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Ben's Bit - Alpha Flight #4 Review
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Thread: Ben's Bit - Alpha Flight #4 Review

  1. #1
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    Default Ben's Bit - Alpha Flight #4 Review

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    [img=right:2ac23c6aab]http://www.alphaflight.net/reviews/af3_4_review_1.jpg[/img:2ac23c6aab]



    Writer: Scott Lobell
    Artist: Clayton Henry
    Story: You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me! Part 4 of 6

    OVERVIEW:
    [img=left:2ac23c6aab]http://www.alphaflight.net/reviews/af3_4_review_2.jpg[/img:2ac23c6aab]The story starts with a page of teasers about the new characters. We see a baby Zuzha being protected by the original Puck, a picture of Nemesis without the costume, Yukon Jack with a knife in his chest, a young Rutherford Princeton, as a machine gun toting cop, and Lou Saddler Jr. taking his first flight on Thunder.

    We hit a flashback of the original Major Mapleleaf teamed up with the Invaders, with him having Hitler in a headlock. Flash forward a few years, and we see young Michael and Lou Saddler Jr. proudly going through their fathers old memorabilia from his super hero days. Lou Sr. found his boys, and angrily struck out, hitting Jr. He goes on to yell at them, telling them they had no business going through his things. Sending Michael downstairs, Major Mapleleaf proceeded to beat his youngest son. This entire scene was narrated by a the grown up Lou Saddle Jr, seemingly in denial of his father's abuse, as he told his story to Yukon Jack.

    Present time, flying through the air on the back of Thunder, Major Mapleleaf is telling his history to Yukon Jack. Jack however says he has no story, other than be having been born into royalty...beloved by a nation. We do however see a flash back panel of him covered in blood, holing the knife that had been in his chest. They land in a remote location in front of a small shack, which is apparently a Plodex entry portal.

    [img=right:2ac23c6aab]http://www.alphaflight.net/reviews/af3_4_review_3.jpg[/img:2ac23c6aab]In Calgary we find Zuzha Yu, feeling nervous about becoming a super hero. She makes reference to the fact that she does have powers. She even mentioned that she had been able to speak from the womb. Though the nature of her powers are not uncovered, Sasquatch is apparently going to tell her his theories behind her abilities. Just then Zuzha's thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a crowd cheering Sasquatch on, as he was playing a Dancing game. As Zuzha begins to chide him for his behaviors, a hatch opens from under the game, and the two fall in.

    Flying over the North Poll, Rutherford Princeton has Nemesis in his arms. Princeton is trying to think of a super hero name for himself. Unexpectedly Nemesis jumps out of his arms, showing him that she can fly on her own.

    Major Mapleleaf and Yukon Jack climb down a ladder to a large cave. They find machinery, as proof of the Plodex having been there at some point. Yukon Jack also shows he has the ability to generate light as he makes his hand glow to light their path.

    Sasquatch and Puck slide off a shoot into a large pit filled with an odd mud, that was akin to "Quantum-Nano technology" that could read a genetic template to create creatures to act as a defence mechanism. Just that happened, as several large mud creatures, seemingly in the form of Sasquatch emerge.

    [img=left:2ac23c6aab]http://www.alphaflight.net/reviews/af3_4_review_4.jpg[/img:2ac23c6aab]Caught in a Flashback to the Prohibition era in Chicago, are Nemesis and Centennial. Princeton explains that he was a Canadian police office who had been "on loan" to the Chicago PD during this time. Nemesis admits that she too knows this era quite well. They are approached by the Mayor of Chicago, and a woman who appears to be Nemesis of that time period. Nemesis slices the ghost of her self in two, shattering the illusion that was generated by the Plodex defense systems.

    Back underground, we find Yukon Jack and Major Mapleleaf in a huge battle with the Mole Man's hordes of Moloids. They are captured and taken to the Mole Man. He assumes they are spies, sent by the Fantastic Four, but when he is told who they really are, lets them go free.

    From three separate directions the heroes converge in a strange room, there appears to be no real up or down, and it is filled with old Plodex machinery.

    The splash page for #5 shows Sasquatch acting as referee between new team and old. In the foreground we see what would appear to be a young Plodex child, that looks as though he could easily be the son of Marrina.

    REVIEW:

    I Loved this issue! It had a great balance between character and plot development. The flashback with the Saddler boys did quite a bit to show the true nature of Major Mapleleaf Sr. He was a violent man who abused his kids. It would seem to me that Jr. is in denial, but subconsciously want to make amends for his father's less than heroic behavior. This to me really fleshed out a character that seemed to be a boy scout.
    [img=right:2ac23c6aab]http://www.alphaflight.net/reviews/af3_4_review_5.jpg[/img:2ac23c6aab]
    I'm really curious about Yukon Jack's history now. He's keeping it well hidden, but there is something there for sure. It was also nice to see a bit of his powers, but yet again, it was just enough to make me want to know more.

    On a similar note, it was nice to find out that Zuzha has powers too. Since she is Puck's daughter, and he he wouldn't have had any actual powers when he conceived her, it will be interesting to find out how she came upon hers, and what the nature of them are. Lobell did a great job of keeping the nature of her powers secret by not showing the battle with the mud men, but letting us know that she was quite able to handle herself in that fight.

    The part with Centennial and Nemesis was good to drive home the point about how old she really is. It's nice to finally put a face to the mystery, but those wide zombie eyes creep me out!

    Now that last page just blew me away! I'm thinking that's gotta be Marrina's son. Is he somehow responsible for the whole thing? Can someone put me in a time machine and blast me ahead one month in time?

    Henry's art has blown me away yet again. Each issue he proves how much talent he has, and that just keeps growing.

    All in all, and awesome issue. Every page was a gem, and I came out of this really digging the new characters, and drooling for the next issue.


  2. #2
    Beta Flight

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    My sentiments exactly. I really love this issue.

    The interplay between Yukon Jack and Major Mapleleaf was really funny. Especially with the horse whisperer joke and depressed looking Mole Man. Mapleleaf seems so much more fleshed out now with the flashback and I'm dying to know what's going on in those flashbacks of Jack. The brief display of power he used was neat too.

    I'm actually surprised that Zuzha is being written with powers. I figured she was just going to be a female version to the original Puck but she seems to be developing far more into her own character. I'm so curious about what her powers are.

    The Nemesis / Centennial duo was quite funny. The shot of her in flight on with her sword brandished is quite cool (I had forgotten she could fly, I don’t remember that from the first series for some reason). Henry's art is really getting better.

    All in all I'm quite happy about this. The new team is really growing into their own. (I'm quite sure I can say at this point that I'm more fond of them then I ever was the new characters in v2).

  3. #3

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    In response to the Plodex boy/Marrina's son, remember the splash page to issue #1? It showcased two additional characters, and judging by Plodex Boy's costume it looks like this is the first(I wonder who the girl is). I love this, it reminds me of Vol 1, number one where we see Beta and Gamma Flight for the first time, which included cameos of Flashback, Box, and Diamond Lil who didn't appear until much later. All in all, it was a great issue. Plodex Boy looks really cool(how about a team-up with Sammy Squid Boy?), but I hope when all is said and done, SOMETHING is done with Marrina.
    danielsan

  4. #4
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    I think Scott is borrowing a scene from "Hilander" were Yukon Jack gets stabbed in the chest and doesn't die because he has powers. Makes you wonder though, if his dad killed off his other siblings?

  5. #5
    Alpha Flight

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    thank you boys! *does extra happy dance and shreads the hamstring...who cares!*
    Hell was full, so I came back.

  6. #6
    Alpha Flight

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    You do a nice job with these, Ben.

    I don't know...I'm still not wild about the series, but I'm having a hard time putting into words why. I was pretty optimistic after issue two. I enjoyed three enough and understood the necessity for some background on the Plodex so I didn't mind the spotlight being on them a little. but I thought this issue was a bit of a mess.

    This will sound a little arrogant, I know, but I don't like the pacing in this series. Earlier issues have felt like ten pages stretched into 21. This one felt like 30 pages condensed into 21. I know its easy to say as a fan sitting at home who's never written a book in his life. I don't notice that kind of thing in other books but in this one it really jumps out at me.

    Someone once mentioned that the character dynamics will be interesting here. I don't see how. The only "dynamic" is that they get on each other's nerves, except for MML who likes everyone no matter what. Other than that, there are no relationships there.

    I dont want to come as too negative, so I want to include a few plusses for me: I very much like the deliberate way that Lobdell reveals bits about the characters. I use "deliberate" because I don't want to use the word "slow". When you combine the four issue and add up what you've learned about the characters, it's an awful lot!

    I also like the WAY he does it. Not everything has to be an Earth-shattering revelation. Yukon can create his own light source. There you go. Now we know. That's it. I like that.

    I remain optimistic, and wil remain supportive, for a few reasons:
    - Lobdell's obvious enthusiam.
    - I recognize that we're still very early in the ride.
    - I know that characters that I look forward to seeing will eventually show up.
    - If nothing else, I enjoy the art.

    ...but this book hasn't grabbed me the way it has some of you, I'm sorry to say.

  7. #7
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    Nice job on the reviews Ben. My only edit would be one of perception: it seemed to me that Mole Man let them go because they were going to deal with the Plodex. Mole Man can be a manipulative little pri--er, "fellow", so I figured he let them go to deal with the Plodex, because no matter what the outcome, one of the problems will be dealt with.

    I liked this issue a lot too, and hey, the Plodex Boy was green/yellow! So far, the series is following a pattern that I am only really liking the even numbered issues. If this wasn't under the Alpha Flight banner, I would not have kept with it after the first issue.

    Here's one for a little bit of a sidebar controversy: was Saddler Sr. BEATING MMJr, or spanking him? The picture was not clear, just a hand raised. It's the politically correct thinking these days (and I am sad to learn the trend in circling the world) that hitting a child in any way shape or form is abuse. The issue depicts Jr. getting slapped either on the face or upside the head once. Then there is a continuance of a punishment, after his brother had been sent downstairs, The fact that it was done in private would indicate to me that Louis had his anger somehwat under control, and he was disciplining his son for doing something he'd been previously told not to do but went ahead and did anyway.

    I am a bit old school. I was disciplined physically by both parents, and would term it as abuse...from my mother, because she often attacked due to her anger, not necessarily things I did. There lies the difference, that I cann't remember any time where I hadn't done something to derserve what was gotten from my father. I am a pretty ethical adult these days. Mapleleaf Junior has been depicted as a pretty ethical, do-right man, so maybe his Dad's handling of him did some good. I am from the united states, where protests against spanking seems to have risen in direct proportion to gangs of kids being out of control and self centeredness ever on the rise.

    I personally do what I think is right, and I do spank my son, on the relatively rare occasions when he is doing something that he knows he should not be doing. It's left him, I think, American free choice, where it's a free country and he can do as he chooses, but knows that, for good reward or bad, his actions will have results or consequences.

    Back to the issue on hand, a much better showing, but the inconsistency between issues still has this short of my pull list, and two clunkers in a row will have me not picking it up until such a time that the ALPHA FLIGHT title features a majority of characters that the average comics reader would recognize as Alpha Flight.

  8. #8
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    I liked this issue lots!

    MMJR and Yukon Jack: I like the fact that the art shows the discrepancy between what MMJr and YJ are telling each other and what actually happened. I like the counterpoint between MMJr who appears to be open and sharing, but actually isnt, and YJ, who is closed and not willing to share. Both guys are actually hiding the same amount of information from each other.

    This characterization of MMSr is also great, as it makes his actions in vol 1 #106 more understandable. He really wasnt over reacting to his eldest son's death. To me, it seems that the elder son was his favorite, and the one that MMSr wanted to inherit the super hero legacy. And that he was purposely discouraging his younger son from dreaming about being a super hero.

    And MMJr is right, it really is kinda cool that YJ can use "mayhap" in a sentence.

    Zusha and Sasquatch. The Orange Crush? Thor can't dance? Activating the Plodex entry portal by reaching the top level of a vido game? I LOVE THIS!

    Centennial and Nemesis. Nem's right. If this is the original Nemesis, then she is older than he is.

    Mole Man. Nuff said.

    Plodex Boy looks cool, Marrina's son?

  9. #9
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    Marrina's son? One can only hope. I, too, hope that we see Marrina again though. I hope the Sophie's Choice decision isn't between saving Marrina or her son though....Man, Lobdell is doing a great job of leaving us anticipating the next issue. I have to say, this may not be the same Alpha Flight, but I'm liking what he is doing. This is one of the best Marvel books out there right now as far as I'm concerned. It has a spark that no other book that they're currently putting out has.

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