Depowered Alphans appear in Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1

Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1
Mar 2011

While nearly all entries in the modern style OHOTMU books have been based around a single character, a few entries have been based around something more abstract instead, for example: teams, locations, races, equipment, pantheons and alternate universes, to name a few. Similar to the concept of the two-issue Marvel Atlas series that consisted entirely of location-based entries, this Blockbusters issue consists entirely of “Events” in the Marvel Universe. I put this in quotes because there is no hard and fast definition of what an “Event” is – sometimes it’s a crossover, sometimes a limited series and other times, just an involved story arc. Murmur, Radius, Wild Child and Windshear appear in the 2pg entry for the House of M/M-Day event.

Although Alpha Flight members have participated in many of the Marvel “Events” since 1982, fans are reminded in this book how limited their inclusion has been as a team. The most extensive involvement of Alpha Flight as a team in an “Event” was in the Infinity War/Infinity Crusade crossovers in the early 1990s, when volume 1 was still an actively published ongoing. Other “Events” to note would be the Contest of Champions (1982), Secret Wars II (1985), the Crossing Line arc with the Avengers (1990), Collective (2006) and of course Chaos War (2010). Despite all these issues and all the cameos, Alpha Flight made it into only one entry out of thirty-nine in this book, and only as very tiny cameos of minor characters, a disappointing but not surprising outcome.

The entries in this issue have a standard format that includes four sections: History, which is the main narrative of the event; Key Participants; Key Chronicle, which lists the major issues of the event; and a fascinating section called Legacy, where the impact of the event is explained in context within the larger Marvel Universe. The Legacy section of the House of M/M-Day event entry is largely concerned with the mass depowering of mutants and naturally spills a bit into the Collective event, which doesn’t have an entry of its own. An illustration taken from a splash page in New Avengers #18 (2006) shows an array of depowered mutants whose energy signature showed up in the Collective.

This image was, at the time, extremely important to determine the status of dozens of minor characters that hadn’t been explicitly shown as powered or depowered on M-Day, and it even included a partial listing of characters on the screens as a quasi-checklist. The four Alpha Flight members shown (along with their row,column coordinates from the top left) were:

  • Murmur (4th row, 6th column) – who hadn’t been heard from since Wolverine #142 (1999)
  • Radius (5,8) – who we all thought had been killed by Avalanche in Uncanny X-Men #405 (2002), revealed in this issue to be alive!
  • Wild Child (7,6) – whose appearance at the time was his “gray gargoyle” look and was still a member of Weapon X
  • Windshear (7,9) – who we knew had quit the superhero business when last seen in Thunderbolts #43 (2000)

For those of you unable to figure out the coordinate system I tried to use, here is a much enlarged version of the original panel with the Alphans highlighted:

The actual illustration shown in this issue is cropped just across Wild Child’s face (poor Kyle!), and slightly rotated. For the truly insane: in the original, the top edge of the top row is aligned horizontally, while in the reprinted illustration (above), an attempt is made to align one of the middle rows along the horizontal, resulting in a better fit into a rectangular inset.

Even after the original panel appeared in 2006, the status of many other Alpha Flight mutants stood unknown. Many were revealed subsequently as powered or depowered, and some remain unknown to this day. Since you’re all wondering, here is a reckoning of the status of Alpha Flight’s mutants since the House of M/M-Day event:

Retained powers after M-Day: Northstar
Madison Jeffries
Diamond Lil (subsequently killed)
Puck (Zuzha – subsequently killed)
Depowered on M-Day: Flex
Wild Child (subsequently killed)
Unknown status after M-Day: Centennial (subsequently deceased)
Ghost Girl

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6 Responses to “Depowered Alphans appear in Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1”

  1. Flightpath07 Says:

    I like the chart at the end. Maybe pass that on to FVL and Pak, lol ?

    • rplass Says:

      Except I get the impression from what I’ve read so far that the writers of the new Alpha Flight series due out in May 2011 are going to be using Byrne-era characters, but we’ll have to see. I’d love to see any of these guys!

  2. Flightpath07 Says:

    If the series keeps going, though…who knows who may pop up?

  3. Ahab Says:

    Where did we find out that Flex was depowered?

    • rplass Says:

      In the OHOTMU A-Z Update #3 (2007) issue, Flex had a 1/2pg entry, and that’s where we found out he was depowered: “After the M-Day event, Flex was confirmed to have been among those depowered when the Scarlet Witch transformed most of the world’s mutants into ordinary humans.”

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