Friday, November 21, 2014

What WAS the Comic Battle of the 20th Century? Part 9 - The X-Men vs. Alpha Flight (or maybe Loki).

Continuing my 12-part series reviewing comic books that claim The Battle/Fight/Bout/Showdown of the Century on their covers. Today's battle---

X-Men and Alpha Flight and Loki! Presented in X-Men and Alpha Flight #2, 1985.  Written by Chris Claremont. Art by Paul Smith. Inked by Bob Waicek & friends.

First things first, who is fighting whom? As with most Chris Claremont written X-Men books, there are lots of characters, dense dialog, and interweaving stories. I’ll summarize to the best of my humble ability.

As members of the X-Men and Alpha Flight investigate the disappearance of an airplane, which contained several of their friends, they discover a fantastic city near the Arctic Circle. Seen here in issue #1.

They discover their colleagues, alive and very well, inside the city, along with non-mutant humans. Here they all are, also from issue #1.

Do you know everybody? I don’t. I’m just here for the fight.

You may wonder why everyone is dressed so grandly. There is a “Firefountain” of magic that shoots up through a nearby mountain. This fountain can heal all pain while also giving everyone superpowers! With great power comes impractical costumes. Here’s Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor, who were on the downed plane and now live in this magical city.

You can tell how glorious this place is by the glorious shoulder pads that Madelyne wears. (Admittedly, it was the 80's.)

The Firefountain continues to grow. Eventually it will affect the entire world! Everyone will have superpowers! There will be no more prejudice against super-powered mutants and (bonus!) no more sickness!

But, uh-oh, here comes the curve ball. All magical beings are slowly being destroyed by the same effect that heals and powers everyone else. Check out Snowbird, who Wolverine discovers—

Egad. She's seen better days.

So here’s the rub—Is it worth ending the lives of a small percentage of the world’s population to give billions of people a near perfect life? Some of the X-Men and some of Alpha Flight think it’s worth the price. Other members think it’s not. Some want to extinguish the fountain, some do not. Here comes the fight!

It's team member against team member, husband against wife!

We only get about three pages of battle. Below is our most action packed one. They're fighting for the fate of the world!

Northstar and Talisman fly off to the mountain in an attempt to shut down the Firefountain.

They soon discover that not only does the fountain destroy magic folk, it also destroys the “inner magic” of ordinary people. It shuts off their imagination! No more creativity on the entire planet!  One of the humans seems to have known this, but it took him a while to crack.

When everyone finds out, they stop fighting. Suddenly Loki shows up!

It turns out that the people who already had superpowers won’t lose their ability to dream. Cyclops gives a pessimistic little speech.

Everyone fights Loki and his Frost Giants. Is THIS supposed to be the Battle of the Century? I’m not sure. We gets less than a page of action.

Suddenly the sky fills with… the gods of the gods?

I notice that Loki’s tongue is not colored.  Mistake, or does he have a silver tongue? He should.

Whatever the case, the silver-tongued devil had made some kind of deal with the big guys. In return Loki had to do, “A deed of goodness, a gift freely given.” The Firefountain was Loki’s gift to mankind, but he ended up fighting people to force them to take it! Oops.

Game over.

Hard to say. There were fights going on, but we spent much more time dealing with emotions and feelings and such. Ultimately, I would say, “No. It is not.”

As of 1985, the winner is still Superman vs. Spider-Man!

Come back Monday for Part 10! A double feature! Green Lantern vs Blue Beetle! Plus, Loco vs Pulverine! Whaaaat?