This issue of Alpha Flight was originally published by Marvel comics in 1985. It was written and drawn by John Byrne with inks by Bob Wiacek. The basic premise of the book is that Alpha Flight are Canada’s premiere super team, however for most of his run Bryne rarely featured the adventures of the entire team at once. He mainly preferred to focus on only two or three characters at a time.
This issue mostly focuses on the tribulations of Northstar and his sister Aurora. Northstar had previously drifted from the team, but Aurora turned to him for help with her multiple personality problems and blackouts. Northstar brings his sister along as he answers a request for help from an old friend that owns a circus. Apparently the villian is Pink Pearl, a super strong fat lady who’s causing disappearances as part of a larger plan to attack the leaders of Canada and the US and to frame the sepratiste movement which Northstar and the circus owner were former members of. There’s also a few pages devoted to setting up a sub-plot where Heather, the wife of former Alpha Flight leader Guardian, glipses a man that looks like her dead husband and Bosh creating a new robot body of Box so he can track down the killer of Guardian.
It’s interesting how much Byrne was able to cram into 22 pages of story. This issue is obviously part of a larger arc, but there’s enough plot here to enjoy as a self contained story. Also fascinating is the amount of dialogue and exposition here. At first glance it looks like a novella compared to many modern comics, but none of it feels like small talk for the sake of small talk. I’m a fan of Byrne’s old artwork. There’s nothing dazzling here, but it’s slick and professional enough to hold my interest.
One curious item is a message for Marvel on the inside back cover asking what kind of advertisements the readers would prefer to see. This is partly done by means of a comic strip featuring Spiderman. Spidey’s swinging through the city carrying a briefcase. He crashes through the widow of an office , sits behind a desk, and throws ads toward the reader. At the bottom of the page is a questionnaire for the reader to fill out and send in to Marvel. I’m just like, was it really necessary to break some poor guy’s window just to tell us management wants to target the demographic a little better?