Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Steve Epting (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver & Malibu Hues (colors)
Inside Alpha Flight’s headquarters, Northstar and Puck discover that Aurora is missing. Outside of X-Factor’s new Fall’s Edge headquarters, Wild Child is motorbiking when he’s suddenly attacked by Aurora. Nearby, Forge has recreated Shard while experimenting with Bishop’s holographic matrix projector. He receives word that Wild Child is under attack and leaves with the team. Elsewhere, the Dark Beast monitors Random as he heads towards X-Factor’s headquarters. Furious that he left her, Aurora continues to assault Wild Child. X-Factor arrives, shortly after Northstar and Puck appear. Aurora calms down enough to listen to Wild Child, who explains why he left. They began their relationship during a period when he had a normal appearance, but after his mutation shifted him back to his animal-like form, he began to retreat from others. Eager to get away from his past, he abruptly left when Val Cooper asked him to help X-Factor. Aurora explodes in anger, claiming that leaving without saying goodbye shows how little he cared about her. Mystique morphs into Wild Child’s previous appearance and tricks Aurora into calming down. When Wild Child exposes her, Aurora explodes again, overextending her powers and then passing out. Northstar and Puck take her home, as X-Factor leaves Wild Child alone with his thoughts.
Random has a long inner monologue that raises more questions about his past. He questions how much he wants what the Dark Beast is offering him, and claims that this isn’t what he really looks like. The idea that the Dark Beast is the one behind Random is of course a retcon.
I Love the ‘90s
Wild Child is wearing a “No Fear” t-shirt.
This seems to be an entire issue dedicated to resolving some continuity errors that cropped up when Wild Child abruptly joined the team. I’ve only read the first few issues of Alpha Flight, but judging by this story and some comments in the letters page, Wild Child had actually evolved into a handsome man and renamed himself “Wildheart” at the end of that series. A few years after Alpha Flight was cancelled, he popped up in this series with his old name and old look. I guess enough months passed after he joined the team for fans to write in and complain and for Marvel to publish a story addressing the error. Can you imagine Marvel doing something like that now? Not that anything in this issue is particularly good, mind you, since it mainly consists of characters acting either crazy or stupid until the story gets to page twenty-one and the crazy girl just passes out. There always have been fans of Northstar and Aurora (both mis-colored with bleach blonde hair in this issue) who wanted to see them incorporated into the X-books, but I’ve never understood the desire to have every mutant out there brought into the titles. I guess using them in a story with Wild Child is a nice nod to the few dozen people who were reading Alpha Flight at the end of its run, though. Mackie seems to be using the continuity patch mainly as a way to stall the ongoing storylines for another month, so it’s the third issue in a row where hardly anything happens. If Wild Child and Aurora were written as believable, sympathetic characters, I wouldn’t mind an entire issue justifying their breakup, but writing natural, compelling dialogue just isn’t one of Mackie’s strengths. Epting turns in his usual dependable artwork, but it’s not enough to cover the tedious story.