• Review - Alpha Flight #1 (Vol 4) ~ Dels Take *Possible Spoilers*

    ALPHA FLIGHT #1 ( of 8 )
    Written by GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE
    Penciled by DALE EAGLESHAM
    Cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
    Variant Cover by DALE EAGLESHAM

    I don't buy many comics anymore. Maybe that's my age or maybe comics have changed? My one connection to comics is this twenty seven year love affair I've had with Alpha Flight. Like any true love you remember what it was that made you feel that way and each time Alpha returns in it's many guises, you hope that uniqueness comes with it. A few have come close, but none have suceeded, until now that is.

    Unfortunately my comic shop is no longer local and the journey demands major logistics. I picked up this comic and following on in ancient tradition I wandered across the road, into the pub, got a pint and settled down. I read the comic, drank my pint, got another one and read the comic again. This is the Alpha Flight Byrne created, returned from the dead in more ways than one. One of the criticisms levelled against Alpha comics is that their Canadianess (no such word? There is now ) doesn't stand out. To me that criticism doesn't hold water. Is the characterisation believable, is the story good, does the art complement the story and do you get that dissapontment at the end, because you know you've got to wait 30 days for the next issue? To my mind this comic answers every one of these questions with a big yes. Nationality doesn't define 'The X-Men', 'Avengers' etc so why should the quality of an Alpha Flight book be defined by it?

    Story : The story opens with Alpha fighting off the unwanted attentions of Nerkkod (AKA 'Attuma' (I'm Attuma, I'm Attuma...)) breaker of oceans, despoiler of Atlantis and all round fashion victim. The man has issues and has decided that Vancouver should pay for his insecurities. Each Alpha member is introduced into the story in full hero mode rescuing civillians from the havoc. Alpha see off Attuma nd his hordes, but the real story is what folows. Gary Cody, Primie Minister suspends 'The Charter of Rights and Freedom' and introduces 'The Emergencies Act' (A Canadian version of 'The Patriot Act', but less subtle). To defeat Attuma, Mac has used his suit to teleport (not going into the full explanation) him to Newfoundland. This has severely weakened Mac and the coup de gras is delivered from an unlikely source. If you've read the comic, you know who. If you've read Marvels spoilerific September Solicits, you know who. If you're Sherlock Holmes and have managed to piece together all the clues, you know who, so I'm not going to say. It will be interesting to find out why though? While Mac is getting his butt handed to him, Alpha have returned to base and find themselves surrounded by a familiar, yet ominous figure.

    Characterisation : Some previous writers have tried to capture the unique characteristics of Alpha members and to my mind they haven't suceeded. Some haven't even tried and have put their own spin on the characters. Messr's Pak and Van Lente have stayed true to Alpha as they should be. Those characters that behave odd have their reasons. Marrina may not be likeable, but her character is believable. Northstar is probably going to get all angsty over the supposed death of his boyfriend. Personally I don't think he is dead, to cliched a plot and I get the impression that the writers don't do cliches. The betrayers actions are the most mysterious, but I fully expect a plausible reason for their actions.

    Art : I don't understand or want to understand what makes some art good and other art bad. In a comic all I hope for is that the art compliments the story in much the same way the writing compliments the art. A perfect symbiosis if you like. Dale Eagleshams art perfectly compliments the story and his splash pages immediately get your attention.

    Overall I believe that Alpha is in very good hands and I have finally got that sense of anticipation I use to get when Alpha was at it's peak. Roll on #2.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. patrick_j_clarke's Avatar
      patrick_j_clarke -
      I agree with your review 100% (even to the point that I don't buy comics anymore...well, until this issue).

      It seems like Pak and Van Lente are members of this forum and have read the posts from all of us old-time AF lovers. They even put REAL Boxes in there!

      It's interesting comparing this #1 with the 1st run's #1...they have similarities, but each character seems more mature in their powers and character. At first I was a bit disappointed that Aurora wasn't so over-the-top French, but that's the younger girl we already knew.

      It's not quite a sequel, and not quite a relaunch, and I think that's why I like it.

      Now I gotta talk to Pak and Van Lente about resurrecting my 2005 Box mini-series idea! What's their number again?

      - pjc