chasen thinks Wolverine’s a psychopath. I can’t say I disagree. In the present, Heather tells Wolverine Mac was the only one who could talk shit about him, and Wolverine agrees that Mac was his closest friend, even if he never would’ve said it to Mac. She reflects that Wolverine was like their child.

Back in the flashback, Mac feels betrayed by Wolverine leaving them. He gets called to a meeting with the Prime Minister’s office, where he’s told that Wolverine is the property of the Canadian government, and Mac is told to bring him in. Then we get to X-Men #109, from way way way back in 1978. Wolverine asking for a ride out to the woods so he can do some hunting, and Mac, as Weapon Alpha, goes after him. The fight is actually directly lifted from X-Men #109.

Then we get to Mac disappearing, setting himself “at rest” relative to the turning of the Earth below him, letting him travel at ridiculous speeds. He feels bad about losing the fight, and more, about nearly killing Moira.

Back in the present, Heather and Wolverine reflect on Mac always caring too much about the little people, and how, when other heroes end up in a fight, they don’t have much chance to get any civilians out of the way. That gives me an amusing mental image of a Canadian supervillain letting everyone know what he’s going to be doing, and apologizing for the inconvenience. “Hey, I’m going to be trying to take over Parliament. I’m sorry, but would you all mind stepping outside? I don’t mean to be a bother, but, you know, just doing my thing. Sorry.” Anyway, Heather feels like she killed Mac when she interrupted him when he was trying to deactivate his suit’s power supply. He tells her Mac died because he had a dream, and some jerkwad fought against that dream.

Puck walks in, and they become instant friends, and decide to get together for coffee later to talk old times. Heather figures it’s time for Alpha Flight to end, but Puck and Wolverine say she can’t let it end. Alpha just needs a new leader. And Puck nominates Heather. She agrees.

Then we cut to Walter Langowski doing a procedure on Aurora, to separate her powers from Northstar’s (and also, secretly, to make her no longer technically a mutant, to protect her from anti-mutant sentiment). She also shows off her new costume, though we don’t really get to see it here.

This is a pretty good issue. But the fact that a chunk of it is just a reprint is a little lame. I mean, they’re cool pages, but still. Meh. The rest of the issue is decent enough. A bit of a eulogy for James Hudson. Heather becoming the new leader, despite having no powers, is kind of a neat idea. Funnily enough, J.M. DeMatteis did the exact same thing the exact same month in Defenders #138, with the non-powered Candy Southern being elected the team’s leader. That didn’t actually amount to anything, though. Heather continued to play a major role in Alpha Flight, while Candy did little in Defenders. Oh well.

Byrne’s art is always excellent. Really, there are only so many ways to talk about how great an artist Byrne was. And still is, I suppose, but I’m talking about his ’80s work here.

Song of the day: Talk To Me, Dance With Me by Hot Hot Heat.

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From → 1980s, 1984, Alpha Flight

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