For the most part, reading (and in some cases re-reading) every Marvel Universe comic ever made has been a fun way to distract myself from some of the harder things about living in the real world.
And then, there’s Alpha Flight.
When John Byrne ran this mag, it was a good read with excellent character work—in fact, the characters were the best thing about it because the adventures themselves weren’t all that fresh. But with a mediocre writer like Bill Mantlo, it’s just tedious.
This issue starts at Snowbird’s funeral, where we see more of Puck’s secret pining for Vindicator. Meanwhile, Heather herself is an emotional wreck because she was the one who was forced to kill Snowbird to prevent mystic blah blah blah. She’s leaning on Jeffries for help, but i the next issue…
And Northstar is dying of a mysterious disease that most of us as readers are convinced is HIV, since by now we’ve all figured out that he’s a closeted homosexual. And Shaman quits the team to pursue more mystical blah blah blah.
There’s just nothing fun here. It’s all very bleak and dark.
Plus, the character Roger Bochs, who was missing his legs, has now had them mystically restored and suddenly he’s gone from pudgy to ripped and he’s banging Aurora. Thus, we have the first amputee superhero being “improved” and getting the girl only after he gets his legs back.
All of this is just so wrong, and such a waste of potential.
But although we lose the first amputee hero, by the end of the issue we get the first transgender one: Walter Langkowski’s spirit moves from the Box Armor into a new body: The reanimated-from-the-dead body of Snowbird.
I’d say this is an interesting turn, but there’s so much body-shaping and -switching in this comic that, frankly, nothing is surprising anymore. No matter how ridiculous. It feels like Bill Mantlo is making it up as he goes along.