Uncanny X-Men #541
Four hundred and thirty-two issues ago, Weapon Alpha graced the cover of X-Men #109 (yes, this was even before it was Uncanny), marking the beginning of the greatest super-hero team the world has ever known. From that Cockrum cover to this Land cover thirty-three years later, Alpha Flight has been intimately associated with one title more than any other – the flagship title in the X-books: Uncanny X-Men. Even the very top of Alpha Flight #1 defines this relationship from the very beginning: “Exploding from the pages of the X-Men!” Why is this such a reflective moment? This marks the last appearance of Northstar or anyone else from Alpha Flight in the Uncanny X-Men title, as the run ended a few issues later with #544. Northstar appears on the cover of this issue as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in issue #508.
Although he doesn’t appear inside, he does get a quick reverse angle on the cover as he flies in to battle the possessed Juggernaut (Kuurth). It’s no surprise that he doesn’t show up inside the book, as it really makes no sense to have a super-fast flier go up against a super-slow bad guy. In fact, Northstar doesn’t appear at all in the entire story arc, and Alpha Flight Collector doesn’t fault Kieron Gillen one bit for completely detaching Northstar, as his power set is simply incompatible with the X-Men’s goal of stopping Kuurth.
Here is an inset from the cover which shows this concept – what’s Northstar going to do, collide head-on with an unstoppable enemy? The answer can be found in the extreme lower left of the image.
Likely, Greg Land just wanted to put Dazzler’s butt on the cover and felt compelled to have Northstar as nearby as possible.