• Captain Marvel (2016) #1 Review

    -WARNING: This Review, whilst focusing solely on Alpha Flight's involvement in the issue, does contain mild spoilers-


    Editor Sana Amanat writes in her closing editorial to the issue:
    I'd also like to give a special shout-out to my Alpha Flight fans. You've been asking for Alpha Flight for a while so we've answered the call, but with a slightly different spin. This version of Alpha Flight pays tribute to what's come before while elevating them to a higher status - The International Conglomerate For Inter-Galactic Space-Keeping. Basically, it's a promotion.
    And she's not wrong.

    While Alpha Flight are rooted in Canada and Canadian folklore that doesn't mean that they're only good enough to protect just Canada, and that's something that has caused them to be the butt of fanboy jokes for a long time now.
    This title gives AF an elevated status within the Marvel Prime, and gives new readers a glimpse of a team they had no idea existed. And this promotion doesn't stop them from being able to protect Canada too.

    We've previously seen cameos of the team in Spider-Woman #2 and Ultimates #3 but this issue(/arc) is set before those.

    Writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have created a storyline that is easily accessible, even to readers unfamiliar with the characters, meaning the title appeals to both Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight fandoms, and isn't confusing for completely new readers, who may come to comics because of the upcoming film. For a major comics debut this is great stuff. There is just the right amount of dialogue throughout, playing up to Kris Anka's strengths throughout the issue.

    Puck shines within this issue, playing up to the roguish charm that Byrne installed in him, and most recently seen in his time in Uncanny X-Force, and the writers' gel with Anka and colourist Matt Wilson from the very start - the expressions of the characters perfectly fit with the dialogue and hit home the humour.
    There's a great scene where he meets Captain Marvel for the first time and just like other major players in the Marvel Universe, such as Captain America was, she's aware of his reputation and respectful of him.

    It's also mentioned later on that Puck has had adventures with Abigail Brand before, which again fits perfectly with his character and having history with a range of characters within the Marvel universe, such as Domino, off-panel.
    They also briefly touch on his dwarfism and the constant pain it keeps him in; all being respectful to Byrne but without being heavy-handed and ruining the flow of the story for newcomers - the nod is there for those that have read the issues.
    Aurora and Sasquatch don't get as much face-time, but are shown competently dealing with space-threats and don't make the mistake of having the characters being all over each other once again. Hopefully that won't happen later.
    And let's not forget; the title isn't Alpha Flight - the characters are supporting characters here. Although this is definitely a big push and set-up for a spin-off title.

    Anka's redesigns for the team are a thing of beauty - a unified space-station costume that features an Alpha Flight insignia, that's prominently shown throughout the issue(and I think this issue features the words 'Alpha Flight' more than all the Marvel books of the past few years combined), and also allows for individualism - Aurora has her starburst design (and pointed ears), and Puck looks great with a jacket and full beard. The issue also continues the running theme of a shirtless Puck that artists have picked up on within AF lore, although Eugene has definitely been working out lately!
    There's only so much you can do with a costume for Sasquatch - he's never been the Hulk-esque 'purple pants' wearing guy and I wouldn't want him to be, so a space-harness(?) to allow a helmet for breathing in space is a sensible touch. Not messing with a classic.

    As mentioned earlier Anka's expressions throughout the issue are immensely good, from Brand's scowl, to Puck's work-out face, to Danvers' frustration, joy and humility. This is definitely the best work of his career so far IMO, and he's a great choice to be on this title.
    His pairing with Matt Wilson's colours works amazingly; Matt too is a great talent whose work just keeps getting better - a book set in space could take a lazy approach and just slap a black space scene with a few duplicated stars throughout but the space scenes are some of the most vibrant pages I've seen in a long time, with hues of red and blue within space and the neon glow of lazers, explosions and spaceship-trail.
    And that's not to say the issue is completely within space - the huge space-station designs by Anka show the scope of just how big and important this operation is within the Marvel Prime and would not be out of place on the big screen, and again Wilson's palette is used to full effect here in the reflections on the floor and the holographic technology used within it, as well as the stark contrast between the man-made architecture and the starkness of space.

    All in all, this is a VERY strong debut from all the team, and a great use of Alpha Flight.
    It may not be an Alpha Flight I expected, but it's definitely one I like and want.

    As Carol herself says - "Alpha Flight... ASSEMBLE."

    Comments 35 Comments
    1. maniac mike's Avatar
      maniac mike -
      I liked it, though I would like to see more members of AF in upcoming issues...
    1. mreeez's Avatar
      mreeez -
      That was going to be my question, how many AF members are involved in this iteration of AF?
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      It hasn't been specified.

      My best guess is that it's a rolling team and that the other members are currently back in Canada, protecting there.

      That's based solely on the cover to #3, so I could well be wrong.
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      Loved the issue. You weren't kidding about Puck getting a lot of FaceTime. Was not expecting that and showed they did their research

      im very excited about this series
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      Random question does the "K" on the weight plate represent kg? If so that's one serious lifting feat for Puck.

      edit: dur it probably means thousand so since we don't know the weight unit it's between 2.72-6 tons. Not bad
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      I'd guess so.
    1. swh_comicguy's Avatar
      swh_comicguy -
      I really enjoyed the book too. The artwork is great and the story was well paced. Loved Rocket's cameo. Now what's behind that door?

      My only beefs were:

      The previously mentioned mis-spelling of Jeanne-Marie's name.

      Eugene asking for the autograph for his sister ...himself. To me that felt out of character for someone who's been around as long as he has (101 years young). At least he didn't ask for an autograph for his daughter.

      Finally why is Walter transformed in situations he'd typically be human in. Is he stuck as Sasquatch? That might explain the meditating. Flying the spacecraft and then taking a shower while transformed just seems off to me. Though maybe he showered, dried off and then transformed back. However in a co-ed locker room, maybe he's just a shy, though Jeannie-Marie already knows what he's packing.

      Overall a great introduction which can only be built on and improved.

      Cheers to having our friends back in action!
    1. Mokole's Avatar
      Mokole -
      Good to see Puck used well and as a hero.
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -

      there will definitely be more Aurora!
      Attachment 5062
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      Issue from what i have seen is getting good reviews which is refreshing
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      I have seen a few grumbles though which I'll put to relevant parties here, as I'm in no position to comment -

      To the Canadians here; how do you feel about the fact that Canada wasn't mentioned once in the issue, and that there were no maple-leafs displayed anywhere?
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      I'm Canadian and it doesn't bother me. I like the characters and not just based on the fact their Canadian. They're still Canadian. They just don't have to broadcast it constantly anymore which is fine and will appeal to a wider audience. It's like graviton is Canadian, but he doesn't go around with a maple leaf. Your nationality is only a small part of who you are a person. If your whole personality is just a stereotypes of a nation then there's more issues

      im 100% on board with the change. Would like to see more then the 3 members but it's only been the first issue and the book is called "captain marvel" so we can't be to greedy
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -

      So the Alpha Flight space station in Captain Marvel was built by Wakanda - the name came from T'Challa's line about it being their "alpha flight" in Secret Wars #9. But as we see in Captain Marvel #1, the station is staffed by members of the unrelated Canadian super-team Alpha Flight. Did T'Challa have to give them jobs as compensation for swiping their name? Did he just think it would be funny to hire them? Or did Wakanda annex Canada, and I have to learn Wakandan now?

      It’s an international operation.
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      Just realized; there isn't a single "Eh" in the issue.
    1. Alphan East's Avatar
      Alphan East -
      Just saw this online, looks relatively recent.
      Great comments about Alpha Flight.

    1. Sasquatch17's Avatar
      Sasquatch17 -
      I finally read the book and I'm satisfied with Alpha Flight's involvement.

      Just like Starlord, Groot and Rocket, I'm hoping the exposure this book will give to our favorite Alphans will lead to a more important role for them in the Marvel Universe.

      I think using "Alpha Flight" space station was a very clever way to take the name and make it cool.

      I like these characters, so the fact that they operate in space instead of Canada is fine with me.

      Hopefully, they will cameo in the Captain Marvel Movie.
    1. Wildcard's Avatar
      Wildcard -
      Wolverine and Deadpool are both Canadian but not defined by it and it doesn't need mentioning all the time. So to answer your question, no mentions of Canada or the maple leaf is ok with me. Im sure there will be some along the way.

      I liked the issue. Not only am I big Flight fan but I also really like Carol Danvers...so big bonus for me. As others have stated, Im looking forward to (hopefully) seeing more members show up. Maybe Northstar and Box? Plus, I really like the idea of the team interacting with other characters they might not normally such as Guardians of the Galaxy.
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      I could see Marrina appearing being alien and all
    1. Alphan East's Avatar
      Alphan East -
      As a Canadian, I always enjoyed the concept of Alpha Flight being "Canada's Superhero Team"... it put us on the Marvel map.
      That being said, I am just glad that they have found their way into a high-profile book. I have grown to love the characters more than the concept.
      Call them "Canada's Avengers", "Earth's First Defense", "Interplanetary Police Force"... it doesn't matter to me.
      I hope they stick around for a long time.
    1. Legerd's Avatar
      Legerd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      To the Canadians here; how do you feel about the fact that Canada wasn't mentioned once in the issue, and that there were no maple-leafs displayed anywhere?
      Not a big deal to me. I'm thinking this new AF is meant to be like the Ultimate AF, and is made up of a more international group of people.

      EDIT: I just saw your post regarding what Brevoort said, so... yeah.