Flight: You've Got To Be Kiddin' Me...
I like Canada
for several reasons, Quebec notwithstanding. Many, if not
half, of all television dramas and science fiction movies
are shot in Vancouver. Canadian beer can be comprised of
nearly 13% alcohol, depending on brand. Maple syrup is awesome
and far superior to whatever syrup we employ en masse here
in the states. There’s lots of moose.
as much as I like our great white neighbo(u)r to the north,
I really never thought I’d see the day when they needed
their own superhero team. I remember staring in bewilderment
at Alpha Flight on the spinner racks in my younger
days, desperately trying to figure out why everyone’s
costumes matched, except for a little tiny dwarf guy with
a big “P” on his chest, and why they were covered
with leaves. Even at thirteen, I knew it was kind of lame.
time has not improved things.
Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me" may be the most appropriate
subtitle ever conceived by man or God, because about halfway
through the collection the reader is almost positive that
the comic they’re reading can’t possibly be
real; that in the great and infinite compassion the universe
has for its children, that it would not foist this upon
us. And yet, here I stand, one graphic novel heavier and
$14.99 poorer. My first clue should have been Scott Lobdell’s
name being anywhere attached to the book. My second should
have been fill-in artist from Exiles that continued
to kill the book after Winick left, artist Clayton Henry.
story begins with Dr. Walter Langkowski a.k.a. Sasquatch
running around the Great White North, throwing together
a new team of Alpha Flight in order to save the original
team (if this sounds like X-Men, that’s because it
is). Among the recruits are Major Mapleleaf, Nemesis, Yukon
Jack, Puck’s Daughter, and some ninety-five year old
guy who just woke up from a coma. If none of these characters
sounds familiar, no worries because half of them are new
creations of Lobdell’s and the other half are some
frighteningly obscure that only the one, lone Alpha Flight
Fanperson who knows every character bio of every member
of the various teams will be able to identify them.
attempt to summarize the plot, but it’s non-existent.
The entire first four issues of the collection are simply
bringing the group together, and while I would usually applaud
a writer for taking his or her time, Lobdell is clearly
just filling pages so he can stretch this anemic little
story into a six-issue arc. There’s no plot other
than to get these characters together and have them rescue
the old team. This literally is it. No subplots, no in-depth
characterization, and certainly no intelligence. There are
holes all over: the powers of the characters are ambiguous
and never really explained, and Lobdell drops in random
bits of history that has nothing to do with the story or
the characters. For some reason, Yukon Jack, prince of an
ancient kingdom in the Canadian woods, speaks with “thee”
and “thou” and “verily” all the
time, for no apparent reason or prompt.
point, Puck’s Daughter (this is my name for her, as
she doesn’t seem to pick a pseudonym for herself,
she’s leaning toward Puck though) mentions, while
walking in a mall, that she was talking in the womb and
that this has something to do with her powers. I’m
not overly familiar with the original Puck, but I thought
he was some type of super-gymnast or something and not a
prenatal linguist. Where and why this womb talking fits
into or applies to the story is anyone’s guess, but
it’s a great example of Lobdell thinking he knows
how to write comedy.
funny, mostly just confusing. The first issue had a few
chuckles here and there, and the funniest character in the
book ends up being the walking corpse Nemesis, but aside
from a few site gags, there’s just nothing-funny happening.
I can tell where Lobdell attempted humor, because his characters
are being sarcastic and perhaps witty, but the language
is either so boring or badly written that the joke is lost,
not to mention the grammar. Also, the characters and the
narrators themselves all seem able to comment on the comic
itself within the panels, waiting their turns to give a
“talking head” history of past events. Sometimes
having your characters aware that they are fictional characters
can make for excellent writing; sometimes it can just be
a cover for a writer attempting to write better than he
is. Guess which one this is.
Aside from the
humor is one small instance where, over glowing narration
from Major Mapleleaf, the reader sees the horribly abusive
childhood he led. Lobdell drops this into the story for
no discernible reason, perhaps shock value, and never picks
it up again in the entire six issues. It’s like he
added some throwaway drama to make the reader care about
the character a little bit more and it fails miserably contrasted
to the attempts at humor in the book. It’s just disturbing,
The art is mediocre
at best; big muscled guys and girls with fairly large breasts
and one costume definitely would not function in the real
world. Henry is a fill-in artist and it shows. His work
is just drudgery with a pretty color job. Not even the character
designs are interesting and you have to work hard to make
a girl in a tube top not interesting. Well done, Henry.
book is awful. Avoid it, and instead buy that $14.99 hassock
you’ve always wanted and put your feet up to read
better comics than this.
Flight Volume 1: You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me