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Alpha Flight #64 (1988, November)

September 29, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). And now I finally finish November 1988. By Mantlo, Lee, Milgrom, Sharen and Chiang, “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way.”

Where There's A Will There's A Way

I miss Snowbird.

We open in court. Walter’s will left everything to his wife when he died, but he insists he’s not dead. The trial is to determine if he is Walter Langowski. Ronnie’s lawyer points out that, uh, he’s a woman. It’s a pretty solid legal claim, actually. Ronnie herself quietly admits she knows he is Walter and she just wants to keep his money away from him. The judge asks if Walter can prove his identity. Ronnie’s lawyer brings in a lifeform identifier (designed by Walter) as a test for Walter to submit to. Oh, I should make a note here that, as always, I continue to use “Walter” and male pronouns, despite Walter being in a female body, because I maintain that Walter was still, mentally and emotionally, male. During this period, he identified as female based solely on his physical body, not because he genuinely felt he was a woman. Thus, male.

Anyway, the judge doesn’t allow the machine’s tests into evidence, for a couple reasons. So, instead, Walter requests a lie detector test. Ronnie declines to submit to one herself, but Walter goes through with it, and recaps his history. When he mentions Aurora couldn’t love him as the Box robot, Ronnie yells at him for cheating on her. Bit of a slip-up from her, as she shows she knows it’s him. Walter does not they’d been separated for a while by that point, to defend himself against the accusation of cheating. He finishes his story of how he ended up in a woman’s body. The judge’s reaction to the whole thing amuses me:

Alpha Flight #64

Dealing with superheroes would be frustrating.

I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect the polygraph test wouldn’t really be enough evidence here. Polygraph tests can be tricked. If nothing else, a crazy person who believes the gibberish they spout would pass a polygraph test. Just because someone believes something, that doesn’t mean it’s true. Walter would need hard evidence.

Regardless, the judge excuses herself to consider, but finds a government stooge in her office, telling her to rule against Walter. The government wants Alpha to stay disbanded, and that means keeping them broke. Of course, this requires that the judge be willing to bow to political pressure. If she’s not, then the guy just fat-out told her the government believes Walter’s story to be true, which may be enough proof to convince her to rule in his favour.

We now cut to Etobicoke, where Kara and Laura catch the bus to school. Kara’s got a bit of an attitude, actually.

Alpha Flight #64

That’s menacing.

“Nice school bus you got here. Be a shame if something happened to it.” Actually, given it’s Purple Girl: “Nice free will you got here.” Can I be honest? I would love it if someone with the ability to take control of people used that line. Anyway, now out to BC, where a nurse is having trouble getting a kid onto a gurney. Dr. Knapp comes in and uses his other selves to get the kid onto the gurney and make him love it. Aw, that’s kinda cute, I’ll admit. Him just casually using his power to cheer a kid up before surgery is really cool. And in Calgary, Jeffries returns back to Heather’s parents house. He sneaks up on who he assumes his Heather, raking leaves, but it turns out to be her sister. Heather blasts them apart, and she and Jeffries flirt and make out while their parents watch. Why is Heather just randomly wearing her power suit around her parents’ house, with casual clothes over top? Who knows!

Out in Ottawa, the Jade Dragon is being interrogated, asked if he wants to defect. He’s not sure. He still loves his homeland and he didn’t plan on visiting Canada in the first place. He does get fed up with the interrogation, and dragons out. He’s being watched from across the street by Chinese agents. China Force, as we’ll learn in an upcoming issue.

And back to the hearing! As they all wait for the judge’s decision. Walter is bored and wants something interesting to happen. So it does. He collapses to the floor as spirits come out. Half the courtroom becomes the SHattered Lands of the Great Beasts, the other half the paradise of Snowbird’s gods. And it’s a big ol’ showdown! With Walter in the middle. As everyone runs from the chaos, a nun approaches the courthouse. Both sides are trying to recruit Sasquatch, who really just wants to be left out of the whole thing. He says the whole thing’s a bad dream, which one of the gods says it might be. The nun helps him free his mind. He beats the crap out of the Great Beasts, tells off the gods, lets Ronnie keep his money, and storms off. The judge tells Ronnie she wins the case.

The nun turns out to be Aurora, who wishes Walter well.

On a side note, one of the letters suggests Alpha Flight leave Canada. Which, no. No, guy. It comes, predictably, from an American. Because I don’t think any Canadians would suggest the Canadian superhero team leave Canada. Because, you know, why? Why the hell would anyone want that?

As for the issue . . . bleh. Not good at all. The legal hearing kinda goes past suspension of disbelief, because Sasquatch has absolutely no case at all and it should have been decided in about five minutes. “Can you prove you’re Walter Langowski? No? Then I rule in favour of the widow.” It really is that easy. He has absolutely no evidence, at all, of who he is. Any medical test is going to say he’s not, and he doesn’t have any official paperwork confirming his change in body. So the idea that there’s any sort of dispute is just silly. And then we get that bullshit with the Great Beasts. And man, that whole thing was stupid. Even Sasquatch points out that it’s a rehash of something he’s already resolved. I will note that it works, to an extent, as part of an ongoing subplot. I’m assuming the Dream Queen was behind it, as she’s been behind a few things, and will be behind a few more. So the suddenness of the whole thing, the way it randomly comes out of nowhere, actually works well as actually being a nightmare. But just the same, this story sucks.

The art’s solid. Jim Lee. Hurrah. But he’s not enough to save this issue. This issue sucks.

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