Oct 7, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 225: Alpha Flight v.1 #2, Sept. 1983

There are people who absolutely revere this run of Canadian superheroic shenanigans.

I am not one of them.

I have, in total, 76 issues of Alpha Flight, in it's various volumes and incarnations. In order that I get through them fairly, I'll probably read about 5 and then take a break.

But, you're asking, what's so bad about Alpha Flight?

Well, I'll tell you...

First, let me give you a rundown of the team members: Vindicator (soon to be called Guardian), Aurora, Northstar, Snowbird, Puck, Sasquatch, and Shaman. Notice anything odd? Well, for those of you who are not from the Great White North, these heroes are more caricature than character.

Canada likes hockey? Superhero named Puck.
There's snow in Canada? Superhero called Snowbird.
Pretty far north? How about Aurora and Northstar?

It would be like a hero based in America whose name was ApplePieMan.

Even the soon to be named Guardian grabs his name from the national anthem. Though he's a pretty cool patriotic hero, so that's fine.The rest, though, seem to have been conceived by someone whose never been to Canada. Why not just have MolsonMan?

Second thing. There's a panel in here where Native American character Shaman is counselling Vindicator to change his name. He says, to paraphrase, that Canada does not have a lot to vindicate. A Native American. Saying this to a representative of the Canadian government. Ugh.

Third, it's a John Byrne comic, and I loathe John Byrne. His reboot in the 2000s of The Doom Patrol spit on everything I held dear about that comic. He's a passable artist, in my book, not the revelation he's often held up as. And he can't tell a story.

Was that too harsh? Okay. I actually really liked his run on Fantastic Four in the eighties. But some of the things I've read in interviews, especially around the time that his Doom Patrol was hitting shelves, irked the heck out of me. Made him seem like an arrogant jerk who thought he knew more about comics than anyone else.

That was an emotional one. I apologize. Some days are going to be like that, I guess. All this said, I'm still going to read Alpha Flight. The point of this project was that I have comics in the collection that I've just dismissed out of hand. This is one of them, so in order that I form a fuller opinion, I need to read them.

More tomorrow.

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