Posts Tagged ‘Major Mapleleaf’

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.

Advertisements

We’ve got Olympic fever on FUNday!

February 15, 2010

Well, it’s another Monday FUNday post and we’ve got Olympic fever! Although we can’t come close to the thrill of victory in Vancouver, we can sure try with this week’s item! If “Tiniest Alpha Flight Appearances” were an Olympic Sport, this book would win the gold medal.

Marvel Heroes Amazing Powers
2007

Published in both hardback and paperback by Dorling Kindersley, this book by Catherine Saunders is a 48pg early reading book for kids, featuring the amazing superpowers of various mainstream Marvel Heroes. The actual dimensions of the paperback book are just under nine by six inches, notably smaller than a regular comic. The “Introduction” page includes a reprint of a Marvel poster containing just about every single character in the Marvel Universe and several extremely tiny appearance of Alpha Flight characters.

The original image appeared as a banner on top of the official Marvel Universe website, thus the aspect ratio is typical of a banner: extreme from width to height. This image became available as a poster-sized print with a red Marvel logo in the foreground and a blue sky behind it and was once available for purchase, though you still needed a magnifying glass to recognize some characters way in the back and some are simply unrecognizable at all.

This image is actually a composite of existing character images overlapped on top of each other to create an expansive panorama. Clearly an attempt was made to put the more popular characters in the front and lesser-known characters in the back, but since its debut, popularity has shifted around, so the image dates itself in a subtle way for sophisticated fans who track the ups and downs of characters.

It’s difficult to show the actual image from the book because the image of the poster was greatly reduced to a 2pg spread (appx 10 inches wide) while the original poster was 36 inches. Instead, here are portions of the poster itself. Unfortunately, characters near the back are very, very tiny so I’ve highlighted the Alphans in red.

Aurora can be seen on the extreme left side, just behind Sandman and above the foreground image of Rogue.

Snowbird and Northstar can be see in flight just in front of Fin Fang Foom and above the foreground image of The Hulk. Guardian can also be seen in the scrum just behind Dazzler.

On the far right, the volume 3 team can be seen, from left to right: Major Mapleleaf Jr, Puck (Zuzha), Yukon Jack, Nemesis, Centennial and Sasquatch behind them all. They are just below Galactus and above the foreground image of Iron Fist.

So if you don’t know how to read, go get this item for your collection, use it to learn how to read, and then come on back here to read all about it on FUNday!

A new personal best. Let’s hear it for Mailman Mike!

October 8, 2009

darkxmtbeg2coverDark X-Men: The Beginning #2
Sep 2009

Though not enumerated as a chapter in Utopia, a crossover between the Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-Men set in the Dark Reign storyline, this issue takes place before the events of Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1 and has the Utopia logo on the front. Norman Osborn recruits, or attempts to recruit, members of a mutant counterpart team to the Dark Avengers, the Dark X-Men. In the second of three short features, Weapon Omega is recruited and Alpha Flight makes a quick cameo.

Unfortunately, the cameo is a flashback to the unfortunate events of New Avengers #16 where Michael Pointer, as The Collective, killed Guardian (Mac), Vindicator (Heather), both Pucks, Shaman and Major Mapleleaf. Osborn meets up with Pointer at a construction site for a children’s hospital and tries to recruit him. The “corpses in the snow” scene is reproduced by Osborn’s pocketwatch holographic projector to demonstrate to Pointer that Osborn knows who he is. Osborn then threatens to enlarge the scene and show it to everyone at his work site, compelling Alpha Flight’s murderer to stop and listen to yet another of Osborn’s diabolical plans, one that results in Pointer joining up with the Dark X-Men. Somehow, crybaby Pointer manages not to uncontrollably sob for the entirety of the feature, an amazing 11 pages, a personal best. Because this site, like my previous site, has a standing ban on showing the “corpses in the snow” scene, here is a picture of some cute little bunnies jumping on each other instead:

darkxmtbeg2

Awww, cute widdle bunny wabbits!