One of the super-teams I’ve always liked has been Alpha Flight from Marvel. I enjoy finding out about various cultures from comics, and Alpha Flight helped me begin to understand our neighbors to the North.
They’ve been through various incarnations, but none of them were as engaging as that initial group drawn by John Byrne.
Now Marvel has brought back the original AF team, and the creative team is from Canada!
ABOUT ALPHA FLIGHT
Here are important parts of the recent news release from Marvel about the book:
This September, the Marvel Universe’s most captivating Canadian crew comes back in ALPHA FLIGHT: TRUE NORTH #1!
And—brace yourselves, committed connoisseurs of the Commonwealth—the entire creative team is composed of cunning and cuddly Canucks! Written by clever creatives Jim Zub, Jed MacKay, and Ed Brisson, the comic has art crafted by co-conspirators Max Dunbar, Djibril Morissette-Phan, and Scott Hepburn with a kinetic cover by compatriot Nick Bradshaw!
Featuring three brand-new tales no one has ever told before, ALPHA FLIGHT: TRUE NORTH #1 sees Canada’s greatest creators unearth the secret history of squad stalwarts Puck, Snowbird, Talisman, Northstar, Marrina, Guardian, and Vindicator!<<
Chris Robinson, the editor (who is not Canadian), said, “To celebrate the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Championship, we’re bringing back the greatest of the Great White North, Canada’s premiere super-team Alpha Flight! And we’ve assembled a super-team of Canadian talent behind the scenes for extra authenticity. Trust me, these guys are going deep into the Deparment H files to tie-up those loose Alpha Flight story threads that have been keeping you all up at night. You wanted dip with the chips? Here it is!
Here’s some background on the team from Wikipedia:
Created by writer and artist John Byrne, the team first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979).
Most team members have distinctly Canadian attributes, such as having Inuit or First Nations heritage. Throughout most of its history, the team has worked for Department H, a fictional branch of Canada’s Department of National Defence that deals with super-powered villains.
The team was originally merely a part of the backstory of the X-Men’s Wolverine but, in 1983, Marvel launched an eponymous series featuring the group, which continued until 1994, lasting 130 issues as well as annuals and miniseries. Three short-lived revivals have been attempted since, most recently an eight-issue limited series in 2011–12, after the resurrection of the team in the one shot comic Chaos War: Alpha Flight during the Chaos War event.
There have been several groupings of Alpha Flight, but they never lasted very long.
Team books have often been groups have been centered around one concept. An example is the Teen Titans, based on a specific age group. Also, Justice League used to end with the words “of America,” so there are many examples of teams having a single focus.
Alpha Flight was such a group, with the nation of Canada being its focus. Personally, I never could understand things like powers that wouldn’t work outside the nation’s limits, but this is a comic, so I roll with those kinds of things. It’s also fun to have people from that nation working on the title!
I always liked Snowbird and Vindicator best. Snowbird was just a cool concept, but Vindicator wore a costume that resembled the flag of Canada. Eventually, Vindicator was replaced by his wife, and that was when I started noticing things falling apart.
Puck was kind of the group’s Wolverine, even short as the latter was at the beginning of his existence. I don’t remember him being as smelly as Wolverine was in those days, though.
I know that the New Teen Titans was an update on the original group, and it turned into a success, but that doesn’t mean the same thing works all the time. For example, when Dan Jurgens took over the Titans, he introduced many new members, all of which have since faded away. Lightning didn’t strike twice.
So I’m happy that Marvel is returning Alpha Flight to their roots instead of yet another garbled attempt at making the basic concept work. I hope it will lead to more of this group coming back. After all, if you want to make a team with mostly new members, I think you should start off with a new group. To me, that’s a duhhhh!
MORE GROUPS RETURNING?
Around the era of New Teen Titans and Uncanny X-Men, teams were all the rage. Since then, the focus in comics has been more on individual characters, from Batman to Spider-Man, even though they often work with others.
If Alpha Flight takes off, there are several teams that I’d like to see come back. Those include The Elementals from Bill Willingham and the aforementioned Teen Titans from Dan Jurgens.
We’ve already seen The Outsiders return, and the JSA is on the way back, so this could be a new team era!