I just got done reading the ‘ALPHA FLIGHT: True North’ Marvel Comics one shot and it got me a bit excited about the possibility of an ongoing series. Yeah Alpha Flight has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid in 80’s and after the first John Byrne series it’s never been quite the same, so hearing that a new one shot was coming out made me decide to head up to ‘Cosmic Monkey‘, (Portland Oregon’s best comic book shop), to grab a copy and see for myself. It’s been a few years since I bought new comic books, I quit a while back cold turkey, as their just too damn expensive and many of them don’t grab me like they used to honestly. However, Alpha Flight always gets another chance!
So ‘True North’ was a pretty decent little dive back into the lives of the diverse Canadian superhero team, it features three short stories with various members of the team. The first featuring classic Alphans Talisman & Snowbird as they travel to a remote area of in the Arctic Circle to investigate a supernatural presence. It’s an intriguing little tale that could have really spanned the whole issue. I definitely enjoyed the artwork in this one by Max Dunbar as well.
The next story is a small slice of life featuring everyone’s favorite little person badass ‘Puck’ and the fish woman ‘Marina’ as they walk a lonely beach on a sunny day. Puck shares a story from his past and the two of them spend some time bonding. A neat little short overall but I wasn’t a real big fan of the artists depictions of Puck and Marina, who basically just made them look like a short guy and a green woman devoid of most of her fish like qualities. The last story features Heather Hudson aka ‘Vindicator’ as she hides from the Canadian government for crimes committed while under the mental control of long time Alpha Flight villain ‘The Master of the World’. It’s a pretty interesting short story too and also features her husband James ‘Guardian’ Hudson with plenty of underlying relationship drama bubbling below the surface. Overall this one was nice refresher of just what an Alpha Flight ongoing series could feel like in 2019.
The other members were missed though, classics like Sasquatch & Shaman weren’t even in it at all and Northstar and Aurora only spoke a couple lines. I was hoping for a cool one shot with the whole team showing their current relationship as a team, but regardless it was still a pretty good teaser, even if it was priced at whoppin’ 5 bucks! DAMN!! I’ve always thought the team under the right writer again could be developed into a great modern series. The team’s super diverse cast has a lot of rich history to explore. ‘True North’ strikes some good chords but I’m not sure it was really quite compelling enough to drum up the magic needed to push Alpha Flight into a new ongoing series. I’d like to see Wolverine return to the team and maybe bring some drama into Heather and James’ rocky relationship. It’s always been softly suggested he might have some feelings for Heather. You never know! I’m also still hoping for an Alpha Flight movie as well, I think they’d be an instant hit in the MCU!
So one reason it’s fun to be a blogger is because there’s always that slight chance something you write about could ignite a spark on a certain topic, and one thing I’ve been hoping forever is that we’ll some day get an ‘Alpha Flight’ movie! Some of you all might be asking who the hell is Alpha Flight? Well let me just start off by saying they at one time had much more notoriety in the Marvel universe than The Guardians of the Galaxy! So as far as Marvel movies go anything is possible, I mean I never thought we’d get TWO damn Ant-man movies either! For those who may not know, Alpha Flight is a Canada’s answer to the X-men & The Avengers, who made their first appearance 40 years ago in X-men #120.
Wolverine was originally set to be the team’s leader, which led to them having a heavy presence in the X-universe & throughout the years they’ve had their own Marvel comic book series several times throughout the last 4 decades with varying degrees of success. Well I think now’s the time to tell the team’s story on the big screen & I’m certain if they did it right it’d be next the big thing in the MCU, not convinced? Well here are 6 reasons why Marvel’s gotta jump on the chance sooner than later!!
1. Diversity of the Team
Ok so it’s clear that diversity in comic book movies is a topic that’s endlessly being discussed today. It just so happens that they have always been one of the most naturally diverse in the Marvel universe. From native American characters like Shaman and his daughter Talisman, to Eugene ‘Puck’ Judd being a ‘little’ person, to Marrina being a bizarre race of fish creature and Northstar being a gay man, the team undeniably has a lot of interesting characters within it’s ranks. Half have been made up of women and Heather Hudson also known as ‘Vindicator’ stepped in as the team’s leader for over half of the teams comic book existence. They’d easilytranslate to the big screen in a unique way and I think they’ve got a lot to offer up in a way audiences haven’t seen before on the big screen!
2. First Gay Superhero
This leads me to my second point as recently I’ve seen that Marvel was looking to introduce the first openly gay superhero. Well good thing for Alpha Flight, they had the very first mainstream gay superhero, Jean-Paul Beaubier aka ‘Northstar’. Though it wasn’t openly stated in the team’s first series from 1983 it was clear to see the angle of the character presented there. Nearly ten years later in 1992 Northstar officially came out as gay to the public making mainstream headlines and then in 2012 again when the first gay superhero wedding took place prominently in ‘Astonishing X-men’ #51. His husband being Kyle Jinadu, a black male was also notable in featuring a natural diversity within the now iconic superhero storyline.
The character has broken down barriers time and time again in comic book history and if any gay superhero makes it to the silver screen it surely should be Northstar. With all of his sexual identity to the side, the character has always been an interesting one, with one of the biggest attitudes in Marvel comics ranks he’s also got a twin sister “Aurora” whom he’s incredibly protective of. Their relationship has gone through a lot of intriguing states of turmoil as well, especially when it comes to her choices of people she chooses to date. Northstar in general is just a super badass character, possessing the ability to travel at superhuman speeds, fly, and project photon energy blasts. His twin sister, Aurora also possesses similar abilities. He automatically makes the team that much more interesting without even trying. Continue reading
Black Panther is clearly all the rage at the box office and it’s crazy that he wasn’t introduced sooner to the Marvel cinematic universe. We had to wait roughly 10 years for his solo flick since the MCU kicked off, maybe Marvel was strategically timing his arrival with current trends in the news and social media? Whatever the case thinking about the gigantic monetary success of ‘The Panther’ I’m certain people over at Disney/Marvel are scheming what characters will be the next smash sensation and I’m certain they’re considering just how the racial background of them might help bring in the big bucks once again. Let’s face it, the white dude superhero can clearly get a little stale sometimes. So who’re the top contenders that Marvel might introduce to the moviegoing public? Here’s my predictions and hopes:
Shang Chi: The Master of Kung Fu
Shang Chi is clearly at the top of the list when I think about what Marvel might have planned next after the success of The Black Panther. It seems like Marvel and Disney are pretty concerned about their Chinese audience when it comes to releasing new movies as they can make a ton of money there. So if they play their cards right perhaps the legendary Master of Kung Fu could woo audiences in the USA and abroad? I think so, imagine a Marvel Kung Fu flick done right with crazy over the top superhuman martial arts action on the big screen. They could achieve what they should have with Iron Fist and give everyone the action extravaganza they craved for the Netflix character. I’d love to see him come to life on the big screen, he’s a true classic character that deserves more respect..
Ahhh yes I can still remember how stoked I was as a kid waaaay back in 1985 when John Byrne took over writing and drawing The Incredible Hulk for a far too short of a run. I was only 11 years old, but I seriously adored John Byrne, he was hands down my favorite comic book artist and The Hulk was my favorite comic book character. Byrne had been writing and drawing Alpha Flight, which of course I was a die hard fan of too, when he switched to full on Hulk mode with issue #314. I was thrilled!
I must have read that issue a hundred times and the cover itself couldn’t have been more awesome as it featured the Jade Giant in all of his Byrne-esque glory along with a gang of his deadliest villains behind him ready to start some shit. The Leader, Modok, The Rhino, Abomination & The Juggernaut! Byrne’s highly detailed artwork pushed The Hulk to new levels of awesomeness, the character was more massive than he’d ever been too. Though the villains on the cover end up being just part of Hulk’s over active imagination, the Byrne run fully made up for that with making Hulk-centric character Doc Samson one of, if not the main character of his short run. From that point in in Hulk history Doc Samson quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters, the series also improved upon Doc’s costume, giving him a new one, ditching his classic but sorta awful lightning bolt suit he’d worn previously.
In the past we’d seen Samson tangle with the Hulk but never quite like this. I absolutely love how Byrne’s Hulk completely dwarf’s Samson in size like never before, yet he proves just how much of a bad ass the character really is with not only his brawn but also his brains. This issue is essentially one big fight between the two and begins with a more mindless version of the Hulk who’d been missing in another dimension called The Crossroads, exiled by Doctor Strange for over a year (those were great issues too!). Samson cleverly defeats The Hulk and makes Hulk history using his genius scientific intellect to actually separate Bruce Banner from The Hulk as two living breathing entities.
This was a great era of Hulk history and let’s face it John Byrne was easily one of the best comic book writers and artists of the 70’s & 80’s if not of all time. During this run he pumped out 8 issues, one being an awesome Marvel Fanfare where’s Byrne’s stunning artwork proved he was easily one of the best of all time when it came to drawing the jade giant. Another was The Hulk annual #14 which he wrote but master Hulk artist Sal Buscema drew. I love the Byrne era Hulk and apparently he’d had big plans for the series but was thwarted, there’s actually a great story about what went down here with the Byrne Hulk run for all of you Hulk-a-maniancs. Also check out ‘Incredible Hulk: Visionaries #1‘ Trade Paperback which features the whole output of Byrne 80’s Hulk. Ahhh those were the good ol’ days….
I’ve been seeing an increase of stories recently online & on social media about Marvel Comics and it’s continuing sales slump. Most of the articles bring up the hot topic of diversity, some say that Marvel’s record low sales of their comics books are simply because of rising cover prices & lack of fresh new ideas for their characters. Others say that it’s directly due to it’s attempt at diversifying it’s star characters by changing their race, gender & sexual orientation. Most of their popular character’s titles have had a bit of a revamp lately, for instance Wolverine is now female, so is Thor, so is Iron Man, Cap is black, the Hulk is now Korean-American etc. etc. You get the point. Could these changes really be the reason why sales are down? Do people just simply hate diversity in the Marvel Comics titles?
I really doubt that it’s really that simple, though rising cover prices and lack of fresh ideas definitely doesn’t help their low sales. What I see personally happening is a bit of a trend within Marvel Comics that feels a bit insincere. I honestly don’t really mind that the traditional characters have been replaced but I do feel Marvel’s move to make all these changes to their most popular titles feels as if they’ve been exploiting diversity to make a quick buck. What I’m saying is that it feels like Marvel is just trying way too hard to be current on these topics rather than crafting interesting stories. I don’t believe you can simply take all of your money maker superhero titles, simply change their identities and expect them all to suddenly bring you boatloads of cash because you finally decided to make them more diverse. It’s just not that simple folks. Continue reading
Alpha Flight number 13’s cover has always been one of my favorites and if you were reading the comic book back in 1983 you know it was a pretty emotional time for the Canadian super team. This was again during a time when it was kinda special when Wolverine would show up on the scene as opposed to when he was featured in every comic book on the shelves. This was also a time when Wolverine was still a weird little 5 foot 3 inch mutant berserker rather than a Hollywood hunk! Anyway this cover was done by one of my all time favorite artists ever, John Byrne and the scene on the cover is actually a piece of a creepy dream sequence in the wake of the death of Alpha Flight’s team leader Guardian.
I totally dig Wolverine’s classic cowboy style here and of course the brilliant tombstones which feature the names of classic comic book artists. Of course Byrne’s name was usually cleverly hidden as part of the background and can also be seen on the tombstone. This is such a classic cover and a cool time to be into Marvel stuff. I’m still amazed they’ve never worked Alpha Flight into any of the Marvel movies as they’re a huge part of Wolverine’s past…
Ok, So Hugh Jackman went on Twitter the other day asking the fans exactly what they wanna see for the “final” Wolverine movie. So listen up Hugh I’m a real fan of Wolverine and here’s my real thoughts on your final movie outing as the character! First let me get this out of the way, I loved the “Old Man Logan” storyline and that is why this next Wolverine movie should absolutely NOT be based on it. Primarily Hugh you’re just not OLD enough yet!! Seriously, you should do “Old Man Logan” ten years to fifteen years from now. How rad would that be to see you come back for this when you are actually an older guy?!
Right now focus on the final flick being just a great Wolverine story that can be done right giving the fans exactly what they want. Second ‘Old Man Logan’ done right would feature Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and The Incredible Hulk. That at the moment just does not seem possible due to legal reasons so HOLD OFF on this until it IS the right time where you can really do the story justice. Don’t fuck this up Hugh!! Work on getting these things figured out and then come back and give the fans what they truly deserve. There’s no Rush for this storyline.
Ok now let’s get onto what I have seen the fans asking for. Number one of most all the comments I have read want to see you suit up in one of the classic costumes!! I can say personally that I agree with this. Give us the classic comic Wolverine before you sign off on the character. Fans have been asking for this forever, it’s a no brainer. Do it Hugh. You might wanna consider the black, brown and tan costume or the version worn in X-Force which would probably translate better to film. Let’s face it the blue, yellow and black one might be a bit much.
Alright then, the other most common comment I’ve seen is concerns about the rating of the movie. Fans want and R-rated Wolverine movie dammit! Seriously we need to see what a real bezerker rage would look like from a guy with unbreakable metal claws would really look like. Wolverine needs to stab, slice and dice like he does in the comics. It’s crazy how little blood is seen on screen from an enraged animalistic mutant. Let’s really see wolverine go nuts one last time . I think this WILL happen once the studio sees how Deadpool fares. No more mediocre, watered down Wolverine go out with a real bang!
Lastly give us a truly great villain for him to face! Let’s see Lady Deathstrike come back looking more like she did in the comics along with The Reavers! How awesome would that be?
Or have Wolverine head off to Madripoor to retire and face off against Razorfist, Bloodsport and Roughhouse! That was a super cool & huge part of Logan’s past and could include some great almost Indiana Jones style of jungle adventure.
Or how about Omega Red tracking down Logan he’d be quite a sight on the big screen and a great classic villain!
Or have Wolverine head off to the woods of Canada to get away from it all and end up trying to survive and save innocents from The Wendigo?! Now that’d be intensely creepy adventure…
Or Lastly have Wolverine tracked down by Alpha Flight, this would be a great way to introduce a new team franchise and an intense part of Logan’s history that has yet to be told or even mentioned.
So there you have it thoughts from a real fan! Make this shit happen already!! What do you all think would be the best Wolverine story for Hugh to star in as his “final” appearance?
It’s no secret here – I love Alpha Flight! I love John Byrne too who’s the man behind the Canadian supergroup, heck I’d go as far as to say that he’s my favorite comic book artist of all time! So today I’m showcasing his amazing cover from Alpha Flight #5 way back from 1983. This one features a cool solo story with none other than Puck the coolest little superhero of all time and quite possibly hairier than Wolverine!! I’m so bummed that Marvel can’t seem to come up with a good ongoing series for the team. If you want a great run of comics to read check out John Byrnes run on the book (issues 1-28) you get great art an lots of drama and then some. This rad cover proves sometimes simplicity is the best approach!! I love how he’s jumping out of the price box-brilliant!
I always loved this particular comic book cover by John Byrne way back from 1985! Alpha Flight #22 is a fun issue with a great simplistic cover. I love when team titles have issues where you get either a solo adventure or a pair together, in this case two of my favorites the mutant twins Northstar and Aurora! I love how frustrated they both look while in the clutches of The Pink Pearl.
Alpha flight was an excellent title and I highly suggest the entirely charming John Byrne run of the series. Now the cool thing about this is that you might think the Pink Pearl was simply a one off villain but in fact she has sine appeared several other times through the years most recently briefly in The Logan Legacy. John Byrne too had his act fully together with these 80’s Alpha Flight comic covers too! This one though has always been a fav of mine!
So Guardians of the Galaxy is all the rage suddenly! The movie is on it’s way to being a HUGE hit for Marvel. Well I’m sure that’s got all the big wigs in Hollywood and at Marvel thinking about what the next big thing is gonna be. It seems that the characters in these movies really don’t have to be A-list characters to hit it big time. Maybe you Avengers aren’t quite as special as you thought you were huh?! Well listen up Marvel and Hollywood, fear not, because I’ve got the 5 superhero teams who who got the muscle to score you another blockbuster! Forget about the X-men, forget about the Justice League, The Avengers? Ha! old fucking news! There’s really only so much of Captain America, Thor and Iron Man that we can take! Here are five lesser known teams that could be the next big thing on the big screen!
5. The Defenders: This is Marvel’s safest bet, The Defenders are the B-list Avengers and always have been. But through time they’ve embarked on some of the most downright bizarre adventures in comic book history. This is because of one character in particular, at the core of the group is Doctor Strange, who Marvel is already getting ready to cast into his own feature film. Also in the group is The Hulk, an Avenger who people now are demanding more of on the big screen, ad on The Silver Surfer, who’s one of the coolest characters ever and lastly Namor, the first Marvel Mutant and you’ve got the perfect team to head into truly Strange territory in the movies.
This movie I have no doubt will at some point be made and if you have any doubt that this could be a great big screen adventure take a moment to read The Defenders mini series from 2005 it’s the perfect reference point to success! It’s jam packed with action and some really great comedy, mostly revolving around the Hulk’s sex life!
4. The Exiles: This was a great series that was designed as a “What If?” comic for X-men fans, it involved the team traveling to different dimensions, times and alternate realities. It was kinda like Quantum Leap with superheroes. We have already seen that the alternate timeline stuff works quite well for movie fanatics lately so why not give this team a shot at some big screen glory? You get some weird mashed up versions of popular characters that would sure to quite interesting as well. The Exiles were hired to fix broken realities and the team originally consisted of Blink (Clarice Ferguson, from the Age of Apocalypse), Mimic (Calvin Rankin), Magnus Lensherr (son of Magneto and Rogue),Thunderbird (John Proudstar), Nocturne (Talia Josephine “T.J.” Wagner, daughter of Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch), and Morph. How’s that for a stellar line up?
3. The Invaders: Ok, how cool was it that the first Captain America movie took place in the 1940’s? Let’s face it this is an awesome era to tell comic book stories-and with the backdrop of WWII it’s the perfect place to kick some Nazi ass-something people never get tired of seeing! We already got a tease of a loose version of the team in the first Captain America movie, but sadly the team didn’t sport costumes or get much development. JJ Field was even cast in the movie as Montgomery Falsworth, who becomes “Union jack” one the most prominent and awesome members of the team.
The movie version could be a mix of The Howling Commandos who had some of it’s members in the Cap movie as well(Dum Dum Dugan!). The movie could take place after Cap’s death and maybe even be developed in the “Agent Carter” Tv series before it hit the big screen. This one would be huge and could take them on an Indiana Jones-esque type of adventure battling the likes of, Baron Zemo, The Hate Monger, Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, The Master Man & Baron Blood!
2. Alpha Flight: I’m not sure how many times I have to say it-Alpha Flight is just begging to be a big screen smash!! These guys have been a fave of mine since I was a little kid. They’re the Canadian X-men for cryin’ out loud! The movie could have strong ties with the X-films, heck Hugh Jackman could even be in it when Wolverine was a member of the team! The finale of the flick could be when Wolverine goes a-wall and the Flight chases him down ultimately clashing with our very favorite movie X-men! How awesome would that be?
Also visually seeing Sasquatch in action alone would be worth it! Plus Marvel could be the first to introduce the most bad ass first full-on gay superhero to the silver screen-Northstar! This one has success written all over it and the team is always filled with a ton of drama-just read the first 12 issues of the original 1980’s John Byrne run, it’s golden…
1. The Great Lakes Avengers: This one is the one. The Great Lakes Avengers has all the ingredients of big time hit. It’s got heart, drama, a ton of comedy and one other thing going for it the word “AVENGERS” in it’s title. So who are these guys you might ask? Well they are a midwest superhero team that forms in Milwaukee Wisconsin!! They’re huge fans of the Avengers and decide they want to give the superhero stuff a shot themselves. The only problem is that this team is band of regular joe type people with weird superpowers who’ve got zero cred and really zero experience in costumed crimefighting. Think of the movie as a cross between Kick-Ass and Mystery Men. This would be a great one for Edgar Wright or someone who could write something truly hilarious with some well cast comedic actors.
We could get a few cameos from the other real Avengers as well, unintentionally blowing these guys off on the street. Then, the team who we follow from the beginning, as leader Mister Immortal (who no matter how badly he’s injured, can’t die) assembles them all from ads on telephone poles and Craig’s List . He eventually gets them all in to deep with a major Marvel villain, this is where things get serious. This could be one of the most funny superhero movies ever and at the same time have some good serious drama and action as well. Plus it seems that one of it’s members Squirrel Girl already has quite a cult following-To not jump on this now would be a crime Marvel-make it happen!!! Still don’t believe me check out The Great Lakes Avengers trade “Misassembled” from 2005 it’s proof of my claims!