by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written & Drawn by John Byrne
Published: November 1983
Issue four of everyone’s favourite (cough cough) Canadian superhero team starts out with a couple cameos from Namor and Susan Storm of Fantastic Four fame, which sets the tone for a fun episode. As Alpha Flight frantically follows after Marina, certain revelations come to light about several members of the team. We find out a little more about Aurora and Jeanne-Marie (namely, the split personality that prevents them from being one and the same), a little about Sasquatch’s relationship to the Aurora personality, and a whole lot about Marina. As things come to a head in a strange structure locked beneath the ice, the team is called to work together to save Marina from a gruesome fate.
Despite the fetish-y nature of the cover, the art is largely nice here, barring a couple awkward panels. In particular, there’s one panel where Jeanne-Marie appears to backhand Walter with a clenched fist in perhaps the weirdest way possible. Still, the art has an appealing bleakness to it. Appropriately, I read this issue in a hockey arena while freezing my fingers off. Maybe that contributed to the sense of cold I got from this issue, but considering much of it takes place in the frozen north, I’d say not much. Alpha Flight has always had a sort of sombre tone, with that dang Canadian landscape featuring heavily in the chilly, half-wild atmosphere of the whole thing. Which, incidentally, makes the pages with Namor strutting around in a glorified speedo somewhat hilarious.
I like this issue because it gives me exactly what I want from a team-up book: intriguing character development, interesting relationships between the cast, and good follow through on a promised backstory. It works wonderfully well as a team issue because every character is given little character-specific things to do, and the plot revolves around the relationships between the characters. This is definitely a rewarding issue.