Posts Tagged ‘OHOTMU’

Sasquatch is “Officially” not a wolf

January 4, 2015

oittmuwpgr7coverWolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #7
Apr 2012

Note: Despite being clearly printed on the cover, “Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Wolverine & Punisher” is not the actual title of this series. The indicia reveals it reversed as above. Oddly, the Ghost Rider indexing ended as of last issue and is dropped from the cover, but the indicia remains unchanged.

The Official Index to the Marvel Universe, or OITTMU, continues in its third incarnation by covering various Wolverine and Punisher 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). Northstar appears in this issue in reprinted art from the cover of Wolverine #28 (Dec 2004).

The section on Wolverine titles starts from Wolverine #21 (the third series, a.k.a. the one that started in 2003) and ends at Wolverine Chop Shop (Jan 2009). Alpha Flight members appear in issues #25-28, #30-31, #53-56, and the index fully notes their appearances. Out of those issues, there’s only one cover appearance for Alpha Flight.

Wolverine #28 Brainwashed, evil Northstar appears on the cover

Wolverine #28 Brainwashed, evil Northstar appears on the cover

Northstar had been resurrected sometime off-panel in Wolverine #26, so this cover wasn’t such a surprise when it was finally published. The solicits for this issue were made available around the same time issue #26 came out. So as not to spoil Northstar’s return, the solicited cover image for Wolverine #28 censored his identity in silhouette and the solicited text read, “With friends like these… who needs enemies? Hydra hits close to home in more ways than one, leaving a rehabilitated Wolverine to face off against a brainwashed, evil former X-Man.”

Wolverine #28 The spoiler-free solicit originally showed Northstar obscured in shadow

Wolverine #28 The spoiler-free solicit originally showed Northstar obscured in shadow

Wolverine #53 introduced the notion that Sasquatch is of lupine descent. This is a known error by Jeph Loeb – and the index accurately states:

“… also shows a picture of Sasquatch while listing Lupine-like mutations, but Sasquatch’s powers are magical and derive from the Great Beast Tanaraq.”

So for the Alpha Flight fans who have been understandably frustrated by this error, the index firmly corrects this notion.

Another Jeph Loeb error is World War II-era Wild Child. In Wolverine #54, he appeared as a Nazi officer in a dream sequence that took place during the war, much to the chagrin of Alpha Flight fans. The index again accurately states:

“Wolverine dreams here about encountering Wild Child during WWII. However, XFac#142, ’98 fb showed Wild Child’s teenage years, establishing that he is not old enough to have been alive in WWII. W #55, ’07 reveals that Wolverine’s dreams in W #50-54, ’07 were caused by Romulus; while the others seem to have been Romulus’ memories, this one may be a false scenario implanted by Romulus for unknown reasons.”

The index then speculates:

“However, it is also possible that Wild Child truly was present at the battle; he may have time-traveled there … or XFac #142, ’98’s flashbacks may have been partly incorrect.”

I’m skeptical about the time-traveling scenario and the possibility that the origin story in X-Factor #142 might be incorrect, but apparently the index authors felt compelled to offer an explanation.

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Diamond Lil gets an update in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #3

September 16, 2013

ohotmuaztpb3coverOfficial Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #3
2012

Note: no month of publication is indicated, with the exception of manufacturing date range of 12/22/11 to 1/10/12. The issue was released on 1/25/12. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Mar 2012.

The third 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. In the entries, Shaman, Northstar and Puck appear in the Crystar entry, Puck appears in the Deadly Ernest entry, Centennial appears in a 1/2 page entry, Diamond Lil appears in a full page entry and X Mac, X Sasquatch and X Puck appear in the Earth X entry. Additionally, Alpha Flight-related characters Ranaq, Tundra, Kolomaq, Somon, Tanaraq, Tolomaq, Kariooq, Dreamqueen and Zilla Char appear in the massive nine page Demons entry.

The Crystar entry has two changes from the HC version published in 2008. The secondary illustration taken from the closing splash panel of Crystar #11 has been recolored in a high contrast modern style, a big improvement over the old version. Also, in the text of the entry, where Shaman and Puck are mentioned regarding their role in that issue, their full names are now given. It isn’t clear why this change was made, except possibly to distinguish Shaman (Michael Twoyoungmen) from other Shamans and Puck (Eugene Judd) from other Pucks. Poor Northstar, who is also mentioned in the text, did not get his full name given. He’s still just Northstar.

The Deadly Ernest entry has a similar improvement to the secondary illustration, which is an image of him getting his head chopped off: the halftones are removed and filled in solid instead. The text changed significantly regarding the Nemesis who killed Deadly Ernest twice in Alpha Flights #8 and #31, but who is a distinct character from the Nemesis who later teamed up with Alpha Flight late in volume 1 (now identified as Jane Thorne), and also distinct from the volume 3 Nemesis (who we knew to be Amelia Weatherly). This new information was revealed in volume 1 of the tpb series, so the writers were compelled to re-word the Deadly Ernest entry. It cleanly states, “Two other women subsequently assumed Nemesis’ mantle,” and confirms that the Isabel St. Ives version of Nemesis and [her father] Deadly Ernest are both in fact, quite dead.

The Centennial entry is re-printed from the 2008 HC with no changes.

(image from Alpha Flight #98)

(image from Alpha Flight #98)

Diamond Lil’s entry also has its secondary illustration recolored, an image of Lil wearing the black bodysuit costume from Alpha Flight #98. In the updates section, Diamond Lil has a paragraph describing the unfortunate events of X-Force #23 and the preceding events as described in Nation X #3. It was obviously not written by Chris Yost, because it’s both an accurate representation of Alpha Flight history and solemnly respectful of the characters.

The images of X Mac and X Sasquatch from the cover of Universe X #6 and X Puck from the back of the wraparound cover of Universe X #X in the Earth X entry are re-printed from the 2008 HC with no changes.

Also in the update section the massive nine page Demons entry somehow gets even longer with an additional two pages. The new Great Beast Neooqtoq is mentioned for the first time in a handbook, having appeared in Incredible Hercules #119 (Sep 2008), just after the HC issue had been published. Unfortunately, it’s in the section “Additional unpictured demons.” Also unfortunate is the omission of the Great Beasts Herateq and Tiamaq from Marvel Heartbreakers #1 (May 2010), who really ought to have been mentioned along with the other Great Beasts, unless for some technical reason they aren’t classified as demons.

Note: the illustrations of the Great Beasts in the massive nine page Demons entry have new captions indicating the issue and year they first appeared, which now matches the format for many of the other captioned illustrations in that entry. Nice job, writers: you got Tanaraq – X-Men #120 (1979) correct.

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.

The Mystery of the Ambiguous Mac

January 2, 2013

oittmuwpgr5coverWolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #5
Feb 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 #142 and #143 (Sep and Oct 1999).

Click to see full-size version of the solicited cover

Click to see full-size version of the solicited cover

Originally, the solicits for this issue indicated it would start at issue #142 for the Wolverine section of the book, but the writers only got so far as issue #133 last issue. The solicits are based on estimated page counts, so it’s typical to be off by a few issues. Since the usual arrangement is for the first indexed issue of the section to be shown on the cover in thumbnail, we would have had Alpha Flight on the cover of this issue had the estimate been accurate! Instead, the cover for Wolverine #134 (not an Alpha Flight appearance) made it to the big show. It’s the second time we were robbed of this distinction, as the same situation happened with issue #3 of this index as well.

The section on the Wolverine titles covers issues #134 through #169 with a few special issues published during that portion of the run. Alpha Flight members appear in issues #142-#145 and the Wolverine & Cable special, also known as “Guts & Glory”.

Cover to Wolverine #142 showing ambiguous Mac

Cover to Wolverine #142

The covers for #142 and #143 feature some of the team just after Alpha Flight volume 2 ended, with Puck, Northstar, Heather (as team liaison) and one of the two James MacDonald Hudsons. At the time, there were two Macs running around; one being the original Mac who had returned at the end of volume 2 (who at this time took the codename Guardian) and the other being “Synth Mac”, his younger clone (who at this time took the codename Vindicator). Because of similarities in their costumes and the fact that neither one was costumed in those issues, we can’t tell who is who on the cover of Wolverine #142 nor #143. There is also a small flashback panel in Wolverine #145 with a similar ambiguity: an unnamed Mac is shown wearing a cowl with a red stripe but we can’t tell which Mac it is, especially since the flashback is to events in issues #142 and #143 when neither Mac was wearing a costume. The index positively identifies the Mac in that small flashback panel as Guardian but also notes the error of showing him in costume at all.

Cover to Wolverine #143

Cover to Wolverine #143

Why so confusing? For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things: as of Alpha Flight v2 #20, “Real Mac” was wearing an all-white cowl and “Synth Mac” was wearing a cowl with a red stripe down the middle. The next chronological appearance of either of them is Wolverine #142, but again, neither of them are shown in costume in that issue (except in flashback). “Synth Mac” dies in issue #143 (oh sorry, uh, spoiler alert!) and the next appearance of “Real Mac” after this arc is in Generation X #58, where he is wearing an all-white cowl. The confusion starts when we next see “Real Mac” again in Wolverine #171, where he is wearing a cowl with a red stripe, continuing to wear this through several other appearances.

wolv2142coverinset

The actual images printed in this index are thumbnailed so here are the insets, magnified to clearly show the red stripe on ambiguous Mac’s cowl, as well as Heather in her “Team Liaison to Department H” costume holding an awesome looking gun.

wolv2143coverinset

Unfortunately, the information about the issues in the index doesn’t address the mystery of ambiguous Macs on these covers; perhaps it was too subtle even for the usually insanely detailed writers of the OITTMU series. It’s not too subtle for Alpha Flight Collector to still be worrying about this 13 years later, though. My personal opinion is that “Synth Mac” is on the cover of both of those issues based on the supposition that if he were costumed at the time, he would be wearing a cowl with a red stripe.

The index also helps out with positively identifying Ghost Girl (Lilli Stephens) for the first time in a small flashback panel in Wolverine #142 showing the reorganization of the Beta Flight team after volume 2. This places Wolverine #142 as Ghost Girl’s last chronological appearance, not Alpha Flight v2 #20 as previously thought.

Two known continuity errors in Wolverine #143 are pointed out and sort of explained. The first is when Vindicator (“Synth Mac”), while not wearing his EM suit nor cybernetic helmet, blasts Weapon X (Garrison Kane), which should have been impossible. The index explains this by suggesting, “his synthoid nature may have granted him additional, previously unrevealed powers.”

plausible

The second is in the 2nd story of Wolverine #143 when Walter Langkowski tries to explain where A.I.M. could possibly have obtained Snowbird’s body to reincarnate. At the time Walter was in Snowbird’s body but he suggested they obtained the body from her grave. The index notes, “Sasquatch’s explanation here that Snowbird’s body regenerated while in its grave cannot be accurate. [Wolverine #172 (2002)] implies that the Inuit gods had a hand in resurrecting Snowbird, but the exact mechanics of her return are unexplained.”

plausible

There was a chance for these continuity errors to be resolved with the publication of this index… but if the information doesn’t exist, the writers don’t have much to give us.

All that glitters isn’t Auric

November 25, 2012

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z TPB #2
2012

Note: no month of publication is indicated, with the exception of manufacturing date range of 10/27/11 to 11/15/11. The issue was released on 11/30/11. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Jan 2012.

The second 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. In the entries, Alt. Sasquatch appears in Blink’s entry and Sasquatch appears in the Contest of Champions entry. In the updates, Hodiak appears in the Council of Godheads update and both Auric and Silver appear in the China Force update.

The Alt. Sasquatch appearance, as it was in the HC version from 2008, is only her hand in a cropped illustration taken from the cover of Exiles #55 (Feb 2005).

The entry for Contest of Champions is identical to the HC version, with the exception of the coloring of the illustration, where Sasquatch appears. It has been nicely updated to remove 1980s-era dithering and replaced with a flatter modern style, while still retaining the simplicity of the original.

The China Force entry is unchanged, but in the update section, new headshots of previously mentioned trainees Auric and Silver are shown. Back when Auric was a trainee in China Force, he was known as “Gold”, and he’s properly identified as such. As I mentioned already in a previous post, Auric still has never had an entry, but at least the writers went out of their way to show the proper name in the proper entry, a detail not unnoticed by Auric fans.

They are the same images from the extensive Alpha Flight team update from issue #1 of the TPB series. However, the best headshots to have used would have been those taken directly from the only issue where they appeared as trainees in China Force, which was the Rick Mason: The Agent Graphic Novel. Had the writers done that, the headshots would have looked like this instead:

Likely because the original images were in black and white, they weren’t used.

Also in the update section, which is only 16 pages long, the Council of Godheads have about a full page worth of update including two large illustrations and a new grid of headshots of gods not already identified in the entry. Hodiak appears in one of the illustrations, which was taken from Greg Pak and Fred van Lente’s Incredible Hercules #116 (Jun 2008) with art by Rafa Sandoval; an image repeated in the preview page of Incredible Hercules #117 (Jul 2008). This is the first positive identification of Hodiak among the ghosty gaggle of Native American-looking gods in those issues.

Hodiak among the Council of Godheads (Image from Incredible Hercules #116)

In the new grid of headshots, an image taken from the Encyclopedia Mythologica #1 (Sep 2009) entry for the Inua identifies Hodiak, with his correct 1st appearance noted below as Alpha Flight #7, not Thor #300 as some websites maintain. That image is by Kevin Sharpe, one of many new illustrations for that issue, but sadly, the characters were not clearly identified at the time. The image was later tagged nicely over at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe site, but this is the first time Hodiak was officially identified in that image in print.

Shaman in Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #4

June 3, 2012

Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #4
Jan 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). Shaman appears in this issue in reprinted art from the cover of Wolverine #110 (Feb 1997).

Originally, the solicits for this issue indicated it would start at issue #104 for the Wolverine section of the book, but the writers only got so far as issue #100 last issue. The solicits are based on estimated page counts, so it’s typical to be off by a few issues. The section on the Wolverine titles continues from issues #101 to #133 and also includes a few special issues published during that portion of the run. Alpha Flight members appear in issues 102.5, 104, 110, 114 and 129, with Shaman on the cover of issue #110 with art by Adam Kubert.

Cover of Wolverine #110
click for big image

The notes identify the various Alpha Flight appearances in these issues as well as the little volume 2 preview at the end of issue #114. Invaluable information from these index issues notes the chronology of the character’s appearances, but out of all the issues listed above, only issues #110 and #129 were in continuity, and #129 only had flashback scenes.

Of all the indexed issues mentioned above, the only Alpha Flight image appearing in this book is the cover for Wolverine #110. The actual image shown inside is a tiny thumbnailed image, so here is an inset from the actual cover to that issue featuring Shaman as he weaves a spell to trap the Great Beast back into its vessel.

Unfortunately, a long-running question about this issue remains unresolved: the Great Beast in this issue had never been identified properly as one of the Seven Great Beasts (Somon, Kariooq, Kolomaq, Ranaq, Tanaraq, Tolomaq and Tundra), and fans were puzzled at the time if this were one of them. Hints had been dropped over the years that there were other Beasts (as mentioned in Alpha Flight #6, #23 and Wolverine #172) and in Over the Edge #2, Shaman referred to a snow creature as a Great Beast. In more recent times, more Great Beasts have surfaced, including Neooqtoq in Incredible Hercules #119 and two others, Tiamaq and Herateq, in Marvel Heartbreakers #1.

In the “Villians” section of the text for this issue, the Great Beast is simply called “Great Beast” and in the “Notes” section:

It is unclear which Great Beast appears here. Aside from this issue, only Seven Great Beasts have ever appeared on-panel – but Snowbird transforms into a previously unknown eighth Beast in Herc #119, ’08, so others may exist, and this may be another Beast. However, it vaguely resembles Ranaq the Great Devourer; if this is Ranaq, he appears here following AFlt #18, ’85.

So, the mystery of the Great Beast from Wolverine #110 stands, but Ranaq does seem to be an excellent suggestion.

Note: Tiamaq and Herateq should have been mentioned in the quoted text above, a minor omission that doesn’t matter for the purpose of identifying the Great Beast in issue #110, but still a bit disappointing as fans expect the info in these indexes to be comprehensive.

Northstar cameo in Vampires: The Marvel Undead #1

May 22, 2012

Vampires: The Marvel Undead #1
Dec 2011

Marvel has had no shortage whatsoever of vampire characters and stories dating back at least forty years, including the late Gene Colan’s Tomb of Dracula series and the Blade series which spun out three very successful movies. The recent Curse of the Mutants Saga (2010-2011) brought vampires right back into the mainstream Marvel universe, so to tie all that together while capitalizing on popular culture’s vampire craze, Marvel published another Official Handbook! Containing reprinted entries from previous handbooks, new entries, new illustrations and some updates for major characters, this book has everything you’ve always wanted to know about Marvel’s vampires. Northstar appears in Jubilee’s entry in an inset to the main illustration.

At the very beginning of the Curse of the Mutants Saga, Jubilee became infected with a vampire pathogen, and has been a vampire ever since. Her entry is a single page character update and has a new illustration by Steve Kurth. Another image of her is inset into the upper right – taken from the cover of Nation X #2 which features Northstar in the background.

This cover art was originally published in the first issue of the Nation X anthology series as a preview, where we first saw the white belt version of Northstar’s costume. Nation X #2 contains an 8pp story by Tim Fish featuring Northstar and his then-boyfriend Kyle. At the time, that issue was framed as a light-hearted and playful look into Northstar’s relationship with Kyle but would later turn out to be a significant building block of an important narrative leading up to their eventual engagement (announced today, in fact!) and marriage in the Astonishing X-Men title.

Unfortunately, all you can see of Northstar in the little inset is his jaw and his shoulder blade, so here is a much better view taken from the original cover art of Nation X #2.

Vindicator in Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #3

May 17, 2012

Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #3
Dec 2011

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 after taking on Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men in the first series and the Avengers, Captain America, and Thor in the second. This third series coves the massive set of comics for Wolverine and Punisher, and the large but not as massive Ghost Rider series. 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). Vindicator (Mac) appears in this issue in reprinted art from the cover of Wolverine #95 (Nov 1995).

Originally, the solicits for this issue indicated it would start at issue #75 for the Wolverine section of the book, but the writers only got so far as issue #70 last issue. The contents were estimated a bit off, but since it’s under, not over, it means readers got more detail on a per-issue basis than originally anticipated. The Wolverine section continues from issues #71 through #100, inclusive of a few special issues published during that portion of the run. Alpha Flight members appear in issues 76, 77, 83, 84, 91, 92 and 95, with Mac on the cover of issue #95.

Cover of Wolverine #95
click for big image

The accompanying text for these issues note the appearances of Mac and Heather, with notes and the usual details of chronology, which weren’t that hard to discern at the time because most of these issues took place in the hiatus between the end of Alpha Flight v1 and the beginning of Alpha Flight v2. The comments also confirm the error on Beast’s part to call Mac “Guardian” in issues #91 and #92 (at the time Heather was going by Guardian and Mac was Vindicator as correctly indicated on the cover text above). But don’t get too much of a headache – these index books are perfect for sorting out these types of pesky details!

Also contained in this index are the four issues of Wolverine re-named “Weapon X” for the 1995 Age of Apocalypse crossover. AoA Box appears in issue #2 of that series. He was chopped up by Weapon X (the AoA version of Wolverine) and generally considered to have been killed, but it had never been confirmed until now. The text confirms that even though AoA Jeffries was phased into his armor, Weapon X’s brutal attack was fatal.

Of all the indexed issues mentioned above, the only Alpha Flight image appearing in this book is the cover for Wolverine #95. The actual image shown inside is a tiny thumbnailed image, so here is an inset from the actual cover to that issue featuring Mac as he slams hard into Wolverine, preventing him from engaging in what Mac believes is a rage-fueled street brawl.

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.

Puck in Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #2

April 13, 2012

Wolverine, Punisher & Ghost Rider: Official Index to the Marvel Universe #2
Nov 2011

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 after taking on Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men in the first series and the Avengers, Captain America, and Thor in the second. This third series coves the massive set of comics for Wolverine and Punisher, and the large but not as massive Ghost Rider series. 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). Puck appears in this issue in reprinted art from the cover of Wolverine #35 (Jan 1991).

Click to see full-size version of the solicited cover

Originally, the solicits for this issue indicated it would start right at Wolverine #35 and as the usual arrangement is for the cover art from the starting issue to be reproduced, the solicited cover included Puck! However, once the series started, the writers ended up off by a few issues and didn’t make it all the way up to #34 in issue #1. The issues covered for the Wolverine series in this issue start at issue #33, so the cover for Wolverine #33 was reproduced instead. It’s fairly typical for the OITTMU covers to differ from the solicits this way but for a while there, Alpha Flight Collector had a thrill going up his leg over it.

Note also that the solicit cover shown above oddly refers to the issue as “1982’s Wolverine #35“, a typographical error left over from the solicit to issue #1 which did index the first Wolverine series from 1982 by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont.

The actual image shown inside is a thumbnailed image, so here is an inset from the actual cover to that issue featuring Puck as he and Wolverine are sent back in time by Gateway to his first chronological appearance in 1937:

Puck is mentioned for his appearances in issues #35, #36 and #37 with notes in the issue details.

James and Heather Hudson are mentioned in the entry for Wolverine #50. They appeared in an uncaptioned snapshot inside the unusual die-cut cover of that issue. Though it was very obvious who they were, it had never been confirmed until this issue.

Here is the snapshot in question from that issue, which did not appear in the index, despite being part of the cover art.