Alpha Flight #1
Issue(s): Alpha Flight #1
As he contemplates the team's break-up, he also considers the fate of Beta and Gamma flight. We get a brief glimpse at the team. Beta is relatively well fleshed out from a design perspective. The Gamma team are wearing matching costumes and it's hard to determine much about them, although their simple designs and even postures do match up nicely with their eventual powers and personalities.
Byrne has said that during when writing this issue he hadn't really developed these characters at all yet:
Beta and Gamma teams appeared as single panel shots each in the first issue of ALPHA FLIGHT. I had no idea who those people were! As the series progressed, and I wanted to bring in more characters, I went back to those two panels and started thinking about who they were.
Vindicator returns home...
...just in time to receive a call from his former government liaison Gary Cody, alerting him to a disturbance in the north. Vindicator heads off to investigate alone, but his wife Heather Hudson heads into his secret office to summon the rest of the team, including the two newest members who had been promoted from Beta Flight right before the programs were cancelled.
Meanwhile we get a glimpse into Shaman's day job as a doctor, and a meeting between Northstar and Aurora at the covenant that she works at.
Aurora, in her civilian persona Jean-Marie Beaubier, is quite repressed. Possibly psychotically so; she passes out when her brother forces her to let her hair down and look in the mirror.
We also learn that Northstar is a famous ski champion, and that he uses his speed powers to "cheat" (he doesn't consider it cheating since it's a natural ability).
The disturbance that Guardian is responding to relates to a man that has sacrificed himself to summon a giant sentient lump of Earth called Tundra.
Snowbird is already on the scene, listing Tundra as one of the ancient enemies of her godly lineage.
Eventually the rest of the team shows up as well, and there's a bunch of really cools scenes of the team trying to literally tear Tundra down.
Especially neat is Sasquatch on the creatures back, pulling huge chunks of its earthy body away.
Still, the team isn't able to make much headway until the new team member, the aquatic Marrina, arrives in a giant water-spout, which Shaman is able to utilize to erode Tundra away.
Meanwhile, the remaining new member, the acrobatic dwarf named Puck, has been struggling to join the rest of his team members. He tries to commander a ride from the Air Force, but is laughed away.
Finally, much later, he arrives at the Hudson household in time to hear that the team will remain together and for him to ensure that the name of the team remains Alpha Flight ("Hey, I busted my buns to be in Alpha Flight. I wanna be in Alpha Flight!").
Byrne has said that he really wasn't all that interested in creating a book about these characters, but he sure seems to have put a lot of effort into it.
This book is full of fantastic art (and it should be noted that he's inking himself) and terrific characterization, as well as what feels like a lot of set-up for plots that would indicate some long-term planning, even if based on more recent statements he was really just winging it.
There is a nice editorial on the back page by John Byrne providing what feels like a lot more truthful behind the scenes information than we usually get. Some interesting tidbits:
'So big, so fast' alert: Getting repelled by Tundra, Sasquatch thinks: "I didn't even see that swing coming! How can something so big move so fast...?"
Quality Rating: A-
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the note above regarding placement in relation to Uncanny X-Men #140, which is way prior to this issue's publication date.
Continuity Implant? Y - this issue was deliberately written to take place several years prior to its publication date.
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (4): show
Aurora, Dan Smallwood, Gary Cody, Guardian, Marrina, Northstar, Puck, Richard Easton, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Tundra, Vindicator
Alpha Flight was first announced in late summer 1982 as a mini-series. At the same time, Byrne was announced as working on a Fantastic Four graphic novel; it never came out.
Later on, this book(and the New Mutants) were announced as bimonthlies. That obviously changed, but #1 was intentionally delayed for a couple months to better sync-up with the Fantastic Four crossover.
When this was previewed in Amazing Heroes#22, Byrne specifically said that Puck had no super powers and would receive no origin because of it.
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