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Alpha Flight #11

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Days of Future Present, Past Participle!, 3 of 4"

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Clayton Henry
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Digital Rainbow
Letters: Rich & Albert @ Comicraft

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
As we learn that the latest change that Alpha Flight made in the past resulted in Canada being wiped off the map by a nuclear attack to prevent a Plodex invasion, we see Nemisis decides that the situation calls for yet another attempt, and as such she sends Puck and Yukon Jack into the past. However, much like the previous attempts this bid to fix the past results in a nightmarish reality in the present day.

Comments:
If you read the first chapter of this arc than chances are you know where this story is heading once you've gotten a look at the first page of this issue as we see Alpha Flight is embraced as North America's favourite heroes, and this change naturally results in a disastrous change in the timeline which requires another member of Alpha Flight to go back in time and attempt to fix the element in the past that sends them down such a dangerous path. However, this attempt at fixing the past results in yet another timeline that doesn't look all that pleasant. In the end Scott Lobdell is a bit like the class clown who only has one gag in his bag of tricks, and as such one has to sit back and watch as he tries to milk the comedy potential from a gag that he's already told twice before, and given the original joke wasn't all that amusing the repeated versions of the same idea have become steadily less impressive. Plus, one can already see the final punch line of this story is going to be Sasquatch's considerable mental efforts figuring out that the solution to this temporal crisis is to jump back and stop his team from making the original time travel attempt, thus stopping this series of time-traveling blunders before it can even begin. In the end it's stories like this that make one wonder what exactly is the editor's job if it's not to step forward and let Scott Lobdell know that there's not enough material here to support a four issue arc, and that repeating the same plot for three issues in a row is the quickest way to alienate the reading audience of a title that was already going to have to work to win over it's fan base.

Clayton Henry's work is a bit disappointing in that he does seem to be quite fond of offering up the big panels that eat up the pages, rather than the normal-sized panels that would allow for a more involved storytelling experience. Now I'm not sure how much control the writing has over the panels per page, but the story does seem to have an inordinate dependence of the single and double page spreads, and it becomes a little disappointing when I can finished reading a comic in under five minutes. However what really gets me is that Clayton Henry's art simply isn't detailed enough to support these wide-screen visuals, as there's a bit impact moment where Canada is wiped off the map with nuclear bombs (which is a patently silly idea given our proximity to America), and the art decides the best way to sell this idea is to show a couple generic looking buildings being blown up. It should also be noted that someone really should've caught on to the fact that Snowbird's powers would make her walking down Times Square a rather noticeable continuity flub.



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