Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flightpath 07’s review of AF Vol. 4 Issue # 5

Review: Alpha Flight, Volume IV, Issue # 5

(Flightpath 07 – that’s me!)

Again, we open with Walter Langkowski’s scribbled notes, left for himself because he is worried that Department H’s assertation that he has suffered too many concussions and may have memory loss, are real. Nothing much new here.

Huge parade for Department H’s warriors, led by Alpha Strike’s Citadel, covered by national television. Huge banners with Prime Minister Gary Cody’s face all over them. Along with wanted posters, featuring Alpha Flight. Cut to Alpha Flight, hiding in an alley behind a dumpster, looking none too impressed with the proceedings. (Question: Does Puck really NEED to bend down in order to hide behind a dumpster?)

Snowbird displays a little bit of haughtiness (No, not hawty-ness; sorry) at the people of Canada being sheep, and Guardian cuts her off. It seems that mac is back to being the embodiment of the spirit of Canada and all that.

Enter Puck’s ‘friend’, the one they were waiting in the alley for. His name is Taskmaster, and the way he tries to skewer Puck and filet-mignon him has everybody more than a little worried in that cramped alleyway.

After the too go at it, in words as well as with fighting skills, Puck gets the better of him, and then the two have a good laugh. And a very nice panel with Guardian and Aurora looking on, very funny exchange happening there.

Ends up, Mac wants taskmaster to teach the people they rescued last issue, how to fight. Taskmaster wants to get paid, of course. So…

Now we get Alpha Flight robbing a bank! The one they hit just happens to use its funds to support the crooked government run by Gary Cody, but surely that is just a coincidence…right?

The bank is surrounded. Citadel watches from outside, allowing the cameras to record footage of AF robbing the bank. When Department H soldiers open fire, Snow bird first chastises Aurora (with concern) over her cowering in fear, then gives the mortals a strong warning against pissing her off.

Puck mocks Citadel, making him angry enough to charge into the bank earlier than he should have; all part of Mac’s plan, of course. Mac uses his suit to magnetize Citadel’s adamantium exo-skeleton, with disastrous (for Citadel) results. Taskmaster (waiting on a rooftop nearby) blows up the bank, allowing AF to escape into the sewers during the confusion. Marrina freaks out that they robbed a bank and left her behind – priceless.

In the new AF base camp in the Yukon, Walter is studying the alien technology (they took it from the mining camp they raided last issue), and knows that it is Plodex tech, and that the Master of the World is behind all of this, somehow. Kyle is on tv, renouncing AF and Northstar.

Taskmaster trains Alice Hu and the others in the use of how to fight in their groundhog armour. Do we see Alice Hu take down Guardian, then walk by and goose him? Well yes, yes we do.

Gary Cody, Vindicator, and the Master, all talking, wondering what Guardian is up to. Aurora shows up, wanting them to free her of her Aurora personality, leaving her with just Jeanne-Marie. Shaman appears to the Aurora personality (who is trapped in a psychic prison within Jeanne-Marie’s head), telling her that this is all part of a plan Mac has been working on, and that she must not lose hope.

All in all, the artwork is as good as ever; love the fight scene betwene Puck and Taskmaster, as well as the panel where AF announce they are robbing the bank. Great stuff!

All the characterization was pretty good, and the dialogue kept the story moving and stayed true to what has come before.

The heroes stayed heroic, even while robbing a bank; that's impressive!

Writers: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham
Inks: unknown - possibly Dale Eaglesham?
Colours: Sonia Oback
Letterer: Simon Bowland
My issue’s cover by: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Chris Sotomayor
Editor: Mark Paniccia

My ratings for this issue:
Art: 10/10
Story: 10/10
Dialogue: 10/10
Intangibles (or, as some call it, Alpha-Flight-iness): 10/10

I’m giving this one 40 Maple Leafs out of 40!

Title: Flightpath 07’s review of AF Vol. 4 Issue # 4

Review: Alpha Flight, Volume IV, Issue # 4

(Flightpath 07 – that’s me!)

First of all, I got both of the covers for this issue. Let me tell you, the Eaglesham variant cover cost me a pretty penny, too! But, it is MUCH nicer than the regular Phil Jimenez cover, IMHO.

Issue starts off with a page of Langkowksi’s notes; seems he beleives himself to be having memory problems, so he is making a list of things he should try to remember about himself (See! THIS is what happens when you believe the guys at Department H!). It’s a nice touch, I suppose. Different than the splash pages that have updated us readers the previous three issues (four, if you include the Point-One issue).

Next, we see Department H soldiers(?) putting news reporter Alice Hu to work, somewhere in Saskatchewan, after kidnapping her. Hm…mysterious.

The next page is great. Dale’s artwork here displays a ton of emotion on the character’s faces. Mac and Walter talking, Mac throwing his old ripped up Guardian suit over Niagara Falls in a duffel bag, Marrina looking on. Mac refusing to wear the flag any longer, despite wishing to still save the country he loves.

After this, Alpha Flight in a van, trying to avoid the border patrols (who are searching for them, of course – they’re fugitives!) while crossing into America. Shaman disguises them mystically. Nice jest by Puck about running from losers, and worries about not being about to get poutine in the USA. Northstar, meanwhile, has flown to Montreal to pick up his boyfriend, but arrives to find his place trashed and Kyle not there! He…looks angry. Again, nice job with the facial emotions, Mr. Eaglesham!

Northstar grabs a Montreal cop, takes him to a high altitude and drops him. Scaring him for information on Kyle. Who, of course, has been taken by the Unity Party. Seems a lot of the people taken by Unity are going to a work camp in Northern Saskatchewan.

The scenes with Heather confronting the family members who have custody of her and Mac’s daughter, Claire, is frightful in its intensity. It is, however, strange that their faces clearly turn purple as they yell at Vindicator…who then promptly….well, beheads them, and flies off with her daughter. Straight back to Department H, where she opens the holding cells and shows some mysterious shadowed figures (labelled as dangerous animals by Agent Brown) her daughter, saying that they need to see what they are fighting for.

Just south of the border, the van empties as Snowbird writhes in pain; she feels that New York has fallen to The Serpent. Mac (whose Guardian suit is on him, just without the red and white covering shell with the maple leaf) tells Shaman that they must find Wolverine, stop whatever is spreading the fear. Northstar flies up, reminds Mac that even though the fear has broken the people, that Mac (and Alpha Flight) must not give up on them.

After Shaman teleports them all to the work camp (his explanation of why he didn’t teleport them to the USA rings a bit lame, however), they see 12 guards and a bunch of kidnap victims in copies of Mac’s original groundhog suit, strip mining an area. And, there is also a huge alien starship, of course. Yet another silly comment from Puck, and Mac comes up with a plan. As Northstar attacks the guards, Mac rounds up the kidnap victims, convincing them to fight for their freedom. Marrina throws Mac the costume-shell she fished out of Niagara Falls, so he can don his true uniform again, and Alpha Flight leaps into action (with Walter unable to transform into Sasquatch, he more or less just tries to not get killed).

Kyle, meanwhile, has explained to him how he has been remade, rebuilt, his body ripped apart and then reassembled into perfection. Kyle is so thankful…to the Master of the World! And behind him is Alpha Strike, holding baby Claire Hudson.

A very nice final-page reveal!

Writers: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham
Inks: Andrew Hennessy
Colours: Sonia Oback
Letterer: Simon Bowland
My issue’s cover by: Phil Jimenez and Frank D’Armata.
My other issue’s cover by: Dale Eaglesham and Andrew Hennessy and Sonia Oback
Editor: Mark Paniccia

My ratings for this issue:
Art: 10/10
Story: 9/10
Dialogue: 10/10
Intangibles (or, as some call it, Alpha-Flight-iness): 10/10

I’m giving this one 39 Maple Leafs out of 40!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

stuff i can talk about

With me recently dropping Avanegers Academy from my pull list (I am very unhappy with the direction it has taken lately, and for me to drop a comic featuring my favourite character, Tigra, is a HUGE deal), and with Alpha Flight Volume 4 no longer, I find myself closer and closer to my goal of a complete ban on Marvel products.

Close, but not quite there yet.

I am still involved with the Villains For Hire mini-series, which mercifully is almost over. Its not very interesting. I`d highly recommend (staying far away from) it.

Wolverine & The X-Men has me hooked right now. It`s a hilarious series, and it is the humour that has captured me. For now, it has my attention.

I am also giving The Defenders a chance. I really like the Defenders of the past. I really am NOT currently enjoying this title. To me, this isn`t the Defenders. I`m hoping it changes. Never a Silver Surfer fan. The new Iron Fist doesn`t excite me, nor does the Red She-Hulk. This doesn`t even FEEL like The Defenders. The writing is atrocious, as is the plot. Characters seem to have no real interaction with each other. Nobody cares about anyone else. There`s no chemistry. I cannot imagine I will be sticking around long-term on this series. I keep waiting for the REAL Defenders to show up; Gargoyle, Beast, Hellcat, Daimon Hellstrom, Devil-Slayer, Iceman, Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Clea, Black Knight, Moon Knight (oh my word! don`t even get me STARTED on how Marvel has completely destroyed such an awesome charcater!), Paladin, and the Overmind. These, together with Dr Strange and Namor, are the true Defenders.

So, 4 series I am collecting from Marvel; one of which is a soon-ending mini-series (Villains For Hire), one of which is terrible and I don`t know how much longer I can stand it (The Defenders), one of which is surprisingly hilarious (Wolverine & The X-Men), and the last of which i have not read any issues yet (Secret Avengers; I am starting with issue 23, I think, as there is a new and exciting-sounding lineup; Hawkeye, Beast, Venom, Captian Britain, Giant Man, Valkyrie, Black Widow, and either Toro or teh Human Torch).

So, what, you ask, comics am i collecting from other publishers...glad you asked!

3 from DC (Red Hood & The Outlaws, Teen Titans, and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.), all of which are FABULOUS!

1 from IDW (Dungeons & Dragons).

3 from Image (Hack & Slash, Glory, and Youngblood).

1 from Boom Studios (Valen the Outcast).

And, 1 from Aspen Comics (Lady Mechanika).

Not including mini-series, that is 3 from Marvel, 9 from other (which breaks down as 3 from DC, 3 from Image, and 3 from other-others).

That`s all i gots to say `bout that!

Other than...Marvel sucks!