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 convent 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 cool scenes of the team trying to literally tear Tundra down.
Especially neat is Sasquatch on the creature's 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 commandeer 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 Insert? Y - this issue was deliberately written to take place several years prior to its publication date.
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (10): show
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.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 21, 2012 9:41 PM
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.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 27, 2012 7:46 PM
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.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 16, 2013 5:01 PM
In the same issue, Byrne also stated that he wanted Wolverine as a permanent AF member, and created Puck as a substitute when he was refused as both were short and hairy.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 21, 2013 4:59 PM
For the life of me, I cannot figure out what Heather's t-shirt says. This will torment me for weeks to come.
Posted by: ParanoidObsessive | July 13, 2014 10:42 PM
It's clearer in the actual comic. "Where the heck is High River?"
Posted by: fnord12 | July 14, 2014 7:33 AM
I was never a big fan of Puck, but I gotta say, I love him taking down Walter.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 23, 2015 5:08 PM
On the text page Byrne noted Vindicator's similarity to Captain Canuck, which he explains was a coincidence. They both resemble a 60s cartoon hero called Super President. Assuming this aired in Canada, it could be Byrne and Captain Canuck's creators were subliminally influenced by his design.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | April 23, 2015 10:15 PM
When I was younger I always thought Namor was the father of Northstar and Aurora of Alpha Flight, even though there was no direct evidence of it. Mostly because of his appearance early into Alpha Flight's run before we got Northstar and Aurora's backstory. The elven ears and Jean-Paul's arrogance and black hair were all I ever needed to convince me he was their dad. I always figured they were Namor's children conceived during his amnesia. That leaves the question of who their mother was and if she was Quebecois what she was doing in New York and how soon after she returned?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | June 6, 2015 7:35 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|