Friday, 18 September 2009

Only A Mother Could Love: Puck - He's Pucking Great...

I'm gonna play it straight and tell you guys something up front - I love Alpha Flight. That's right I said it, I love 'em and I'm not afraid to admit it. It was one of those great under-the-radar books Marvel was putting out in the 80s full of quirky characters and delightful madcap adventures. C'mon people a book about a Canadian super-team all being painfully polite to one another while kicking seven shades of shit out of dudes called Deadly Ernest and Scramble the Mixed Up Man - what's not to like.

Another thing Alpha Flight had was the greatest hairy, Canadian midget in all of comics. Nope I'm not talking Wolverine here people - I'm talking Puck. Sure he wore tiny blue short shorts and a vest with a big 'P' on the front (which we all know is the single, sure-fire way to make your costume the dopiest looking thing this side of Speedball - I'm looking at you Animal Man) but he still manages to be awesome. He was always my favorite Alphan.

Except for Sasquatch of course, but that's a gimme. He's basically a big furry version of the Incredible Hulk - nothing tops that!!

Anyway as I was saying Puck is great despite his fashion sense...and despite that fact that his super-power is basically to bounce around the place like a demented rubber ball. His taste in women has also got to go against him too. From the first issue of Alpha, dude had a thing for bespectacled bookworm and all-round ugg-mo Heather Hudson. She was snooty, pulled her hair back into the ugliest pony-tail in all the Marvel Universe and she dressed like a grandma but still poor old Puck couldn't get enough. Whenever she was around he went from cool, hairy, bouncing, Time-Bandit-looking super-hero to pussy, lovestruck loser. Dude has time-travelled to World War II with Wolverine and fought Lady Deathstrike, but with Heather he's reduced to 'official-glasses-catcher' anytime she feels like playing super-hero:
Uh Oh missed 'em. No pity-snuggles for Eugene tonight

I totally don't get it. He's on a team with fine-ass weather goddess Snowbird and wacky, sex-kitten Aurora for crying out loud - what is the little guy thinking?!

Hmmm Aurora, I'd forgotten about her. A skitso who is half repressed, perpetually terrified Catholic school girl and half a french, skimpy-costume sporting nymphomaniac. Screw Sasquatch (and she has) she's my favorite Alphan!

I digress, we were talking about Puck weren't we. So he's got no taste in women clothes or super-powers - what he does have makes up for all of that! Puck...has a secret origin - and it's the greatest secret origin since Iron Fist's magical kung-fu kingdom!

All is revealed in Alpha Flight #32. We learn that Puck wasn't always a bouncy midget in a dodgy jumpsuit. He started off life as a seven-foot tall, swashbuckling adventurer - Sinbad style. One day while he was out buckling some swash he found a magical black sword and inadvertently released the malevolent Razer - the evil spirit that was trapped within the blade. In order to stop Razer from using his scary black sword to somehow conquer the world Puck does the one thing he could think of to stop him.

Why he stabs himself in the head with the magical blade of course! Luckily this doesn't shish-kebab his brain like you'd think, instead it somehow sucks Razer's smoky ass into Puck's body thereby saving the world from a right good stabbing from a big black sword!

It turns out though that using your body as the prision for a giant evil ghost can have delibitating side effects. Like say never-ending chronic agony and significantly reduced physical stature!

That's right people, you heard me, Puck's dwarfism isn't due to some hereditary genetic condition or a bone growth disorder. Oh no nothing so pedestrian from the folks at Alpha Flight. Puck's dwarfism is caused by the big black smoky Arabian ghost living inside of him!
That Razer is a dude who knows how to dress

Alpha Flight #32 unloads this batshit insanity on us when Razer escapes from Pucks's body and starts wrecking up the joint. His suitably peeved team-mates demand to know why Puck barfed up a giant ghost bent on world domination and since 'because Heather was mean to me' didn't seem like a good enough explanation he had to tell them the whole sordid story.

The rest of the book (the part that isn't Heather bitching it up and Puck's Sinbad Adventures) is just Razer hacking up Box, Northstar and Aurora with his giant, ghostly, stature-reducing magic sword until Puck can pull himself together long enough to save the day. Of course being free of the blight of Razer, his body has reverted to its proper height and its proper age:
What's Papa Smurf Doing Here?

Once again the only thing Puck can come up with to save the day is some more own-head-stabbing and suck Razer's evil spirity ass back into himself. Sadly doing so will also reduce him back to a gnarled, pain-wracked dwarf robbing him of the chance to look the woman he loves in the eye as the man he should be.

Oh the pathos!

Yeah because Speccy McSnooty would be much more interested in him as a seven foot tall pensioner with muscles that would make Hulk Hogan cry. Right!

Why he didn't just ask his magical Alphan team-mates Shaman and Talisman to yank Razer out and stick him in the nearest magic lamp or something I'll never know.

Ooh Talisman. I forgot about her too. She's like a hot Canadian Doctor Strange with a bad attitude, daddy issues and the most awesome skirt slit in all of comics. She is my favorite Alphan!

Sorry, where was I. Oh yeah. Puck.....

...dude's possessed by a big Arabian ghost. Cool huh?
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