Thursday, 19 May 2011

Alpha Flight 0.1 review


Alpha Flight 0.1 as a jumping-on point? Oh for goodness sake, Marvel, get a grip. Presumably this means we're getting a zero issue too? At the rate new titles are cancelled these days I'll be delighted if this relaunch manages to hit issue #1.

I dunno ...

I do know that as pseudo-first issues goes, this isn't at all bad. The heroes are introduced naturally by writers Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak, with no clunky, smartarse intro boxes to knacker the narrative flow. The villains are well-drawn, their powers illustrated as clearly as those of the Alpha Flight members. And a storyline involving Canada's new government is neatly set up.

It's good to have, Puck apart, the classic Alpha Flight line-up back. They're a likeable bunch, with little of the angst carried around by most Marvel heroes. Guardian helps wife Vindicator through a melancholy moment with a gentle smile, Northstar's personal life is going well, Sasquatch and Aurora are young heroes in love, Shaman and Snowbird adore their lives, Marrina is unnervy and cranky ...

... oh well, you can't have everything. And her actions at the end of this issue do add spice to the mix.

There's also fun to be had in the unique way one member ends the conflict after former Beta Flight member Kara Killgrave/Purple Girl/Persuasion disrupts election day with a truly crazy creation. She's teamed with a heavy named Citadel, one of Marvel's never-ending parade of adamantium experiments turned rogue. He's likely appeared previously and I fell asleep. Still, Citadel does the job, providing a means to showcase the easy teamwork of the recently reformed Alpha Flight.

And as drawn by Ben Oliver, everyone looks so good. The work is photo-realistic without seeming too studied or stiff, which is perhaps down to the soft yet sharp lines of veteran inker Dan Adkins. Whatever the reason, the characters have character, they show real emotions as they fight hard to keep Canada safe. And they're wonderfully coloured by Frank Martin (though, hasn't Heather Hudson always been a ginger rather than a brunette?).

Phil Jimenez's cover illo, coloured by Frank D'Armata, is mostly lovely, the exception being Guardian's face - too feminine, and his mask makes him look sleepy. 

Overall, a very enjoyable first issue. Sorry, first-ish.


9 comments:

  1. Dan from IADW featured a few of the pages from this recently and i gotta say it looked pretty good.
    sorry to go off topic here for a sec but how come you haven't reviewed any more issues of Annihilators?

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  2. Yeah the 0.1 issue for this and Ghost Rider really irked me.

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  3. why even bother numbering issues? At this point hell just make up things like Alpha Flight Argle Bargle. That aside, I love the old team, the Byrne issues were great I wish there was more like it.

    Lazarus Lupin
    http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
    art and review

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  4. David, it's purely down to time - this isn't a focused blog, so I try to share the reviews around. As I can do only so many a week (4-7, usually) it's a matter of picking the number 1s and special issues first, so I don't repeat myself too quickly. Some books are my longtime favourites though, and get more attention (Superman, Wonder Woman, Legion).

    Travis, Lazarus, let's hope this daft not-quite-a-trend-yet dies soon. Now, even,

    (Thanks for the link, Lazarus!)

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  5. I'm Canadian, so obviously I like Alpha Flight. Or at least the idea of it. And I'm a big Van Lente fan. But do I like this comic?

    I'm not sure, and that ambivalence annoys me. Maybe I was distracted early on by inaccuracies in the portrayal of Quebec...

    Looks like I'll have to use one of my posts next week to deconstruct its Canadianness.

    At least the French was good, which is a rare, rare thing. (See this month's Legion for some terrible French.)

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  6. You're Canadian, eh?

    (Ducks)

    I can't wait for your cultural crit, Siskoid!

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  7. FRENCH-Canadian (Acadian, not Quebequer). We don't say "eh". ;-)

    Lots of religious-sounding curse words though.

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  8. You don't say 'eh' indeedy - hence my ducking!

    Off to check out your link ...

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