Heroic Age: Heroes #1
Note: Despite the really big “Super Heroes” title on the cover, the inidicia drops the “Super”, and just leaves “Heroes”. A counterpart issue, “Villians” is solicited at the end, so it makes sense.
This files-type handbook as narrated by Captain America, who recently took over as official head honcho of all superheroes, contains 64 pages of entries in the form of note cards for various heroic characters and teams in the Marvel Universe. Written from the standpoint of a New Age “moment of clarity” as explained in the trippy introductory page, it gives a brief summary of each character, along with an comment about how the character could or couldn’t be used as a potential ally or Avenger. Aurora, Northstar, Sasquatch, Snowbird and Talisman have 1/3pg entries.
The format of the entries is a small inset picture, usually a head shot, then a listing of “Affiliations” and “Status” followed by a short set of comments. Pros and Cons are listed for each entry right above a Power Grid, a bizarre new power rating system based on heroic attributes (altruism, conscience, courage, etc.). Since most of the heroes are pretty much good guys, they all score 8s, 9s and 10s, with the exception of a few oddballs. The writers pulled off an excellent job with these entries, having only a few paragraphs to summarize entire characters, give recent info and Cap’s opinion about their suitability to join forces with him. You can tell they had a lot of fun with this one, as some of the “Cons” listed for certain characters are snarkily honest as described previously.
Each of the entries for Alpha Flight are very nicely done, factually correct, well-balanced, and sounding likely what Steve Rogers might say about them. One particularly amusing detail is in Aurora’s entry, where one of her Cons is:
usually operates under jurisdiction of the Canadian government
which at first might just be a comment on how she is outside of Captain America’s jurisdiction, until you look at what it says for other foreign nationals:
operates under jurisdiction of a foreign government
and no other foreign nationals have their country named in this manner, as if to say that working with the Canadian government is a singularly vexing Con.
Northstar’s entry has an inset image taken from the same panel of the X-Men Annual (2007) as Aurora’s, and Cap flat out says he could make a “very talented Avenger” which is an interesting comment, but unlikely to happen any time soon.
Sasquatch’s entry has an inset image taken from the cover of Alpha Flight v3 #10 and also suggests that Captain America will be “reaching out to [him] as a potential ally”, but how and where this would occur isn’t known. Strangely, he doesn’t mention “Walter Langkowski” by name, which is just as good because it would likely be misspelled, anyway.
Snowbird’s entry has an inset image taken from her 8pp story in Marvel Heartbreakers #1 and reveals more explicitly about the ending of her second marriage, mentioning the unfortunate events of New Avengers #16 where several Alphans were killed, “the stress of which caused her marriage to self-proclaimed demigod Yukon Jack to fall apart.”
Talisman’s entry has an inset image taken from the cover of Omega Flight #1 and makes a particular point to refer to her tribe as Tsuu T’ina, but also as Sarcee, the deprecated Blackfoot term. Unfortunately, her power is only listed as 8/10, which really ought to be higher if Captain America had more experience working with her.
The individual Alpha Flight members listed have had less association with the Avengers than some others, and most all of them are dead: Gary Cody from Avengers #249; Roger Bochs from Avengers #272; Marrina from Avengers #282-293; Puck, Heather, Diamond Lil and Shaman from Avengers #320-324; all dead! Notably missing from this issue is Madison Jeffries who appeared in the Crossing Line story arc in the Box armor. Why Aurora and Northstar were listed but not Jeffries is puzzling, as Jeffries has had about the same interaction with the Avengers as the twins, and they were all active X-Men members at the time of publication. Otherwise, five surviving members of Alpha Flight did make it onto Captain America’s radar, a very nice showing in an enjoyable handbook.