Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #4
This five-issue series is an update to the massive fourteen-issue A-Z Hardcover series from 2008-2010, filling in gaps and adding entries that didn’t make it in the first time. The issues run alphabetically within themselves but not across the series, so the writers may intersperse entries as they like without disrupting the order of entries. Surprisingly, Saint Elmo has a 1/2 page entry.
Yes, even Alpha Flight Collector was caught off guard by this entry, as Saint Elmo seemed too minor of a character within the Alpha Flight-verse to warrant one. When Manbot and Murmur were included in earlier issues in this series, it seemed as if Alpha Flight was just about rounded out (Ghost Girl excluded still) and no further new entries were expected. It also suggests that his teammates from the adjectiveless Flight program Stitch and Groundhog will be included in issue #5 of the series. It’s as if the writers are making a conscious decision to be comprehensive when it comes to Alpha Flight entries, a decision much appreciated by this reader and fan of the OHOTMU books.
Since Saint Elmo has only appeared in one other OHOTMU-style book in a very tiny illustration in the large team entry for Alpha Flight in the first issue of the Hardcover series, all the text and stats are new. Also new is the main illustration by Gus Vazquez, showing Saint Elmo in his Gamma Flight training costume. The inset, the same image used last time, is taken from Alpha Flight Special #1 and shows him without his mask.
The entry is an excellent description but falls a bit short by not answering the two questions fans might still have: what his real name is and what his backstory/origin might be. Like the first issue of the Hardcover series, no full name is given for Saint Elmo. Note that several other Alpha Flight character’s full names were revealed in these OHOTMU books, so the fact that twice now it hasn’t been revealed suggests that there simply is no full name for the guy; he’s just Saint Elmo.
Regarding his origin: rather than stating his origin, the author instead muses about possible origins. Additionally, the text contains a very odd phrase to describe one of his possible origins. After suggesting that he might be a version of the Catholic St. Erasmus, which Alpha Flight Collector doubts for lack of evidence, an alternative is mentioned:
…it has also been speculated that he hails from one of Earth’s godly pantheons or other superhuman races.
Speculated by who? By what writer? In what comic book? On what Internet site? This uncredited passive voice construction leads readers to believe there has been some sort of extremely unofficial remark made by someone musing innocently about the guy, and really it ought not have been mentioned this way in an official handbook. Readers pay money to buy OHOTMU books with official information, not repeated guesses from internet sites. My personal suspicion, which admittedly is equally unofficial, is that the highly regarded Madison Carter, author of Saint Elmo’s entry in the companion website to the book, is the unnamed speculator, and either he or someone who has a high opinion of his speculation wrote this entry. In any case, if the author wanted to speculate on this perfectly reasonable possible origin, for lack of any other known origin for the character, the text should have read:
It is possible that Saint Elmo hails from one of Earth’s godly pantheons or other superhuman races.
so as to remove the speculator from what should be an authoritative passage.