Posts Tagged ‘Vindicator (Mac)’

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
Advertisements

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.

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.

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:

Northstar and Jeffries in Origins of Marvel Comics: X-Men #1

October 18, 2010

Origins of Marvel Comics: X-Men #1
Nov 2010

Similar to other “Origins” style books, this is a collection of single-page illustrated origin stories. Written, drawn and colored by a wide variety of creators, thirty-six X-Men members (out of a much larger pool) have entries that cover the basics of their origin and backstory. Though it’s laughably impossible to write anything remotely comprehensive in a single illustrated page, the writers succeeded in telling a nice synopsis in the short space allowed, and in some cases include well-researched details that surprise even the sophisticated reader. Some of the material is directly reprinted from earlier books of this type, and some entries for characters previously included were re-written, notably Wolverine’s entry from Origins of Siege #1 (which had already been reprinted) to exclude Mac and Heather. Northstar gets a full page entry and Jeffries appears in the full page entry for the X-Club. Additionally, Vindicator (Mac), Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird and Aurora appear in Northstar’s entry.

The page layout of Northstar’s entry is divided into quadrants using the Beaubier’s signature starburst shape. The upper left quadrant shows a highly glared-out version of what Nightcrawler saw when Northstar and Aurora used their brilliant light power in Uncanny X-Men #120, their first appearance. Here are the panels from that book depicting the event from a different perspective:

Note that in that issue, the reader was shown only shadows of the twins (which are reversed left to right from what you would expect to see from the rear perspective), and it wouldn’t be until issue #121 that we would see a full appearance.

The second quadrant shows Alpha Flight standing on stage with Canadian Flags draped behind them at some unspecified time, but likely before they were disbanded by the Canadian government and before issue #1, since neither Puck nor Marrina are shown. The lower left quadrant shows a re-creation of Northstar’s absurdly arrogant portrayal in Uncanny X-Men #414 just prior to his failed rescue of the explosive mutant boy Peter, marking the first time he joined up with the X-Men. The final quadrant shows him kicking Skrull ass in San Francisco, in re-creation of what was otherwise an off-panel brawl in Secret Invasion: X-Men #2 (2008). Overall, a nice single page summary with accurate art elements from David Yardin, who got the pointy ears right (though it is sad that it needs to be mentioned since it’s a basic element of the character’s appearance). He put a circumscribed “X” on Northstar’s costume in the Secret Invasion portion of the page, which could be either an error, since he wasn’t wearing the X in that issue and wasn’t an official member back then, or just artistic license to show a canonical image of his current costume.

Mister Jeffries appears in a catch-all page for the X-Club (the X-Men Science Team), with individual panels for each current member, one panel showing Beast recruiting them, and a posed team image in a larger panel. A younger version of Jeffries is shown (before his temples grew in grey), working on his Box armor – a great choice made by writer Si Spurrier to show Madison’s super-heroic origins.

Note the “A” (for Alpha) on his jacket indicating again the image is from a time when he was still in Alpha Flight. Compare this to the erroneous Lambda symbol we saw on a similar or same jacket in X-Men Legacy Annual #1, now corrected very nicely by Phil Noto.

space

A current (older) version of Jeffries is also shown, now with his signature greyed out temples, flannel shirt and absentminded floating bits of metal – another great canonical image!

Overall, a good showing for Jeffries for this type of book, but Alpha Flight Collector would have preferred Jeffries have his own page rather than share it with two other members.

A footnote in Alpha Flight history in Incredible Hulk #606

January 24, 2010

Incredible Hulk #606
Mar 2010

It’s not really the six hundred and sixth issue of the series because Marvel played some numbering shenanigans when they started over at #600 but if you make a big deal out of it, HULK SMASH!!! This issue is part of the “Fall of the Hulks” storyline and begins with a ticker-tape parade through the canyon of heroes in Lower Manhattan to honor Skaar, son of the Hulk for recently saving New York from an attack of big ugly nasties from Sakaar. This reminds Bruce Banner of a similar honorific: the Hulk Amnesty in Incredible Hulk #278-279 (Dec 1982-Jan 1983). Vindicator (Mac) appears in one panel in flashback to the Hulk Amnesty.

The Hulk Amnesty took place during one of the periods when Bruce Banner was in control of the Hulk and retained his intelligence while in Hulk form. After defeating the U-Foes, the general population showered praise upon him, and forgave him for all previous HULK SMASH!!! An enormous group of super-beings from all over the world (and other worlds), including Alpha Flight, gathered in New York to honor the big green guy in a protracted ceremony with gushing outpourings of love and admiration. Alpha Flight made a few cameo appearance in those issues, including a single panel with the team members at the time (Marrina and Puck were members in the proper chronology of the Hulk Amnesty issues but weren’t created until Alpha Flight #1 came out shortly after in 1983).

The Hulk would not stay in this incarnation for long; he became savage again, split into two parts, turned grey, was reassembled back into one part, turned green again, [insert here a few hundred issues worth of the same sort of splitting, turning colors and going from smart to savage in mind-numbing iteration], eventually sent to another planet only to return with the purpose of killing everyone and is now split again, and oh, there’s a Red Hulk, too. So, that whole Amnesty thing seems a bit far off now.

As seen in the inset from that panel, the image above is printed with a hint of the half-tone method of printing used back in 1982 for the original issue, and is a nice touch, though we’ve seen this nice touch used before recently in Dark X-Men: The List #1 to show a flashback to an 80s era comic. Greg Pak adds an additional nice touch by using a nearly lost technique to refer readers to previous issues: the editor’s footnote! These were fairly popular back then (they were invaluable for finding guest appearances of your favorite characters before comic book blogs were invented) but have since been deprecated by Joe Quesada, the current Marvel Editor-In-Chief. However, this tribute to the footnote won’t go unmentioned!

.

Note: there is a variant cover for this issue by Marko Djurdjevic and a 2nd printing variant with interior art by Paul Pelletier.

Incredible Hulk #606 – Marko Djurdjevic variant
Incredible Hulk #606 – Second printing variant

Vindicator in Weapon X: First Class #1

January 22, 2010

Weapon X: First Class #1
Jan 2009

The First Class series takes place in continuity just after Kitty Pryde joined up with the X-Men, and this three-issue series focused on Wolverine and his time with the mysterious Weapon X program. The First Class series is rated A (Appropriate for readers Ages 9 and Up), so there’s no bloody claws scraping against anyone’s liver nor chopped up eyeballs, sorry. Vindicator (Mac) appears in one panel during an unspecified time as a memory shard.

Logan and Professor X sit down to try and repair the tangled, hazy maze of lost memories in Wolverine’s head. They travel to his inner mindscape where they encounter what looks like a combination of a neuron architecture and a spelunker’s nightmare. Among the twisted landscape are memory shards containing images of various times in Wolverine’s life, in the form of jagged panes of glass. One of these panes shows Mac zooming by in his EM suit along with Wolverine.

Professor X, in the same panel that contains the memory shard, indicates:

Unfortunately, we don’t know how many of these memories are your own and how many were falsely implanted inside your mind during your mental conditioning with the Canadian government.

Therefore, it’s not clear if this memory shard contains an actual memory or a false one. Unfortunately, by including Mac in the same panel as this text, it perpetuates the myth that Mac was involved with some of the funny business at Department H, but we know that whatever happened there, he wasn’t involved.

It’s also not clear exactly when this memory takes place. From the way Mac and Logan are shown in the shard, it looks as if they’re on the same team, going in the same direction somewhere, not fighting each other, so it likely refers to any time after Wolverine reconciled with Alpha Flight in Uncanny X-Men #139-140, but not too long after that because First Class takes place roughly during Uncanny X-Men #138-#150. Note that Wolverine is wearing a jacket with a Maple Leaf patch, which suggests it’s supposed to be during the time when he was still with Department H, but that’s not possible because Wolverine expressed surprise that Mac could fly in Uncanny X-Men #109. However, due to the scrambled nature of Logan’s memories, the veracity of any portrayal of any event in a memory shard in his head is impossible to pin down for sure.

Note: this issue has a variant cover by Michael Ryan, who also did the regular cover.

Weapon X: First Class #1 – Michael Ryan variant

Monday is FUNday, eh?

October 5, 2009

funday

Continuing the light-hearted Monday is FUNday posts, today’s victim is another parody issue released before Alpha Flight got its own series:

whatif34coverWhat If… #34
Aug 1982

“What if… The Watcher were a stand-up comedian?”
This comic book is truly comic. It’s a series of individual panels and pages poking fun at nearly all of the characters in the Marvel Universe in the form of “What if…” one-liners, most of which are competely awful, some of which are hysterical.  I don’t even have to post images here for you to get these:

  • “What if Cyclops’s energy beams came out of his ears?”
  • “What if Bruce Banner’s pants didn’t stretch when he became the Hulk?”
  • “What if Iron Man had an eating problem instead of a drinking problem?”
  • And one that reminds Alpha Flight fans of a few all-white pages from issue #6 : “What if the Silver Surfer, White Tiger, Night Rider, Iceman and Moon Knight fought Wendigo in a snowstorm?”

Alpha Flight isn’t spared.  They get a 1/2 page panel, “What if Alpha Flight talked like T.V. Canadians?” with Aurora, Northstar, Sasquatch, Shaman and Vindicator (Mac) sitting on a couch on a fictional television show set.  Now of course, the T.V. Canadians referred to are the characters Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in their 1980s-era sketch, “Great White North” on SCTV), who packed in as many Canadian stereotypes as possible into their sketches to the point of being practically unintelligible.

Alpha Flight is shown wearing ski caps, drinking beer (Molson, of course, apparently their favorite since Mac ordered one at the Fantastic Four Roast), smoking (!!!??) and wisecracking in the same style as Bob and Doug McKenzie.  Even the case of Molson says, “Molson Beer, eh?” on it.

whatif34

Shown on the wall behind Aurora is a portrait of John Byrne, wearing a ski cap, and Mac is holding a portrait of the late Gene Day, a Canadian comic creator.

whatif34coverinsetNote: Mac appears on the cover wearing a ski cap, earmuffs, holding a beer.

Note: Creators for this exquisite panel are: wp-Bob Layton, w-Eliot R. Brown and w-Michael Carlin, none of which are Canadian.

Note: For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, this scene exists in the universe designated Earth-82833,

Note: Snowbird, who was a member of Alpha Flight at the time of this issue, does not appear, eh?

Monday is FUNday at Alpha Flight Collector!

September 29, 2009

funday
With all the Dark X-Men, Dark Reign, Dark Avengers and the death of Marrina this past week, it’s just too dark around here. So it’s time to lighten things up a bit. Monday posts are hereby declared FUNday posts, covering the lighter side of Alpha Flight appearances, mostly parody issues and other random silliness.

ffroastcoverFantastic Four Roast #1
May 1982

The cover wraps around but Alpha Flight doesn’t appear on the back so only the front cover is shown.

One of the few comics in which Alpha Flight appears before the launch of volume 1, this issue is a complete mockery of nearly all of the characters in the Marvel Universe, with artwork from nearly everyone mixed in. Written in the form of an actual roast, heroes and villains alike come up on stage to roast the Fantastic Four.  Every panel has some quip or joke or outright nonsense, the funniest ones IMHO being the X-Men sketch and the bathroom humor of The Whizzer.  After a few attempts on their lives by a possessed Willie Lumpkin, (a machine gun hidden in a chicken, a hypnotic disc in the salad, a bomb in the soup and an ice-cream monster), the entire dinner is destroyed by Black Bolt when he lets out a laugh after The Thing’s final joke.

Though the cover is drawn by Fred Hembeck, each page is drawn by a different uncredited artist, usually the artist who, at the time, was working on the characters appearing on each page.  John Byrne drew a few of the pages, one with Uatu the Watcher and the Silver Surfer dressed in vaudeville duds.  In the lower right corner of one panel is a tiny Alpha Flight cameo with Vindicator (Mac), Sasquatch and Snowbird as Mac calls out for some beer.  Here’s the panel and a close-up:

ffroast

ffroastcloseup

Mmm... beer...

Well, that’s this week’s FUNday post.  Isn’t it nice when no one gets dragged down into the crushing depths of the deepest trench of the Pacific Ocean by their ex-husband?

For a long-winded description of how this comic came together, written by none other than the inimitable Fred Hembeck himself, check out this link: http://comics.ign.com/articles/673/673771p1.html.