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Alpha Flight #35 (1986, June)

July 31, 2015

I’m late posting because I bought a new computer, and I’ve been setting it up. I’ll talk about that more in my next pull list. But for now, by Mantlo and David Ross, “The Child Is Father To the Man.”

The Child Is Father To the Man

What a bland cover.

Marrina’s in pain, wishing for death. Attuma is trying to get her to talk, to spill some secrets, but she doesn’t know anything and is incapable of speech. He makes some jokes at her expense. We get a quick explanation of how Attuma became Lord of Atlantis. He orders news of her capture to be spread, to lure in Namor, and Marrina gets angsty, which is kinda what she did back then.

Meanwhile, Heather and Puck are flying back home, giving a quick recap of the past couple issues. Heather also thinks about Puck’s crush on her, but she isn’t sure whether she’s ready to fall in love again. And then she thinks about her suspicions about Mac maybe having something to do with Wolverine’s creation, while Puck angsts about how a normal woman could never love a dwarf. And the readers thinks about how, OK, we get it already.

They get back to the Mansion and find Doug Thompson there. I just want to note that Doug Thompson may very well be the most Canadian name in the world. (Also, “__son” means, literally, “son of __”. So wouldn’t “Thompson” means “son of Thomp.” Logically, that means there used to be people named Thomp. I’m joking, no need to correct me.)

Anyway, they check on Snowbird in the infirmary, and she’s pretty crazy. She says she needs Shaman’s help, then transforms. Aurora tranks her.

Shaman’s on his vision quest. Mantlo includes a quote about the Tundra by Farley Mowat. I actually really liked some of his books when I was younger. He liked getting into weird adventures to write about. The Boat That Wouldn’t Float might be one of the more fun books, worth checking out, if you’re looking for something to read. The People of the Deer is what Mantlo quotes, and it’s a good book, too, about an Inuit tribe he lived with for a little while.

Anyway. Enough tangents. A herd of caribou suddenly show up, charging towards Shaman. He runs away, and leaps across a chasm that appears out of nowhere. The caribou vanish as they tumble down the chasm. Then mosquitoes show up. Little bastards. Kill them all. He runs, and falls into a lake, where he’s attacked by a giant fish. Then the fish goes over a waterfall. Shaman uses a sharp rock to cut his way out. Next up, wolves. After that, snow.

He tumbles into a cairn for shelter, and Talisman is there waiting for him. She tells him off for not telling her about the consequences of putting on the tiara. Despite her anger at him, she tosses him a staff and a robe. Then his Ghost Grandpa – soon to be a major motion picture, I’m sure – gives him an Eagle Crest. He’s told the objects were stolen a long time ago by Vikings, and so Talisman raises the skeletons of those Vikings. Shaman asks the Spirits of the Land to help him out, and he destroys the skeletons.

Then he pops back up at the Mansion.

Bleh. Bleeeeh. Mantlo sucks. I think that’s why I kept digressing – I had to do something to help me enjoy this bland comic a little more. The bulk of this issue is taken up by Shaman’s vision quest. It’s actually not that bad, I suppose. Better than most of what Mantlo does in his run. It is a little bit of a stereotypical plot, though in fairness to Mantlo, Byrne did the same thing. It’s a shame that so many writers back then all treated Native American/Aboriginal characters pretty much the same. They’re all empowered by magic, they all go on vision quests, they’re all tied into this weirdly colonialist view of what they’re supposed to be. They’re defined by their heritage. The only real exceptions from back then are Wyatt Wingfoot and Dani Moonstar, who are both proud of their heritage, but without being defined by it.

Shaman’s new look is just awful. Awful awful awful, in every conceivable way. Other than that, Ross’ art is fine. Nothing exceptional, but not off-putting. Just there. Much like the writing. This is just so bland a book.

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