My previous couple of 'Only A Mother Could Love' posts have demonstrated that the beauty of Marvel's classic Alpha Flight series was in its insistence on using character concepts that are utterly absurd on paper but totally awesome in practise. Puck, Snowbird and Sasquatch are just the tip of the ice-berg. This is a series that boasts the angtsy, teenage, chick version of pigmentally challenged, mind-controlling Daredevil villain the Purple Man and a dude whose super-power is the ability to summon up a primordial blob, a caveman and a lanky nerd from the future.
But the issue we're going to talk about today, #31, shows that this absurb/awesome dichotomy extends beyond the Alphans themselves and into their rogues gallery as well.
Let me tell you Alpha Flight has one hell of a rogues gallery. From teeny-weeny, evil, super-genius Smart Alec to flesh puppeteer Scramble the Mixed-Up Man to the immortal, balding, decay-spewing Pestilence (who happens to be Snowbird's baby son possessed by the evil ghost of dead pirate).
As kickass as some of those guys may be, all of them pale in comparison beside the dude in the cosy sweater and metalhead armbands on that cover.
His name is Deadly Earnest.
Hell no I'm not kidding - his name is Deadly....Frickin....Earnest.
As if his name alone didn't blow your tiny minds, it's nothing compared to the snazzy sweater clad madness that lurks beyond that killer Mike Mignola cover.
It all begins, as so many classic stories do, with a big fat naked guy mugging a street punk for his clothes.
At Last The Origin Of Deadly Earnest's awesome sweater...
Once the naked sweater stealing is done it's revealed to us that when Deadly Earnest shows up in your story he doesn't just bring his 'touch of death' and keen fashion sense with him ...he brings his own friggin' mythos.
Dude is an ancient force of nature that can only be stopped by a magical sword which is weilded by his undying, snazzy red jumpsuit wearing nemesis...um...Nemeisis. Nemesis is cursed to walk the Earth forever wacking poor old Deadly E. everytime he ressurects himself and mugs some poor schmo for their threads.
Obviously all that death poking and thread stealing in downtown Montreal draws the attention of not just Nemesis but of Alpha Flight as well. Before you can say 'Canadian Super-Heroes Do It Better' the whole lot of them are fighting it up in a underground subway station.
Not My Arm! *
As you can see things begin to go downhill for poor Earnest pretty quickly when bouncy midget Puck gets his hands on the mystical Earnest-killing blade. Luckily for all of us Deadly...Frickin'...Earnest fans in the house that's not enough to put our boy down.
Is That All You Got You Pansy?
Not even chopping off his head can stop him. He takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Not only that but his severed head hits you with some smack-talk while his mutilated body wanders around hoping to stumble across you so it can pound your hairy midget ass into the ground.
That's the kind of commitment we like to see in our super-bad-guys....that and quality knitwear of course.
Unfortunately in the end mighty Deadly...Frickin'...Earnest is finally brought low when he gets a little bit...hit by a train.
Phew - I tell you people Bill Mantlo + Alpha Flight = good crazy.
If Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak's new upcoming Alpha Flight series captures even half of the brain-tingling madness that made these classic Alpha stories so great it'll be well worth a coupla bucks every month. **
* A sneaky little tip o' the hat to all the 'Freddy versus Jason' fans in our audience.....anybody? No? Just me then, okay - - moooving on
** I've got high hopes for the new AF series in this regard. After all it is being that it's co-written by the dude who came up with Pokerface!