Friday, July 13, 2012

WOLVERINE #143 - October 1999

Credits: Erik Larsen & Eric Stephenson (writers), Leinil Francis Yu (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Marie Javins (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Wolverine helps Vindicator and his duplicate escape, while Kane is sent to stop them. Wolverine battles Kane as Vindicator frees the rest of Alpha Flight. During their escape, they discover that AIM has Snowbird’s body in suspended animation. With the help of Vindicator’s duplicate, AIM is chased away. Unfortunately, the battle suit Vindicator’s duplicate stole from AIM during the battle is severely damaged. The ensuing explosion kills the duplicate.

Continuity Notes: Snowbird’s resurrection was controversial at the time, apparently because Sasquatch was living in her old body by the end of Alpha Flight. Her teammates somehow forget this throughout the story.

Approved By The Comics Code Authority: Heather Hudson’s revealing costume is toned down again, as her exposed flesh is colored gray throughout the issue.

Review: Larsen and Stephenson’s ham-fisted revival of the original Alpha Flight continues, as the teenage Vindicator from Steven Seagal’s run is killed, Snowbird’s previous continuity is ignored in favor of a quickie resurrection, and the team is reunited to face once again the shadowy elements of Department H. I think the only people really invested in this would be hardcore Alpha Flight fans, and as I mentioned earlier, they all seemed to hate this arc. Wolverine has rarely interacted with Alpha Flight since the early ‘80s, so the only element of the story that might interest X-fans of this era would be the appearance by Kane. Instead of carrying on Nicieza’s characterization of the reluctant soldier, Larsen and Stephenson present him as a mindless drone for AIM. And Leinil Francis Yu has seen fit to give him a spiky ponytail. It’s obvious the story is hinting that he’s been brainwashed, but no confirmation is given and he simply disappears when it’s time for the fighting to be over. So, more “MYSTERY!” instead of an actual plot.

Loose Ends
Credits: Eric Stephenson (writer), Rob Jensen (penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Gina Going (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Alpha Flight studies the reanimated body of Snowbird. Sasquatch theorizes that Snowbird’s mystic body has a healing factor similar to Wolverine’s. Vindicator suddenly realizes why AIM was so interested in Snowbird; he suggests they’re exploiting her as the connection between science and the supernatural.

Review: This is a backup story designed to fit in all of the exposition that couldn’t be worked into the main story, which was mainly concerned with poorly choreographed fight scenes. I was a bit relieved to see Jensen take over as artist for a few pages; there’s nothing flashy about his work, but his figures are well-constructed and his storytelling is clear. The story is just there to hint at horrible things this faction of AIM is supposedly up to, and I’m going to take a shot in the dark and guess that none of these hints are paid off before Larsen/Stephenson leave the book.


Teebore said...

I wonder why Larsen was so concerned with restoring the classic Alpha Flight status quo? Was he planning to work on an Alpha Flight book at some point, and wanted the originals? Or did he just hate the idea that much that he was determined to "fix" it, no matter what book he was writing?

G. Kendall said...

Larsen seemed really hung up on the idea of "fixing" things Marvel did during the '90s. His attempt to retcon Elektra's resurrection in NOVA is probably the most outrageous example. And the NOVA book itself was an attempt to ignore the NEW WARRIORS version of the character and bring back the Marv Wolfman interpretation.

Teebore said...

If he was "fixing" Elektra in Nova, clearly he didn't care WHERE he did his fixing.

Compared to that, at least working on Alpha Flight in Wolverine makes some sense...

Matt said...

I recall witnessing a little conversation between Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen at Comic-Con in 1999... Busiek was sort of playfully chastizing Larsen for giving him (Busiek) more work by ignorning things in Nova and creating continuity errors, which Busiek then had to fix by having the New Warriors guest-star in Avengers.

Any thoughts on reviewing Larsen's Nova series? I believe it only ran about seven issues, right? I remember I really liked it at the time, but I'd had practically no previous experience with the character.

G. Kendall said...

I've read about half of NOVA's run, but probably wouldn't review it unless I begin a look at the '90s "Marvel Casualties". I imagine my reviews would be similar to my thoughts on Larsen's WOLVERINE.

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