Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!
In honor of the blizzard that has wreaked havoc here in the Northeast, I’ve decided to spotlight a classic John Byrne issue of Alpha Flight (I think you might all know what I’m thinking here)…
Byrne used a very interesting approach to the early days of Alpha Flight. When he created the characters for use in the pages of the X-Men, they were little more than throwaway characters. When they were then given their own series, Byrne realized that he had to give these characters personalities ASAP, so after an introductory issue and then a team-based story with the Master of the World, Byrne began to devote a long string of issues to spotlight the various individual members of the team more than the team as a whole (and he had been doing back-ups from #2-on telling the various origins of the team and its members). This lasted from #5 through #11, and when the team got back together for #12, well, while we all know that the term “game-changer” is over used, it certainly applies to Alpha Flight #12.
In any event, issue #6 was the chance to spotlight Snowbird, and it was titled “Snowblind.”
The issue showed an interesting approach to superhero secret identities, as the government had created an identity for Snowbird to use to pass as a human – that of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. Well, as you might imagine, there are a bit fewer opportunities for a RCMP officer to sneak away to do superhero stuff that, say, a freelance photographer or an eccentric billionaire, so when the original commanding officer of her post (who was clued in to her situation) died, she was in a pickle. It’s an interesting take on a familiar superhero trope by Byrne.
Meanwhile, there’s also a subplot of Guardian (the leader of the team) coming to terms with the fact that he’s now unemployed but also effectively the Captain America of Canada.
Anyhow, a bad guy shows up and Snowbird has to escape from her prison cell and take on the bad guy, and here is where Byrne uses one of the more inventive (and humorous) storytelling sequences you’ll see in a superhero comic book…
Pretty darn cool, eh?
Early Byrne Alpha Flight was filled with a lot of experimental storytelling (and risky plot decisions). Good stuff from Byrne.