Very light week for me this week, but there will be an addition to the list. I’ve made the questionable decision to work two jobs and with the added income I decided to add a title to my pull list. That actually triples the size of this week’s hangover. That will be the only time three times the hangover is a good thing. We’ll be looking at:
- Alpha Flight #1 & 2 in which Canada’s premier super-hero team gets back to the fight.
- X-Factor #223 in which everyone is still after Wolfsbane’s baby.
Click the link, beware the SPOILERS and let’s begin.
That’s right – I’ve rewarded my hard work with Alpha Flight. Got a problem with that? I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Canada’s premier super-hero team ever since I put my youthful paws on an issue of Classic X-Men reprinting a Claremont/Byrne issue of Uncanny X-Men in which Wolverine and Nightcrawler head off to Canada to smooth things over with the Canadian government about his resignation (basically to get Alpha Flight from repeatedly attacking him). The issue introduced me to Vindicator (later Guardian), Shaman and Snowbird and eventually I got to know the others of the rather kooky group. That issue of Uncanny also featured the first appearance of Wolverine’s brown costume, the first appearance of supporting character Stevie Hunter, the first time seeing Kitty Pryde in costume (with the rather horrible codename of Sprite), the return of Angel to the team and the first time the X-Men learned that Wolverine’s name is Logan. Wait…what was I talking about? Oh yeah!
Alpha Flight has had a wonky history in the Marvel Universe as they are one of the least important groups in the grand scheme of things (along with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Agents of Atlas). However, their initial run lasted well over 100 issues and Marvel has attempted to restart the franchise several times without much success. In the early issues of New Avengers, Brian Bendis took it upon himself to kill off the mainstays of the group off-panel in the rather awful Collective story (that also further muddled the Xorn/Magneto mess). The move was not smiled upon by fans who also didn’t take to the attempted follow-up Omega Flight. But in the recent Chaos War, Marvel used the opportunity of dead characters coming back to dig up the Alphans and then put them into an eight-issue limited series. You should go buy it so they’ll make more.
The creative team is quite staggering with writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente teaming back up along with artist Dale Eaglesham. You can tell that all those involved are fans of Alpha Flight and they do the team’s history justice. All the original names have been brought back – Guardian, Vindicator, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Shaman, Marrina and Puck – and we’re back to the shady Canadian government messing around with the Alphans’ heads for their own likely sinister purposes. It’s basically what Department H does. Them shady, shady Canucks.
Alpha Flight is the only kind of place that can have a serious story involving super-heroes stopping villains from disrupting Canada’s national elections. But that’s not to say there’s not goofiness here and there. The book is well aware that it’s Alpha Flight and often ridicules itself when it tries to be serious. This is the type of thing that Pak and Van Lente do very well together and it’s a damn fun read.
Oh and for those of you (Casey) who are noticing that Puck is back alive and whatnot after his taking control of hell over in Wolverine, they kind of explain that…though none of the other Alphans are sure if he actually was in hell or if Department H simply screwed with his noggin.
Back before X-Factor jumped its numbering from 50 to 200, it went through a story in which Jamie Madrox went into the future while the various members of X-Factor were running around doing other things. The story seemed to go on for too long with little purpose – as if the story was just going for going’s sake with no real pace set. I mention this now because the still-ongoing storyline with Wolfsbane running from demons who are trying to capture her baby is doing the same thing.
At the end of last issue Rahne was confronted by Jack Russell, the Werewolf by Night, who is now protecting her from all those trying to get her baby. And now all of X-Factor is trying to find her…again. The whole bit comes to a head when Rahne goes into labor, finds a convenient person willing to help and then a scream is heard. And thus, the cliffhanger. I need to go back and read this storyline all the way through in a single sitting. Much like the earlier referenced one, it will probably read far better straight through rather than in a monthly (or in this book’s case, bi-weekly) format.
But that’s not to say other plot points aren’t being dealt with. M tells Madrox about Strong Guy’s recent change of behavior and he figures out that Layla Miller used her power to resurrect him after he was killed. Obviously Guido is starting to show signs of the effect – mainly the loss of his conscience and morality. This will be a big deal in this book before it’s through, mark my words.
And that’s it for this week. Far more books next week:
- Alpha Flight #3 with more Canadian antics.
- Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #2 (of 3) which won’t really deal with the event.
- New Mutants #29 which actually will deal with the event.
- X-Men #15.1 because if there’s one thing X-Men needs, it’s more Ghost Rider.
- X-Men Legacy#253 finishing up the Legion story.
I’ll also be flipping though the new hardcover collection of the okay crossover X-Tinction Agenda despite owning all of the actual issues as well as the late 90’s-released TPB of it. I’m curious to see if they left in the Dazzler sub-plot pages in the issues of Uncanny involved. In my trade of it, they have been removed. It’s interesting to me.