Comic Bastards Toolbox: Alpha Flight

All this talk of Justice League of Canada got me thinking about Alpha Flight and what you could possibly do to make the series… well, not so Alpha Flighty. The thing is I like Alpha Flight and so do others, correction others like the idea of Alpha Flight. When a new volume of the series releases everyone is underwhelmed when they’re given a hot pile of pending cancellation. Well that’s not good enough for me anymore so here’s my list of things that can be done to the team to make the books stick around longer than six issues. Also this “Comic Bastards Toolbox” is going to be a bit different from the last one, which is part of the charm of this feature.

No One from Old Alpha Flight Is Allowed On the Team

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I know you’re thinking, “but then it’s not Alpha Flight!” The thing is that the core of Alpha Flight remains relatively unchanged each time that Marvel brings the team back and yet it continues to fail. Frankly, you need a new team and I’m not talking about passing on the torch of Vindicator or slapping Sasquatch Jr. on the team, I’m talking about a completely new revamp of the team and this time just make them people with powers rather than stereotypes based on dated Canadian references. I’m surprised the team hasn’t had a French-Canadian with a zig-zag mustache wearing a beanie, earmuffs and a snow-jacket. I don’t really what the dynamic of the team starts off as, just as long as no one from the old team appears… except for Puck. But if Puck does show up he’s got to be fucked up from Hell and really seen some shit. Like you shouldn’t recognize him because he’s so fucked up from his time spent there and he can never crack a joke or a smile. He’s it otherwise they’re all new.

Start Them in Canada, but Then Make Them a Global Team

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Here’s the thing about constantly setting the story in Canada, you need to constantly threaten Canada with villains and danger. It’s not something that’s associated with the country and so the writers are constantly creating ridiculous plots that come off unbelievable in the end. Start them in Canada and have the team come together there. Have their roots be there, but then move them on to the world’s stage. Hell I would even say that the team should start off as only a few members and as they travel home from their journey’s they pick up new members. This also saves the reader from the “get the gang together” origin story that has become very tiresome. They can always go back to Canada, but don’t force them to stay there unless you plan on giving a personal look at their day-to-day life in-between the danger… which will get the series cancelled again.

Don’t Try To Make Them the Avengers

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I would honestly find it very interesting if Alpha Flight was environmental terrorist. They’re doing “good”, but they’re crossing lines. In a way they could be more like X-Force, a mission that matters but they say fuck the rules. If they don’t take that angle (which would ensure that they had to leave Canada and travel the world), then just don’t make them the Avengers. Make them more like a gang of Spider-Man’s that deal with smaller villains and threats, but they don’t need to save the world just stop the bad situation. But please don’t give them a home base, a rich financer and a character to fill every “role” on the team. Team books really suck when you just look at the cover and figure out which character is the power house, the strategist, the inventor and so on and so forth.

Give Them a Personal Life

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I’ve factually read some or all of the previous Alpha Flight volumes (including Omega Flight) and there’s a common theme with everything that comes after the fan-favorite 90’s volume… the story isn’t about Alpha Flight. It’s not about the team; it’s about what the team is up against. To an extent the series is about the threat the team will face and a vast majority of the smaller volumes are about who will be on the team; but never really about the people who actually make up the team. The only character that’s had a personal life in the books has been Northstar and Marvel crapped on that when they made him a sales gimmick and shoehorned him into any series they could for three months. That’s great that they had a gay wedding, but now the character is barely a blip on the radar. All of the other team members are just there. We never learn about them or really know them outside of their role on the team. It’s no wonder the series continues to be cancelled, the reader is never given a character to relate to or like outside of an action sequence.


Well there you have it. Those are some of the things I would take out of the toolbox to fix Alpha Flight if it were ever given another chance at being a monthly title. Of course these aren’t the only options and I’d love to hear what you think is needed to make a successful Alpha Flight series, so leave a comment below.