Alpha Flight Classic Volume 3 Review

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It’s been quite a while since I reviewed a comic hasn’t it? I admittedly read this a very long time ago at this point, but better late than never. The Alpha Flight has always been a fairly obscure team in the grand scheme of things and I can see why. I like just about all of Marvel’s retro comics and this one’s no exception, but it’s not exactly a page turner either. You’ll read through the adventures, but at the end of the day, a story about just about any other character would be more interesting. The team needs to either make the characters cooler or they should just add some new members. Either method would help to improve the comic series I’d say.

There are quite a few plot points here. One of them I had actually seen already. Due to the Hulk getting everyone mad at him once again, Dr. Strange banished him to the Crossroads. He was not thrilled, but at least he can’t hurt anyone there. Unfortunately, Box (Member of Alpha Flight) decided to help Sasquatch since he needed a new body but the probe brought back the Hulk, which lead to a devastating battle against the beast. As always, Hulk basically humiliated Alpha Flight, but I’ll give them some props for the effort. They gave it their all after all.

One of the big arcs is the one from the cover. The interesting part is that the cover spoils the big twist about the Guardian not really being the genuine article. Even I thought that he may have been real for a few seconds despite that, but it’s still odd. That was the best arc of the collection for sure. Omega Flight are the main villains and you can tell that there’s a lot of history between them and Alpha Flight. Their members seem fairly interesting as far as there abilities are concerned. I can’t say the same for their personalities, but that’s another story altogether. These guys were out of their depths, but they gave Alpha Flight a good fight and spiced up the collection a little. I’m always ready for a villain group that can be a nice counterpart to the heroes. Just look at the Crime Syndicate of America, even if Forever Evil really dropped the ball on this one by not letting the JLA fight them. Come on, the whole point of a group like that one is to watch Ultraman get to fight Superman. You’re throwing away easy money by not having that fight on screen!

Let’s talk about the characters. For the most part, each one gets a plot during this adventure, but most of them aren’t really interesting and don’t add much to the experience. Shaman is the wise member of the group whose mystical abilities let him get the team out of a hard spot once in a while. That being said, he loses his motivation after Talisman calls him out for tricking her into being a hero and who can blame her? There’s little reason to feel sympathy for Shaman and he’s under the weather for almost the whole collection. He’s just not a good character and if it wasn’t for the Beyonder, Talisman would be dead. Talisman got thrown into her Alpha Flight life and wasn’t prepared the way that the others were. She probably could have handled the whole thing a little better so lets not sugercoat things here, but she’s not a bad character. She can be a bit hard on Shaman, but he did permanently change her life and involved her in a game where the stakes are lethal, the superhero game. There’s little time for her to become a truly interesting character.

Puck is probably my least favorite member of the group and that’s saying something. It seems like he’s always looking for romance or at least pretending too as one scene hints that it’s all just an act. Either way, it’s an act that won’t help his character arc and his abilities are basically pointless in a fight so this guy needs an upgrade and fast. Heather is the new leader of the Alpha Flight since Guardian is gone, but I can’t say that she does a great job of it. She panics when Guardian appears out of nowhere and faints during a crucial moment which allows Omega Flight to fully infiltrate the base. The other members don’t respect her authority so she needs tyo find a way to get them in line. One problem with this is the fact that she has no powers and isn’t exactly at Batman’s level of hand to hand combat. I feel like the leader of a team has to at least be decently strong so maybe she really isn’t cut out for the job. At the very least, she needs to get over the Guardian’s passing and get a grip on the situation before it’s too late. Box can’t walk so he has to rely on a robot suit, which is definitely a rough deal. I’ll give him credit for never complaining about it and accepting the risks when in combat. If his robot body were to break, there’s a good chance that his psyche would as well so entering every battle can be dangerous.

Snowbird finally became a super powerful figure in these issues, which was interesting. Unfortunately, it also came at the expense of her personality as she became a little more distant and cold towards the other members. It’s hard for them to team up anymore because it’s hard to even trust Snowbird. Her new abilities are useful though and now she can attain the strength of the creatures that she turns into. She would really help the team now, but she quit right away so that she could learn what it means to be human. It’ll be interesting to see if this helps her to act more like her old self or if the new personality is here to stay. I’m fine with a distant Snowbird, but she may become a villain if she’s not careful.

Sasquatch gets a subplot with Aurora, but it doesn’t do anything for either of them. Sasquatch seems decently reasonable, but he should realize that Aurora barely cares about him as she’s always flirting with everyone else and really seems to have no class. Sasquatch can be a little mopey at times, but he’s not a bad member. I just feel like he made the wrong choice here. Aurora has a split personality so she’s almost like two characters. The problem is that none of them are likable. We have the really independent and free persona who is really terrible and then there’s the super timid form who can’t make any decision on her own. Both of them are annoying in their own right and she can’t really fight all that well. Her powers actually stop when she makes contact with Northstar due to an “upgrade” that she got so fighting solo is her only option now.

Northstar is portrayed as the rebel of the group. He quit the Alpha Flight and hasn’t looked back since. He likes his new status, but the Alpha Flight find him anyway and basically force him into some new battles. Aurora even calls him out for a crime that he committed over a decade ago. He really can’t get any peace. Northstar can be over the top sometimes, but I definitely have to say that he’s a lot more likable than the other Flight Members. She’s not a part of the group, but I have to give a shoutout to Pink Pearl. She has no super powers except for the fact that she is massive so she has the physical power of someone like the Blob. It’s hilarious to see her beat down the Alpha Flight. Just when I thought that the team couldn’t call any further…they ended up surprising me!

The art was solid. It had the retro feel that Marvel’s comics all had at the time. The fights are all easy to read and the character designs are spot on. You can always count on Marvel to deliver in this area and while the Alpha Flight stories may not have been the greatest, the art was still quite good. It’s a fairly short collection although not too short to the point where it’ll feel like half of one. There are a decent amount of comic and it makes for a more complete read when put next to the usual 4 issues.

Overall, This is a good comic book. It’s just not much better than good though and you could do better with just about any other title from back in the day. If you want a break from all of the super popular heroes though, then this is a nice change of pace. It still references those other teams, but it stays as a self contained collection for the most part. I wonder if these guys will ever get a film. Considering that so many heroes have gotten a title by now, I wouldn’t be totally surprised. Either way, you can expect my next comic review to be about a comic that’s a little more impressive!

Overall 6/10

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