Unless I miss my guess, this is the quickest that an “Alpha Flight” title has faded into history. Originally slated as an eight-issue miniseries springing from the “Fear Itself,” this title was deemed worthy of consideration for an ongoing. After half of the issues had been published, that ongoing status was repealed.
Almost from the get-go this series seemed to stall. That might be attributable to the heavy connection it was giving to “Fear Itself,” as the characters of this team had no panel time in the main event title. Or it may simply have been the wrong time to try to push Alpha Flight forward. Following the “Chaos War” tie-in issue that resurrected most of the team, the iron was hot and the Canadian characters were sought after, but something happened between that event and “Fear Itself.”
This issue, almost predictably, puts the toys back into the toybox. Most of those toys, however, have marked signs of wear and tear from Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. That wear and tear isn’t simply destructive. Pak and Van Lente made some changes to some of these characters for the better, and some of those changes might be better undone. Regardless, the characters leave this series different from how they entered it. Unfortunately, I think it will be quite some time before this cast of characters gets touched again. When that does happen, it will be interesting to see which of Pak and Van Lente’s changes stick.
Eaglesham’s art throughout this issue is consistent with what has been in this book from the start. His heroes are heroic, his normal people are grounded in the scenes around them, and his surroundings are detailed and believable. Jesus Aburtov adds a great deal of texture to this issue through his colors. This issue is pretty, but not spectacular.
Closing this series out seems to have incurred some hasty conclusions. A blast from the Master’s spacecraft apparently takes out Alpha Flight’s saving grace, but that seemingly destroyed device is put into practice mere pages later. Additionally, the fates of more than a few of Alpha Strike are inconclusive. Pak, Van Lente and Eaglesham try to put a bow on this series, but they forgot to tape some of the wrapping paper down first.
This story could not have happened without “Fear Itself” to launch it, but it needed something else to keep it afloat. What should have been a resonating, emotional conclusion came through as more of a whispered “See you later.” I’d like to see more of these characters, but they’re going to need a little more electricity around them to get anyone’s attention again. Who knows, maybe the next event — “Avengers Vs. X-Men” — has a role for this team. It would be nice to see these characters given another chance to continue to develop and earn a place in readers’ hearts.