January 10, 2015

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A tale of a fateful trip to the South China Sea

January 7, 2015

xmen25coverX-Men #25
Apr 2012

The X-Men team that we saw two issues ago in X-Men #23, consisting of Storm, Domino, Colossus, Psylocke and Warpath continue to search for Jubilee, their missing teammate who got lost in the scrum during the battle with the Sentinels. Just to brag, it should be noted that Madison Jeffries completely saved an entire country in that issue. Now finding themselves in Siberia, the trail runs cold on finding their vampire friend. Oh, Jubilee became a vampire back in X-Men #1, the first issue in this series at the beginning of the Curse of the Mutants arc. Madison Jeffries appears while remaining back at Utopia, the island headquarters of Cyclops’ X-Men, as a regular member of the Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

First appearing as a speech bubble, he is shown sitting in the same high-tech operations command center where we saw him last, surrounded by glowing floating screens and gadgets. He explains to Storm, using some wandering technobabble, that he’s just discovered where Jubilee might be.


Unfortunately, the explanation loses both Storm and the reader, because it really doesn’t make any sense. However, Victor Gischler does correct himself nicely in this scene. Back in Gischler’s X-Men #4 at the height of the Curse of the Mutants arc, Jeffries used Cerebra to detect “vampire DNA,” which isn’t how it works. Vampires are creatures of the undead, not genetic variants. In this issue, Gischler got it right when he has Jeffries explain:

“Cerebra tracks mutants by DNA. But vampires aren’t vampires because of DNA. It’s more complicated than that. More nurture than nature, if that makes sense.”

Yes, it makes a lot more sense!

Jeffries then directs the team to the South China Sea, giving the map coordinates to find Jubilee. Of course, he’s right, because he’s awesome, and they find her.

I've reconfigured Cerebra to detect Psylocke's butt

I’ve reconfigured Cerebra to detect Psylocke’s butt

Inexplicably, the top panel shows Madison’s hands over a touchscreen map of… Kosovo? If you squint, you can see some of the town names on the map, indicating a region near the southern border with Macedonia. Kosovo is kind of far from Siberia and even further from the South China Sea, but maybe the computer was just scanning around at the time.

Victor Gischler’s version of Madison Jeffries is more of a super smart code jockey techno-expert than a transmutator of machinery. He feels just as comfortable sitting in a high-tech operations command center programming Cerebra as he is building a contraption in a machine shop. It’s hard to believe that this issue was released at the same time as the five-issue X-Club series (between issues 3 and 4), where Simon Spurrier’s version of Jeffries was a spaced-out, rough-talking bumbler. It also isn’t clear if Jeffries used his powers in this issue. It’s possible that he had an enhanced mental connection with Cerebra as a natural extension of his techno-powers, but he’s just so damn smart in this issue that it’s hard to tell.

One note on the technobabble: Jeffries inadvertently drops a reference to Gilligan’s Island when he says, “There aren’t groupings of Adenine and Thymine and the rest to trace.” Adenine and Thymine are two of the four building blocks of DNA. The other two are Guanine and Cytosine. It seems so odd to refer to them as “and the rest.” It’s highly reminiscent of the way the Professor and Mary Ann were referred to as “and the rest” in the first season theme song of Gilligan’s Island.

The Professor and Mary Ann approve!

The Professor and Mary Ann approve!

The most expensive dust jacket you’ll ever buy

January 5, 2015

AoAOmnibuscoverX-Men: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus

Note: There is no month of publication indicated, but came out on 2/22/12. Other books that came out on that date carried a publication month of April.

Usually, collected editions aren’t covered on this blog, which you know from reading the F.A.Q. This is mainly because they don’t usually contain new material, but also because I generally don’t collect them, having already bought the floppies. But there are some exceptions.

The massive Age of Apocalypse storyline had already been collected in a four volume TPB, and collected further in a Prelude TPB containing introductory matter, which might or might not count, depending on how much of a completest you are. The “X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse Epic” published in 2006 and the Prelude TPB published in 2011 had its problems, including missing pages, missing dialogue, problems with the read order and particularly poor quality paper in the Prelude. The Ombnibus, an elephantine 1,047 page tome weighing in at 7.2 lbs (that’s 3.27 kg for you metric folks), corrected these errors and limited the contents to the relevant portions of the introductory matter. The remaining material, which numbered a measly 992 pages, would later be published in a second Omnibus in 2014.

So if it’s just a big hardcover of Age of Apocalypse (AoA) material, why does it warrant its own entry? The answer is that the cover art on the dust jacket is a new image by Billy Tan, featuring AoA Wild Child. Here’s the image, which had been floating around as a solicit for a while before the book came out:


The only way you could get this image in print was to shell out a whopping $125 cover price – essentially buying a really expensive dust jacket. Marvel did release this same image as a poster for a more reasonable $8.99 in November 2011, but posters don’t count. Your $125 dust jacket also has on the back a grid of miniaturized cover art of the issues contained within, including:

  • X-Men: Alpha wraparound cover with AoA Wild Child
  • Astonishing X-Men with AoA Wild Child
  • Factor X #1 with AoA Northstar and AoA Aurora
  • Astonishing X-Men #4 with AoA Wild Child
  • X-Men: Omega wraparound cover with AoA Wild Child
  • and the Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen wraparound cover with AoA Northstar, AoA Aurora and the very tips of AoA Wild Child’s claws.


Besides the dust jacket, you still get a lot of Alpha Flight in this Omnibus. The Alpha Flight related content includes the expected AoA appearances of AoA Wild child, AoA Box, AoA Northstar and AoA Aurora as well as some bonus intro and outro material:

  • a 2pg spread of the X-Men: Alpha wraparound cover with AoA Wild Child with most of the trade dress and background elements removed, replaced with clean white on the intro pages before the Table of Contents
  • the 2pg Dennis Calero pinup with AoA Wild Child (which can be found in the 2nd printings of the #1 issues)
  • the X-Facts page that preceded the event, with AoA Wild Child shown on the cover of X-Men: Alpha
  • the X-Facts page from Apr 1995 with AoA Wild Child in art taken from the cover of X-Men: Omega
  • the kinda hard to see, um, actually barely discernable Ultimate edition covers which are gold embossed and just didn’t reproduce well, but still you can see AoA Wild Child on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #1 as well as AoA Northstar and AoA Aurora on the cover of Factor X #1.
  • the Omnibus ends with a full page reproduction of the Billy Tan poster without trade dress.

For two interesting posts on the marvelmasterworksfansite by Jeph York about how and why this Omnibus came about and what’s in it and what’s not in it, and why:

Note: this issue has a DM variant cover with art by Joe Madureira taken from the wraparound cover of X-Men: Alpha, also with AoA Wild Child, so he got onto both dust jackets. Since the variant also has the Billy Tan poster printed as outro material, it is required for Alpha Flight Collectors to own both.

AoAOmnibusDMvariantcover Age of Apocalypse Omnibus – DM variant

Sasquatch is “Officially” not a wolf

January 4, 2015

oittmuwpgr7coverWolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #7
Apr 2012

Note: Despite being clearly printed on the cover, “Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Wolverine & Punisher” is not the actual title of this series. The indicia reveals it reversed as above. Oddly, the Ghost Rider indexing ended as of last issue and is dropped from the cover, but the indicia remains unchanged.

The Official Index to the Marvel Universe, or OITTMU, continues in its third incarnation by covering various Wolverine and Punisher series. The first two incarnations covered Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, Thor, and Captain America. The index contains detailed synopses of individual comics, including all of the relevant data pertaining to the comic as well as a thumbnail of the cover art, 2 issues per page (roughly). Northstar appears in this issue in reprinted art from the cover of Wolverine #28 (Dec 2004).

The section on Wolverine titles starts from Wolverine #21 (the third series, a.k.a. the one that started in 2003) and ends at Wolverine Chop Shop (Jan 2009). Alpha Flight members appear in issues #25-28, #30-31, #53-56, and the index fully notes their appearances. Out of those issues, there’s only one cover appearance for Alpha Flight.

Wolverine #28 Brainwashed, evil Northstar appears on the cover

Wolverine #28 Brainwashed, evil Northstar appears on the cover

Northstar had been resurrected sometime off-panel in Wolverine #26, so this cover wasn’t such a surprise when it was finally published. The solicits for this issue were made available around the same time issue #26 came out. So as not to spoil Northstar’s return, the solicited cover image for Wolverine #28 censored his identity in silhouette and the solicited text read, “With friends like these… who needs enemies? Hydra hits close to home in more ways than one, leaving a rehabilitated Wolverine to face off against a brainwashed, evil former X-Man.”

Wolverine #28 The spoiler-free solicit originally showed Northstar obscured in shadow

Wolverine #28 The spoiler-free solicit originally showed Northstar obscured in shadow

Wolverine #53 introduced the notion that Sasquatch is of lupine descent. This is a known error by Jeph Loeb – and the index accurately states:

“… also shows a picture of Sasquatch while listing Lupine-like mutations, but Sasquatch’s powers are magical and derive from the Great Beast Tanaraq.”

So for the Alpha Flight fans who have been understandably frustrated by this error, the index firmly corrects this notion.

Another Jeph Loeb error is World War II-era Wild Child. In Wolverine #54, he appeared as a Nazi officer in a dream sequence that took place during the war, much to the chagrin of Alpha Flight fans. The index again accurately states:

“Wolverine dreams here about encountering Wild Child during WWII. However, XFac#142, ’98 fb showed Wild Child’s teenage years, establishing that he is not old enough to have been alive in WWII. W #55, ’07 reveals that Wolverine’s dreams in W #50-54, ’07 were caused by Romulus; while the others seem to have been Romulus’ memories, this one may be a false scenario implanted by Romulus for unknown reasons.”

The index then speculates:

“However, it is also possible that Wild Child truly was present at the battle; he may have time-traveled there … or XFac #142, ’98’s flashbacks may have been partly incorrect.”

I’m skeptical about the time-traveling scenario and the possibility that the origin story in X-Factor #142 might be incorrect, but apparently the index authors felt compelled to offer an explanation.

Witchfire cameo in Fear Itself: The Fearless #8

January 3, 2015

fearitselffearless8coverFear Itself: The Fearless #8
Apr 2012

Fear Itself was one of the biggest and most widespread events in recent comic history. Spanning almost two hundred issues, it included just about every team, title and character in the Marvel Universe at some point in 2011 and 2012. It had at its core a 7 issue maxi-series, plus crossovers into just about every major title, tons of spinoff mini-series (including the fourth volume of Alpha Flight!), prequels, epilogues and ancillary material including an official handbook, a poster book, a spotlight issue and eight webcomics that were later collected in print. Alpha Flight did very well in this event even though no members appeared directly in the core 7 issues.

Fear Itself: The Fearless was a biweekly 12-issue mini-series that followed the main series as an epilogue, featuring Valkyrie and Sin racing to collect the powerful Asgardian hammers of The Worthy. Valkyrie’s motivation was to collect the hammers for safekeeping; to secure them from being used again as weapons of mass destruction, while Sin’s motivation was less altruistic. With the assistance of the mercenary Crossbones and the D.O.A. (Department of Occult Armaments), Sin hoped to use the hammers to raise the Final Sleeper, a gigantic mecha/organic death machine, in an evil scheme to burn the entire earth. Based out of a facility in Charleston, South Carolina, the D.O.A. grew in ranks suddenly right before a visit from Daimon Hellstrom, son of Satan. The “new recruits” of the D.O.A. are revealed to him, shown in a full-page splash panel including a couple of dozen diabolical baddies – basically anyone from the Marvel Universe with a snake, bat, devil or fiend for a father, mother, aunt or uncle. Right in the middle is Witchfire, shown prominently with glowing blue fire hands.


The demon fire casts a too-strong blue effect over her skin and most of her costume, but oddly not her cloak. It must be a magic blue-resistant cloak, or just a bit of a coloring error. The last time we saw Witchfire before this, she had been captured by Magik, hauled away and made to suffer, but apparently not killed. Well, there’s nothing like incarceration and torture in a demonic realm to make someone want to be part of an evil scheme to burn the entire earth using a gigantic mecha/organic death machine, I suppose.

Jeffries comes out of the… space elevator personnel pod?

January 2, 2015

xclub3coverX-Club #3
Apr 2012

The five issue X-Club miniseries by Simon Spurrier gets over the hump with this third issue, containing the big reveals – one of which we’ve suspected for a while. The X-Club team is dealing with the aftermaths of the launch of the Stringstar space elevator platform: Dr. Nemesis has an empathic starfish bonded to his head, Dr. Kavita Rao is dealing with a Terrigen leak, and Danger is going completely berserk back at Utopia, the headquarters for Cyclops’ X-Men team. Madison Jeffries appears extensively in this issue as a regular member of the X-Club, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.

Having just returned via the space elevator, Jeffries is lost in thought in Dr. Rao’s lab. In a moment of spaced-out sexual harassment, Jeffries plants one, hoping to discover a clue related to his sexuality. He’s been struggling to understand his emotional and physical attraction to Danger, a robotic life form. This meme started a while back and Spurrier continues to lay it out in each issue of this miniseries, but as introverted exploration. Well, until the unwanted advance on his co-worker. Paul Davidson nails it perfectly, drawing both the most tender and most inappropriate kiss at the same time.


Feeling no spark, Jeffries returns to the elevator pod. Poor Rao is left speechless until she demands to be teleported back to Utopia. Alpha Flight Collector is not so thrilled with the sexual assault on a female character, even though it was done for science.

During the trip back up to the Stringstar platform, the computer running the holographic projector in the pod senses what he wants, and presents to him the same modestly dressed woman with realistic proportions drawn in a respectful manner that we saw in issue #2. Okay, who are we kidding? We all know why you read this blog:


As Jeffries modifies her appearance into a robot version to resemble Danger, the AI within the computer coalesces as a shadowy figure and introduces itself. It then chooses him as an ally to free itself from its masters and flat out declares what we’ve come to know:

You are a mechaphile. You are aroused by electric life.

Well, that’s it then. No more hints or subtleties – he’s out. Oh, and please do not perform an Internet search for “mechaphile.” Trust me.

The AI simulacrum coalesces even further down to a glowing red sphere and invisibilizes Jeffries so they can explore the platform undetected. While eavesdropping on lab workers conducting genetic experiments, xclub3cDr. Nemesis blurts out a greeting over the X-Club headsets, breaking the holographic blur-field invisibility cloak.

Simon Spurrier did his homework when he wrote the technobabble that Jeffries overhears. The lab workers mention, “Haplogroups J1C3 and J2A” and, “abnormalities in the HEXA gene.” When Jeffries hurriedly relates this to Dr. Rao, she identifies those as genetic markers for Ashkenazic Jews, revealing a chilling Nazi plot. Well, it turns out she’s right – those are actual genetic markers and they are associated with Ashkenazic Jews. For those of you who were reading Alpha Flight comics instead of paying attention in Biology class, the abnormality in the HEXA gene is responsible for Tay-Sachs disease, the most prevalent mutation in the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

This is the only issue in the five issue series where Jeffries doesn’t use his mutant powers to transmute materials into machinery. In fact, it’s one of a very short list of non-cameo appearances where he doesn’t build an awesome machine that does some awesome thing like save the entire world, or an awesome-looking gun.

Where are they now, Part III

January 1, 2015

It’s been a while since the last post and a bunch has happened. So, what’s going on in the world of Alpha Flight? In summary, quite a lot!

  • Northstar’s been a regular in the ongoing Amazing X-Men title, prompting a recent team appearance in the World War Wendigo arc
  • A member of the new Omega Flight, the mysterious Validator, has joined the Avengers
  • Windshear has returned as Chinook in the Logan Legacy miniseries
  • No one has died in a long time

Going character by character, the list below should cover everything. Same color codes as last time: for a few members who are actively appearing in an ongoing series, or have been popping up in the past year or so, names are noted in bold text. Green means they are alive and kicking, yellow means they are alive, but we haven’t seen them for a long time, blue means they are alive but depowered and gray means they are dead. The rest is self-explanatory.

Original Team

Member Status Last seen
Guardian (Mac) Alive Amazing X-Men #12
Guardian basically saved all of Canada in the exciting conclusion to the World War Wendigo arc, bursting out of Tanaraq’s chest! He was last seen recuperating, with Heather at his side.

Aurora Alive Amazing X-Men #12
Aurora had a strong showing in World War Wendigo, appearing with Northstar. She did have one subsequent non-continuity appearance in Northstar’s vision in Amazing X-Men #13.

Northstar Alive Amazing X-Men #13
Northstar has been the most active Alphan of late and appears regularly as a member of the Amazing X-Men team. He’s still married to Kyle.

Sasquatch Alive Amazing X-Men #12
Sasquatch is smart again and fought with Colossus and Firestar in the World War Wendigo arc. His most recent non-continuity appearance is in S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 in flashback.

Shaman Alive Amazing X-Men #10
Shaman’s most recent appearance was in the World War Wendigo arc, along with Marrina. He discovered the origin of the Wendigo outbreak.

Snowbird Alive Amazing X-Men #12
Snowbird played a prominent role in the World War Wendigo arc along with the Great Beasts.

Added v1

Member Status Last seen
Marrina Alive Amazing X-Men #10
Marrina’s role in the World War Wendigo arc was an appearance with Shaman, who discovered the origin of the Wendigo outbreak. She also had an updated entry in the recent Avengers NOW! handbook.

Puck (Eugene) Alive Amazing X-Men #11
Puck and Talisman are now a thing. He was last seen by her side as she recuperated from a brutal attack by Wolverine Wendigo.

Talisman Alive Amazing X-Men #11
Talisman was brutally attacked by Wolverine Wendigo and was last seen recuperating, hooked up to all tubes in a hospital, with Puck by her side.

Vindicator (Heather) Alive Amazing X-Men #12
Heather seems to have shaken off the effects of The Master’s brainwashing, likely has all ten toes and is back by Mac’s side where she belongs.

Wild Child Alive Wolverine #304
Wild Child mysteriously re-appeared in this issue, without explanation. Not sure what’s up with that but the Official Index says he’s alive.

Madison Jeffries Alive X-Treme X-Men #1
Jeffries appeared as a regular member of the X-Club science team in this fun issue. He also appeared in a non-continuity scene in AVX: VS #6, battling the Avengers scientists.

Purple Woman Alive Cable & X-Force #9
Kara was imprisoned following the events of Alpha Flight v4 and was visted by Hope, who absorbed her mutant power of persuasion. See what I did there?

Chinook Depowered Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #2
Windshear took on a new name and new costume as Chinook, appearing with X-23. Unfortunately, he’s dying from leukemia.

Goblyn Alive Alpha Flight #130
Goblyn was recently seen in a non-continuity appearance in Deadpool #34 in a 90s Alpha Flight version.

Diamond Lil Dead Nation X#3
Pathway Alive Alpha Flight #130
Manikin Alive Alpha Flight #130
Feedback Alive Alpha Flight #130
Roger Bochs Dead Alpha Flight #49
Flashback Alive Alpha Flight v3 #12
Smart Alec Dead Alpha Flight #46
Nemesis Dead Alpha Flight v3 #12
Witchfire Alive Fear Itself: The Fearless #10
Silver Alive AF#121
Auric Alive Alpha Flight #121
Wyre Alive Alpha Flight #130

Added v2

Member Status Last seen
Flex Depowered Wolverine #142
Radius Depowered Uncanny X-Men #406
Manbot Alive Wolverine #142
Murmur Depowered Wolverine #142
Ghost Girl Alive Alpha Flight v2 #20
Ouija Alive Alpha Flight v2 #20
Flinch Alive Alpha Flight v2 #20
Synth Mac Dead Wolverine #143
Real Sasquatch Dead Alpha Flight v2 #12

Added v3

Member Status Last seen
Yukon Jack Divorced Alpha Flight v3 #12
Centennial Dead Alpha Flight v3 #12
Puck (Zuzha) Dead New Avengers #16
Major Mapleleaf, Jr. Dead New Avengers #16
Mar Alive Alpha Flight v3 #12
Thunder Alive Alpha Flight v3 #12

Added “Other”

Member Status Last seen
Groundhog Alive Alpha Flight Special #1
St. Elmo Dead Alpha Flight Special #1
Stitch Alive Alpha Flight #127
Earthmover Alive Alpha Flight v3 #6

Northstar cameo in Astonishing X-Men #46

September 17, 2013

astonishingxmen46coverAstonishing X-Men #46
Mar 2012

The Exalted story arc that started up in issue #44 of Greg Pak’s too-short run on the Astonishing title starts out with a re-telling of the shocking backstory of the circumstances under which the X-Treme X-Men team formed. Last issue, we learned that in an alternate universe, a mutant uprising led by Magneto conquers a world but defeated later by a heroic team of X-Men led by that world’s Cyclops and a white-clad hero named Savior, cracking the world as a result. Northstar appears in a single panel cameo as a member of… well, your guess is as good as mine.

The story of the subsequent recruitment of mutants to maintain the integrity of the cracked world is re-told in this issue in a manner that should remind readers of how comics back in the day would actually fill in a new reader to the plot with a few panels or pages of recap, along with editor’s footnotes. Long gone and replaced with a title page, those often long-winded expository recaps were essential to allow new readers to “jump in” to an arc without having to have a new #1 issue thrown into their face every 5 months. While some readers may feel as if repeated material is a waste of precious space, others may enjoy the fullness that recaps and expository flashbacks bring to a comic. In this case, Alpha Flight Collector enjoyed it very much because Northstar makes another appearance.


Shown in another ambiguous battle scene, possibly the same one, it still isn’t clear which side he’s fighting on. In the last issue he was engaged one-on-one with X-23; in this issue, he’s flying in a somewhat battle-ish pose next to Storm but not cleanly engaged in a fight with her. Based on other events in the book, she would be on the Cyclops/Savior team. Who would win? Stormy baby, I love ya, but I’m sorry. Northstar’s speed wins. Last time they squared off it wasn’t even close.


That blur is Northstar clocking Ororo in X-Men #121.

Changes to how he’s drawn since last issue include a new pair of dark sunglasses, sewn cuffs instead of starburst cuffs and a solid black costume from the knees down instead of a white booted costume. He’s been wearing all kinds of costume variants for years now, but likely Mike McKone just draws him differently up close as he does from further away and unfortunately with rounded ears the further one gets. Northstar is supposed to have pointy ears. Keep in mind also that this is a mental projection re-telling of a story already told via mental projection of a flashback on an alternate world, so the source image could have been at fault, not the penciler.

Diamond Lil gets an update in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #3

September 16, 2013

ohotmuaztpb3coverOfficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #3

Note: no month of publication is indicated, with the exception of manufacturing date range of 12/22/11 to 1/10/12. The issue was released on 1/25/12. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Mar 2012.

The third volume of the amazing fourteen volume Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Premiere Hardcover series is reprinted in trade paperback with all 240 original pages reproduced and, true to the principle of releasing timely information, sixteen additional pages of updates for selected entries. Some minor corrections and additions are found, but for the most part the original 240 pages are reprinted in their entirety. In the entries, Shaman, Northstar and Puck appear in the Crystar entry, Puck appears in the Deadly Ernest entry, Centennial appears in a 1/2 page entry, Diamond Lil appears in a full page entry and X Mac, X Sasquatch and X Puck appear in the Earth X entry. Additionally, Alpha Flight-related characters Ranaq, Tundra, Kolomaq, Somon, Tanaraq, Tolomaq, Kariooq, Dreamqueen and Zilla Char appear in the massive nine page Demons entry.

The Crystar entry has two changes from the HC version published in 2008. The secondary illustration taken from the closing splash panel of Crystar #11 has been recolored in a high contrast modern style, a big improvement over the old version. Also, in the text of the entry, where Shaman and Puck are mentioned regarding their role in that issue, their full names are now given. It isn’t clear why this change was made, except possibly to distinguish Shaman (Michael Twoyoungmen) from other Shamans and Puck (Eugene Judd) from other Pucks. Poor Northstar, who is also mentioned in the text, did not get his full name given. He’s still just Northstar.

The Deadly Ernest entry has a similar improvement to the secondary illustration, which is an image of him getting his head chopped off: the halftones are removed and filled in solid instead. The text changed significantly regarding the Nemesis who killed Deadly Ernest twice in Alpha Flights #8 and #31, but who is a distinct character from the Nemesis who later teamed up with Alpha Flight late in volume 1 (now identified as Jane Thorne), and also distinct from the volume 3 Nemesis (who we knew to be Amelia Weatherly). This new information was revealed in volume 1 of the tpb series, so the writers were compelled to re-word the Deadly Ernest entry. It cleanly states, “Two other women subsequently assumed Nemesis’ mantle,” and confirms that the Isabel St. Ives version of Nemesis and [her father] Deadly Ernest are both in fact, quite dead.

The Centennial entry is re-printed from the 2008 HC with no changes.

(image from Alpha Flight #98)

(image from Alpha Flight #98)

Diamond Lil’s entry also has its secondary illustration recolored, an image of Lil wearing the black bodysuit costume from Alpha Flight #98. In the updates section, Diamond Lil has a paragraph describing the unfortunate events of X-Force #23 and the preceding events as described in Nation X #3. It was obviously not written by Chris Yost, because it’s both an accurate representation of Alpha Flight history and solemnly respectful of the characters.

The images of X Mac and X Sasquatch from the cover of Universe X #6 and X Puck from the back of the wraparound cover of Universe X #X in the Earth X entry are re-printed from the 2008 HC with no changes.

Also in the update section the massive nine page Demons entry somehow gets even longer with an additional two pages. The new Great Beast Neooqtoq is mentioned for the first time in a handbook, having appeared in Incredible Hercules #119 (Sep 2008), just after the HC issue had been published. Unfortunately, it’s in the section “Additional unpictured demons.” Also unfortunate is the omission of the Great Beasts Herateq and Tiamaq from Marvel Heartbreakers #1 (May 2010), who really ought to have been mentioned along with the other Great Beasts, unless for some technical reason they aren’t classified as demons.

Note: the illustrations of the Great Beasts in the massive nine page Demons entry have new captions indicating the issue and year they first appeared, which now matches the format for many of the other captioned illustrations in that entry. Nice job, writers: you got Tanaraq – X-Men #120 (1979) correct.

Namor breathes a sigh of relief.

September 15, 2013

oittmuwpgr6coverWolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #6
Mar 2012

Note: Despite being clearly printed on the cover, “Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider” is not the actual title of this series. The indicia reveals it reversed as above.

The Official Index to the Marvel Universe, or OITTMU, continues in its third incarnation by covering various Wolverine, Punisher, and Ghost Rider series. The first two incarnations covered Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, Thor, and Captain America. The index contains detailed synopses of individual comics, including all of the relevant data pertaining to the comic as well as a thumbnail of the cover art, 2 issues per page (roughly). Alpha Flight appears in this issue in reprinted art from the covers of Wolverine #172 and #179 (Mar and Sep 2002).

The section on Wolverine titles starts from the 2001 Annual, then picks up the regularly numbered issues at #170-189, continuing with the next series from #1-20. Alpha Flight members appear in issues #171, #172-174, #176, #179 and #180 and the index fully notes their appearances. Out of those issues, Alpha Flight appears on two of those covers.

Wolverine #172 Guardian (Mac), Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Aurora, Puck

Wolverine #172 Guardian (Mac), Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Aurora, Puck

The famous Sean Chen cover for Wolverine #172 shows Alpha Flight and Wolverine as they prepare to face off against Mauvais. Though the Guardian character shown is clearly Real Mac and not his synth clone (who died in Wolverine #143), he’s shown wearing a costume with a red stripe down the middle of the cowl, which is what Synth Mac had been wearing in Alpha Flight v2. This image is a bit puzzling, as Real Mac’s previous appearance to this issue was in Generation X #58 where he was wearing an all-white cowl.

Wolverine #179 Shaman

Wolverine #179 Shaman

The cover for Wolverine #179 is also shown, featuring an image of Shaman pulling a magical swarm out of his bag.

The entry for the Wolverine 2001 annual mentions the Plodex bear, and some other interesting information. In that issue, a single image of the original Plodex ship from 40,000 years ago crashing onto Earth and dispersing its eggs is shown. The index claims that Mar, Marrina and Marrina’s mate are present on that ship, as eggs. It’s not controversial that Marrina’s egg was dispersed from the original ship, nor Marrina’s mate (seen in Alpha Flight v1 #14 and #16), but Mar, that’s another story. Mar’s origins were never explained in Alpha Flight volume 3. Speculation has been that he’s Marrina’s kid, or, because he was shown in a panel in Alpha Flight v3 #12 (Apr 2005) with Namor with the caption “Kids. What’re you gonna do?”, possibly Namor’s kid, possibly both.


Well, all the speculation about Mar’s parents ends with this new information. If he were in egg form already when the ship crashed 40,000, that means he’s just another Plodex egg that somehow came into contact with a human and not related to Marrina or Namor directly.