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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

X-amining Alpha Flight #17 & Dazzler #38

Alpha Fight #17

"Dreams Die Hard..."
December 1984

Creator/Chronicler: John Byrne
Colorist: Andy Yachus  
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Denny O'Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Additional Material (Pgs 8-11, 13-16)
Dialogue: Chris Claremont
Inks: Terry Austin

Plot
Wolverine is in Canada, helping his old friend Heather Hudson cope with the death of her husband, James, leader of Alpha Flight. They discuss Wolverine's past defection to the X-Men and how that affected James, as well as James' efforts to retrieve Wolverine for the Canadian government. Heather then tells Wolverine about James' death, and Wolverine tries to convince her she isn't responsible. He says that sometimes dreamers die, but their dreams live on. Together with Alpha Flight member Puck, Wolverine convinces Heather that she can keep James' dream alive by leading Alpha Flight.

Firsts and Other Notables
In the wake of James Hudson's (Guardian nee Vindicator nee Weapon Alpha) death in Alpha Flight #12, this issue sees Wolverine comforting Heather Hudson, and flashes back to just prior to the events of Giant Size X-Men #1, showing the reaction of James and Heather to Wolverine's decision to join the X-Men, as well as the events of X-Men #109 (including several pages reprinted outright from that issue), which depicts those events from the perspective of James.

In this issue, Heather is in the hospital, recovering from wounds she received in Alpha Flight #14. Alpha Flight #16 depicted Wolverine arriving at the hospital in a subplot scene, apologizing for not visiting her sooner, as well as revealing that Wolverine shares a past with Alpha Flight member Puck. This issue elaborates somewhat on that past and depicts their first meeting (having previously only known one another by reputation), making Puck another character on the ever-growing list of people with ties to Wolverine's mysterious and, thus far, largely undisclosed past.


In terms of Alpha Flight continuity, this issue features Heather deciding to follow in her husband's footsteps and lead Alpha Flight, despite lacking any super powered abilities or equipment of her own (she'll eventually acquire her own version of Vindicator's battle suit). Also, Aurora debuts a new look and new powers, though both will be elaborated on more fully in future issues.

The Chronology Corner
Wolverine appears in Alpha Flight #16 and 17 following the X-Men's encounter with Magus in X-Men #192, and appears in X-Men Annual #8 following this issue. 

A Work in Progress
In a moment of what I assume is odd Canadian pride on the part of John Byrne, James Hudson notes that unlike American heroes, he can wear the Canadian flag, and not just a representation of it.


Hudson was apparently responsible for directing Professor X to Department H, where he made the offer to Wolverine to join the X-Men in Giant Size X-Men #1.


The period of time that passed between Giant Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #109 is here described as being weeks, though it was actually more likely months, which is either a case of Byrne giving it a lot of thought and intentionally sliding the timeline or giving it little thought and going with a general statement of time.

Byrne sneaks in one more jab at the alien Fang costume Wolverine acquired in X-Men #107 (and was intended by then-X-Men artist Dave Cockrum to be Wolverine's new regular look) via a panel set during the events X-Men #109.


During the expanded flashback to the events of that issue, it's revealed that Weapon Alpha escaped from the X-Men in that issue by putting himself at rest relative to the Earth's rotation, allowing him to suddenly fly over a thousand miles per hour, moving so quickly he appeared to the X-Men to have disappeared.


He also mentions that, in light of accidentally injuring Moira, he now has something to "vindicate", a retroactive setup for his change in codenames from Weapon Alpha to Vindicator (which he then dropped in favor of "Guardian" in Alpha Flight #2).


The Best There is at What He Does
Hudson notes that Wolverine isn't cut out for leadership, echoing recent sentiments from Wolverine himself.


As in X-Men #120 and 121, it's noted that the Canadian government has spent a lot of money on Wolverine, continuing to suggest they're responsible for his adamantium skeleton and claws, though it will eventually be revealed to be a bit more complicated than that.


Human/Mutant Relations
Alpha Flight member Sasquatch muses on the recent rise in anti-mutant sentiment


Teebore's Take
From the perspective of X-Men readers, Wolverine's guest appearance in this issue is significant for the way it continues to both soften and deepen the character, focusing as it does on his past with the Hudsons and depicting him in the present as a comforting figure willing to give Heather the tough love she needs to help get over the death of her husband. It's also notable for providing an opportunity to view then-present day John Byrne art (who wrote, penciled and inked the original art in this issue) alongside vintage Byrne art from X-Men #109 (which was then inked by Terry Austin). The contrast isn't as striking as it would be if Byrne's present day art was being used as the point of a comparison, but his more minimalist, less-detailed style when inking himself is nevertheless apparent even when comparing Byrne '84 to Byrne '77. 

Dazzler #38

"Challenge"
July 1985

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Pencils: Paul Chadwick
Inks: Jackson Guice
Letters:Jim Novak
Colors: Petra Scotese
Editor: Mike Carlin
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Dazzler approaches the X-Men for additional training in the use of her powers, determined to become a better superhero. All save Wolverine buy her conviction, and after weeks of training, is granted a place on the team. She declines, but in an effort to win over Wolverine, offers up a final test: a surprise trial by combat at a time and place of Wolverine's choosing. Later, Wolverine and a reluctant Colossus attack Dazzler in accordance with the test, but she holds her own, neutralizing Colossus and injuring Wolverine. However, Wolverine is determined to keep fighting until Cyclops, on hand to provide Dazzler with additional training, intervenes. Though Wolverine still has his doubts, Dazzler feels she's proven herself.  

Firsts and Other Notables
Dazzler gets a new costume in this issue, one designed by Professor X which is meant to help store and focus her light energy. It's more or less the same costume she will wear after she joins the X-Men.


This issue marks a new direction for Dazzler's solo series, one in which she acts more proactively as a superhero, though it will be short-lived, as her series ends with issue #42 (although the book is bi-monthly at this time, so while that's only four issues away it's also eight months away).

The bounty hunter O.Z. Chase and his dog Cerberus appear for the first time; they will remain fixtures of this series for its duration, and feature in a future issue of X-Men.


Following her training with the X-Men in this issue, Dazzler's offered a place on the team, but declines, believing that her recent outing as a mutant and place in the public spotlight would threaten the X-Men's secrecy.


Cyclops drops in for a few panels, taking a break from his life in Alaska at Xavier's urging to help Dazzler fine tune control of her laser blasts.


Paul Chadwick, a former Hollywood storyboard artist, most famous for his work as the creator of the comic book series Concrete, provides the art; he will remain the regular artist on Dazzler until its cancellation.  

The Chronology Corner
The X-Men appear here following X-Men Annual #8. Dazzler will go on from this issue to guest star in New Mutants #29, then Secret Wars II #1, then New Mutants #30 and #31, all before the next issue of her series.

Wolverine, Colossus and Rogue appear in the 1989 graphic novel Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection following this issue, then they and the rest of the X-Men (including Cyclops) are in the X-Men/Alpha Flight limited series.

A Work in Progress
Colossus inexplicably alternates costumes between pages of this issue, starting out in a variation of his classic look before appearing in his more current (and recently discarded) "himbo" costume (as seen on the cover of the issue). 

Cyclops refers to his optic blast as his "uni beam", something it hasn't been called since the Silver Age, if ever.

I Love the 80s
Nightcrawler suggests that Wolverine doesn't like Dazzler because she hassles him about smoking, another reminder that Wolverine smokes like a chimney at this time.

 
The plot of this issue essentially centers around Wolverine and Colossus sneaking up on and attacking Dazzler as means of testing her newly-honed superhero skills. She vows that no innocents will be harmed, while Wolverine assures her that the X-Men will immediately bug out, and she'll have failed the test, the moment there's even a hint of innocents being endangered. Yet the subsequent "test" between Dazzler and the X-Men results in a fair amount of property damage, all of which passes without comment.


Human/Mutant Relations
Wolverine blames Dazzler for fanning the flames of anti-mutant hysteria by outing herself.


Teebore's Take
The X-Men are very much guest stars in this issue, literally brought in to increase the skills of the main protagonist and, ultimately, make her look good. They are also, in true guest star fashion, clearly meant to goose the sales of the book, as Marvel was likely hoping to use their burgeoning mutant superstars to put some new eyes on the first issue of the new direction for a struggling book. Ultimately, that effort will prove fruitless, as Dazzler is not long for the world at this point, but while this is perhaps Marvel's most overtly-commercial use of the X-Men as guest stars yet, Dazzler's interactions with the characters in this issue are nevertheless a neat little piece of the X-narrative, adding a little background and context to her eventual acceptance of a place on the team for anyone who's read this issue.

Next Issue 
Tomorrow, we look at the X-Men and Alpha Flight limited series, and next week, things go back to "normal" with Uncanny X-Men #193.

13 comments:

Matt said...

Having just read Byrne's Alpha Flight run in full for the first time just a couple months ago, this issue is fresh in my head. I enjoyed the "Special Edition" of Uncanny #109, and Byrne integrated his scenes pretty seamlessly with the original issue (though as you note later, the Austin-inked stuff is a litte jarring next to Byrne's own inks).

However, I wonder if fans at the time viewed this as more of Byrne "cutting corners" as in the case of the Snowbird issue, where he had Snowbird get into a fight in a blizzard, and depicted it as a series of blank panels with only sound effects and word balloons to "depict" the action.

Fun trivia: In Giant Size X-Men #1, the Canadian officer whose tie Wolverine cuts is never named. In issue #109, Claremont named him Chasin. At some point -- and this issue is the first time I can recall seeing it this way -- it changed to Chasen. Byrne even changed the spelling in the dialogue between Wolverine and Weapon Alpha in the flashback scene. Personally, I like Chasin better.

"...making Puck another character on the ever-growing list of people with ties to Wolverine's mysterious and, thus far, largely undisclosed past."

But at least, as you note, they had never actually met, only knowing one another by reputation. I'm more forgiving of that than of Wolverine actually meeting all these characters before he joined the X-Men.

"...which is either a case of Byrne giving it a lot of thought and intentionally sliding the timeline or giving it little thought and going with a general statement of time."

I go with the former, as Byrne is a huge proponent of Marvel Time.

"Byrne sneaks in one more jab at the alien Fang costume Wolverine acquired in X-Men #107..."

Would've been nice to also stick in a little thought on Wolverine's part saying that although he was uncomfortable in the Fang costume, he liked the colors, as a sort of retroactive foreshadowing of his change to the brown costume a few years later. In fact, since Byrne designed the brown costume, I'm kind of surprised he didn't do such a thing.

Matt said...

I've never read a single issue of Dazzler, but I have a little soft spot for her original 70's incarnation. I love that cheesy silver Disco costume. I know the folks behind the scenes at Marvel created her to cash in on a fad, and that a lot of creators seemed not to like her, but the 70's Dazzler is what it's all about, as far as I'm concerned.

At any rate, I'm kind of surprised her series was still running in 1985 (even if on its last legs)!

"Dazzler gets a new costume in this issue..."

Wow, I had no idea Dazzler ever wore the blue costume in her solo series. I had assumed it was the disco costume all the way, and that she got the blue outfit when she joined the X-Men post Mutant Massacre.

"The bounty hunter O.Z. Chase and his dog Cerberus appear for the first time; they will remain fixtures of this series for its duration, and feature in a future issue of X-Men."

Huh?? I'll be watching for these guys because I have no recollection of them whatsoever from X-Men.

"Cyclops drops in for a few panels..."

I know Archie Goodwin is considered a good writer (though better known as an editor), but that exposition from Colossus is downright painful. Also, what's the point of this tiny cameo? And by the way, Dazzler was living with the X-Men for weeks? I would've expected Claremont to at least pay this a little lip service in Uncanny at the time.

"Paul Chadwick, a former Hollywood storyboard artist, most famous for his work as the creator of the comic book series Concrete, provides the art..."

I've never heard of this guy, but I like most of the panels you posted. Some of the posing is awkward, but that first panel of Dazzler in her new outfit is terrific.

"Dazzler will go on from this issue to guest star in New Mutants #29, then Secret Wars II #1, then New Mutants #30 and #31, all before the next issue of her series."

Wait, she will? Why don't I remember her 3-part from my reading of the New Mutants Classic trades last year? Is that the story where she joins Lila's band? I guess I'll find out soon enough.

"Cyclops refers to his optic blast as his "uni beam", something it hasn't been called since the Silver Age, if ever"

Isn't that the beam that comes out of Iron Man's chest? I know this from spamming it over and over and over again in Marvel vs. Capcom and other associated games.

Anonymous said...

Human/Mutant Relations, AKA "Wolverine is a jerk!" Way to blame the victim, jackhole. Way to blame the person who took a huge personal and professional risk. I mean sure, it backfired hideously, but what were you doing at the time to make things better on a day to day basis?

Bernard the Poet said...

On Byrne’s own website, he has written that he hadn’t been keen to do an Alpha Flight series, but had been nagged into it by Marvel. I think it shows.

It is all a bit half-hearted – the villains were all one-note, the stories seemed to fizzle out without reaching a climax, endless pages were devoted to origins that were perfectly self-explanatory and the characters have so many personality disorders they were unable to function as competent superheroes.

As for Alpha Flight #17, it adds so little added value to X-Men #109 that I’m surprised you bothered to review it – it really is little more than a glorified reprint. I’m curious why Byrne chose to do it this way. Wolverine teaming up with the Alpha Flight would have been such a crowd-pleaser.

Teebore said...

@Matt: However, I wonder if fans at the time viewed this as more of Byrne "cutting corners" as in the case of the Snowbird issue

Good question. It's certainly not as egregious as the Snowbird issue (which is still kinda clever in its own way), and I suppose for some fans of that era, they may not have even fully realized where those reprinted pages came from (or, even if they did, may not have ever read them before).

Personally, I like Chasin better.

Me too.

I go with the former, as Byrne is a huge proponent of Marvel Time.

Ah, good point. I'd forgotten that he is indeed a big fan of the idea.

In fact, since Byrne designed the brown costume, I'm kind of surprised he didn't do such a thing.

And, Byrne certainly wasn't shy about addressing little details like that.

At any rate, I'm kind of surprised her series was still running in 1985

It went bi-monthly in the mid-20s, I think, so that definitely helped stretch out the run in terms of years published.

I'll be watching for these guys because I have no recollection of them whatsoever from X-Men.

They are in what is probably my least favorite Claremont-penned issue of the title ever, for what essentially reads like a protacted flashback to an unpublished issue of Dazzler.

I know Archie Goodwin is considered a good writer (though better known as an editor), but that exposition from Colossus is downright painful.

Agreed, but it becomes a lot funnier in you read it in a sing-songy, stereotypical Russian accent. :)

Is that the story where she joins Lila's band?

I think so (it's been awhile since I read them myself). It's the story that involves the gladiator arena from Beauty and the Beast (hence her involvement), which is what prompted me to read that interminable series.

Isn't that the beam that comes out of Iron Man's chest?

I think so, yeah. At least for awhile there (I have no idea what, if anything, it's called these days).

@Anonymous: Way to blame the victim, jackhole. Way to blame the person who took a huge personal and professional risk. I mean sure, it backfired hideously, but what were you doing at the time to make things better on a day to day basis?

Well said. The impression throughout the issue is that the X-Men pretty much think Wolverine's whole attitude towards Dazzler is BS, but it would have been nice if someone had explicitly called him on this aspect of it.

@Bernard the Poet: On Byrne’s own website, he has written that he hadn’t been keen to do an Alpha Flight series, but had been nagged into it by Marvel. I think it shows.

I've only read maybe the first dozen or so issues. I remember them being decent enough, though that was a long time ago and they obviously didn't make me reach for the next issue, which probably speaks to their overall quality.

As for Alpha Flight #17, it adds so little added value to X-Men #109 that I’m surprised you bothered to review it

Honestly, it benefited from the schedule: I wanted to try out this format for a "X-amining X-Men Elsewhere" post, featuring multiple standalone issues in one post that warrant a look but don't quite deserve to be reviewed on their own (a format I will probably return to occasionally and may adopt regularly for stuff like the non Claremont/Davis issues of Excalibur, or Wolverine's solo series).

This issue fits into the timeline around the same time as Dazzler #38, another issue I felt mildly compelled to review but also didn't think it merited its own post, so the timing worked out to cover both and give the new format a try (I found feeling compelled to only write a few sentences each for the plot summary and the actual review quite liberating). If either occurred at other times, forcing me to consider them for a post on their own, neither probably would have been covered.

Anonymous said...

@Matt,

Paul Chadwick did a comic called Concrete, about an ordinary man trapped in a monstrous Thing-like body. It's not a super-hero series, but Concrete goes on adventures and wrestles with moral dilemmas. There's a strong sense of environmentalism throughout.

The art is very well-done, with both lots of detail and strong cartooning. Chadwick's character writing is similarly good. The plotting isn't always tight, but I like the meandering and digressions. If you're of a mind to seek out the series, start with "Complete Short Stories 1986-1989." I think it's volume 1 of the most recent round of trades. Concrete is a unique, often thought-provoking series, and one I've enjoyed for years.

- Mike Loughlin

Matt said...

Teebore -- "They are in what is probably my least favorite Claremont-penned issue of the title ever, for what essentially reads like a protacted flashback to an unpublished issue of Dazzler."

Oh! Is that the issue immediately following "Fall of the Mutants", with the memorial statue cover? I think I've only read it once and skipped it in subsequent re-readings of Claremont's run. I believe it was plotted by Tom DeFalco, who was the first writer of Dazzler's ongoing series. I've always wondered if it was originally an inventory issue that Claremont re-scripted to maybe allow Marc Silvestri to catch up on deadlines after the big crossover. Based on your description, it sounds like maybe that was exactly the case -- probablly an inventory story meant for Dazzler's title, which would've been cancelled only a couple years before "Fall of the Mutants".

Bernard & Teebore -- "On Byrne’s own website, he has written that he hadn’t been keen to do an Alpha Flight series, but had been nagged into it by Marvel. I think it shows."

"I've only read maybe the first dozen or so issues. I remember them being decent enough, though that was a long time ago and they obviously didn't make me reach for the next issue, which probably speaks to their overall quality."

I had previously read the first dozen issues maybe eight years ago. I recently read the full run in the Alpha Flight Classic trades, and it does seem to drop off a bit after Guardian's death. Strangely, a lot of fans seem to love Byrne's Alpha Flight most of all his work, which I don't get. For one thing, it's painfully obvious that he was cutting corners on the art -- besides, the Snowbird issue and this one, I'm sure the oft-cited "no backgrounds" criticism must have originated here. That, at least, got better when Bob Wiacek became the series' inker.

I don't necessarily blame Byrne for the artistic decline, as he was spread thin at this time, writing, penciling, and inking Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight, plus providing covers for all sorts of assorted comics. I mean I guess he takes the blame for accepting all these assignments, but once he had them, something had to give. And it's clear the F.F. were his real babies, even if he didn't create them as he did Alpha Flight.

I will say though, that I liked his approach of having issues star only some members of the team, maybe one or two here and there, until some big crisis brought the entire group together (usually once a year or so). I've never read the subsequent Mantlo run (or really any run post Byrne), but I get the impression that neat little gimmick was dropped after Byrne left.

Mike L. -- "Paul Chadwick did a comic called Concrete, about an ordinary man trapped in a monstrous Thing-like body."

Thanks, Mike! I actually have heard of Concrete, but I knew nothing about the character or who his creator was. If I can find time when I dig my way out of the mountain of Marvel collected editions I've buried myself under, I'll look into this.

Teebore said...

@Mike: Wasn't Concrete also one of the first series Dark Horse published, and one that kind of put them on the map initially?

@Matt: Oh! Is that the issue immediately following "Fall of the Mutants", with the memorial statue cover?

That's the one. #228. Ugh.

Dr. Bitz said...

"Byrne sneaks in one more jab at the alien Fang costume Wolverine acquired in X-Men #107..."

Byrne has a way of coming off awfully petty.

@Bernard: "On Byrne’s own website, he has written that he hadn’t been keen to do an Alpha Flight series, but had been nagged into it by Marvel. I think it shows."

I'm surprised to hear that. I'd figure that since he created them he'd love to do a series. The more you know...

@Teeebore/Matt: "Isn't that the beam that comes out of Iron Man's chest?

I think so, yeah. At least for awhile there (I have no idea what, if anything, it's called these days). "

It's called the chestgasm.

Teebore said...

@Dr. Bitz: Byrne has a way of coming off awfully petty.

He really does. And while I think he can be petty at times, I don't know that's he actually as petty as he sometimes comes across.

It's called the chestgasm.

If it's not, it should be...

Blam said...


I doubt irony was on the guy's mind, but it bears mentioning that "big wig" is a strange slang term to use for Professor X. Kind-of like that time Xavier sneezed and Wolverine said, "Gee, Charley, I hope you don't got yourself walking pneumonia -- oh, hey, sorry 'bout that."

You're right on about the comparison between Byrne '84 and Byrne/Austin '77 art — that it was jarring and unflattering, albeit not as much so as a comparison to either one of present-day Byrne. I remember thinking, basically, "Why did Byrne do this to himself?" That said, Alpha Flight was foundering a bit yet still intriguing enough, and Wolverine at the time was still if not exactly underexposed then certainly not yet over exposed enough, that Logan's visit to Heather after James' death was quite welcome from a character/continuity perspective.

I've never heard of O.Z. Chase and Cerberus. The cover to this issue isn't even familiar. One the one hand I'm surprised I didn't pick it up given that I was still in the throes of my relative X-Men completism, but on the other hand you've just covered some minis that played a large part in making that completism relative. I will say that seeing the X-Men handled by creative teams outside of their native title(s) for some reason felt far more jarring to me at the time than analogous guest appearances of other characters. That's a testament to Claremont and Byrne then Cockrum then Smith then even Romita, I suppose, as with Wolfman and PĂ©rez on Titans over at DC, but this cover fairly screams to me "You're totally fine ignoring this 'cause it's not 'real' X-Men."

I was familiar with this costume of Dazzler's, both from seeing it on the racks, I guess, and because my cousins got me a Frank Cirocco print of her in it for my birthday or Chanukah one year. Even though she actually debuted in X-Men and is rather famously a mutant I have a hard time wrapping my head around her actually being a member of the team for some reason.

Can I just say how great it is to have old-school word verification back, by the way? Thank you, Blogger, and please don't let me have just jinxed this!

Blam said...


@Matt: However, I wonder if fans at the time viewed this as more of Byrne "cutting corners" as in the case of the Snowbird issue

Kind-of, yeah, to be honest, even though it was also a neat idea.

@Matt: Dazzler was living with the X-Men for weeks? I would've expected Claremont to at least pay this a little lip service in Uncanny at the time.

I thought the same thing. Even if he was against the outside usage of the X-Men in Dazzler I'd expect such a mention out of respect for Archie Goodwin or for continuity's sake or something — quality of execution aside, it's not as if the concept of Dazzler coming to Xavier's for training is antithetical in any way to the main narrative.

@Matt: I've never heard of this guy, but I like most of the panels you posted.

Really? Concrete is great stuff — it's an intriguingly cerebral take on an intelligent, somewhat nerdy, very human guy basically becoming The Thing in an otherwise normal world. You can get the first volume in the most recent series of collected editions from TFAW for a great price — the first three volumes for under $25, in fact, and there's usually a promotion going on or an online coupon to be had that'll get you free shipping for orders over $20 or $25. Chadwick's art doesn't lend itself to the most dynamic superhero stuff, but like many (yet certainly not all) writer/artists it's the perfect compliment to his own thoughtful scripts; he did a nice little Byrne-era Superman story in a DC Christmas with the Super-Heroes one-shot back in the day.

@Anonymous: Human/Mutant Relations, AKA "Wolverine is a jerk!"

"I'm the best there is at what I do. An' what I do isn't very nice. In fact it ain't nice at all. It's mean. What I'm saying is that what I do is be mean and I'm the best at it."

@Mike: It's not a super-hero series, but Concrete goes on adventures and wrestles with moral dilemmas. There's a strong sense of environmentalism throughout.

Well put. I'm happy to see another Concrete fan here. The Short Stories 1986-1989 volume was actually in the previous round of trades — there was that for the early DHP episodes and stuff, a similar volume for the longer stories from his own title, and then later ones collecting specific minis, but in the mid-2000s Dark Horse issued a new round of smaller collections. I linked to the first one, Concrete: Depths, above. I have no affiliation with Things from Another World outside of being a very satisfied customer.

@Matt: I've never read the subsequent Mantlo run (or really any run post Byrne), but I get the impression that neat little gimmick was dropped after Byrne left.

I stuck with Alpha Flight through all of Byrne, despite it being uneven, and actually enjoyed the start of the Mantlo/Mignola run after they and Byrne did the funky switcheroo with Hulk. While not exactly great stuff, I found the characters interesting and I was rapidly losing interest in most of the Marvel line.

@Teebore: Wasn't Concrete also one of the first series Dark Horse published, and one that kind of put them on the map initially?

It was. Really in the early days it was, like, Concrete, Dark Horse Presents (where Concrete debuted), and a comedy/parody title called Boris the Bear.

Teebore said...

@Blam: ...Logan's visit to Heather after James' death was quite welcome from a character/continuity perspective.

Definitely. It's the kind of thing you see far too little these days (like that time everyone thought Havok was dead and we never once got any reaction from Cyclops about it).

One the one hand I'm surprised I didn't pick it up given that I was still in the throes of my relative X-Men completism, but on the other hand you've just covered some minis that played a large part in making that completism relative.

Yeah, despite my completism (which, granted, came at a different time/method ie back issues), I'd never read this issue of Dazzler until I read it for this post, as it never seemed essential to me, either (and from the perspective of the X-Men, it's not).

I have a hard time wrapping my head around her actually being a member of the team for some reason.

Not surprising, given that her heyday on the team lands pretty squarely during an era that, as I understand it, occurred after you had pretty much checked out on the title.