Tuesday, May 10, 2022

This may fall under that 'rule of three' we mentioned a bit ago with King Conan #25: I have two copies of it nearby, and am pretty sure I have more. Although, like that King Conan, I didn't have this as a kid, either. From 1986, Alpha Flight #32, "Short Story!" Written by Bill Mantlo, pencils by John Bogdanove, inks by Gerry Talaoc. Cover by Mike Mignola.

Puck is dismayed when Heather Hudson shows up for a training session, wearing the uniform of her dead husband Guardian: although the Alphans had accepted her as leader and she'd been doing a good job, recent events had made her feel she had gotten as far as she could without powers or training. Supporting team members Bochs and Jeffries had salvaged the new suit from the impostor "Dark Guardian," Delphine Courteny; and now Heather wanted Puck to train her, make her a warrior. Puck feels inexperience and non-innate powers led to Guardian's death, and Heather was literally coming off a desk job to this; but he had his own problems: reoccurring bouts of unbearable pain, and his long unrequited love for Heather.
The suit's power seems to go to Heather's head, but even after losing her glasses, she's able to think quickly and deactivate her suit to dodge some missiles, and knew Puck would be there to catch her when she fell. He's mildly furious, but she doesn't want to let Alpha Flight go into danger without her. Bocks and Jeffries set Heather up with new glasses, but she now thinks she'll need to find someone else to train her and flies off. Privately, Bocks asks Puck why he won't, and Puck's answer is self-pitying, sexist, ableist...it checks a lot of boxes, and not in a good way. But it may be due in part to his pain, which is finally more than he can bear...or feel like he should bear. A demonic black smoke emerges from him, releasing Razer!
This wasn't quite three years into the series--Puck, and Marrina, were introduced in Alpha Flight #1--and I'm not sure if this was the first we've seen of Puck's origin, or if this all-new: I'm fairly sure it wasn't from his creator, John Byrne, though. Puck was actually in his seventies, and had originally been 6-foot-6. Living as a soldier of fortune and adventurer, he had attempted to steal the Black Blade of Bagdad in 1939, but had instead released the life-stealing demon: slashed with Razer's black blade, Puck had lost six inches of height, related to his life force being stolen. Puck had been around, though, and quickly realizes he could contain Razer inside himself, which works, but at the cost of three feet of height. That did leave him immortal, though. After a brief skirmish with Box, Aurora, and Northstar; Puck has to take Razer back inside him, returning to his shorter stature.

I don't think I love the backfill origin: it really makes Alpha's short hairy guy more like the X-Men's short, hairy guy. There are probably a few things you could do with Puck being around in the past; but I think he was more amoral at that point as well. 


Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Not sure what the deal on him is in regards if he's still housing that demon inside him, but you'd think he'd have bothered to ask Dr. Strange or someone like that to help him out eventually...right?

CalvinPitt said...

Mr. Morbid, that's a good point, especially since Puck's been around so long and seems to know a lot of people. Like, i wouldn't be surprised if he ran into the Ancient One a couple decades before Strange did while snooping around mystical temples for cool stuff.

I would swear I saw a Freedom Force story once (probably in Marvel Comics presents) where they were somewhere in the Middle East, and one of the members of the local superteam they met was the Black Razer, looking like he does in this comic (if maybe a little more corporeal.)

googum said...

I think I know who you were talking about, it was the back-up in the Kings of Pain X-Men/X-Force/New Warriors Annual crossover. I think he's on a panel here, even if I don't mention his name or anything. https://random-happenstance.blogspot.com/2021/06/blog-post_22.html