HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Graphic Depictions Today's Date:

Alpha 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.

But 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.

A decade’s time has not improved things.

"You 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.

Lobdell’s 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.

I’d 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.

At one 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.

Oh dear…the comedy.

It’s not 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, really.

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.

This 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.

Alpha Flight Volume 1: You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me

Robert Sparling

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites