When it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the United States, I think, “Well, I should read some issues of ‘Alpha Flight.'”
Wait, no, that’s not true at all. “Alpha Flight” is, after all, one of the only comics at Marvel not set in the United States, but instead in our northern neighbor Canada. (Or should that be northern neighbour?)
If all you really care about is reading good comics (rather than Thanksgiving themed ones), though, you can’t go wrong with “Alpha Flight.” It’s a shame that it’s been reduced to just a mini-series, but I’m glad that we’re at least getting it, because it’s a lot of fun.
Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente are bringing a mixture of humor and drama to “Alpha Flight” similar to their take on “Incredible Hercules,” although there’s a bit more drama here than there. One thing I’ve enjoyed a great deal about their “Alpha Flight” is how they started something that was almost lurking in the background (the Unity movement) and made it more dangerous and strange with each issue. By this point, it’s a genuine menace, but just when you think you know everything there is to Unity, we see Kyle Jindau’s foot and things get even crazier. (Don’t worry, it’s not like it sounds. You’ll just have to wait to see it for yourself.)
Pak and Van Lente’s takes on the characters have also settled down into ones I’m down with. Some interpretations (Marrina and Persuasion) felt a little off early on, but by this point they’re consistent enough that I feel that it’s a good direction to move for them. It’s actually a little nice that they’re not afraid to start breaking them out of their molds and into something different. And as for the Master of the World, he’s a character that is rarely interesting, so this latest attempt to conquer has proven above average for his stories.
Dale Eaglesham’s art here is looking nice as always, but it’s the little touches that are especially standing out. From the simplistic style and panel borders to explain the Master of the World’s backstory (especially as the jagged edges melt back into the normal right angles of present day panels when the story ends) to the forest silhouettes that divide up the page when they’re in hiding, Eaglesham is going for something different and interesting to entertain those paying attention. Mind you, his figures look great too, a mixture of heroic, buff, and bedraggled. And the special guest star on the last panel? It’s simultaneously Eaglesham’s own take on the character, but still clearly on-model and recognizable.
“Alpha Flight” has been a great deal of fun, and as the mini-series gets closer to its conclusion with #8, it pains me a little bit to know that not enough people were reading it so that we could get a #9. Still, we’re getting a fun comic out of the deal that could have just as easily not existed. It’s been a good ride, and I’m glad we’ve still got two more to go.