With the X-Men and all their adjacent teams and afflictions being in the middle of a massive overhaul, it’s a bit sad to see these Canadian darlings get a brand new reintroduction in a slightly denser one-shot. Alpha Flight: True North #1 feels less like some part of a bigger story unfolding in the Marvel Universe and more like a test run to see how readers react. Hopefully, if the latter is the case, readers receive this comic warmly. Alpha Flight: True North #1 is a blast for long-time fans and but may leave some newcomers perplexed.
This one-shot features three stories starring various members of the titular squad of superheroes with varying degrees of quality and entertainment. Thankfully, they’re all good, even if they don’t always work on their own merits. The first story, “Mired in the Past” by Jim Zub and Max Dunbar follows Snowbird and Talisman investigating mystical happenings occurring in small town. Zub has done some wonderful work in X-Men-adjacent titles before and his track record continues here. Dunbar’s illustrations are gorgeous and probably the best art of the issue. Specifically Snowbird’s transformations are outstanding.
The second tale of Alpha Flight: True North #1 might be the best of the bunch. In a story by Jed MacKay and Djibril Morissette-Phan, titled “Monsters,” explores the exploits of Puck nearly a century ago as well as his relationship with Marrina, the shape-shifting alien member of the team. The story told like a rich fable and works perfectly as a window into the soul of a pair of wonderful characters. Morisette-Phan’s artwork has a dulled edge to it that works for the ethereal tone of Puck’s history. “Monsters” is a prime example of why we shouldn’t sleep on these characters.
The third and final story, a tale focusing on Vindicator and her current fugitive status, is the only one of the trio that doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders. Written by Ed Brisson and illustrated by Scott Hepburn, “Illegal Guardians” feels as if it’s the last bit of bait the issue is hoping the reader will take. Where the first two stories feel as if they are being written with heart and are trying to give readers an experience, “Illegal Guardians” reads like just set-up for whatever might be next. That doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means. Hepburn’s art is wonderful and Brisson handled getting the important info out in mostly digestible chunks.
Alpha Flight: True North #1 is a warm welcome home for a group of heroes from the other land of ice and snow. With gorgeous artwork, great plotting, and a trio of mostly accessible stories, this issue is must have for new fans and long-time Alpha-Heads (that's what they're called, right?), alike. While not all the stories are perfect, this issue perfectly encapsulates the heart and humor of Alpha Flight. We just wished it was more than what we got. Sorry. We're greedy. It's just that nobody puts Puck in the corner...unless its in a goalie net.