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Alpha Flight Annual #1 (1986, September)

September 4, 2015

Yesterday was my one-year anniversary at Wal-Mart. Ugh. A full year of working at Wal-Mart. That’s depressing. Also depressing: Today’s story, by Mantlo and Larry Stroman, “Homebody!”


What a boring, uninspired cover. It says nothing about the story inside.

Alpha Flight is sitting down to dinner, and to expositionary whining and arguing. Meanwhile, some spirit is watching them. It’s Gilded Lily, who’s somehow become a part of her own house. She wants to live again, and she figures she’ll need Diablo’s help for that. She mixes up a potion in the lab, and sends an electrical elemental through the phone to the prison where Diablo’s being held. It brings him back to the Mansion.

Vindicator gets the team working to find out what happened. Jeffries is running tests on the computers, and Lily takes him out. Next is Shaman. Northstar is kept occupied with an extending hallway. Outside, Vindicator is grabbed by the porch, and the suicidal Snowbird helps her out. She senses the attack is coming from the house itself, but she and Vindicator are kept outside. In the swimming pool, Bochs and Aurora are making lovey eyes at each other, when the Box armour falls onto Bochs. Aurora gets dragged through a mirror.

Diablo reforms, and runs into Box. Lily starts squeezing Box between the walls. Diablo runs into a lab, where Lily creates an alchemical body for herself. She asks for his help, but he says he’s done fighting superheroes. She thinks the two of them together would be unstoppable, and he says he doesn’t want to be joined to her. She gets pissed, which allows Alpha Flight to free themselves and find the pair. He figures he has no choice but to help her.

She takes him to a hidden cavern, and Alpha Flight soon finds them. Lily keeps them occupied while Diablo whips up a potion. When Lily reaches for it, some light gets into the mirror, allowing Aurora to regain control. She grabs the potion, forces Lily to drink it, and escapes the mirror as Lily crumbles again.

Meh. Honestly, this is actually probably one of the best stories of Mantlo’s run, following up on one of Mantlo’s more middling stories. But it’s still just . . . boring. It’s very formulaic, for one thing. It hits all the beats it’s supposed to hit, with very few interesting twists. The most interesting twist is that Diablo doesn’t want to be a villain any more. And even that’s not all that inventive. The characterization is as one-dimensional as Mantlo’s characterization always was. The writing is groan-worthy in how bad it is. Mantlo sucked.

And this issue has the added joy of ugly art, too! Larry Stroman was never a particularly good artist. At the very least, this isn’t as bad as his ’90s work, but it’s still bad. Lots of weird, ugly faces. Dull, uninteresting layouts. Boring action scenes. Just all-around bad art.

Really weak comic. And I’ve still got one more Alpha Flight story for September. Argh.

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