Apr 6, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 771: Alpha Flight v.1 #29, December 1985


We're going to spend a couple of days with Bill Mantlo's Alpha Flight, and then, on Sunday, I'll be starting a project within the Project that I hope is interesting and thought-provoking. But until then, let's see what the Alphans are up to under new management.

As with most passings of the reins between creative teams, there's a fair bit of tidying to be done from the previous team's tales. Today is one such bit of tidying, as the team faces off against the Hulk in the streets of downtown Vancouver. To put this slightly more into context, the creative team that has taken over the book was actually previously working on the Hulk's book - the back matter of the previous issue notes that the two books, The Incredible Hulk and Alpha Flight, literally switched creative teams. Completely. Even the editors switched roles. So it's no surprise that, as Mantlo and company take over the Canadians, they do so with a little epilogue to their work with the Hulk. By issue's end, he's back across the American border, and the Flight decides not to pursue him. They may technically have won the battle, and ousted the Hulk from the city, but at the cost of being quite badly wounded.

What the battle accomplishes for the team, though, is to solidify it as a team. One of the running themes, especially since Guardian's death, has been the coherency of the team. I mentioned earlier in my look at Alpha Flight that I kind of liked the way that the team wasn't really a team, a "non-team" almost in the mold of the old Defenders title from the 70s. Much of Marvel America is centralized around New York, though we see more and more teams being located in various cities around the country. But the dearth of heroes in the Great White North means that the team has to traverse vast distances to assemble. I liked that about them. Canada is fricking huge. For those who've never been here, we are the second-largest country in the world. And lots of it is pretty empty. The closest major city to Calgary, where I'm currently residing, is Edmonton, a 3-hour drive away. And that's actually pretty close.

I know that the team is likely to relocate to the old Langkowski manor that was the site of Gilded Lily's plans earlier this week, but I don't know when. And what does that mean for Northstar, who obviously has a life in Quebec, literally on the other side of the country? We may find out in the next couple of days, but perhaps not. Something to look forward to when we get back to the Flight, I guess. Oh, and I was mistaken when I said that I didn't have a coherent run after Byrne's departure. It actually looks like I have much of Mantlo's run as well. Groovy.

To be continued.

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