Alpha Flight: 'They're like the Avengers, but in Canada'

If you were to use online chatter as a gauge, you might think Alpha Flight had been a top-selling title in, oh, the past couple of decades. It seems forever sandwiched between Doctor Strange and Cloak & Dagger on the list of Marvel comics fans say they want, but few actually buy.

The Canadian supergroup -- no, not Broken Social Scene -- pops up again in the most recent reader questions to Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, not just once but twice.

So what is happening with Alpha Flight? The short answer? Not much, really. The long answer?

"Alpha Flight is a tough nut to crack, and in all honesty we haven't quite cracked it yet," writes Brevoort. "So at the moment, there isn't any active Alpha Flight series in development. The problem with Alpha Flight is that the two things that really drove interest in them in their earliest years were the fact that they were these exciting, mysterious new characters who mixed it up with the X-Men (and in some ways resembled them as regards the tenor of their team), and the fact that their series was being written and drawn by John Byrne at the height of his powers and popularity. But when you drill down, the core concept of the series is based on geography, which is very limiting -- they're like the Avengers, but in Canada."

He notes that while different creators have attempted new takes on the concept -- I actually liked Steven Seagle's X-Files-esque conspiracy-laden reboot in 1997, minus that weird Micronauts derailment -- none of them has stuck. (The title was resurrected for 12 issues in 2004, and again relaunched in 2007 as a post-Civil War ongoing series-turned-miniseries called Omega Flight.)

"There's always been a decent amount of nostalgia attached to Alpha Flight," Brevoort writes, "and there's something cool both about the team name and many of the original team members. But until somebody can find that new core concept that gives them some unique turf to stand on in the Marvel cosmology in a way that makes them fascinating to a wider assortment of readers, they're going to remain largely on the back bench, I fear."

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