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Alpha Flight #9

Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



"Days of Future Present, Past Participle: 1 of 4"

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Clayton Henry (p), Mark Morales (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
After a seemingly pointless slugfest with Japan's Big Hero 6, Alpha Flight finds itself approached by a super-powered individual named Flashback, who possesses the ability to pull future versions of himself into the past. owever, when one of his future doubles is killed, Flashback is convinced that at some point in the near future he's going to be called into the past where he'll be killed, and as such he's seeking Alpha Flight's help.

Comments:
Scott Lobdell makes the temporal logic behind this issue's adventure far more complex sounding than it really needed to be, but in order for the joke to work I guess the characters had to have trouble connecting the dots. I will say that in spite of the active effort to make the temporal mechanics of this story into mess that leaves our cast utterly confused, it is worth noting that Scott Lobdell has managed to come up with a pretty interesting temporal paradox, as we have a character who is seemingly fated to die when he's called into the past, so he turns to Alpha Flight for help. I also rather enjoyed the circular logic that Nemesis offers up to explain why her method of time travel involved stabbing people through the chest, and how this is followed by an amusingly mundane bit of action as Major Mapleleaf travels back through time, and has a very easy time when it comes to convincing James MacDonald Hudson not to take the job offer that resulted in his first death. Now I'm guessing some readers won't care much for the way that this issue pokes fun at the conventions of the time travel adventure, but I have to say I rather enjoyed the offbeat presentation of this well-worn plot device, and I also had to smile at the utter lack of concern shown by our cast as they decide to mess about with the timeline. It also doesn't hurt that this issue offers up a pretty exciting cliff-hanger moment, and it should be fun watching this all play out.

Clayton Henry's art is a little too open for my liking, and he has a rather annoying tendency of offering up double page spreads when the material doesn't really justify using one. However, the art does manage to capture the humour of the material, as how can one not smile at the scene where Honey Lemon's army of stuffed minions descend upon Major Mapleleaf, or the dark humour of the exchange where Nemesis offers up her less than impressive version of time travel. However, there are moments where the art comes across as a bit simplistic, from the lack of any attention grabbing visuals during the fight with Big Hero 6, to the flat looking backgrounds during Major Mapleleaf's visit into the past. I also have to say I found myself decidedly unimpressed by the big cliff-hanger moment, as the art doesn't really capture the visual impact of this development.



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