Alpha Flight is one of those long underappreciated super hero teams that usually just get the run-off of other people’s adventures. Though this team (as in this particular cast of characters) had their own series in the late 80s and early 90s, probably some X-men fans just remember them as being the team that Wolverine was a part of for a while. Marvel’s meal ticket has fought with (and sometimes against) them on numerous occasions. But Alpha Flight is more than just an ally of Wolverine. They are the premier Canadian super hero team, and with their eclectic group of characters, they are also an entertaining read!
Marvel has brought Alpha Flight back – (they were dead for a while, then brought back in that ‘let’s raise people from the dead’ stint during the Chaos War) – and given them their own run within the Fear Itself event. Alpha Flight #1 of 8 came out this week, and it is a great opportunity for new superhero fans to become more acquainted with this Canadian gang.
The plot isn’t exactly heavy in this first issue. Mostly the book acts as an introduction to the team, which is great for people who aren’t extremely familiar with this their last few years of history. Tidbits of catch-up information are sprinkled throughout an extremely long fight-scene with Attuma (the long-time enemy of Namor the Sub-Mariner*). Alpha Flight resists Attuma’s sea-powers in order to save Vancouver. This issue is meant to tie the re-forming team into the Fear Itself plot. The stress level of the characters and Canadian nation over the world-wide crises featured in this latest Marvel event are weaved into the action scenes. Surely the Fear Itself plot will be an increasing drive behind the heroic deeds of Alpha Flight.
The team consists of almost all of their original members of the early 1980s – Vidicator (Heather Hudson), Guardian (Mac Hudson), Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier, Aurora (Jeanne-Marie Beaubier), Sasquatch (Walkter Langkowski), Snowbird (Anne McKenzie), Shaman (Michael Twoyoungmen), and Marrina Smallwood. The writers, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, do a great job of inserting some defined personality traits of all of these many characters into this short introductory issue. I am hoping that this rate of character development will continue so that by issue #8 the entire team will be flushed out into 8 rich, individual super heroes.
Dale Eaglesham’s art is crisp and defined, though lacking depth. But then again, this isn’t exactly a deep comic book issue. It is fun and a little typical, but certainly worth the read. While I’m certainly not buying every Fear Itself issue that hits the stands, I like the idea of supporting Alpha Flight in particular. They are the one team/group of characters that haven’t been put through the ringer, over, under, and around every plot possibility, three times over like some of the big names. They can offer a refreshingly non-overdone point of view to the state of the Marvel Universe.
*You know the guy – the cocky Atlantean king. Pointy ears. Tiny fins on his ankles. Been around since about 1939.