Alpha Flight
Alpha Flight cast picture (John Byrne era).gif
Alpha Flight promotional art by John Byrne
Top row: Sasquatch
Middle row: Northstar, Snowbird, Shaman, Guardian, Aurora
Bottom row: Puck, Marrina
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearance
Created byJohn Byrne
In-story information
Type of organizationTeam
Base(s)
Agent(s)
Roster
See: List of Alpha Flight members

Alpha Flight is a fictional team of Canadian superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The characters premiered in The Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979), and were created to serve as part of the X-Men member Wolverine's backstory. Marvel published an Alpha Flight comic book series from 1983 to 1994. The team serves as Canada's premier superhero team akin to America's Avengers.

Publication history

Created by Canadian writer and artist John Byrne, the team first appeared in a two-part story in The Uncanny X-Men #120 and 121. Byrne never intended the team to be an ongoing title. He created them "merely to survive a fight with the X-Men" for the purposes of that story. Marvel convinced Byrne to feature them in their own series as a way to capitalize on Byrne's soaring popularity with comics fans at the time, but he never found them to have compelling stories or backgrounds and left the title after writing and pencilling the first 28 issues.[1] The series continued until 1994, lasting 130 issues as well as annuals and miniseries. There have been three short-lived revivals since then, most recently an eight-issue limited series in 2011–12, after the resurrection of the team in the one shot comic Chaos War: Alpha Flight during the Chaos War event.

Most team members have distinctly Canadian attributes, such as having Inuit/First Nations or French heritage. Throughout most of its history, the team has worked for Department H, a fictional branch of Canada's Department of National Defence that deals with super-powered villains.

Fictional team biography

The Flight

Alpha Flight was preceded by a team called "The Flight". This team first appeared in Alpha Flight Special vol. 2 #1 (1992).

Inspired by the debut of the Fantastic Four, James Hudson refined the purpose of Department H to find and/or develop Canada's superheroes.[2] New recruit Groundhog joins Snowbird, St. Elmo, Stitch, Wolverine (as Weapon X) and Smart Alec in training. Within a week, the Flight is pressed into their first battle with Egghead's incarnation of the Emissaries of Evil (consisting of Rhino, Solarr, Eel, Porcupine, Power Man and Swordsman). Egghead threatens the United States from Canadian soil with a nuclear missile. Smart Alec disables the missile's guidance system, but Egghead triggers the detonation sequence. Smart Alec panics leading to St. Elmo transforming the missile and the bomb into light. St. Elmo succeeds, but loses himself in the process. Groundhog and Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen scold Hudson for sending the team into battle while so inexperienced, with a near psychotic leader (Weapon X) and someone who folds under pressure. Hudson thus makes plans for a tiered team system, leading to the formation of Alpha, Beta and Gamma Flight.[3]

Pre-regular series

Alpha Flight first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979), in which they are sent to follow up on Vindicator's first mission to retrieve Wolverine from the X-Men.

The initial makeup of Alpha Flight was drawn from all corners of Canada and included:

According to Byrne, both Guardian and Snowbird were "fan characters", created before he became professionally involved in comics, and he created all the remaining members while working on X-Men #120, specifically designing them to be balanced with the X-Men in power.[5]

Volume 1

The first Alpha Flight comic book series started in 1983 which ran until 1994.

Promoted from Beta Flight despite Department H being closed down by the Canadian government were:

Heather MacNeil is married to James Hudson. After Guardian's apparent death in Alpha Flight #12, she becomes the leader of the team. Later, she takes a replication of his costume and takes the codename of Vindicator then Guardian.

Alpha Flight continued for 130 issues, and introduced dozens of characters and villains (the most prominent of which were Talisman, Madison Jeffries, Box, Diamond Lil, Wild Child, Persuasion, and Witchfire).

Volume 2

In 1997, Marvel relaunched the series with different characters. The new additions to the roster included:

Returning members were Vindicator (Heather Hudson, with a new costume and new geothermal powers), a de-aged Guardian (who turned out to be a clone of the original James Hudson, set at age 19), and Puck. Sunfire was also briefly a member while looking for a cure to a crippling illness.

The focus of this series was on Department H's consistently hidden agenda and Alpha Flight's reluctance to comply thereto. The conspiracy plotline saw Weapon X allowing an incarnation of the Zodiac Cartel to kidnap Madison Jeffries, who was subsequently brainwashed into becoming the group's "Gemini". To keep the group from interfering with their "deal", Department H brainwashed the team into forgetting Jeffries' kidnapping. Also, Department H employed an actual sasquatch as the new team's version of Sasquatch, without telling the team that it was not Walter Langkowski. Department H also arranged the kidnapping of Diamond Lil, another former Alpha Flight member and Madison Jeffries' wife, when she began to enquire about the location of her husband, with the intent of using her as a test subject for illegal medical experiments.

The series ended with issue #20 with most of the major storylines, such as the identity of the younger version of Guardian, unresolved, until Wolverine vol. 2 #142-143, when the plotline was resolved with the return of the real Guardian and the heroic sacrifice of the clone version.

Volume 3: "All-New, All-Different" Alpha Flight

In 2004, Marvel started a new volume of Alpha Flight, with the "All-New, All-Different" prefix.

The new team recruited by Sasquatch includes:

"Waxing Poetic", the second six-issue story arc, sees the return of some original team members as both the original versions visited in the past, and temporal copies brought to the present. These members were Guardian, Vindicator, Puck, and Shaman.

Omega Flight

Main article: Omega Flight

Sasquatch, Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman, Major Mapleleaf II, and both Pucks are attacked by a new villain, the Collective (inhabiting the body of U.S. postal worker Michael Pointer), in New Avengers #16. Pointer continues on to the United States, leaving their bodies in the Yukon Territory.

The Alpha Flight title was relaunched as Omega Flight in April, 2007 as a five-issue mini-series.[6] The new series was written by Michael Avon Oeming and drawn by Scott Kolins. The current roster includes Beta Ray Bill, U.S. Agent, Arachne, Talisman, and Michael Pointer in a suit that looks like Guardian's uniform. Sasquatch appears as the group's recruiter and leader. Since the mini-series, the team disbanded. Beta Ray Bill exited; U.S. Agent joined Hank Pym's new Avengers team; Pointer, now calling himself Omega, joined Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men; and Julia Carpenter became the new Madame Web.

"Chaos War"

Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak and Mark Paniccia at a signing for Alpha Flight, vol. 4 #1 at Midtown Comics Downtown in Manhattan, June 18, 2011.
Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak and Mark Paniccia at a signing for Alpha Flight, vol. 4 #1 at Midtown Comics Downtown in Manhattan, June 18, 2011.

In the 2010 storyline the Chaos War, the four mainstay surviving members of Alpha Flight (Snowbird, Aurora, Northstar and Sasquatch) are reunited with Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman and Marrina Smallwood returning from the grave after Amatsu-Mikaboshi's victory in the death realms.[7] The group bands together to fight the Great Beasts. Amatsu-Mikaboshi impales the Great Beasts.[8] The resurrected members of Alpha Flight remain among the living after the defeat of Amatsu-Mikaboshi.[9] At the same time, Puck appears in the "Wolverine Goes to Hell" storyline in Wolverine (2010), beginning in issue #2.[10]

Volume 4

In 2011, the team appeared in a series tied to the crossover storyline Fear Itself,[11] with the newly alive team to be joined by Puck.[12] Alpha Flight provides rescue efforts for the victims of a tsunami unleashed by Attuma in the form of Nerkodd: Breaker of Oceans. As Sasquatch, Shaman, and Vindicator help save victims of the water itself, Guardian saves a news crew when their helicopter is shot down by Nerkodd. As Marrina Smallwood and Aurora also arrive to help fight Nerkodd, the female reporter that Guardian saved comments to the television viewers on why Northstar isn't with the team.

After providing rescue efforts for victims of the disaster, Guardian ejects Nerkodd from the country by dumping him off the coast of Cape Race. Once Nerkodd is defeated and repelled, Alpha Flight returns to their headquarters and are betrayed by Gary Cody and his newly elected Unity Party. To make things worse, Vindicator has sided with him.[13] It is shown that six weeks ago, Guardian and Vindicator were unable to regain custody of their child Claire. In the present, Marrina is dehydrated, Sasquatch's gamma energy is drained enough for him to revert to his human form of Walter Langkowski, and Aurora and Snowbird are taken down as well. While bringing Guardian to the Box Units for imprisonment, Vindicator is ambushed by Puck. After knocking out Vindicator, Puck tells Guardian that he had just returned to life after his fight with Ba'al.[14]

At Parliament Hill, Walter is informed by Agent Jeff Brown that the concussions he had when he played football will cause him to act less human when he changes back into Sasquatch. Jeff also tells Walter that he will soon achieve Unity. Meanwhile, Marrina pretends to give in to the Unity treatment so that she can break free. Shaman manages to knock out Jeff and frees Walter, while Guardian frees Snowbird. Northstar and Puck manage to find Marrina, who has knocked out the guards and scientists present. After Alpha Flight escaped, they learned that Gary Cody and his Unity Party are a group of fascists.[15] Northstar abducts a Department H operative and uses aerial torture in order to learn where Department H took Kyle Jinadu.

After reclaiming her daughter Claire from her cousin, Vindicator assembles Alpha Strike (consisting of Persuasion, Ranark, a Wendigo, and a brainwashed Citadel) in order to spread the Unity program and take down Alpha Flight. It is soon discovered that Master of the World is behind the Unity Party, the formation of Alpha Strike and what has happened to Department H as he introduces himself to Kyle Jinadu.[16] Alpha Flight ends up robbing a treasury in order to fund a special tactical training from Taskmaster in an isolated Yukon Territory.

While overseeing the formation of a revolution against the Unity Party, Guardian, Sasquatch, and Shaman hatch a desperate and dangerous plan that involves the bad personality of Aurora.[17] Aurora's personality begins to cause her to become unstable to herself and Alpha Flight. Meanwhile, Master of the World explains his history involving the Plodex to Claire. Alpha Flight manages to rescue Kyle Jinadu and encounter Wolverine.[18]

At a beach in Ontario with Claire, Vindicator is visited by Wolverine who states that the people in the United States are becoming concerned about the Unity Party's actions. When Wolverine notices that Vindicator calls the rest of Alpha Flight traitors, Wolverine decides to investigate. Wolverine finds Alpha Flight and learns of their revolution against the Unity Party. He agrees to help them take back Canada just as Alpha Strike attacks.

During the ensuing fight, Alpha Flight managed to capture Persuasion as she is a component for a cure that would be used against the Unity Process. Alpha Flight, Wolverine, and Taskmaster are then prepared to take Canada back as Master of the World comes out of hiding.[19] Master of the World begins his attack on Parliament Hill with Agent Jeff Brown and Claire Hudson present in his spaceship. He even manages to kill Gary Cody, his purpose served. Guardian continues to fight Vindicator as she orders the rest of Alpha Strike to free Persuasion and destroy the machine connected to her.

Alpha Flight defeats Alpha Strike. Vindicator (still under of Master of the World's mental control) helps Alpha Flight against Master of the World when he attempts to kill Claire. Alpha Flight successfully creates the machine to free the people that Master of the World had under his mental control. They kill Master of the World, but Vindicator flies away with Claire. Afterward, Alpha Flight celebrates after the Unity Party is abolished.[20]

Alpha Flight later aids Red Hulk when the Mayan Gods appear on Earth.[21] The battle results with Aurora, Sasquatch, and Snowbird in a coma, but they recover.[22]

Space program version

A different version of Alpha Flight debuted as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel event. This version is a space program that becomes Earth's line of defense from extraterrestrial threats and resides in the Alpha Flight Low-Orbit Space Station. Its members include Captain Marvel, Abigail Brand, Aurora, Puck and Sasquatch.[23] The first wing of the Triskelion is where the ground crew of the Alpha Flight space program resides.[24]

Black Panther also sent a group of Alpha Flight explorers to search for the origin of the Mena Ngai.[25] While exploring the Vega System, the explorers' travels took them through a temporal anomaly into the past, where they established over the next two-thousand years the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, named after their homeland.[26]

During the "Civil War II" storyline, it is revealed that the Alpha Flight Space Program is overseen by its Board of Governors which consists of representatives of the different nations of Earth and other planets that share the Alpha Flight Space Program's interests. Known members of the Alpha Flight Space Program's Board of Governors are Black Panther of Wakanda, Henry Peter Gyrich of the United States, Philippe Beaulieu of Canada (revealed to be a revived Master of the World in disguise), Mentor of the Shi'ar, Bar-Konn of the Kree, an unnamed Rigellian ambassador, and an unnamed Kronan ambassador.[27]

During the "Secret Empire" crossover, Alpha Flight assisted Captain Marvel with protecting Earth from a Chitauri invasion, but were trapped in space once Captain America activated a force field around Earth.[28]

In order to track down Hulk after he escaped from General Reginald Fortean's custody, a depowered Walter Langkowski started the space program's version of Gamma Flight.[29]

Return of the original team

The original lineup of Alpha Flight would be revived as Canada's top superhero team once more in their post-space program years, consisting of Guardian, Aurora, Northstar, Snowbird, Sasquatch, Puck and Marrina.[30]

Notable villains

Alpha Flight has fought many criminals and malevolent entities. Many were unique to them as they were based in Canada. Notable examples include:

Other versions

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel reality, Alpha Flight debuted in Ultimate X-Men #94 with Vindicator (formally Col. John Wraith of Weapon X), Shaman, Jubilee, Sunfire, Sasquatch, Snowbird and Aurora. The team ambushes the X-Men in the middle of a friendly baseball game. All of its members appear to use godlike powers; they easily defeat the X-Men and kidnap NorthStar. It is later revealed by Wolverine, who apparently has a history with them, that they used a drug called Banshee to enhance their abilities, making them more powerful than normal mutants. Vindicator claims that Alpha Flight is the first internationally sanctioned mutant team made powerful enough to take on any "considerable" threats such as the Liberators, the Brotherhood, and the Ultimates, as Vindicator sees the latter as loyal only to America and Alpha Flight to the world. They are defeated by Colossus's team of X-Men, who were also being powered by Banshee.[34]

Marvel Adventures

In issue #11 of Marvel Adventures Iron Man, Tony Stark travels to Nunavut to try to find his father Howard. As he is flying through a series of mountains, he is attacked by Alpha Flight after Northstar and Aurora mistake him for a training robot built by Guardian. After the real drone appears, Sasquatch and Guardian make some hasty apologies before Iron Man continues on his mission. Later in the issue, Alpha Flight aids Iron Man in a battle against the Living Laser.

Marvel Zombies

A zombified version of Alpha Flight (consisting of Guardian, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck, and Snowbird) appeared in the first issue of Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, attacking the X-Men at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters, and killing Professor X in the process. They are later killed by Magneto, who uses his powers to make various metallic objects pierce their brains.

Old Man Logan

In Old Man Logan vol. 2 #17, Logan is shown a vision of the dead Alpha Flight (consisting of Guardian, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck and Snowbird) by a young Jean Grey.

What If?

Alpha Flight was featured in the different "What If?" stories:

In other media

Television

Film

Main article: X-Men (film series)

Video game

Music

See also

References

  1. ^ "Byrne Robotics: FAQ". www.byrnerobotics.com. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  2. ^ Byrne, John (w, a). "Origin of Alpha Flight: Purpose" Alpha Flight #3: 18–22 (October 1983), New York, New York: Marvel Comics
  3. ^ Lobdell, Scott, Simon Furman (w), Broderick, Patrick (p), Patterson, Bruce (i). "First Flight" Alpha Flight Special v2, #1 (1992), New York, New York: Marvel Comics
  4. ^ ""Captain Marvel" #1 Introduces the New Alpha Flight". Comic Book Resources. 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  5. ^ Nickerson, Al (August 2008). "Claremont and Byrne: The Team that Made the X-Men Uncanny". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (#29): 7.
  6. ^ "MARVEL COMICS SOLICITATIONS FOR APRIL 2007". newsarama.com.[dead link]
  7. ^ "McCann Brings "Alpha Flight" Back From the Omega". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  8. ^ a b Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1
  9. ^ Chaos War #5
  10. ^ "Cup O' Joe: Marvel T&A: Brevoort's Big Ideas". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  11. ^ Jason Brice. "TAG TEAM REVIEW: Alpha Flight #1 Review – Line of Fire Reviews". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on July 2, 2011. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  12. ^ "Marvel's Next Big Thing: Alpha Flight". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  13. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #1
  14. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #2
  15. ^ Alpha Flight Vol. 4 #3
  16. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #4
  17. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #5
  18. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #6
  19. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #7
  20. ^ Alpha Flight vol. 4 #8
  21. ^ Hulk vol. 2 #53
  22. ^ Hulk vol. 2 #54
  23. ^ Avengers vol. 6 #0. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ Ultimates vol. 2 #1. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ secret Wars #9
  26. ^ Black Panther vol. 7 #12
  27. ^ Captain Marvel vol. 9 #6. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ Secret Empire #0. Marvel Comics.
  29. ^ The Immortal Hulk #8. Marvel Comics.
  30. ^ Alpha Flight: True North #1. Marvel Comics
  31. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. pp. 290–291. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  32. ^ The Mighty Thor vol. 2 #7. Marvel Comics.
  33. ^ King Thor #4. Marvel Comics.
  34. ^ Ultimate X-Men #94
  35. ^ What If? vol. 2 #23. Marvel Comics.
  36. ^ What If? vol. 2 #59. Marvel Comics.
  37. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Courage My Love- I Sell Comics". YouTube. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  38. ^ "The Brampton Band That Couldn't Make a Comeback (Sort Of)". BlogTO. 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  39. ^ "Alpha Flight #12". BandCamp. 2005-01-01. Retrieved 2021-06-08.