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Alpha Flight #40 (1986, November)

October 12, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians. Happy Monday for non-Canucks. Today, by Mantlo and Ross, “Love.”


That’s a clever way of fitting in the whole of Alpha Flight.

Namor is looking for Marrina, while Alpha Flight tries to follow him. After some recap, Box groans in pain. Apparently, during the fight, he’d momentarily phased out of the Box armour. That wasn’t actually shown in the previous issue, or the Avengers issue. Now he has the bends. Aurora’s upset, because she can’t date a machine. Jeffries meets them in a little sub, which he designed himself. He says Bochs’ genius must be rubbing off on him. A rather weak excuse for the fact that Mantlo decided to turn Jeffries into an inventive genius.

Northstar catches up with Namor and gets his attention before being tossed away. Marrina angsts about her situation, because that’s about the most Marrina could ever do back then. She’s got a bunch of growths on her – subdermal eggs, I guess. Namor and Alpha find her and learn about her pregnancy. They debate what to do. Namor wants to raise the kids, thinking good role models would make them good. Vindicator says they might be a threat, and Northstar points out her argument is regularly applied to mutants.

The debate is interrupted by Marrina’s mate showing up. Vindicator orders that the creature and Marrina both be killed. Holy shit, Heather, that’s cold. Namor tries to stop them, of course. Marrina is inspired by watching him fight for her, and fights back against the instincts driving her towards the Plodex monster. And that puts her back to normal. While everyone teams up against the monster, they deliver exposition about how Marrina wasn’t actually pregnant, she was just in a state of receptivity.

With that done, they head to Namor’s villa, the heart of his new kingdom, which has already gathered a bunch of Atlanteans who rejected Attuma’s rule.

Not very good. As always, Mantlo mistakes exposition for characterization. He clearly never heard the idea of Show, Don’t Tell. Because about all he does is Tell. The dialogue is bad. It really is. Mantlo was awful at dialogue. The art is, as usual, strictly OK. It’s serviceable. It neither enhances nor detracts from the story.

This issue ends with Namor and Marrina getting married. When Namor rejoins the Avengers a little later, Marrina goes with him, which leads to her becoming a giant Leviathan monster and dying. She’s eventually brought back, as a captive of the Master of the World, at which point absolutely nothing is done with her for 20 years. Then she returns as a Leviathan and gets her head torn off by Namor. I get the feeling very few writers cared much about Marrina, probably because she had no personality. Luckily, the last volume of Alpha Flight brought her back again, with an awesome personality.

Anyway. Weak issue. And unfortunately, the book really does continue getting weaker.

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