Posts Tagged ‘Box (Bochs)’

Alpha Flight’s last entry (for now) in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #1

May 4, 2012

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #1
2011

Note: no month of publication is indicated, with the exception of manufacturing date range of 8/25/11 to 9/13/11. The issue was released on 9/28/11. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Nov 2011.

The first 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. The first issue of this series has every single Alpha Flight member featured in a 3pg entry for the team, Aurora (who appears on the cover) has a 2pg entry and Marrina appears in the Avengers entry. Additionally, Alpha Flight has an extensive update in the appendix, again featuring every single Alpha Flight member. Aurora has a small update as well and there’s also a tiny Northstar appearance in Angel (Worthington)’s update.

Since this book reprints a great deal of material already printed, only the changes and updates are noted.

The Nemeses: Isabel St. Ives (top), Jane Thorne (center), Amelia Weatherly (bottom)In the Alpha Flight team entry, the major change is that the three Nemeses are distinguished from one another. The first Nemesis from Alpha Flight v1 #8, who was never a member of the team, is identified as Ernest St. Ives’ daughter, Isabel St. Ives. The second Nemesis from Alpha Flight #76, who started out in the Canadian Government-sponsored Gamma Flight team is given the name Jane Thorne (no relation to Alec Thorne / Smart Alec of Gamma Flight). The third Nemesis from Alpha Flight volume 3 we already knew to be Amelia Weatherly. It had been a question for many years whether or not the first two Nemeses were the same, and the third Nemesis only made it more confusing, so this clarification puts a very old controversy to rest. This is technically a contradiction to previous handbooks, but can be resolved if one perceives Nemesis to be an embodiment that can be passed from one successor to another.

There are a few changes in the text:

In the “Members:” section, Nemesis (Jane Thorne) is added to the list of members. Also, the awful typographical error in that section misspelling Langkowski has been corrected.

In the body of the entry, it now notes that Wild Child was a member of First Flight, as seen when Wolverine had to break up the encounter with Stitch as depicted in the flashback in Alpha Flight #127. The chronology of that flashback had never been pinned down, and was somewhat confusing because Wild Child didn’t appear in the Alpha Flight Special with First Flight. The text regarding the early formation of Gamma Flight is changed from saying that Diamond Lil, Madison Jeffries and Wild Child joined Smart Alec in Gamma Flight to indicate Diamond Lil and Jeffries joined Wild Child and Smart Alec (who were both already in Gamma Flight).

A very good correction: the word “ironically” has been removed from the description of Pestilence’s attack in Alpha Flight #37. The previous sentence bizarrely read:

Crozier possessed the newborn demigod, became Pestilence and ironically stripped Elizabeth of the Talisman coronet…

Alanis Morissette does not approve.
It is ironic. Isn’t it?

And there are some very minor changes: the spelling of Quwrlln has been corrected from Qwrlln and the Hudson’s daughter has been properly identified as Claire, who had been named recently. When the hardcover version was originally published in 2008, she had been unnamed. This tpb was published during the 2011-2012 Alpha Flight volume 4 run, where her name had been revealed.

The illustrations in the Alpha Flight team entry are the same as in the hardcover, but the volume 3 team illustration now identifies the v3 Nemesis as “Nemesis (Weatherly)” in the caption.

The Aurora entry is reproduced in its entirety from the original, with a very good correction to properly credit the artwork of the twins from the X-Men Annual #1 (2007) to Mark Brooks, not Clayton Henry. Unfortunately, the notation of Aurora’s membership in the X-Men which was included in the 2010 Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades Handbook, which was also a reprint of the same hardcover entry, was not included but clearly should have been.

The massive Avengers entry, with respect to Marrina’s inclusion in the montage of headshots and a reprinted George Pérez poster is unchanged from the hardcover version.

Solicited cover art by Tom Grummett for Alpha Flight v4 #6In the update section, Alpha Flight gets nearly a full page of update, which is fairly significant seeing as how there are only 16 pages to update all of the other 240 pages worth of entries! The main entry ended just at the formation of Omega Flight, and the update fills in with an excellent brief recap of events since, up to and including issue #4 of Alpha Flight volume 4. Included is a small reproduction of the cover art by Tom Grummett for issue #6 with the caption “Current Roster”, which interestingly, does not include Vindicator (Heather). That image had recently been released as the solicited cover, and wouldn’t be printed until November 23rd, 2011.

There is also a giant grid of headshots of everyone in Alpha Flight. In the main entry, the v1, v2 and v3 teams each had a large illustration with small headshot insets but in the update, everyone gets a headshot. With the exception of a few members (Auric, Earthmover, Ouija, and Flinch), all of the images are updated and/or better versions of the ones shown in the main entry, but even for the guys who didn’t get an updated image, the size is increased so overall the image is improved from the original. The only criticism is that the headshot for Northstar is taken from the cover art of Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1, where Salva Espin drew Northstar with rounded ears. Interestingly, they are arranged in join order, and there’s a massive caption below indexing the issues when each member joined which Flight – an incredibly dense info dump that shows an insane level of detail.

Following that is a paragraph of text and an illustration for Alpha Prime, the Savage Land superhero team from Alpha Flight Annual #2. There was a minor comment and an illustration for Alpha Prime in the Savage Land entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Premiere Hardcover #10, but these expanded remarks are much more substantial and now properly placed with Alpha Flight team information.

Aurora has a small update as well, just a paragraph with no illustration, describing her activities following the events mentioned in the main entry which ended at her restoration to sanity in X-Men Annual #1 (2007). This includes the little appearance in Uncanny X-Men #508 as COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Team Northstar Extreme Snowsports (the update indicates she had been promoted sometime off-panel to joint CEO – Chief Executive Officer), joining up with the X-Men in X-Men: Secret Invasion #2, rejecting Osborn’s offer in Dark X-Men: The Beginning #3, re-joining the team in Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 and subsequent events in Alpha Flight volume 4.

In Angel (Worthington)’s update, Northstar can be seen very tiny in a small illustration from Uncanny X-Men #533 just after the de facto X-Men team defeated Lobe’s squad of baddies on the rooftop. Here is a much larger image taken from the original issue.

Note: the cover for this issue is identical to the hardcover, with a slightly different spine and a small note on the back cover that updates are included. Tom Grummett’s Aurora on the cover is very tiny and has a minor error in her costume. In a highly magnified image we see that he drew the asymmetrical starburst over her right boob instead of her left hip.

Jesus, can you go ONE post without mentioning Aurora’s boobs?

Unfortunately, Marvel has canceled the remainder of the trade paperback reprints at issue #5. Sadly, we won’t see updates for all of the original fourteen volumes. Also, since no new OHOTMU books are scheduled for any time in the future, this could be the last printed entry for Alpha Flight we see for a very long time. It was already an excellent entry, and with the corrections, changes and updates, it’s simply the perfect ending to a great run.

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Scramble gets an Official Handbook entry! Finger not included.

January 20, 2011

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5
Feb 2011 (see note)

Note: no month nor year of publication is indicated, with the exception of a copyright date of 2010. The issue was released on 12/15/10. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Feb 2011.

The final issue of this five-issue series completes the 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. Scramble has a 1pg entry, and Box (Bochs) can be seen partially in the entry as well.

Though Scramble was never a member of Alpha Flight, his close association with the team and relation to Madison Jeffries makes him eligible for the Alpha Flight Collector blog. In any case, Box (Bochs) appears in this issue, so the issue would have been included anyway.

The 1pg entry is a particularly interesting event in that it’s one of just a few new entries in this series. Scramble had never before had an entry of any kind in any other OHOTMU book of any kind, so this is a real treat. The entry itself is a full account of Lionel Jeffries’ appearances throughout Mantlo’s run and contains some interesting new information – the names of the three Derangers not already identified have been given! Since Bill Mantlo is unavailable to consult in this situation, the names were made up by the entry’s author, who posts on alphaflight.net under the name Loki. Here is an excerpt of a much longer thread over there:

AFC: How did you get this info? I thought they were a Mantlo creation… and he’s unavailable for this kind of thing.

Loki: They are Mantlo creations, and yes, he is unavailable. We always prefer to go back to the original creators, but, in cases where that’s not an option, editorial can approve new information.

AFC: So you just made them up and editorial approved it? I don’t see where you go the names from or what compelled you to generate names in this situation.

Loki: Where creators are contactable, we try to always go to them to see if they’d like to fill in any missing details, or if they are okay with us doing so, or if they’d prefer to leave the details unrevealed for now. When that’s not an option, then the decision whether to provide names gets influenced by various factors, one of the biggest being whether there’s anyone else using the same codename – when two or more share a codename, having a real name for clarification purposes is helpful. There’s at least two other Breakdowns, and no less than five other Januses. And since that prompted the decision to name those two Derangers, we decided to identify Freakout too – while no one else shares that exact codename as of yet, it’s not such an unusual name that it’s unlikely to happen in the future.

Where we got the names? That varies depending on who names them. In this case, I did, and I like to have a reason for the names I assign, rather than just randomly picking something that might not fit. I don’t normally explain those reasons, but since you asked: Janus is a disturbed artist, and his name is derived from an artist with mental issues (AFC: Willem Vincent is given) ; housewife Breakdown’s first name comes from a well-known fictional housewife and her surname from that housewife’s fictional husband (AFC: Esme Fernando); Heavy Metal rocker Freakout’s three part name is inspired by real world heavy metal rocker(s) (AFC: Arthur Amadeus Van Krijg). I’ll leave figuring out the exact inspirations to those who want to try.

This is a fascinating look into some behind-the-scenes action with the OHOTMU writers and much thanks to Loki for divulging this info!

The main illustration is a brand new image of Scramble drawn by Gus Vazquez, who has been busy cranking out new illustrations for the OHOTMU series books for a while now. The upper inset shows Omega, Scramble’s final form in an image taken from Alpha Flight #49, and the lower inset is a modified image of Lionel Jeffries. Note that in the original image, the opening splash page from Alpha Flight #46, Lionel is pondering how to transform Wanda back into Walter and has his thinking finger firmly planted on his mouth. The finger is completely removed from the new illustration! Note also that the figure behind Lionel is Box (Bochs), but only a portion of his chest and right shoulder can be seen.

Original image from Alpha Flight #46 used for the inset above

Though Alpha Flight Collector is thrilled to have the new entry (and a full page one at that!), and is fascinated by the new info about the Derangers, this is not what was expected. This issue closes out the modern run of OHOTMU issues that have been cranking out steadily since 2006 and a few Alpha Flight members and related characters STILL haven’t had an entry, nor an updated one for the modern format! Most notably:

  • Feedback, who never had an entry in any OHOTMU.
  • Stitch and Groundhog, the final two members of First Flight who strangely did not get entries despite the fact that St. Elmo did.
  • Ghost Girl, another notable omission, since all of her v2 teammates Flex, Radius, Murmur and Manbot all got entries.
  • Auric never had an entry, though his sister Silver did in the ’89 Update.
  • Mar, Ouija and Flinch, minor characters who also never got entries in any issue.

Other non-powered characters such as Gary Cody, relatives of Alpha Flight members, and other associates could make this list even longer.

For those of you keeping track of these sorts of things, the following characters have had entries in previous OHOTMU but not a modern-style entry, with their last entry indicated:

  • Box (Bochs) OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #2
  • Flashback OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #9
  • Pathway (as Laura Dean) OHOTMU ’89 Update #2
  • Goblyn OHOTMU ’89 Update #3
  • Manikin OHOTMU ’89 Update #4
  • Persuasion OHOTMU ’89 Update #5
  • Silver OHOTMU ’89 Update #7

So the official count is that Alpha Flight fans are owed eight new entries and seven updated entries. Unfortunately, no new handbooks that would include these are expected in the near term, so the omission of any of these fifteen entries from this issue was rather disappointing. To be fair, it should be mentioned that all fifteen of these missing characters did appear in the montage illustrations for the large Alpha Flight team entry in the first issue of the OHOTMU A-Z Hardcover series.