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Alpha Flight
Alpha.gif
Alpha Flight
Promotional art by John Byrne
Top row: Sasquatch
Middle row: Northstar, Snowbird, Shaman, Guardian, Aurora
Bottom row: Marrina, Puck
Group publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979)
Created by John Byrne
In-story information
Type of organization Team
Base(s) Parliament Hill
Tamarind Island
Maison Alpha
Department H
Roster
See: List of Alpha Flight members
Alpha Flight
Alphaflight1.jpg Cover to Alpha Flight (vol. 1) #1. Art by John Byrne
Series publication information
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date (vol. 1)
August 1983 – March 1994
(vol. 2)
August 1997 — March 1999
(vol. 3)
May 2004 — April 2005
Number of issues (vol. 1)
130, 2 annuals
(vol. 2)
20, 1 annual
(vol. 3)
12
Creative team
Writer(s) (vol. 1)
John Byrne (1-28)
Bill Mantlo (29-)
James Hudnall
Fabian Nicieza
Scott Lobdell
Simon Furman
(vol. 2)
Steven Seagle
(vol. 3)
Scott Lobdell
Artist(s) (vol. 1)
John Byrne (1-28)
Penciller(s) (vol. 1)
Michael Mignola (29-31, C 32-36)
Jon Bogdanove (32)
Sal Buscema (33-34)
Dave Ross (35-)
June Brigman
Steve Purcell
Terry Shoemaker
(vol. 2)
Scott Clark
(vol. 3)
Clayton Henry
Inker(s) (vol. 1)
Gerry Talaoc
Dave Ross
Whilce Portacio
Terry Austin
Steve Leialoha
Hilary Barta
(vol. 2)
Chris Carlson
(vol. 3)
Mark Morales
Letterer(s) (vol. 1)
Joe Rosen
Jim Novak
Ken Bruzenak
(vol. 2)
Albert Deschesne
Richard Starkings
(vol. 3)
Richard Starkings
Colorist(s) (vol. 1)
Andy Yanchus
Bob Sharen
Glynis Oliver
(vol. 2)
Lee Ann Garner
(vol. 3)
Avalon Studios
Creator(s) John Byrne
Editor(s) (vol. 1)
Denny O'Neil
Carl Potts
(vol. 2)
Jaye Gardner
(vol. 3)
Mike Marts
Stephanie Moore
Cory Sedlmeier
Collected editions
Alpha Flight Classic Volume 1 ISBN 0-7851-2746-1
Alpha Flight Classic Volume 2 ISBN 0-7851-3125-6
Alpha Flight Volume 1 ISBN 0-7851-1430-0
Alpha Flight Volume 2 ISBN 0-7851-1569-2

Alpha Flight is a fictional superhero team published by Marvel Comics, noteworthy for being one of the few Canadian superhero teams. Created by John Byrne, the team first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979).

Throughout most of its history, the team has worked for Department H, a fictitious branch of Canada’s Department of National Defence that deals with super-powered persons. Most team members have distinctly Canadian attributes, such as Inuit or First Nations heritage.

The team was originally merely a part of the back story of the X-Men’s Wolverine but, in 1983, Byrne launched an eponymous series featuring the group, which continued until 1994. Three short-lived revivals have been attempted since, the most recent titled Omega Flight, in April 2007.

Contents

Publication history

Volume 1

Though reluctant to take the job,[1] John Byrne wrote and drew the series for 28 issues before handing it off to another creative team. During that time, the series attracted fans with storylines that dealt with one or two characters at a time, seldom bringing all the members together. This unusual approach contrasted with other Marvel team series like the X-Men, the Avengers, or the Fantastic Four.

The initial makeup of Alpha Flight was pan-Canadian, including:

  • Guardian: Originally Weapon Alpha, then Vindicator, James MacDonald Hudson is a scientist from St. Thomas, Ontario who wears a suit of battle-armor allowing him to fly and manipulate Earth's magnetic field. Guardian is sometimes the team leader, and wears a stylized maple leaf flag on his costume.
  • Vindicator: Heather MacNeil is the wife of James Hudson. After Guardian's apparent death in Alpha Flight (vol. 1) #12, she takes his costume and becomes field leader of the team.
  • Marrina: An amphibious woman from Newfoundland, she was a former member of Beta Flight before joining Alpha Flight. She is actually part of an extraterrestrial invading force known as the Plodex.
  • Northstar: Jean-Paul Beaubier, from Montreal, is a mutant with powers of super-speed and light generation. He was the first openly homosexual superhero in the Marvel Universe. He eventually becomes a member of the X-Men.
  • Aurora: Jeanne-Marie Beaubier is Northstar's twin sister who suffers from disassociative identity disorder (multiple personalities). Like her brother, she is also a mutant with powers of super-speed, flight, light generation, and molecular acceleration.
  • Puck: Eugene Judd is a dwarf bouncer from Saskatoon with enhanced strength and extraordinary acrobatic abilities.
  • Sasquatch: Walter Langowski is a scientist from British Columbia who can transform into a giant fur-covered beast resembling a Sasquatch. This character originally developed his powers from a Hulk-inspired gamma radiation experiment that was affected by a solar-flare. Eventually, it was explained that Sasquatch is actually a mystical monster.
  • Shaman: Michael Twoyoungmen is a First Nations medicine man from Calgary. He is both a skilled doctor and sorcerer.
  • Snowbird: Also known as Narya, she is an Inuit demi-goddess from Yellowknife who can transform into animals of the north.

After Byrne left, the series was written by many others, including Bill Mantlo, James Hudnall, Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell & Simon Furman. It continued for 130 issues, introduced dozens of characters and villains (the most prominent of which were Talisman, Madison Jeffries, Box, Diamond Lil, Manikin, Persuasion, and Goblyn), and featured cross-overs with other characters in the Marvel universe. The series ended in 1994.

Volume 2

In 1997, Marvel restarted the series as a Volume 2, with largely different characters. The series was written by Steven Seagle, then known mainly for his work for DC Comics' Vertigo line, with art mostly by Scott Clark and Duncan Rouleau. One issue, #13, featured guest art by Ashley Wood in an unusually conventional style for him, but still very distinctive for a Marvel superhero comic. This series ended in 1999 after only twenty issues and an annual. The new additions to the roster included:

  • Flex: Adrian Corbo is a mutant with the ability to transform his limbs into sharp weapons. He is the half-brother of Radius.
  • Manbot: Bernie Lechenay is a human/Box robot cyborg.
  • Murmur: Arlette Truffaut is a young mutant from Quebec City with powers of mind-control and teleportation.
  • Radius: Jared Carbo is a mutant with the ability to create a force field.
  • General Clarke: Sinister new director of Department H, responsible for many of the dark plots surrounding the team. Gains some measure of redemption with his sacrifice in issue #12.

Returning members were Vindicator (Heather Hudson, with a new costume and new geothermal powers), a de-aged Guardian (who turned out to be a clone of the original James Hudson, set at age 19), and Puck. Sunfire was also briefly a member while looking for a cure to a crippling illness.

The focus of this series was on Department H's consistently hidden agenda and Alpha Flight's reluctance to comply thereto. The conspiracy plotline saw Weapon X allowing an incarnation of the Zodiac Cartel to kidnap Madison Jeffries, who was subsequently brainwashed into becoming the group's "Gemini". To keep the group from interfering with their "deal", Department H employed its own brainwashed onto the membership of the team into forgetting Jeffries' kidnapping. Also, Department H employed an actual sasquatch as the new team's version of Sasquatch, without telling the team that it was not Walter Langkowski as their teammate. Department H also arranged the kidnapping of Diamond Lil, another former Alpha Flight member and Madison Jeffries' wife, when she began to enquire about the location of her husband, with the intent on using her as a test subject for illegal medical experimentations.

Despite initial positive buzz, the series never took off and the conspiracy plotlines were downplayed for the remaining six issues of the series. The series itself ended with issue #20 with most of the major storylines (such as the identity of the younger version of Guardian) unresolved, until Wolverine V1 #140-142, when the plotline was resolved with the return of the real Guardian and the heroic sacrifice of the clone version.

Volume 3: "All-New, All-Different" Alpha Flight

In 2004, Marvel started a new volume of Alpha Flight, with the "All-New, All-Different" prefix and a more lighthearted feel.

The first six-issue story arc, which shows Sasquatch attempting to construct the new team, is called "You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me."

The new team recruited by Sasquatch includes:

  • Centennial: Rutherford B. Princeton III is a 97-year-old man whose mutant powers of superhuman strength, invulnerability, flight, and heat vision manifested after being awoken from a coma by Sasquatch.
  • Major Mapleleaf: Lou Sadler is the son of a World War II super-hero of the same name. He is secretly a normal human who rides a superpowered horse.
  • Nemesis: Amelia Weatherly is both an adversary and ally of the old Alpha Flight. She has the power of flight and is skilled with a magical blade.
  • Puck II: Zuzha Yu is the daughter of the original Puck. She has superhuman strength, speed, and agility.
  • Yukon Jack: Also known as Yukotujakzurjimozoata, he is a mysterious man from a primitive tribe, bought from his father by Sasquatch.

The second six-issue story arc, entitled "Waxing Poetic," saw the return of some original team members as both the original versions visited in the past, and temporal copies brought to the present. These members were Guardian, Vindicator, Puck, and Shaman.

The series was cancelled with issue #12 due to low sales.

Omega Flight

Sasquatch, Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman, Major Mapleleaf II, and both Pucks are attacked by a new villain, the Collective (inhabiting the body of U.S. postal worker Michael Pointer), in New Avengers #16. Pointer continues on to the United States, leaving their bodies in the Yukon Territory.

Though writer Brian Michael Bendis heavily implied the deaths of the above-mentioned roster of Alpha Flight at the hands of the Collective, later writers backpedaled from this sweeping declaration. Sasquatch resurfaced alive and well, with only Shaman and Guardian officially being acknowledged as being dead. Further complicating things is the status of the temporal doppelgangers from the above-mentioned third Alpha Flight series, were amongst the roster that fought the Collective.

The Alpha Flight title was relaunched as Omega Flight in April, 2007 as a five-issue mini-series.[2] The new series was written by Michael Avon Oeming and drawn by Scott Kolins. The current roster includes Beta Ray Bill, U.S. Agent, Arachne, Talisman, and Michael Pointer in a suit that resembles Guardian's uniform. Sasquatch appears as the group's recruiter and leader. Since the mini-series the team has remained active though has lost Beta Ray Bill, USAgent (joining Hank Pym's new Avengers team) and Pointer, now calling himself Weapon Omega, who has joined Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men.

Alternate versions

Ultimate Alpha Flight

Ultimate Alpha Flight debuted in Ultimate X-Men #94 with Vindicator, Shaman, Jubilee, Sunfire, Sasquatch, Snowbird and Aurora. The team ambushes the X-Men in the middle of a friendly baseball game. All of its members appear to use godlike powers; they easily managed to take down the X-Men and kidnap Northstar. It is later revealed by Wolverine, who apparently has a history with them, that they used a drug called Banshee to enhance their abilities, making them more powerful than normal mutants. Vindicator claims that Alpha Flight is the first internationally sanctioned mutant team made powerful enough to take on any "considerable" threats such as the Liberators, the Brotherhood, and the Ultimates, as Vindicator sees the latter as loyal only to America and Alpha Flight to the world. They are defeated by Colossus's team of X-Men, who were also being powered by Banshee.

Marvel Adventures

In issue #4 of Marvel Adventures Iron Man, Tony Stark travels to Nunavut to try and find his father Howard. As he is flying through a series of mountains, he is attacked by Alpha Flight after Northstar and Aurora mistake him for a training robot built by Guardian. After the real drone appears, Sasquatch and Guardian make some hasty apologies before Iron Man continues on his mission. Later in the issue, Alpha Flight aids Iron Man in a battle against the Living Laser.

Marvel Zombies

A zombified version of Alpha Flight, consisting of Guardian, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck and Snowbird, appeared in the first issue of Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, attacking the X-Men at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters, and killing Professor X in the process. They are later killed by Magneto, who uses his powers to make various metallic objects pierce their brains.

Spider-Ham

In a back up story, appeared the Awful Flight.

Notable villains

Alpha Flight has fought many criminals and malevolent entities. Many were unique to them as they were based in Canada. Notable examples include:

Biography

  • Alpha Flight Vol. 1 #1-130, Annual #1-2, Special Vol. 1 #1-4
  • Alpha Flight Vol. 2 #1-20, Alpha Flight/Inhuman Annual ’98, Spcial Vol. 2 #1
  • Alpha Flight Vol. 3 #1-12
  • Omega Flight #1-5
  • Marvel Comics Presents Vol. 2 #1-12

Collected editions

Their appearances have been collected into a number of trade paperbacks:

  • Alpha Flight Classic:
    • Volume 1 (collects Alpha Flight (vol. 1) #1-8, 224 pages, April 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2746-1)
    • Volume 2 (collects Alpha Flight (vol. 1) #9-16, 208 pages, August 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3125-6)
  • Alpha Flight:
    • Volume 1: You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me (collects Alpha Flight (vol. 3) #1-6, 136 pages, December 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1430-0)
    • Volume 2: Waxing Poetic (collects Alpha Flight (vol. 3) #7-12, 144 pages, April 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1569-2)
  • Omega Flight Volume 1: Alpha to Omega (collects Omega Flight #1-5, 128 pages, November 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2441-1)
  • Weapon Omega Volume 1 (collects material from Marvel Comics Presents (vol. 2) #1-12, 128 pages, November 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3415-8)

Other media

Television

  • Alpha Flight appeared in the X-Men episode "Repo Man." It consists of Vindicator (Mac Hudson, who had renamed himself Guardian in the comics), Puck, Snowbird, Shaman, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, and Dr. Heather Hudson. The episode's story is similar to Guardian's first comics appearance (as Weapon Alpha) in Uncanny X-Men #109, though in the comics story, Weapon Alpha went after Wolverine solo. Vindicator and the Canadian Alpha Flight capture Wolverine. Department H demanded their project back. Either he rejoins their team or they repossess his indestructible, adamantium skeleton. Puck and Snowbird spied on the attempted adamantium-removal experiment and informed the other members. After a fierce fight between Alpha Flight and Department H's security androids, Wolverine warns the Alpha Flight members that if any of them try to seek him out, all bets are off.

See also

Notes

References

External links








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