Posts Tagged ‘Guardian (Mac)’

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.

mar

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.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!

September 14, 2013

backissue54coverBack Issue #54
Feb 2012

Published by TwoMorrows Publishing eight times per year, Back Issue celebrates comic books of the 1970s, 1980s, and today through a variety of recurring (and rotating) departments. That unassuming description from the TwoMorrows website hardly comes close to the level of awesome of this magazine. Recently changed at issue #52 to 84 pages of full color in a nice square-bound format, Back Issue is filled with lengthy articles about comic book characters, creators and events, not to mention tons of original art, unpublished pencil sketches and the occasional commission piece. Alpha Flight appears in this issue in one of those commission pieces, but under dubious circumstances.

In an article “Phoenix Rising” by Jim Ford, the entirety of the Dark Phoenix Saga, a story found at or near the top of nearly every “best X-Men story” list on the Internet, is told in great detail, along with several rare and unusual images of Jean Grey. A few of these are Byrne commissions, and one of them is quite an odd choice: a montage of X-Men characters commissioned back in 2010. Yes, Jean Grey is in the image but is so small and among so many other characters that it’s rather puzzling why this image was chosen in a Dark Phoenix Saga article.

backissue54bclick to enlarge

The actual image as published is a bit small, so here is a higher resolution version. The Alpha Flight characters in the image are Mac (costumed), Heather (not costumed), Northstar (scowling), Aurora, Sasquatch, Shaman and Snowbird (prev 4 all smiling). Aurora is holding a sign, that reads, “Bon Jour Nathan! Je T’amie!” For those of you who were reading Alpha Flight comics instead of paying attention in French class, that means, “Hello Nathan! I love you!”

More information about the original commission piece, and some interesting Alpha Flight tidbits, can be found at the official John Byrne website. The owner of the original commission piece is the extremely talented Nathan Greno, director of the Disney movie Tangled, and John Byrne fan extraordinaire.

An amateur colorist decided to download a scan of the commission, freely available at John Byrne’s website, colored it, and posted it online, which TwoMorrows then lifted, crediting it only as “artist John Byrne’s drawing of the X-Men cast of his legendary tenure.” The original commission piece from 2010 is shown below.

backissue54aclick to enlarge
(note: the link leads to a very high resolution image which is a rather large file)

Nathan later found out about TwoMorrows using this image without his permission. Unlike other instances when commission owners were publicly acknowledged in a subsequent issue after contacting TwoMorrows, no such acknowledgement has ever been published. When Joe Hollon wrote to TwoMorrows regarding an uncredited contribution published in Back Issue #53, TwoMorrows published an apology in issue #58:

Joe, our sincere apologies for that goof. We juggle so many images and image sources that occasionally an error like this occurs. Thanks for understanding-and for your art contribution.

The most likely explanation for the lack of apology to Nathan is that TwoMorrows was never contacted and informed of the error, but it’s still odd for them to have published the colored version of the piece without properly crediting it.

He’s the best at what he does… and what he does is imperceptibly tiny.

September 10, 2013

wolverine300coverWolverine #300
Mar 2012

Similar to the What If? #200 issue that came out of the other end of the re-numbering craze to arbitrarily re-start a comic book series at a very high number (as opposed to the re-numbering craze where you start over at #1 every 4-5 months), Wolverine #300 is arguably around the 300th issue or so of the various Wolverine series, give or take a few issues. This oversize issue contains a seven-part story and a preview of Jeph Loeb’s Sabretooth Returns, along with three pages of character designs and four pages of tiny cover thumbnails of the 300 issues arranged in a tight array, including many, many variants. Alpha Flight Collector is very much impressed with the kind of painstaking indexing work required to create such an array, and is thrilled to find many Alpha Flight characters on those covers!

wolverine300a

Due to the volume of material, the actual thumbnails are extremely small and the cover detail is quite hard to discern. So here are much larger images of the issues shown in the array:

Wolverine #35 - Puck

Wolverine #35 – Puck

Wolverine #95 - Vindicator (Mac)

Wolverine #95 – Vindicator (Mac)

Wolverine #110 - Shaman

Wolverine #110 – Shaman

Wolverine #142 - Heather, Northstar, Synth Mac

Wolverine #142 – Heather, Northstar, Synth Mac

Wolverine #143 - Heather, Synth Mac

Wolverine #143 – Heather, Synth Mac

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

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

Wolverine #179 - Shaman

Wolverine #179 – Shaman

Wolverine #28 - Northstar

Wolverine #28 – Northstar

Note that we still aren’t sure which Mac is on the cover of Wolverine #142 and #143, but I think it’s Mac’s Synth clone.

Note: there is a cover variant by Geof Darrow, one by Jim Cheung, a blank variant and a second printing sketch variant of Adam Kubert’s original cover.

wolverine300coverdarrowvariant Wolverine #300 – Geof Darrow variant
wolverine300covercheungvariant Wolverine #300 – Jim Cheung variant
wolverine300coverblank Wolverine #300 – blank variant
wolverine300coversecondprintingvariant Wolverine #300 – 2nd printing variant

Coverage of Northstar’s wedding in the New York Daily News

May 23, 2012

New York Daily News Vol.93 -Number 333
Wednesday May 23, 2012

Marvel’s big announcement yesterday on The View that Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle were to be married in a nigh-unprecedented same-sex interracial wedding was picked up by various international news periodicals, the largest of which in New York City is the venerable New York Daily News, which has been continually published since 1919. It’s actually the fourth-largest newspaper by circulation in New York City, but none of the other large New York City papers picked up on the news, including USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, nor Newsday. The New York Daily News gave nearly a full page of coverage, the most extensive of any of the national or international papers covering this event. Guardian (Mac), Sasquatch, Snowbird, Shaman, Aurora, Puck and Marrina appear in preview art to the cover of Astonishing X-Men #51, and of course Northstar and Kyle appear as well, including images from Astonishing X-Men #50, released on the same day as this issue.

click to enlarge

The article, titled “Gay wedding for ‘X-Men'” is nearly identical to the on-line article published the day before, with a few minor wording changes. The amazing wrap-around cover to Astonishing X-Men #51 by Dustin Weaver and colored by Rachelle Rosenberg is the main illustration modified with an overlaid caption that unfortunately obscures part of Snowbird but otherwise reproduced well in newsprint. Other images in the article are a modified version of the soon-to-be famous proposal splash page by Mike Perkins which has the speech bubble thankfully enlarged, and in the lower left corner, a great image of Northstar snipped from the cover art of Astonshing X-Men #50.

It should be noted that both Reuters and AP picked up the story, so in addition to Ethan Sacks’ story above, dozens and dozens of other newspapers (in more than one language!) published an article, some with an accompanying image, some in color! Here is an abridged list of major newspapers from around the world who I have confirm to have joined The New York Daily News in correctly identifying the newsworthiness of Northstar’s wedding (all in English except where noted) by publishing the story in their print version:

Cape Breton Post, Canada
Cebu Daily, Philippines
Daily Telegraph, UK
Edmonton Journal, Canada
El Universal, Mexico (Spanish)
Hindustan Times (Delhi), India
Hindustan Times (Kolkata), India
Hindustan Times (Mumbai), India
Il Giornale, Italy (Italian)
Journal Pioneer, Canada
Kingston Whig-Standard, Canada
Los Angeles Times
Nanaimo Daily News, Canada
National Post, Canada
Northern Territory News, Australia
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
San Jose Mercury News
South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
The Amherst Daily News, Canada
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Dominion Post, New Zealand
The News, New Glasgow, Canada
The Press, New Zealand
The Southland Times, New Zealand
The Sun Times, Canada
The Timaru Herald, New Zealand
The Trentonian
Times Colonist, Canada
Toronto Star, Canada
Toronto Sun, Canada
Truro Daily News, Canada
Washington Times Daily
Winnipeg Free Press, Canada
… and more!

Nearly all of these contained at least one image, so globally the number of people who saw this Alpha Flight appearance today was likely in the tens of millions. The circulation for the New York Daily News alone is around 700,000 and is easily eclipsed by the Los Angeles Times (800,000), Daily Telegraph (900,000) and Hindustan Times (1MM+), so I’m fairly certain of this estimation.

Note: Yes, that’s Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli nude on the cover of the New York Daily News today. Sigh. Something about this blog just can’t keep the sexy away…

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 PĂ©rez 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.

Four star review of Alpha Flight v4 #1 in Comics Buyer’s Guide #1682

April 5, 2012

Comics Buyer’s Guide #1682
Oct 2011

The venerable Comics Buyer’s Guide is one of the first and one of the last printed magazines covering comics, fandom and conventions. Starting in 1971, it claims to be “the longest-running English-language periodical reporting on the American comic book industry.” It ran as a weekly (!) for many years before returning to its current monthly format. In an era where comic fans are easily connected to comic book industry info via the Internet, it’s hard to believe there’s still a printed magazine covering convention listings and fanzines and running tiny classified ads, yet it endures. Alpha Flight v4 #1 was reviewed in this issue, featuring appearances of the entire team on the cover and some interior panels.

Although this issue carries a cover date of Oct 2011, it was actually published on 8/17/11, fully two months after the Alpha Flight v4 #1 was released on 6/15/11. In fact, issue #3 had already been published the previous week. The production cycle of periodicals just can’t keep up the way online reviews can – in comparison, issue #1 had over a dozen reviews posted online within just a few days.


Click on the page above to zoom onto the review.

In the section, “Comics Reviews!”, subsection, “Mainstream Comics Reviews”, the very first comic reviewed is Alpha Flight v4 #1. A full reproduction of the cover is shown, along with a few panels featuring Marrina and Guardian battling Attuma in Vancouver. The review is written by the reviewer’s reviewer, Martin Gray, and is quite positive, even ending with the unknowingly woeful call “Can anyone say ‘ongoing’?”

Click to enlarge

In the section, “Auction News and Market Trends”, a full column by comic shop owner John Tinkess of Another Dimension in Calgary, AB also shows the cover of Alpha Flight v4 #1 as his main illustration. He mentions in his article a general summary of June sales and points out:

Alpha Flight #1 also enjoyed a spectacular debut, although it looks as if it might be selling better here in Canada than it is in the U.S. Some of our customers see it as a point of national pride to support Canada’s only super-team.

He also includes a section “Top comics for June” and Alpha Flight v4 #1 is listed! One can’t help but read this and fly back in time to when the Byrne/Mantlo-era Alpha Flight was a top ten book in the Direct Market and boy, is it amazing to see this kind of thing again. For one brief moment, we had all the glory again in the pages of Comics Buyer’s Guide – which I’m sure will still be around to publish a review of the first issue of Alpha Flight volume 5!

Captain Underpants joins Alpha Flight in Chaos War #5

February 14, 2011

Chaos War #5
Mar 2011

The Chaos War story line comes to its conclusion in this final issue of the five-issue mini-series. The plot lines leading up to this issue ought to be familiar to Alpha Flight fans who saw four dead members resurrected in the Chaos War: Alpha Flight one-shot, and reunited with four living members. After a brief cameo in issue #4 of this series, Alpha Flight appears more extensively, and with an important and serious outcome for the team. Guardian (Mac), Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Marrina, Northstar and Aurora appear in this book, having teamed up in the one-shot. Although Heather was also resurrected in that issue, she doesn’t appear in this one.

The opening page of issue #4, which showed various images of events spun out of the various mini-series, one-shots and other books of Chaos War, is mirrored with the opening page of this issue to show how they all converge together, literally and figuratively. The various characters (Thor, Hulks, Dead Avengers and Alpha Flight) are neatly brought together through some complicated space/time thingy, as explained by Sasquatch, who correctly places Alpha Flight’s former whereabouts, as mentioned in the one-shot, as Alberta. It was a nice touch for writers Greg Pak and Fred van Lente to have Walter explain this in character as a brilliant scientist instead of having Amadeus Cho give us the technobabble again.

During the battle sequence with the Chaos King baddies, only Sasquatch and Guardian are shown, and only in three panels, which is a bit disappointing since Alpha Flight at the time of this battle consisted of eight members. Perhaps it was just too much to fit into the limited space of the panels with all the busy action of the battle and overwhelming number of characters in this issue, on top of having to actually wrap up the entire story line.

For those of you who keep score, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the series penciler Koi Pham draw Sasquatch, but he does so in a markedly improved style over two previous versions in Mighty Avengers #21 and #23.

After the Chaos King is defeated, there’s an expository scene of “What just happened?”. Mac does the asking in two panels, but claims to be an actual “Rocket Scientist”, which frames him in an agreeably complimentary light as a genius, but isn’t technically right, as his background is more in petrochemicals and cybernetics than aerospace. However, since he has been in outer space at least once (OK, I won’t mention the Plodex thing from v3!), and it was an attempt to make the guy look good, I’ll give the writers a pass on this one.

It should be noted that up until this issue was published, it wasn’t known for sure whether or not the resurrections in the one-shot would be permanent or if the dead Alphans would wink out. This was explicitly stated as a known risk by the characters in the one-shot, and in a few interviews, neither Jim McCann nor any other writer confirmed there would be any more Alpha Flight beyond this issue. But, after Hercules re-sets the entire world back to how it was before, the resurrected members of Alpha Flight remain!

click here to show very big version of above panel

The resurrected members are confirmed as permanently resurrected in a quiet scene of post-hubbub solemnity on a beach at the base of the new Mount Olympus. There hasn’t been such an important turn of events in Alpha Flight history in a long time, and to add serious emphasis to the magnitude of the moment, none other than the very, very top Marvel A-List characters help out: Spider-Man, Iron Man and Captain America each take part. I get the sense that this formality was extended particularly as a nod to Alpha Flight fans to make up for the paltry and unceremonious way the unfortunate events of New Avengers #16 played out. The respectful gravitas of the scene isn’t lost on us, especially since other permanently resurrected characters from other parts of the Chaos War story line go unmentioned.

Unfortunately, this moment is imperfect – besides for not being a splash page featuring Alpha Flight in full, the panel has some outright mistakes. The issue still stands in the official category of “understated awesome”, but it’s fun to pick nits out of comics. First, there is a minor error in the speech bubbles. The dialogue from the previous panel reads:

Spidey: Hey, the big guy comes through. I always knew he would.
Iron Man: In more ways than one.
Captain America: How’s that?

The next line is uttered as Alpha Flight is shown on the beach: “Look who’s not dead anymore.” This ought to be uttered by Iron Man (or Spidey), but instead, the speech bubble comes from Cap, which makes no sense, as he wouldn’t be answering his own question.

Second, where’s Heather? Likely nearby, safe and sound, as Mac’s demeanor isn’t consistent with a fellow who has just lost his wife to a snarly chaos demon, but why the team would be shown this way with a pretty damn important member missing is not clear.

Third, the strange coloring in that panel, possibly caused by an odd spectrum from the sun at the horizon. Snowbird, a brunette now, is shown wearing a green cape, Marrina is wearing a red swimsuit, Iron Man (shown between Spidey and who I believe is Luke Cage) is completely miscolored, and Shaman… Shaman is shown wearing… I don’t know what… someone’s underwear? …outside of his costume? He should be drawn with just a belt!

The beach panel is the only appearance of Captain Underpants, Snowbird, Marrina and Northstar in the book. Aurora appears also, and again on the last page, seen from behind standing next to Mac as they face Mount Olympus.

Note: the cover to this issue was originally intended as the cover to the first issue of the series. Thanks to alphaflight.net member -K-M- who points out an alternate, unpublished version of the cover:


click to enlarge

Alpha Flight cameo in Chaos War #4

January 21, 2011

Chaos War #4
Feb 2011

The Chaos War story consists of a five issue mini-series of the same title, along with eleven additional one shots, short series and a three issue cross-over with Incredible Hulks. Unlike other Marvel crossover events, it didn’t “take over” a number of ongoing series. It’s more of a continuation of the Hercules story that left off when Fred van Lente’s Incredible Hercules series ended with issue #141. A four-issue bridge series, Prince of Power, served as an ongoing monthly for the Hercules storyline until Chaos War started in late 2010. By the time this issue was published, the Chaos War storyline had already been very familiar to Alpha Flight fans, as the amazing Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 one-shot issue, one of the eleven special issues mentioned above, preceded it. Alpha Flight appears in one panel in a cameo to unspecified events following that issue.

After an intro page and a useful but awkward checklist page that could have been merged with the two endpaper pages of ads, a montage page shows four panels representing four of the Chaos War special issues that had been published around that time. The panel shown is not taken directly from the Alpha Flight one-shot, nor does it show any events from that issue, but depicts some aerial or cosmic battle between four Alphans and some Chaos Warriors, one of which seems to be taking a nasty swipe at Guardian. Sasquatch can be seen to his left, engaged in combat with a winged baddie, and Shaman can be seen just beneath, apparently adrift. Northstar can be seen just to the right of the caption. How Sasquatch is able to fly around in this seemingly ethereal space environment isn’t clear.

The full text of Athena’s narration reads:

The world’s greatest heroes battle to save existence itself… … and fail, falling thunderously… …before the might of your slaves.

This sounds bad! Well, at least Alpha Flight is included in the elite group Athena refers to as “The world’s greatest heroes”, so much thanks to writer Fred van Lente for this little shout out, even though it looks like Guardian’s not having such a fun time.

Alphans appear in X-Men: Curse of the Mutants Spotlight

January 6, 2011

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants Spotlight
Jan 2011

Note: This issue is unnumbered. The Marvel Spotlight series, a promotional series featuring artists and events since 2005, has not been numbered, but unofficial numbering by fans was possible as issues were released. Since this issue does not even retain the title “Marvel Spotlight”, it is difficult to place it in any numbered sequence in that series.

This oddly titled issue seems at first to be focused (like, oh I don’t know, a spotlight maybe?) on the vampiric Curse of the Mutants story line, with the event logo on the cover and reprinted elements from Paco Medina’s promotional poster for the event. However, once you open it, you’ll find it’s actually a spotlight on three simultaneous events from late 2010/early 2011: Curse of the Mutants, Shadowland and Chaos War. Alpha Flight appears in reprinted art from the Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 cover.

Despite the fact that Mister Jeffries and Northstar, both members of the X-Men during the Curse of the Mutants story line, appeared in several of the event’s issues, they do not appear in the Curse of the Mutants portion of the book at all.

In the Chaos War portion of the book, a half-page interview with Jim McCann, writer of the Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 one-shot, offers a saccharine but warmly loving account of the one-shot, which was released in the same week as this issue. Also included is a reproduction of the art from Salva Espin’s much criticized cover (note Northstar and Aurora’s reversed costumes, Northstar’s rounded ears, Shaman’s odd warpaint and Snowbird’s impossibly long cape). The interview by staff writer Dugan Trodglen can be seen in its entirety at Flightpath07’s blog: Canada’s Own – The Flight, along with a great review of the one-shot!

Alpha Flight baddies in Heroic Age: Villains #1

January 4, 2011

Heroic Age: Villians #1
Jan 2011

The sequel to Heroic Age: Heroes #1 is naturally about the bad guys that make the heroes so heroic, so says Steve Rogers in the full page introduction to this files-type handbook. The format of the book is similar to the first book, with three entries per page presented as notecards, with a brief description of the baddies as written from the perspective of Steve Rogers’ personal opinion, followed by a suggested method of how to deal with them. Lacking from these entries is any type of power grid, replaced instead with a chart classifying the villains into their various plots and schemes. Witchfire has a 1/3 page entry and Zombie Guardian appears in the entry for the Zombie-verse.

Far less trippy than the first book in the series, there is a particular emphasis on what to do with many of the villains. Here’s where the book is really at its most interesting because you get the full spectrum of tolerance all the way from suggesting rehabilitative psychiatric treatment, therapy and medication to outright life-long permanent incarceration under maximum security. It’s a nice touch that the writers didn’t just assume Cap would have a “one size fits all” remedy and instead thoughtfully approached each villian’s motivation and general state of mind. Of course the best suggestion is for the Orb, a villian with an actual giant eyeball for a head, an inscrutable biological configuration. After mentioning that “an irritated or injured eye can drive people crazy” in the text entry, Cap suggests:

TREATMENT: Recommended long-term incarceration in a mental hospital and give him a special protection for his eyeball like a globe filled with artificial tear fluid.

Witchfire’s entry has an inset taken from the Finch variant cover for X-Infernus #3, but with much of the swirly background removed and replaced with null space. Unfortunately, the background wasn’t cleanly removed from the foreground of the wispy tendrils of flame emanating from her awesome flamey-eyes, resulting in a splotchy appearance around the indistinct borders of the flame. Here is the same inset as taken from the original cover, which ought to have been used instead. Described as being “a deadly threat to all on Earth”, her suggested treatment is “Recommended containment at ARMOR facility”, but how she could be held there is not clear.

The Zombie-verse entry has an inset taken from Ultimate Fantastic Four #23, with a tiny image of Zombie Guardian. Also seen in the inset are two very tiny flying figures that could be Zombie Northstar and Zombie Aurora. Even in the original comic, the figures are so extremely tiny that it’s impossible to be sure and the reproduction here is even smaller.

In the entry for the Purple Man, Cap uses the limited space to make a quick mention of another Alpha Flight member, “the Canadian Hero Persuasion”, who is of course the Purple Man’s daughter. She isn’t shown but it was nice to have her mentioned in this well-researched entry.