Tuesday, December 22, 2009
1985 - X-Men and Alpha Flight
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Paul Smith and Bob Wiacek
The Canadian super-hero team, Alpha Flight, made their first appearance in The X-Men #120-121 and were featured a second time in The Uncanny X-Men #139-140. Their popularity eventually earned them their own series, which was written and drawn by John Byrne, who had grown up in Canada and had created them with Chris Claremont.
After the usual super-hero mix up that leads to a battle between the X-Men and Alpha Flight, they team up and travel to Northern Quebec to investigate a downed plane that was piloted by Scott (Cyclops) Summers and his new wife, Madelyne Pryor. They discover that Scott, Madelyne, and the other passengers have had their greatest wishes fulfilled by a mysterious benefactor. However, they’re the usual catch involving their mysterious benefactor, the Norse God of mischief Loki who is still bitter from the X-Men's adventures in Asgard earlier that year. Our heroes are forced to make a moral decision, each believing that they’re doing what’s right, and leading to the climatic, all-out battle.
There’s a lot of characterization by Claremont, who relies on his usual technique of focusing on a character’s identifiable trait. For example, Wolverine has a constant struggle with his animal/berserker side, or Cyclops has uncontrollable eye beams. Unfortunately, if you’ve read a lot of X-books, this technique quickly becomes repetitive.
Another fault is the numerous characters. The rosters of both the X-Men and Alpha Flight, as well as Cyclops, Madelyne Prior, and the rest of the crew and passengers is simply too large. This fault forces several main characters into secondary roles, like Nightcrawler .
The art by Paul Smith is beautiful and lavish. Unfortunately, Bob Wiacek runs out of time and several inkers come in to help with the last issue. These fill-ins upset the feel of the book, but the story does finish well.
Posted by Jason Shayer at 8:15 AM