Friday, January 9, 2015

Epic Beards of Review: X-Men and Alpha Flight #1 (Comic-a-Day #9)

X-Men and Alpha Flight #1, DEC 85, (w) Chris Claremont (a) Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek

Again, I can't be sure how this is all going to tie in to this "How to read X-titles this summer" hooplah, but I'm at least willing to give it a go. There are some brief mentions to other stories going on around the same time, but for the most part, I think they just want you to buy more comics. Interestingly enough, I believe I owned this once upon a time when they reissued it in the 90s.

Though I've never been a Marvel zombie (other than playing X-Men: First Class for the Playstation) I dig the writing. My particular beef with all of this is that it's hard enough trying to figure out an entire team's worth of members, let alone another team as well. Too much stuff going on it makes one's brain hurt. Throw in all sorts of other plot points and I'm just about lost.

A crib sheet would help, or maybe a less ambitious writing resolution.

Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor are in a plane above the Arctic Circle with a bunch of environmental researchers. There's not much said about what they're doing, but there's a lot of anti-mutant sentiment among the passengers. There's a nice nod here to Ursula K. LeGuin's novel The Lathe of Heaven which sounds as if this comic may have some correlation to. Claremont is ambitious as ever, and we're seeing the fruits of this.

The atmospherics are in a tizzy and Cyclops mentions in an off-handed manner that Shaman of Alpha Flight had once forced their plane down to Calgary where they got into a tussle. Cue ominous foreshadowing music. There's a bright light and...end scene.

Cut to the X-Mansion where newly initiated team leader Nightcrawler is joined by Colossus, Rogue, Wolverine and that thorn in everyone's side Rachel. As her telepathic powers manifest in the Danger Room, she projects a time from her future where Sentinels are attacking...because she's led them there. She has overridden the machine and Professor X has to step in and get things under control. Before doing so, however, Rachel glimpses a scene of her father Cyclops in a blaze of fire. Rachel takes matters into her own hands and hunts down Alpha Flight because these are the words Cyclops mentioned on the plane.

Kids these days.

Alpha Flight protects Canada, eh, so after some knock-down, drag-out fighting with the X-Men, they all travel to where the plane should have landed. There, they find a marvelous city where none should be. In this city they find Cyclops, Madelyne Pryor and the expedition survivors who are either "healed" of their mutant powers (read honed) or given fantastic powers if they previously had none.

It's crazy, mixed-up, but most embrace this strange turn of events wholeheartedly. I mean, why wouldn't Puck want to be cured of his dwarfism? And Rogue able to kiss Northstar, even if he is gay. Again with the continuity, has this even happened yet?

Some crazy stuff goes down when Shaman's medicine bag gets emptied of crazy monsters, but not before we see Professor X and his obvious doubt and find that Scott and Madelyn are with child. Madelyn knows it's a boy (she's psychic, too?!) and Rachel freaks out a bit more.

So yah, there's a lot going on here. A long, satisfying read in 48 pages. Tons of characters and French Canadian accents to get around, but we do what we can.

Oh, and did I mention Loki may be involved in these shenanigans?

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