Skip to content

Alpha Flight #48 (1987, July)

February 5, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Mantlo, Terry Shoemaker, Leiahola, Hilary Barta, Glynis Oliver and Ken Bruzenak, “Madness.”


This is seriously one of the blandest and least interesting covers I have ever seen.

Bochs is in some sort of bubble half-filled with water, ranting and raving. Puck wonders about his own place on the team, since he’s powerless. I’m sure we’ll get a panel soon of him whining that Heather could never love a dwarf. Heather thinks about how useless the team is, aside from Jeffries. Northstar says Bochs should be put away, and Jeffries gets pissed, and Aurora tells him to let Northstar go, and Jeffries threatens Aurora with darkness. And the reader wishes Mantlo was a better writer.

Anyway, Jeffries suggests they take Bochs to his brother, Lionel, which Heather opposes and Northstar supports. Heather eventually agrees, and also thinks about how she likes Jeffries. Because Mantlo is subtle.

Anyway, they head to Lionel’s clinic, where he quickly heals Puck’s injuries sustained last issue. Lionel promises to do his best, and also calls out his assistant for eyeing Kara. OK, that moment was kinda cute, I’ll admit. Even though it’s really inappropriate. So, Kara’s 13. She was specifically stated as 13 in her debut, which was just a few issues ago. Meanwhile, Knapp is actually referred to as Doctor Knapp. Doogie Howser aside, there aren’t many teenage doctors. Even if we assume the title is meant as a joke – and we’re never given any indication that that’s the case – it’s still clear he has some level of medical training. Later, Lionel calls him a brilliant surgeon. They don’t let teenagers do surgery. That takes years of medical school. So . . . how old is Knapp supposed to be, exactly? Even as a prodigy, he’d have to be at least in his early 20s, and that’s still pretty deeply unrealistic. So he has to be old enough for his attraction to Kara to be really frigging creepy. What the hell was wrong with writers in the ’80s?

Anyway. Alpha waits impatiently. And yep, there’s Puck pining for Heather! Dammit, Mantlo, you unsubtle hack. Also, Heather thinks once again about her feelings for Jeffries. In the OR, we find out Lionel’s a crazy bastard. He’s been grafting parts from dead people onto living people. That’s why Bochs’ legs are decomposing. He fuses Jeffries’ flesh, then gloats that he’s going to use Alpha’s organic material to create superior beings. Knapp attacks, and Lionel messes him up. And then Lionel and Bochs decide to merge together.

Meanwhile, Northstar slips away from the rest of Alpha, and Aurora follows him. She gets lost, and finds a room with some people in jars. Only two of these characters – Laura Dean and Goblyn – will ever actually matter. Laura’s coloured white here, but when she becomes a proper character, she’ll be black. Goblyn also looks different from what will become her usual look. Northstar reaches the OR, and reflects on the good life he’s led. Then the door is busted down by tentacles, and Northstar flees back to the waiting room. Lionel and Bochs follow, declaring themselves Omega.

Heather berates herself for not heeding her suspicions of Lionel. Yeah, Heather, you totally knew that Lionel was going to turn into a giant monster. Sure thing, lady. Regardless, she orders Alpha to attack, and says that they’ll save Bochs if they can, kill if they have to. We get some narration that the “do not kill” rule regarding superheroes is an impossible ideal.

Alpha Flight #48


It’s an interesting discussion, one worth having. I’m not sure this was the time to have it, but whatever. It’s more interesting than anything else in this issue. Oh, and it ends with something happening to Knapp.

This issue is as weak as the rest of Mantlo’s run. No subtlety at all, with characters just declaring their conflicts outright. At each other’s throats in the most dramatic way possible. The villain also isn’t all that compelling. He’s crazy; yippee. That’s basically what it comes down to. He’s crazy. No need for depth and nuance, just make him crazy.

The art’s fine. It’s serviceable. Maybe could’ve done more with Omega; it never feels very creative. But I have no particular complaints about the art. No particular praises, either. It’s better than the writing, but that’s not saying much, given how poor Mantlo’s writing was on this series.

Ugh. And I’ve still got so much more of this crap to get through.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Lawyer by day, reader by night

X-Men: The Animated Series

Celebrating the series with behind-the-scenes content never seen before!

Katie Beluga

in the deep blue sea

Jay Edidin

(or a competent imposter)

Kevin Reviews Uncanny X-Men

Kevin O'Leary Reviews Every Issue of Uncanny X-Men from the 1960s to the Present


Geeky News, Reviews and Rants from a Working Class Super-Villain

Blue Towel Productions

Films, Audios, and Stories for Fun


For new comic book fans by a new comic book fan.

%d bloggers like this: