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AlphaFlight.net - A Reason For Alpha Flight
  • A Reason For Alpha Flight

    There has been plenty of talk on this site lately (actually, for the last few years) that revolves around various discussions about what reason can we come up with for having an Alpha Flight team again, a reason that would be good enough to (a) cause Marvel to believe it would sell as a series, and (b) make sense in that Marvel seems to feel that previous AFs have lost readers due to something new being needed.

    Many people here have suggested ideas. Some new ideas, some not-so-new.

    Many of us believed that John Byrne had it right, or did it best, when it comes to AF. So, many times suggestions came up in regards to how JB wrote AF in the beginning, how they were a team made up of individuals who did not always get along, and showing that individual stories could be told in a team book.

    There has also been talk about how AF needs to interact with the Marvel U on a regular basis, to attract attention and fans and keep them relevant.

    And most people here agree that one of the things that makes AF Alpha Flight-y is that they are Canadians as opposed to Americans (who seem to have the vast majority of the superheroes).

    Well, here is my idea...

    Take John Byrne's original idea. Modernize it, and you have got an AF that is bold, exciting, and will sell.

    By this, I mean that Alpha Flight should be a group of Canadian superheroes, working for the Canadian government, with two mandates; (a) protection of Canada from super-powered baddies, and (b) to bring in all of the Canadian government employees with super-powers who are working illegally in America. In other words, they have a mandate to bring back to Canada such people as Northstar, Aurora, and Wolverine, at any and all costs.

    This, as you can imagine, means that AF will be a superhero team based in Canada, who, besides fighting bad guys and gals within their own borders, will quite often be throwing-down with recognizable superheroes and super-teams in the US of A. They may be good guys, but when they get a sniff of one of their own who have left to fight evil in the US, they spring into cross-border-action and try their damnest to capture and retrieve said persons.

    Welcome to a great many great battles with superheroes! Welcome to a great many guest appearances in other titles! Welcome to sales!

    Welcome back, Alpha Flight?
    This article was originally published in forum thread: A Reason For Alpha Flight started by Flightpath07 View original post
    Comments 109 Comments
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      How's about an Alpha Flight Forever mini by Byrne picking up from his last issue?
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      How's about an Alpha Flight Forever mini by Byrne picking up from his last issue?
      That'd be really cool, if we could get him writing / drawing like he did back then.

      - Le Messor
      "Hang up and drive."
    1. AKexpress's Avatar
      AKexpress -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67 View Post
      Technically, Liz also lost a sister in Heather, since Heather and her parents raised Liz after her mother died and Michael left to grieve (and eventually became Shaman). John Byrne killed Mac because his death would have the most impact on the team (and Byrne found him the most boring to write)...Unfortunately, that didn't stop writers from bringing Mac back again and again and again.
      Good point Re: Liz and Heather... I always liked that dynamic.
      As for resurrections, I'm almost always against them. The only situation in which I don't bristle is when the death is presumed. Like Marrina, for example. We're pretty sure she died but no confirmation was ever made. In fact, that used to be a comic book staple. The bad guy would go "Aaaarrrgh!", vanish under a pile of rumble, but alas, pop up 20 issues later having escaped death.

      I just like the impact a beloved character's death has in the fictional universe. Once that gets watered down... cliche even, we fans ultimately get deprived of something.

      Mac's death in issue 12 was BRILLIANT. WHAT THE HELL WAS JOHN BYRNE THINKING?!? It was so shocking, so genius that it lapped itself, landing on the "insane" peg on the board. To this day I love it and hate it equally.

      Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67 View Post
      I despise Pointer, as some other Flight fans do...I do not want to see him return to Canada and/or don the maple leaf uniform ever again.
      Fair enough
    1. AKexpress's Avatar
      AKexpress -
      Quote Originally Posted by Powersurge View Post
      The Weapon Alpha battlesuit. I like Mac, he was easily my favourite Alphan, but he's dead and should remainng so ... PLEEEEEAAASSE!!!! Let his spirit rest! lol
      But the battle-suit stays. As Heather well-demonstrated, anyone can climb into make it work. And both it and it's skin, together, are iconic. It is the Canadian equivalent of Captain America's shield ... or maybe even Thor's Hammer. Ye swear oaths upon this! Mac's death and Heather's history of service add value to the suit ... like an ancient sword with a proud legacy.

      Department H. Like Mac and Sasq. this has been one element of Marvel's Canadian mythos that has been in place since the beginning, ie. preAF vol.1. I'm not so sure if having AF as their lackeys would work, because, as mentioned in the negative, this would limit them in ways no other superteam is and force them to often in work in purely domestic situations ... or there'd be HUGE ramifications for Canada, politically speaking. But whatever the specifics of the AF/Department H relationship, I think Department H should exist.
      I'm alittle gun shy when it comes to Department H, but you're right. The minute it starts to rankle the team, though, I glaze over. In Omega Flight I dug Agent Brown. I'd like to see the Canadian Government operate a superhuman program, training them, developing strategies, even running a team itself. In fact, I'd think calling that team Alpha Flight, while Walt, Liz and co. call themselves "the North Guard" (nice suggestion, btw) or something to that effect, would be the way to go.

      Just PLEASE keep politics/political "intrigue" out of the equation. Very little ejects me from a story faster.
    1. AKexpress's Avatar
      AKexpress -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      How's about an Alpha Flight Forever mini by Byrne picking up from his last issue?
      I would buy that so fast, and so often!
    1. mreeez's Avatar
      mreeez -
      I am probably in the minority but I do want to see Mac back as Guardian.

      I'd really like to see a writer flesh out his character. We had him for pretty much only first 12 issues and his subsequent resurrections had him as half-cyborg or brainwashed so I'd like to see him developed a bit more.
    1. AKexpress's Avatar
      AKexpress -
      Quote Originally Posted by Legerd View Post
      I think resurrecting the originals would be the perfect "emotional journey" for each of the surviving AF members. Talisman and Earthmover seek to bring back Shaman; Jefferies wants to bring back Diamond Lil; Sasquatch and Snowbird (as the last remaining founding members) want to bring the whole team back. The story is about reviving Alpha Flight, both the dead members and the concept of the team, as well as watching the surviving members deal with the deaths of and the chance to resurrect their friends and family.
      Guilt, loyalty, love, desperation, all these emotional motivators would drive the story, build the characters and would be the real draw for readers. Treat the characters as important rather than as tertiary, throw away ones, in a well written story and it won't matter what baggage came before.
      I see your point. The resurrections of the past have left me a little leery. I'm in "wait and see" mode.
    1. AKexpress's Avatar
      AKexpress -
      Quote Originally Posted by mreeez View Post
      I am probably in the minority but I do want to see Mac back as Guardian.

      I'd really like to see a writer flesh out his character. We had him for pretty much only first 12 issues and his subsequent resurrections had him as half-cyborg or brainwashed so I'd like to see him developed a bit more.
      I'd favor a Classic Alpha Flight for that, telling stories that happened before the events of issue 12. But... if he was brought back to the present, I'd still be onboard. Not my preference, is all.
    1. suzene's Avatar
      suzene -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      How's about an Alpha Flight Forever mini by Byrne picking up from his last issue?
      I'd be a little wary to be honest. Firstly, I'd be wondering who was holding the gun to his head to get him working with Marvel again. Byrne's run on Alpha Flight is still my favorite of his work, right up there with his Uncanny X-Men run, but he's never had much good to say about it. Paying work is paying work, of course, but I prefer creators to have some enthusiasm about the project they're tackling.
    1. ghostfly70's Avatar
      ghostfly70 -
      Hello. The North Guard name was used by a canadian publisher in the late 80s, i believe, for a Canadian super team.I dont think theres anything wrong with the Alpha name or basic concept....except....just one thing...it flops every time.
      I would enjoy a new Alpha series with a Doom Patrol quirkiness to every story. This is a team existing in the ginormous shadow of american super heroes. Their stories need to be distinct from what we usually find at the shops. With the teams entrenched mystical background I can see he mysteries of remote mysticism wreaking havoc that only Alpha Flight can deal with.
      In a way, the weirdness of Bill Mantlos ideas could have been hugely successful in a better writers hands, and, perhaps, with a touch of decompression. I would mine his chunks of bizzare ideas, revisit them and say,,"ohhhh...the twins really ARE asgardian elves?" that kind of grant morrisson weirdness would work today I think.
      The best coloring for an AF series today, that would reflect the airy cleanness of john byrnes work would be digital coloring like we currently see for that awesome geoff darrows conan cover. And the art should be clean, providing detail, but with better use of panel space, ala byrne, and not crowded splash pagey nonsense with gritty coloring.
      Maybe someone like jim cheung would work great.
    1. Legerd's Avatar
      Legerd -
      Quote Originally Posted by ghostfly70 View Post
      Hello. The North Guard name was used by a canadian publisher in the late 80s, i believe, for a Canadian super team.I dont think theres anything wrong with the Alpha name or basic concept....except....just one thing...it flops every time.
      I would enjoy a new Alpha series with a Doom Patrol quirkiness to every story. This is a team existing in the ginormous shadow of american super heroes. Their stories need to be distinct from what we usually find at the shops. With the teams entrenched mystical background I can see he mysteries of remote mysticism wreaking havoc that only Alpha Flight can deal with.
      In a way, the weirdness of Bill Mantlos ideas could have been hugely successful in a better writers hands, and, perhaps, with a touch of decompression. I would mine his chunks of bizzare ideas, revisit them and say,,"ohhhh...the twins really ARE asgardian elves?" that kind of grant morrisson weirdness would work today I think.
      The best coloring for an AF series today, that would reflect the airy cleanness of john byrnes work would be digital coloring like we currently see for that awesome geoff darrows conan cover. And the art should be clean, providing detail, but with better use of panel space, ala byrne, and not crowded splash pagey nonsense with gritty coloring.
      Maybe someone like jim cheung would work great.
      I know about Northguard (it was just a lone hero who went by the name) which is why I suggested it (with the name split in two to try to avoid legal BS). While most of us don't think there is anything wrong with the name or concept of Alpha Flight, there are many more out there who do. Which is probably one of the reasons why the book flops.
      My own opinion is AF should avoid quirkiness (not that it's a bad idea) simply because the last thing the team needs is to appear odd or weird. If anything, they need to be taken as a serious team of heroes, not hard luck losers or weirdos or outcasts. That's how they got screwed over in the first place. I liked how they could handle any threat, be it high tech, mystical or plain old bad guys with guns. Unfortunately, Marvel seems to think they've run out of "concepts" for the team. Thing is they haven't had an AF book with AF since the first series, but try telling them that.
      I like your ideas about the art, and think you're right. AF lends itself to a more clean style than a dirtier, grittier one. Jim Cheung's artwork would be great, but (correct me if I'm wrong) doesn't he like doing those big, busy splash pages?
    1. kozzi24's Avatar
      kozzi24 -
      The original Alpha were great characters. Byrne told great stories. Very few of Byrne's stories actually had a setting that COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN Canada.
      The location is almost incidental to many stories. Tell great stories with great characters, and people will read.
    1. mos_def's Avatar
      mos_def -
      I wrote this on comicboards today, funny how things work, but Alpha Flights two big memorable moments were when Mac "died" in issue 12 (was there ever a leader of a book that died before that?) and Northstar admitting he was the 1st open gay hero. Why cant we be the 1st team that actually leaves their people dead. the shock. unless Walter wants to be bold and let the body of Heather touch Nemesis' sword, all the others i say leave dead and go from that (though X-Men keep screwing it up...ala Diamond Lil)

      Mac created the team and Department H but the organization became so wicked that why even be associated with it. People always say they want the original team back and that the Byrne run was the best, and it was, but Alpha Flight wasnt the Canada superteam for most of Byrnes run. If I remember right, they actually didnt get back to being a government team till Byrne left. They were a bunch of heroes that happened to live in Canada. Gasp. The fight that "killed" Guardian was in New York. I think vol 1 after issue 80 or so until its completion lacked cuz they were just Canadas team. I didnt have a problem with vol 2 cuz it tried to go deeper where vol 1 left off. Vol 3 was a joke and OF was just face painting till the series ended.

      You want to read a series with Jeffries, Sasquatch, Talisman and Snowbird? I would cuz they are from the Byrne era but as long as they aint answering to the Prime Minister or Cody or Clarke. Northstar is stuck in XMen cuz his sister is safe. If his sister wants back in on AF, I bet you JeanPaul follows. He always has. Invite Flashback into the group. Why not. We know squat of the guy since he went to jail for the Mac incident. Want to loan out the Guardian suit to a new guy, Im fine with that as long as he wasnt the bastard that killed AF. Its like inviting the guy who killed your mom to dinner afterwards. Of course Snowbird didnt want to rejoin the team but if its a fresh new guy then I will be more open to it. (I also like the Heather as Nemesis idea)

      Department H can still exist. Maybe Gentry can still clean it up. MI13 and Excalibur co-exist seperately. Why not Dept H and AF.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by mos_def View Post
      Why can't we be the 1st team that actually leaves their people dead? The shock!
      Good idea, but wouldn't work... Thing is, when somebody dies in comics (like, say, Flashback has), readers go 'They'll be back'.
      Even if they never do come back, we (readers) don't have any way of knowing that. Well, the ones who can't travel through time don't.

      And no matter how great the writers' intentions are, no matter how much the whole idea of the series is that people don't come back, some other writer would come along with a great idea and bring them back anyway.

      - Le Messor
      "Happiness is not a destination. It’s the trip."
      ~ Anonymous
    1. mos_def's Avatar
      mos_def -
      this new Heroic Age wold be a perfect time to kick a new Alpha series. With the SHRA terminated, Arachne would probably move back to the US but it would be a good launching point
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      If the new Heroic Age does what it sounds like it's meant to do, yes. It'll solve one of the problems I've had with a lot (but not all, not really even most) of comics lately - that the heroes aren't.
      Comics, ideally, for me, should be a battle of good vs. evil; these days, a lot are evil vs. slightly less evil. I'm tired of being expected to sympathise with heroes I can't tell apart from villains. I'm tired of having to hold my 'heroes' to lower standards than I do real people - I should be able to hold them much, much higher.
      The Heroic Age should, let's hope, solve that.

      Will it solve the 'they never get the chance to be people problem'? Maybe, maybe not. There's nothing in the premise to say it should, but wouldn't it be cool if it did?
      That might be a good time for a new Alpha Flight series.

      - Le Messor
      Hartley's Second Law: Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.
    1. cmdrkoenig67's Avatar
      cmdrkoenig67 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mos_def View Post
      this new Heroic Age wold be a perfect time to kick a new Alpha series. With the SHRA terminated, Arachne would probably move back to the US but it would be a good launching point
      I think Marvel already has plans for Arachne...And it doesn't look good...

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      I've seen an alternate cover of a team book (coming out sometime this year) called "The Young Allies", featuring Arana (the latest Spider-Lady) in Arachne/Julia's Omega Flight costume (or a very close of copy of it)...It has also been rumored that Arachne may put-out-of-action, crippled or even killed in Spider-Man's up-coming storyline, "The Grim Hunt". I've seen the cover costume pic and the speculations on other boards. I guess we'll have to wait and see what Julia's fate is.

      Dana
    1. mos_def's Avatar
      mos_def -
      Ive always liked Arachne/Spider-Woman. I dont really connect her as being an Alphan though, personally. She appeared in what, 3 issues with Sasquatch and Talisman and one brief cameo when they got swarmed by Chthon bees. I have more connection with Yukon Jack then Julia cuz I always connect h er more with WCA and Force Works. It would be a shame though
    1. MistressMerr's Avatar
      MistressMerr -
      Quote Originally Posted by mos_def View Post
      Ive always liked Arachne/Spider-Woman. I dont really connect her as being an Alphan though, personally. She appeared in what, 3 issues with Sasquatch and Talisman and one brief cameo when they got swarmed by Chthon bees. I have more connection with Yukon Jack then Julia cuz I always connect h er more with WCA and Force Works. It would be a shame though
      Yeah, Alphan or not, I really like her. Fingers crossed.
    1. Alpha Rider's Avatar
      Alpha Rider -
      I haven't read all the replies so if I write something that has been writen before let me know.

      I believe that Alpha has the same probloms as Excalibure dose that they are not in the US and only seems to last as a novalty. This book needs a kick ass writer and artest that will stay on the book for along time. When Byrne did the book it wasn't always a team, they break off as individuals and as smaller groups of 2 or 3. The original line up was so rich in diversities with the individuals that had fantastic back stories. The team was a cross section of the MU: Guardian is tech (Iron Man) Snowbird is a God (Thor) North Star & Aurora are mutans (X-Men) Merina is a swimmer (Sub Mariner) Shaman is magic (Dr. Strange) Sasquatch the powerhouse (Hulk) Puck the agile one (Spider Man/ Dare Devil) After issue #50 vol I the new charaters added were not very good at all, or lacked the charm of their predisesors.

      If this book will ever be succesful again they 1 tone down the Canadian patritizum 2 have more intersting charaters like the original line up 3 have a kick ass writer and artist 4 stop the Canadian goverment's involvment with the team. If I wanted to see a fedral inqury I'd watch CPAC.