Alpha Flight #69 (1989, April)
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I suppose I kinda have to say this, so. Alpha Flight #69: Nice. See, because it’s a meme, if something says 69, you, uh . . . never mind. By Hudnall, Calimee, Barta, Sharen and Chiang, “”Wrath of the Dreamqueen (Part 3): And All That We Seem. . . .”
In Ottawa, China Force is attacking the Jade Dragon in order to bring him back to China. China Force consists of Ox, Snake, Rat and Rabbit. Once they’ve got him subdued and on a plane heading for Alaska. Snake mentions wanting to send a message to other defectors, Horse, Monkey and Dog. Man, these guys really committed to their theme, and I can appreciate that. As their plane flies over Edmonton, they get caught in the Dreamqueen’s spell, and China Force all see Beijing, while Jade Dragon just sees the West Edmonton Mall.
Alpha Flight makes a plan for dealing with the Dreamqueen, but since they spoke it on-panel, it’ll obviously fail. The Dreamqueen causes Jeffries to fly them to the Mall, where they crash.
Once they all climb out of the pool, Heather gets all pissed off and swears to take out the Dreamqueen, which the Dreamqueen finds amusing. She also finds this amusing:
Her influence is spreading. In another day, it’ll have spread across North America. Back in the mall, Rat takes out Kara, after Kara saw Rat as her father. Sasquatch gets pissed and runs off after Rat, because he’s kind of stupid sometimes. Vindicator follows, and takes out Rat.
Ox and Rabbit double-team Sasquatch, Snake jumps on Heather, Goblyn scares the crap out of Rat. Who cries for help in English, bizarrely. She’s Chinese, why would she ask her Chinese teammates for help in English? One of those weird things comics like to do, where non-English-speakers default to English for no reason at all. Anyway, with China Force defeated, Laura sends them all back to China. And I continue to be annoyed at how Laura’s autism has just been completely dropped from her character. Ugh. Also, Jade Dragon goes back with them, which makes me wonder why he was brought to Canada in the first place. Mantlo presumably had plans for him, but it’s not like he actually added the character to the team. The whole thing was weird.
Regardless, Laura opens a portal to downtown Edmonton so they can all go fight the Dreamqueen, except Kara, who’s left in the mall, alone and unconscious. Sure, great idea, Heather, I’m sure leaving an unconscious girl alone in a city filled with crazy people being mind-controlled by an evil villain couldn’t possibly go poorly. Great leadership.
On a side note, one of the letters asks about Laura’s autism, and the response is that Goblyn’s emergence from Liveworld somehow cured Laura. Uh-huh. It definitely wasn’t a result of Mantlo being a goddamn hack. Another letter complains about the book’s treatment of disabled characters, with Puck’s dwarfism becoming a result of possession, and the offensively bad treatment that Mantlo gave to Bochs.
Anyway, this issue. It’s meh. I’ve already mostly forgotten it, and I haven’t even finished writing about it. It feels a little like filler. The impression I get is that Hudnall just wanted to wrap the damn Jade Dragon story up, and figured, hey, why not also have Alpha Flight fight some random people and combine the two plots. But the sense of it just being a way to write Jade Dragon out of the book drags the issue down a bit. It feels like a distraction from the Dreamqueen plot, though she does still get her moments. There’s very little character exploration done with anyone, and the dialogue tends to be a bit bland. And the art is likewise bland. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, it’s just very generic. Maybe a bit brighter than I think I would have liked for the arc, though that brightness does work really well in some panels, like the suburban riot or Rat screaming down the water slide. (The water slide page is definitely my favourite of the issue. It’s just funny. With Rat screaming. Just right in the middle of a superhero fight. Superhero comics need more of that kind of thing.) But in general, the art is just kinda there, not enhancing the narrative in any particular way, and leaving the whole thing feeling rather rote and dull.
So, pretty forgettable issue.