Created by John Byrne as part of Wolverine’s rich back story with the Canadian government’s attempt at a super soldier program, Alpha Flight debuted in 1984 to the clamor of readers all over the globe (but most loudly in the Great White North, no doubt). The series was daring, bold and featured a strange team dynamic that still appears sophisticated and adult in comparison to most other superhero books. Already a celebrated writer/artist on X-Men and Fantastic Four (described as Doctor Who with a budget), fans hotly anticipated what Byrne could accomplish in his own series. Ironically, Byrne himself often states that he was disappointed with the series and felt that he could have done more with it, but it retains a cult following that has allowed for several reboot attempts over the years.
Department H, a secret branch of the Canadian government, planned to develop Wolverine as the leader of a new team that would be Canada’s answer to the Avengers. When Logan went rogue, James Hudson was sent to bring him back. Wearing a cybernetic suit that made him stronger, faster and more durable than a normal human being along with the ability to fly and fire rays of force at his enemies, he was a worthy adversary for the wily Wolverine.
Allied with Hudson (calling himself Weapon Alpha in answer to Logan’s moniker Weapon X) were Michael Twoyoungmen (AKA the mystic Shaman), Jean-Paul Baubier (the speedster known as Northstar), Jean-Paul’s twin sister sister Jeanne-Marie (the unpredictable Aurora), the muscle-bound orange-furred behemoth Sasquatch and the Inuit goddess Snowbird. Together they sought to establish themselves as defenders of the Northern border against unusual threats. The series was a bizarrely unstable affair as the team was seldom settled or even organized at all, often facing enemies in pairs or alone. Nevertheless, the comic book set a new tone in the industry when Hudson was brutally murdered in battle with Alpha Flight’s replacements (a suitably grisly affair that struck a cord for this young reader at the time).
Next month the original line-up will return thanks to the events of Chaos War and the blockbuster team of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. The collaborations of these two in the past have garnered praise from critics and fans alike and I predict that this will be another notch in their co-writing belt (if such a thing were possible).
Because YOU demanded it: Exploding out of FEAR ITSELF with an all-new series is the ORIGINAL Alpha Flightby the superstar creative team of writers Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente and artist Dale Eaglesham — with covers by the incomparable Phil Jimenez! Get in on the ground floor of this highly anticipated maxi-series with this standalone adventure by artist X: Who are Guardian, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Shaman, Northstar, Aurora, and Marrina? How did they become their nation’s most beloved heroes? And are they strong enough to withstand their greatest challenge yet?
DO YOU FEAR…YOUR COUNTRY TURNING ON YOU?
While the new series will see a return of the original line-up, long time readers who have held a torch for Alpha Flight past Byrne’s run on the book need not fear that their beloved characters or storylines will be disregarded. Both Pak and Van Lente have stated that they will honor the stories told in previous volumes and appearances but are looking forward to bringing the team forward in a new modern approach that promises to be a return to greatness for this cult superteam.
They have even hinted that if sales are good and reception strong enough, they may bring back Puck!