Writer Bill Mantlo
Penciler Sal Buscema
Inker Gerry Talaoc
Letterer Jim Novak
Colorist Bob Sharen
Cover Dated April 1986
Cover by Mike Mignola
What is with the X-Men being in the shadows, but still identifiable – except for Kitty. That’s Mignola for you, he just doesn’t like drawing Kitty – I suppose.
One of the great bonuses to my collecting every appearance (and mention) of Kitty Pryde, Lockheed and Magik – is that I get several first appearances of other characters. I had no idea I owned this issue, which is the first appearance of Lady Deathstrike! I want to say it didn’t even cost that much, so I must have bought it prior to X2 – but I could be wrong. This isn’t Yuriko Oyama’s first appearance, that would be Daredevil 197, but she’s a better character once she gets the claws. She was in Dardevil issues 197, 198 and 199 before this issue.
Right now, at MileHighComics.com, you can buy Daredevil 197 (in Fine condition) for $11.70. The NM would be $31.50. Alpha Flight 33 in Near Mint condition is $40 and in Fine is $18. I would to say my copy must be in Good condition, as I try to not buy any comic that is in the double figures.
The issue opens with Heather Hudson in her dead husband’s old uniform, Guardian. This is before she takes on the codename of, Vindicator. He died in the famous 12th issue, as the footnote states.
People see her in the costume, as she flies overhead, and are confused by seeing a dead man.
Meanwhile, Marrina is under the water. She is in a monstrous form. She was turned into this state by The Master in issue 16. She is missing her lover, Namor. Attuma is chasing her in his ship.
Elsewhere, Snowbird isn’t feeling well. She is with a doctor. The deity that she gets her powers from is trying to take over her body.
We catch up, finally, to the other main members of Alpha Flight. The team is Madison Jeffries, Box, Auroa, Northstar and Puck. Good thing there are editorial notes, and that the characters overly explain themselves, as I would be a tad lost with what is happening in their lives.
The team is confused over Heather’s actions. Northstar can’t believe their leader would just abandon them. Aurora believes Heather is running towards something. Puck is conflicted as he is who Heather had asked for training and he turned her down, as he doesn’t want her to get hurt as he loves her. Apparently, everyone supports Puck and his decision to not help.
Then we get to the confusing part, or the part I’m sure Puck wishes we will keep forgetting about. Madison Jeffries is mad at Puck as Puck made the decision to keep the spirit of Black Razer inside his body, keeping him a dwarf but also giving him the ability to pounce around. I forget that is where his power comes from.
Box reveals that since he made the new Guardian costume, they can track Heather pretty easily. I would have lead with that.
Heather gets us to why I own this issue in the first place. She is heading towards the X-Mansion to see her old friend, Wolverine. As she approaches, the X-Men are heading out to catch one of Mozart’s operas. Rachel feels a disturbance in the (Phoenix) force. They notice someone is coming right at them. Wolverine shouts to not do anything.
So Magneto blasts Heather out of the sky. This upsets Wolverine. Storm also takes offense as Magneto is the leader of the New Mutants and she leads him as she is in charge of the X-Men.
I like how everyone knows that Guardian is dead. There must be a newsletter that is sent out to every hero, updating them with current status and villains they fight. Nightcrawler teleports into the sky and catches Heather. Vertical jumps exhaust Kurt but the suit prevents it (and Heather) to be teleported away. So Kurt teleports back to the ground, in pain and feeling silly for even trying to help.
On Storm’s demand, Rogue flies and catches Heather. Once on the ground, Wolverine takes Heather into his arms.
Kitty recognizes Heather. Colossus, of course, is confused why she is wearing her dead husband’s uniform. The idea of her inheriting is beyond him, I suppose. Magneto is confused why Heather would try to attack him, and Rachel is sweet enough to remind him that there was no attack. Magneto just knocks out anyone who attempts to get near him. Wolverine makes the excuse that Heather didn’t know that flying at the X-Men like a speeding bullet, wouldn’t be a good idea. Storm tells Wolverine to settle whatever this new situation is, the others have a show to see.
On a ship, the captain is upset that he doesn’t know what they are tracking. A voice tells him that he will learn when their target has learned. Also, the lady gives a warning –
We get to Lady Deathstrike! Moving from a Daredevil villain to becoming a Wolverine villain is quite the upgrade! I like how her basic character design that we know from the FOX Animated Series is there, she just loses the red sunglasses and lets her hair be shown more.
Which is pretty impressive that Sal Buscema got her design pretty much where it had to be and besides a recoloring and a few other details, its pretty much the same design. I guess one can say that one is Pre-Cybernetics and the other is Post-Cybernetics, and that can explain the change. Hopefully Buscema is the one who designed the outfit.
She’s in the next issues, 34 & 35, which I don’t own but then her next appearance is in Uncanny X-Men 205 – which I don’t own as it is expensive! Also, Kitty is only on the Character Box in the upper left corner, so it hasn’t been a high priority for me. In 205, is where she does get her cybernetics and Barry Windsor-Smith gives her the new look. From there, she appears in Uncanny X-Men 247, 248 and 249. I don’t own those as Kitty has been out of the title for some time, by that point.
I just looked and Mile High Comics has 205 for $15 in NM for the non-Newstand edition. I forget the exact differences but when it comes time to buying one or the other, I try to get the higher quality for the cheapest amount of money. That’s called, smart shopping! A Good condition of the Newsstand is $6 and Very Good is $9.60 whereas the non is $3 and $4.80. Near Mint Newsstand is $30. The non-Newsstand is also known as Direct Market. I believe one was more expensive than the other, as paper quality was important. One would think Direct Market would be in better condition, so that would be the one that is worth more but it isn’t.
That was a slight detour, let’s get back into the comic!
Back to our heroes. Heather wakes up as Wolverine is driving the two of them somewhere. He knows her husband is dead, and she has red hair, so he’s not going to be wasting no time!
Heather admits she handled the situation wrong and she should have called first. I’m like that, I don’t like having people just stop on by, just give me a call so I can put pants on.
Heather is there as she wants Wolverine to train her. Wolverine puts it all together, how she wanted to be a proper leader of Alpha Flight, how the team didn’t appreciate her as she has no field experience and calls her idea silly. Heather leaves the car, crying, as she’s a woman of the 80s? Maybe? Seems like a reaction the Heather I know not to make.
Wolverine catches up to her, as he’s Wolverine. He never said he wouldn’t teach her, it was just a silly idea. She wants help with the suit, which he has to tell her that she’s using the suit fine. Like, how is he suppose to know how the suit works? This one is built for a woman, so he can’t just don it and try it out and let her know what he has learn. He can teach her other skills though. She was there for him, so he will do the same for her. So we get a multi-page original story that we are all familiar with. Feral Wolverine comes out of the woods. Finds a nice cabin and goes in for a nap. Turns out that Heather and Mac Hudson are living in there, and they turn an animal into a man.
Mac tries to call Department H (that runs Alpha Flight) and goes off to their base after their phone doesn’t work. Heather is watching over Wolverine when he pops his claws and tears off the rope that was holding him down onto the bed.
The Hudsons were on their honeymoon, they opted for a Hunting Honeymoon, so Mac is gone on their first night. Instead, she got to spend it with Wolverine. I’m sure that’s something those two joke about and Mac has to grim and bear it.
Wolverine pops his claws and is shocked to see that they are metal, and Heather is shocked as well. This makes Wolverine go a tad crazy, which is completely understandable! Who has metal claws popping out of their hands and not know how they got there!?!
Heather walks over to a crying Wolverine and hugs him. Which brings us to the present.
Wolverine reveals that he stuck around, hoping Heather would leave her newly married husband. Once he realized he didn’t have a chance, he was out of there. Wolverine has decided to teach Heather how to use her powersuit.
Which is good as she is about to get some on the job training as Lady Deathstrike and her goons appear, as the issue ends.
The Checklist promotes these titles :
New Mutants 37, The New Mutants v The Beyonder, as Secret Wars II.
Amazing Spider-Man 274, Puma appears
Alpha Flight 32, Wolverine appears
Power Pack 20, New Mutants appear
Dazzler 42, Final Issue
Firestar 1, guest starring the New Mutants and the X-Men
Fantastic Four Index 4, covering issues 46 – 65
Official Handbook 4, Doctor Strange to Gee
Avengers 265, Secret Wars II crossover
X-Men 203, Secret Wars II crossover
Marvel Saga 4, mutant issue
Wonder Man 1, why bother?
Fantastic Four 266, Secret Wars II crossover
Spectacular Spider-Man 112, Black Cat returns
X-Factor 2, Beast is kidnapped
Secret Wars II 9, Final Issue
. . .
Happy 2015, Ya’ll!!!
I hope it has been safe and wonderful, thus far!