While the Marvel mutants of the Eighties and Early Nineties are one of the few corners of the Marvel Universe where I’ve got experience, the Canadian team of Alpha Flight is yet another one of my many blind spots. I own the first issue and it’s on my “to read” for this blog, but beyond once reading the X-Men and Alpha Flight miniseries and remembering that Northstar came out in the early 1990s and was married a few years ago, that’s about it.
Speaking of Northstar, this is more or less a solo story for him and it’s one of those “his past comes back to haunt him” stories because his prior role in the Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ) is putting him in legal jeopardy as well as in physical danger because someone is hunting down his old associates. This turns into Northstar running out on his own and being pursued by the rest of Alpha Flight and then by an armored villain called Scourge (no relation to the villain killer in that Captain America storyline from around this time). In the end, some of his friends are killed, Scourge is revealed to be the very person who had warned him of this issue in the first place, and everything is set right.
For a one-and-done story, this does its job. Bill Mantlo writes it in a way that will probably appeal to fans of Alpha Flight but will also be accessible to people like me who have little to no knowledge of the team. Northstar gives everyone his back story before heading off, which is enough exposition for us all to be invested and see how things play out. Ken Steacy–whom I had seen mainly on Robotech and a few painted covers in the 1980s–does a solid job with the art as well, giving us some very fluid action that does look like Robotech or an indie comic of the day, and it’s kind of cool to see what these characters would have been like had they been handled by another company’s artist.
Btw, I have to say that Northstar, Aurora, and Vindicator all have costumes that resemble something that the Canadian Olympic team would wear, with Northstar and Aurora being a dazzling pairs figure skating duo and Vindicator being a champion downhill skiier. Anyway, it was a pretty solid comic.
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