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Alpha Flight #25 (1985, August)

March 8, 2015

I finally get a weekend. Woot. Now, by Byrne, “. . . And Graves Give Up Their Dead. . . .”

. . . And Graves Give Up Their Dead . . .

I wonder who it could be!

It starts with Northstar being put on trial by Alpha Flight. Aurora told everyone that he was a terrorist, and they want to know if it’s true. Northstar is evasive, questioning whether they have the right to question him. He does admit to having done things he’s not proud of. The hearing is interrupted by Puck, who says Caliber, from a couple issues ago, is in a fight with Guardian. Talisman is on the scene, and wondering what’s going on. Guardian jokes about having died, while evading Caliber’s attacks. Talisman helps out by drawing on some ambient magic to throw a spell at Caliber. It ends up teleporting his armour away. Guardian congratulates her on a job well done, and she asks him about being dead. The rest of Alpha shows up, and Guardian kisses Heather.

She wakes up on a couch, having fainted. Mac explains his story, starting from the explosion. He managed to use the suit to create a hole in the space-time continuum. He wound up on Ganymede, Jupiter’s biggest moon. Then he died. Then he woke up, surrounded by aliens, the Quwrlln. They’re weird, aquatic, kinda jellyfish-like aliens. (Though I suppose, technically, Mac would be the alien in the situation. But “aliens” is quicker to to type than “extraterrestrials.” So, on my blog, anyone not from Earth is an alien, even on their home planet. I’m Earth-centric that way, but I apologize to any extraterrestrial readers I may have.) They healed him, and helped him overcome the trauma of dying. When he felt ready to go home, he found out that he’d been sent back in time, 10 000 years. He went into suspended animation. When he awoke in the present, he found the Quwrlln had nearly destroyed themselves in a civil war, bombing themselves back into the Stone Age, but a spaceship had been set aside for Mac. He landed in BC, and made his way to Vancouver, where he saw Heather, but at the moment, he’d thought it might be better if she continued her life without him.

Then he reveals that when the Quwrlln put him back together, they didn’t know anything about humans, so they’d basically merged him with his suit.

Meanwhile, Walter’s testing out the Box armour, smashing a boulder and trying to have what fun he can. Aurora’s not happy. Walter asks if she loves him for his mind, too, and she says she’ll have to think about that. Ouch.

This was a fairly interesting issue. Mac’s story is utterly ridiculous in a way that only superhero comics can be. “I accidentally sent myself to Jupiter 10 000 years in the past, where aliens turned me into a cyborg. So what’s new with you?” Of course, we’ll find out in the next couple of issues that Byrne intentionally made the story so ridiculous. (And then Scott Lobdell will eventually come in and say, “Yeah, sure, that works.” But that’s not until after the long dark age of Mantlo’s Alpha Flight.) The unfortunate part of the story, though, is that it’s so much exposition. Byrne tries to give Mac some character stuff through it, but there’s only so much you can do with that much exposition. Guardian vs. Caliber was cool. That was a good fight. Talisman’s contribution was also really neat. She’s such a great character. “Excuse a personal question, but aren’t you dead?” I don’t know why I love that line so much, but I do.

The Northstar trial at the start was also really good. I like that he doesn’t actually admit to anything. It makes sense that he wouldn’t. It’s not something he’s proud of, and he’s not the type to admit to mistakes. Instead, he keeps making it about everyone else. Even his partial admission of guilt is only done as part of an accusation. Sadly, as with so many things, Mantlo doesn’t really deal with this in a particularly satisfying manner. He does eventually do a story for Marvel Fanfare that involves some of Northstar’s old FLQ friends being killed, but that was mostly meant as a redemption story for Northstar. And in the meantime, Mantlo just keeps the terrorist past as a point to be mentioned off-hand once in a while and totally ignored the bulk of the time. Actually, speaking of Mantlo, he gets a credit in this issue, for “creative kibbitzing.”

Anyway. This was pretty good.

Song of the day: Flirted With You All My Life by Cowboy Junkies.

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