Posts Tagged ‘Snowbird’

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

Alpha Flight in History of the Marvel Universe #1

June 4, 2012

History of the Marvel Universe #1
Jan 2012

There’s just no way to condense the entire history of the Marvel Universe into a single 48pg book, but this attempt is actually a pretty good try. Narrated by The Watcher, events from the Golden Age (1940s) up to Spider Island (2011) are summarized into short descriptive paragraphs, approximately three per page, accompanied by iconic images to bring life to just about every corner of the Marvel Universe that can fit into a single volume. Despite the movie-centric characters depicted on the cover which hints at a fairly mainstream theme, the writers made some unusual choices in this book, as noted in this good review of the issue. The inside back cover of the book has an useful and extensive reference guide to link the narrative paragraphs to trade paperbacks and hardcover collections so readers can find the full story. In reprinted artwork from various issues, several Alpha Flight members appear.

Because there’s so much information to fit in to such little space, the writers just didn’t have the luxury of including everything. The most notable omission is that which was so notably included in Marvel Saga #1 (Dec 1985) – the origin of Alpha Flight as an idea germinated in Mac’s head after reading about the Fantastic Four in the newspaper. It really would have been nice to include that but Alpha Flight Collector can’t complain – we got a full reproduction of the first on-panel appearance of Alpha Flight in Uncanny X-Men #121!

Founded by the Canadian government’s Department H and led by Vindicator (later Guardian), Alpha Flight included the massive Sasquatch, mystic Shaman, Inuit goddess Snowbird, and super-speedster twins Aurora and Northstar. The team’s first contact with the X-Men occurred when Alpha Flight was ordered to bring Wolverine back to Canada; after hostilities ended, the two squads became allies. Despite soon being disbanded, Alpha Flight continued as an independent group and became allies of other worldwide heroes.

Other appearances in this book include:

  • A splash page from Contest of Champions #1 featuring Sasquatch as a member of The Grandmaster’s team
  • A cropped version of the trifold cover of Infinity War #4, featuring Sasquatch’s doppelgänger and Sasquatch, who is unfortunately obscured by an overlapping semi-transparent text box
  • A splash page from Infinity Crusade #1 featuring Windshear, Sasquatch, Puck and Talisman answering The Goddess’ call to service, without the word “YES!”, a bizarre omission
  • Art taken from the cover of X-Men: Alpha (Note: the original cover for X-Men: Alpha is foil stamped; the artwork reproduced in this issue is flat like the 2nd printing cover) featuring Age of Apocalypse Wild Child
  • A panel taken from Avengers Forever #12 featuring Sasquatch from an alternate timeline in which he was a member of the Avengers

Overall, a fairly good showing for Alpha Flight and just about what was expected, but for fans who really want to learn about the history of the Marvel Universe, consider the Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1 handbook instead, which has full pages of extensively detailed text instead of quick blurby descriptions.

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…

Alphans in Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1

April 2, 2012

Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1
Oct 2011

Part of the Official Handbook series, this book contains both a “Saga” portion and regular handbook entries that blend together to tell the backstory of the massive Fear Itself storyline. The first portion of the book, roughly akin to a “Fear Itself Saga”, is narrated by the Fear Lord D’Spayre and tells the story of recent events in the Marvel Universe. No, you won’t find the harmless 1980s-era funtime battle-o-rama like the Contest of Champions, or Spidey getting his new costume in Secret Wars, nah – this is all about widespread damage, high body counts and all-around devastation. The second portion consists of handbook-style entries for various dreadful characters and terrifying events in the Marvel Universe. Murmur and Radius appear in the Saga portion of the book and several members of Alpha Flight (Vindicator, Shaman, Snowbird, Sasquatch and Marrina) appear in one of the entries. Additionally, the Dreamqueen has a one page entry.

Wait – the Dreamqueen wasn’t in Fear Itself! Well, some of the events mentioned in the Saga portion and many of the entries in the handbook portion are not directly related to the Fear Itself storyline, but they do fit with the theme “all things frightening!” quite nicely, so it’s all good. For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, she had an entry in the OHOTMU ’89 update (issue #2) and one in the OHOTMU Master Edition in 1993 (issue #28), but this one is completely re-written in the modern style – it even refers to Laura Dean as Pathway!

In the Saga portion of the book, D’Spayre gleefully recounts events in the Marvel Universe from the perspective of how frightening it must have been for the characters. For instance, The House of M storyline, which wasn’t exactly in the horror category and likely didn’t frighten any readers (who were too busy trying to figure out who was left powered and depowered in its aftermath), is described chillingly:

Millions upon millions of beings were left powerless, their very identities torn to shreds, terrified to be left vulnerable and weak in a threatening world.

Creepy, and well-done. The accompanying image for this text is taken from the array of depowered mutants as depicted in a two-page splash from New Avengers #18. The actual image shown is the modified version from the House of M entry in the Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1 handbook, as can be seen by the slightly rotated image [to better fit the grid into the small horizontal space]. The four Alphans shown in that array are Murmur, Radius, Wild Child and Windshear, but in this cropped image, only Murmur and the very top of Radius’ hair can be seen.

The Alphans have been highlighted in red below. Look for Radius’ hair in the extreme lower right corner of the image. For a larger version of the original and for more info on that panel and its importance to Alpha Flight, please click on the link above to the post for Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe #1.

In a new two-page entry for the Chaos War event, one of the inset illustrations is a miniaturized version of a splash page taken from the Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 one-shot showing five members of Alpha Flight watching the battle with the Great Beasts just as Walter revealed the corrupt bargain he had made with them. There is also a very well-written account of the events of that issue as well as some other mentions of the Alpha Flight resurrections in Chaos War #5 and the team’s current status.

Just in case you wanted to see Heather’s butt, here is an inset from the original page showing each of the characters in greater detail:

Oh and since this a is a blog about collecting comics, I’d like to take this opportunity to mention where I picked up my copy of this issue: Coliseum of Comics in Kissimmee, FL, while on vacation with my trusty sidekick.

It’s one of the best (and largest) comic shops I’ve been in with a great staff, a great selection and best of all, free parking! So if you’re ever in the Orlando/Disney area, make sure to stop by and check it out!

Snowbird cameo in Herc #1

May 22, 2011

Herc #1
June 2011

As advertised at the very end of Chaos War #5, Hercules returns in a new series written by Alpha Flight (volume four) writers Fred van Lente and Greg Pak. After the main story is an eight page “Hercules Saga”, describing the major events in Hercules’ life with text in caption boxes arranged around key panels from various issues. This is very similar to the “Atlas File” found at the end of Namor, The First Mutant #1. Snowbird appears in one panel as a member of the God Squad, with art reprinted from Incredible Hercules #119.

The panel as re-printed omits two text elements, a speech bubble from Amadeus Cho and the graphic descriptor, “BRZTWAKTZ”, but neither of those obscured Snowbird even in the original panel. Here is an inset from the panel as reprinted:

The accompanying text by writer John Rhett Thomas is somewhat inaccurate. It says,

Hercules headed an unlikely assortment of gods – including Snowbird, Ajak the Eternal, Demogorge and Amatsu Mikaboshi. …Hercules yielded to Athena’s wisdom and used Mikaboshi’s talents to achieve victory against the Skrull gods.

This is not exactly how it went down. In Incredible Hercules #120, Snowbird, in yet another burst of awesome, was the one who killed Kly’Bn by ramming Demogorge’s spine at full force into his back while Mikaboshi duplicitously killed Sl’Gur’T. The omission of Snowbird as being responsible for achieving victory against the Skrull gods is unfortunate, but was likely written that way because the rest of the narration had to do with Mikaboshi coming back later as the Chaos King.

Note: this issue has a variant cover by John Romita, Jr.

Herc #1 – John Romita Jr. variant

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

What If… Alpha Flight were imperceptibly tiny?

February 2, 2011

What If? #200
Feb 2011

Note: this issue has a wraparound cover. The back is shown below and the cover in its entirety can be seen here.

I’ll speculate that somewhere last year, one of the guys over at Marvel figured out that they had published about 199 or so issues of the “What If…” series over the years and that it deserved a celebratory #200 issue.

Great idea!

After a run starting in 1977 which lasting through 1988, the series relaunched in 1989. That series ran through 1998, and lay dormant until it was relaunched in 2005 with a series of irregularly published one-shots at the rate of five or six per year that neither picked up the previous numbering nor had their own sequence, so the notion of a 200th issue really took some careful indexing and collecting. I’m obviously impressed by the effort of my speculative fellow indexer and collector. Alpha Flight appears on the covers of two What If…? issues, both of which are reprinted.

This giant issue includes a main story, “What if… Norman Osborn won the Siege of Asgard?”, a backup Watcher/Galactus story by none other than Stan “The Man” Lee, an interview with former Marvel EIC Roy Thomas, and a two-page spread featuring the question, “What was your favorite What If?” as answered by various Marvel writers, artists, editors and executives. In the response given by Tom DeFalco, who picked the one I would have picked, a thumbnail of the cover of issue #34 is reproduced, with a very very tiny image of Mac on the cover. In truth, one can barely even see it but Alpha Flight Collector knows it’s there.

A larger version of the cover:

Mac holding a beer and wearing a ski cap:

Following a full reprint of What If… #35, a Daredevil story, two double page spreads index all 200 What If… issues, including a numbering scheme for the 2005 series, the titular question for each issue, along with two giant 10×10 arrays of cover thumbnails. In the array, Alpha Flight appears on the cover of #34, as mentioned above, as well as on the cover of #59 from the second series. That issue is officially titled, “What if… Wolverine had remained a captive of Alpha Flight?”, though the tagline on the cover asks, “What if… Wolverine led Alpha Flight?” On that cover, the original six Alphans appear on the left and right side of Wolverine. Again, the cover shown is very tiny but one can make out the characters. Unfortunately a white border obscures part of Shaman.

A larger version of the cover:

Both left and right sides show the full team:

....

The back cover of issue #200:

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!