• The Odinson Takes a Look at Canada's Premier Super Team

    Greetings from the Odinson,

    They are Canada’s answer to the Avengers.  Touted as Canada’s premier super-team, Alpha Flight first made the scene during Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s legendary run on Marvel’s Merry Mutants in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #120-121.  Sent by the Canadian government to retrieve an AWOL Weapon X, Alpha Flight tangled with the Children of the Atom in a super-hero brawl for the ages.  Later, in Uncanny X-Men #139-140, members of Alpha Flight teamed up with Wolverine and Nightcrawler to corral the deadly man-beast known as the Wendigo.  Sasquatch also aided the Incredible Hulk against the Wendigo in a classic match-up of Marvel Monsters in Incredible Hulk #272.

    In 1983 these Canadian heroes from north of the border were given a chance to shine in their very own on-going series (see Alpha Flight [1983-1994 1st Series] #1-130).  Helmed by the capable hands of industry legend and creator John Byrne, this first series is highly under rated.  It introduced a couple of new members to the team - the tumbling Puck and the aquatic beauty, Marrina.  This series also introduced some Marvel mainstays like Wild Child, Lady Deathstrike, and the villainous Master of the World.  It embedded the team into Marvel Lore by giving it connections to Wolverine, the Sub-Mariner, and the Hulk.  The series kept its readers on their toes proving that in the dangerous business of super-heroics no one was safe.  Main characters frequently met their untimely ends throughout the series.  And Alpha Flight featured the first openly gay super hero in mainstream comics.  

    The original (and best) lineup was comprised of the monstrous Sasquatch, the mystical Shaman, the super-fast twins, Aurora and Northstar, the divine Snowbird, and their leader, Guardian. Guardian actually made his debut before the rest of the team in Uncanny X-Men #109 under the guise of Weapon Alpha.  Guardian is actually the scientist James Hudson, a Canadian contemporary for Hank Pym, and over the years it has been revealed that he has a history and longtime friendship with Wolverine.  

    Along the way, the team has been joined by many other colorful characters like Shaman’s daughter, the mystic known as Talisman.  The robotic Box added his mighty mechanical strength to the cause.  The saber-swinging Nemesis helped out the team in a particularly peculiar caper.  And, Hudson’s own wife, Jennifer, took command of the team as Vindicator after his seemingly untimely death in Alpha Flight #12.   

    There have been a few of less than stellar follow-up series like Alpha Flight (1997-1999 2nd Series) #1-20 and Alpha Flight (2004 3rd Series) #1-12.  Ultimately the team met an untimely end when it was murdered by the powerful force of nature known simply as the Collective in the pages of New Avengers.

    Omega Flight injected some new blood in the Canadian super-team.  U.S. Agent, Arachne, and Beta Ray Bill joined surviving Alphas – Talisman and Sasquatch – and the Collective – the man responsible for the deaths of the original team.  This first story arc was a fun romp of adrenaline-fueled action and adventure.  The team was forced to battle not only the blue collar villains of the Wrecking Crew, but they also had to face down possibly the team’s greatest adversaries from their past – The Great Beasts.

    Impossibly, the original members of Alpha Flight returned to the Marvel Universe in a solid effort by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente.  This tale of betrayal and triumph has ties to the Marvel event Fear Itself and tests the loyalties of the team members.    

    Throughout the years Alpha Flight has faced down The Great Beasts, the robotic Sentinels, the god of mischief Loki, and the Beyonder, a being of unimaginable power.  They have fought side-by-side with the Avengers to free the undersea Kingdom of Atlantis from the tyrannical rule of the warlord Attuma.   They fought the Asgardian Wars alongside their allies the X-Men and New Mutants.  They helped the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing save the world.  And they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Rom, greatest of the Spaceknights of Galador, on the frontlines of the Wraith War.  They ARE Canada’s premiere super team and if Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s First Family should ever fall, they are the Marvel Universe’s last line of defense against the forces of evil. 

    I leave thee with a fact not all of you may know…super star artist, co-founder of Image Comics, and current DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee made his triumphant professional debut as a comic book artist in the pages of Alpha Flight #51.

    This is Odinson bidding thee, farewell

    2 comments so far:

    #1) Jim W. - 9:22 AM, Nov 27, 2013

    You missed the greatest contribution of Canada, Calgary in particular, John Byrne.

    My son Keith, a teenager, now a grandfather, would go into Calgary’s only comic book store at that time called, Grandpa Takes A Trip, where John Byrne would be occasionally signing comic books.

    Enjoy your write ups each week.

    #2) Odinson - 9:23 AM, Nov 27, 2013

    Hey, Jim

    John Byrne is, without a doubt, a Modern Master and one of my favorites. Alpha Flight was definitely his baby. And where would the X-Men be today without his contributions. Plus, his runs on Fantastic Four and Superman are some of the best to date.

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