As a fairly new Canadian I came to this country eager to learn its customs and ways, to experience the Tim Hortons and the Stompin' Tom Connors, the poutine and the healthcare for myself. And for the most part Canadian culture is fairly explanatory; you've got your Anne of Green Gables over here and your Hockey Night In Canada over there. But sometimes I come across an artifact that that sparks nothing but utter confusion. When this artifact is a comic book? Time for us to go to work.

There's a lot going on here. Of course there's a Mountie, that's a given. The classic rock radio station bumper sticker is certainly a bold move. Putting your printer's business card on the cover, well, that's just a sign of a satisfied customer, isn't it? And winning Argos tickets - who wouldn't want to win Argos tickets? I mean, the Argos, right? What's that? You don't know what the Argos are? Well, there's this thing called the Canadian Football League. The field is bigger and the teams have more people and don't get paid as much as they do in the NFL, but they only get three downs. There, you're now qualified to do color commentary during the Grey Cup, which is like the Super Bowl.

By the way, this comic book is called "Floyd" and it's the third issue, so you know we're gonna get a clear and concise explanation of everything we missed in issues one and two, right? That's just good Canadian courtesy and common sense. As to who "Floyd" is, well, probably that Mountie, right?

Sorry! (That's another Canadian thing, saying "sorry" all the time.) Sorry, we're just gonna throw you into this, we're starting this comic with a computer screen and a guy in his bedroom looking at a computer screen. Are YOU in your bedroom right now? Looking at a computer screen? Maybe this is you! Or maybe it's Floyd.

There's something about a teenager sitting in his bedroom looking at fighter planes on the internet and making expert pronouncements to himself about the state of military grade aircraft engines that really captures a certain mansplainy segment of the user base. Do YOU have any answers, Alfred, whoever you are? Whoever this is? Floyd?

Usually when comics shift location and characters abruptly, we're given a "meanwhile" or a "not far away" or some other explanatory caption. Not this comic. Two guys - maybe one of them is Floyd - and a weird snake alien crash into a taxpayer funded swimming pool. Maybe the weird snake alien is Floyd?

I realize that many nations have problems with undocumented migrants, but is the solution really a one-armed three-mohawked guy in a wifebeater and exposed intestines?

Yeeeeaaaarrrrrgh. Yup, I'm gonna go with that so far. Yeeeeaaargh.

The little space alien apparently has a... is that its tail? Is that a tongue? It looks like it's coming out of his mouth. It's a tongue. It's pretty deadly! Maybe he IS Floyd after all.

We don't get a "meanwhile" but we get a "on the monorail bound for Ottawa," so there's that. Fun fact: there is actually not a monorail that goes to Ottawa. Mikey! That's the kid's name. We have a definite not-Floyd.

All the pieces are coming together! Mikey's off to Princess St, and a giant rock man alien reveals his pact with the government of Canada - represented here by a really weird caricature of then-current Prime Minister Brian Mulroney! That alien also drops a reference to the GST, a complex and controversial value-added-tax that people are still grumpy about. Also, it looks like one of the two guys that fell into the pool is named Sam. We're closing in on that Floyd.

Can confirm - it's a tongue.

Seeing as how this comic book is in some way connected to Y95 Classic Rock 95.3FM, I'm waiting for the station to somehow figure prominently somewhere in the story. So far, however, all we're getting are characters wearing promotional t-shirts advising us against drunk driving.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have confirmation that this weird looking guy with the sunglasses and some sort of retainer or mouth guard, he's Floyd. And he's taking a crouched stance, along with Officer No. 1690.

It occurs to me that Floyd could have taken Sam's advice and jumped into the pool, removing his heat signature from the missile's sensors. But when you can solve the problem with Alien Tongue, why not do it that way?

Oh look, a close up of whatever the hell is going on with Floyd's face. Thanks, comic!

You know what I don't want to see? I don't want to see where the plutonium is going. In fact, I want to go in the opposite direction. But not Mikey! He likes it!

Ten minutes in a box and Floyd is freaking out! Relax Floyd. Maybe listen to some rockin' classic rock hits on Y95, 95.3 FM.

I wonder if they're in outer space? Naw, they wouldn't do that. That would be silly.

On the other hand, now they can kill two pages with a big single outer space illustration. Who could resist that?

Last time I saw a scene like this, there were Ewoks around somewhere.

And the last time I saw a scene like THIS, somebody had previously intended to go into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.

Mulroney doesn't look anything like this, his speaking voice is reasonably normal, I don't know what they were thinking here with this characterization. Maybe they just really wanted to confuse readers. Maybe that was it.

I don't honestly know for sure whether or not Mulroney was generally considered a crook, or if he ever sold nuclear reactors to rock-like space aliens. I do know that his tenure in the PM's office is not fondly remembered.

Hey, remember the cover of this comic and how it promised us the glamour and excitement of some sort of futuristic Mountie on a space-age robot horse? When's that gonna happen?

Oh, here he is. I imagine this will be an amazing action-packed fight scene that will really take advantage of all the artistic techniques the graphic story medium can offer!

Nope, there's a robot and a blob and another blob and a whine and another yeeargh. Because, see, horses, even space-age robot horses, horses are hard to draw.

That's why they have to blow up as soon as possible and then everybody gets sucked into the vacuum of space, like in that movie with the cat and Sigorney Weaver.

Save the segmented space alien and the Future Mountie, Floyd! After all, the cover said you were kinda sorta a super hero!

I think we all knew that thing was going to pop sooner or later.

It occurs to me that space aliens from another galaxy with star travel and phased-array beam weapons and all that high-tech level eight science could just steal the reactors without having to go through all the nonsense about trading weapons to Canada, but then we wouldn't have a comic, would we? And wouldn't that be nice.

You see there's a lot of steel in the steel mills in Hamilton and magnets are attracted to steel and so if you wanted to just get to Hamilton really quickly, you'd take the QEW or maybe the GO train. Or you'd turn on your magnetic anchor beam, that's what we do sometimes.

This comic didn't have licensing permission to show Hamilton's most familiar landmark - which is of course Grandad's Donuts on James St. - so they just went with a rough map of the general Toronto/Hamilton/Buffalo area, in case you tourists are wondering what's on the other side of Niagara Falls.

Floyd gets to show off his strange, quasi-Ranxerox looks AND dodge the rock-alien as he, or it, crashes into and through the space pod and down into the depths of Atlantic Canada's coastline. I guess those cod really aren't coming back any time soon.

A get out of jail card from the RCMP, a nation free from the influence of hideous rock monsters, and a Floyd stranded in the middle of the ocean. It's a victory for all Canada! And if it's some real inner-circle deep-cut Canadian content you're looking for, well, here you go.

So these are caricatures of various Canadian political figures from the era. Kim Campbell was Canada's first (and only) female Prime Minister for about three minutes. Preston Manning started the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance party, which changed its name once people realized the initals spelled out CCRAP. Jean Chrétien was Prime Minister for ten years, and Robert Bourassa was Premier of Quebec for fifteen. The Rhinoceros Party was an actual satirical Canadian political party, and we have no clue about whoever "Ugly McNuthin" is supposed to be. I mean, we asked around. No clue. And since this is the mid 1990s, here's a Bill Clinton caricature wearing diapers for some reason.

How was all this supposed to get us to listen to Y95 Classic Rock 93.5FM? Absolutely no clue.

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