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
I’ve been hearing a lot of explanations recently from Rian Johnson concerning the great divide between Star Wars fans & just why people feel the way they do about ‘The Last Jedi’. The most divisive part of the movie appears to be, hands down, the handling of Luke Skywalker. Sure some hate the Marvel-esque humor recently added to the franchise, some hate the Rose & Finn “Casino Adventure” and of course some did really legitimately love it all. Wherever you stand on this, most do actually agree, they’d have liked Luke Skywalker to have stuck around for a while longer, Rian Johnson however has recently stated the reasoning for killing off Luke was to put the main focus on Rey, Finn & Poe. The legacy characters still, according to him, were standing in the way of the new younger generation. Because we all know of course, that’s what the people really wanted, the younger characters front and center in the spotlight….right? Hmmm…..
I’ve wondered myself for a while if this is indeed actually the truth? Of course there’s plenty of room for a new generation of more hip, younger heroes to take the cinematic Star Wars main stage- That’s a no-brainer. I’m all about that, but still there’s a part of me that wonders if there was still room for an older Luke Skywalker, C-3P0 & R2 in the Star Wars universe? As a long time fan I of course will admit, this new series held a lot of excitement because of the return of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy, C-3P0 & R2D2 and then secondly the new characters. As I think about The Last Jedi, as the Blu-Ray is coming out soon I’m curious what fans would have really preferred, Luke to have died or lived on?
I’m seeing a lot of rumors and news lately about the solo anthology films, we’ve got Rogue One in the bucket, Solo on the way, rumors of an Obi-wan solo movie & even murmurs of a young Yoda movie. One thing I think would have been amazing would’ve been a one shot movie similar to the ones planned I mentioned that featured an ‘Old Man Luke Skywalker’ starring Mark Hamill. Imagine if Luke had lived and had a smaller role in Episode 9 but wasn’t killed off. I think an “Old Man Luke” movie might have been a dynamic idea to present afterwards. For instance what if Luke had created a new Jedi academy and embarked on one last epic adventure with a couple of his pupils and of course C-3PO and R2. Hell, you could even add in Finn or Chewy to the movie as supporting characters.
Just because a character is older doesn’t necessarily mean that people are totally done with them. Especially in the year 2018 and especially when dealing with Star Wars. Ash returned in an ‘Evil Dead’ Tv series, Indiana Jones returned & a much older Wolverine & Co returned for one of the best superhero movies ever in 2017’s ‘Logan’ that was based on the hit comic series ‘Old Man Logan’. Fans for the most part have dug them all (Except for Indiana Jones 4 maybe-damn!) My question is would Star Wars fans have returned for a Hamill fronted older Luke flick? Did Disney Star Wars underestimate just how much people still loved Hamill in the role of Luke Skywalker even though he’s now an older Jedi? I think they dropped the ball big time-I think a Hamill fronted Luke solo one shot movie would have crushed at the box office-am I crazy? What do you think?
Today we got the sad news that comic book legend Len Wein passed away at the age of 69. Len was most well know for co-creating The Swamp Thing, X-Men’s Colossus, Storm, Night Crawler oh and another character you might know… yeah, just a guy called ‘Wolverine’.
Those are some serious heavyweights. He worked closely with the likes of Berni Wrightson & Alan Moore as well on The Watchmen. He made an incredible footprint in the world of comics, thanks Len for all of the amazing adventures you’ve taken us all on…RIP
Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading
Holy Hell! I’ve got to make some time here to give some props to Hugh Jackman’s “last” run as Wolverine! I know everyone and their mom, dad & parakeet are talking about how great this movie is and yeah I agree it’s a glorious final chapter. They finally took the gloves off and let Wolverine be Wolverine. I find it funny how damn long it takes Hollywood to figure out what us comic book fanatics knew way back in the year 2000. We want our Wolverine to be a savage lil’ a-hole and you just can’t really do it with a PG-13 rating. So as you know by now obviously Logan is bloody, gritty and tonally different than any of the other movies. It’s a no BS affair, it’s personal and it has real heart. There are no giant CG robots or even a weak ass version of Sabretooth anywhere in sight. Nope Wolverine here is a cussin’, drinkin’, pissed off SOB and it’s great to finally see him the way he was more or less supposed to be all along. Sure he’s older and weaker here but hey I’ll take what I can get dammit!
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier is amazing and so is Dafne Keen’s X-23. They both nearly steal the thunder from Logan time and time again throughout the movie. By now you’ve likely heard it ALL and probably seen the movie. It’s great and I’ll see it again, soon. BUT, yes there is a but here and it needs to be addressed (SPOILERS AHEAD). My biggest problem with ‘Logan’ was it’s villain/villains. That’s not to say I didn’t dig Donald Pierce and his Reavers, they were forgettably fine but let’s be honest they could have been AMAZING. When I heard that they were going up against Wolverine in this final flick I was fucking thrilled. The Reavers could have and should have been a seriously scary force to be reckoned with.
Sure Donald Pierce had a dinky lil’ cybernetic hand but he could have been a lot more like his counterpart from the comics with four cybernetic limbs & superhuman strength. They failed to make him a truly deadly opponent and the rest of The Reavers should have been modeled after the legendary comic book team. Imagine the original Reavers with an even deadlier Lady Deathstrike back again looking more like comic book counterpart. It should have been Logan and co taking on serious threats more similar to ‘The Terminator’. That would have been amazing. They missed an opportunity to really bring us the psychotic cyborgs we deserved to see. They gave us a lot of throwaway soldiers for him and x-23 to mow down sure, but none of them served any other purpose than just that.
The real threat here was X-24, a villain that to me felt as about exciting as “Deadpool” from X-men Origins: Wolverine. I was really disappointed to see a Hugh Jackman ‘clone’ as the big bad muscle of the movie. That was a serious mis-step in my opinion. I only say this because we could have gotten any number of amazing Wolverine villains in his place. Imagine for a second that their secret weapon was Omega Red?! Or Cyber? Daken? Razorfist? Heck even a bigger badder version of Sabretooth would have been welcome.
My point being we really didn’t need any of them, we already had Donald Pierce and The Reavers. They could have supplied us with all sorts of frightening cybernetic mayhem. Instead they went the overused “fight your clone / fight yourself” route. Ahhh well what can I say, I am a picky comic book bastard. It just irritates me that they got so close to me having to just shut the fuck up and admit perfection. At least they finally got ol’ Wolvie right. It took them seventeen years to figure it all out and I’m damn glad they did. This is clearly a groundbreaking movie that’ll change the way comic book movies are made from this point on. Don’t get me wrong I give ‘Logan’ a solid A-, but in the future though let’s give the same care to the villains as we do to the heroes cuz a hero’s only as good as his villain! Oh yeah one more thing I highly doubt this is the last time we’ll see Mr. Jackman in the role of Logan, this movie is a box office smash and we all know money talks…why stop now anyway when you finally figured it all out?!!
Marvel Comics Presents was a cool anthology series from 1988 that really kickstarted the first Wolverine solo series that same year. This started one of my favorite eras of the character where he took the nickname “Patch” and hung out on the mythical island of Madripoor for some truly grand adventure.
Marvel Comics Presents #1 features the start of the ‘Save The Tiger’ storyline, which is pretty awesome and has some great artwork by John Buscema and features Wolverine going up against the classic Shang-Chi villain Razorfirst. The series featured four, eight page stories from four different superheroes Wolverine remaining at the forefront for most of it’s run.
This particular cover was always a favorite of mine, features some awesome artwork by Walt Simonson and has Wolverine, Shang-Chi, a gigantic Man-Thing and the Silver Surfer. It’s a full cover front and back. What a great cast and an epic cover from a great era!