Canada’s superheroes fight against their own mutant comrades in “Alpha Flight” #1.
Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Scott Godlewski
Colored by Matt Milla
Lettered by Travis Lanham
SAVING CANADA…FROM THE MUTANT MENACE?!
GUARDIAN, PUCK, SNOWBIRD and SHAMAN return, as a terrestrial ALPHA FLIGHT bursts onto the scene!
But what schism will pit these heroes against their former teammates AURORA, NORTHSTAR and NEMESIS, as well as Aurora’s beau, FANG?
The FALL OF X has changed the game, and will Alpha Flight soar to new heights…or be crushed under the weight of an impossible mission?
With the attacks by Orchis on a variety of fronts in the entire ‘Fall of X’ saga unfolding, all stories connected to the mutants of Krakoa, not to mention some that are typically not like “Invincible Iron Man,” have felt the effects of the onslaught (pun on the X-Men villain not intended). In the case of the Canada-based super-heroics of Alpha Flight, they have numerous team members who are known mutants, leading to an understandable complication. How does the return of their eponymous series in a fifth volume, “Alpha Flight” #1, handle this highly sensitive situation?
Under Ed Brisson’s pen, the result is rather interesting, both for reasons within the story and for ones when taking the whole of Marvel Comics into consideration. Yes, the Canadian government is taking a stand in the name of humanity. Their aims may seem to be benevolent on the surface, but looking at all at their methods of partners show definite antagonism. On the one hand, there is the fact that they are taking aid from Orchis, the ones manipulating this entire scenario in the first place. On the other, there is the often-tried, rarely controlled scheme of using Sentinel robots to hunt mutants, which has an alarmingly high rate of killing other targets (even with their stated control). Together, alongside Alpha Flight still working with them, it seems this story will be one of villains fighting those who aim to save themselves. The final pages mix it up, however, making for an enticing setup for a longer arc.
The heroes, both working for Alpha Flight and against it, are not given much focus, more concentrating on the fact that they are in opposition to one another than who they each personally are. On the downside, this approach possibly relies too heavily on character recognizability, especially in the case of characters like “Fang,” which may confuse casual viewers. The fact that there are multiple of the Krakoan Era-derived infographic pages, but none to explain the central characters, feels like an extreme oversight for those who may just be tuning in now to learn about the primary Canadian super team, especially e weigh that focus on fighting over examining the individuals much at all. On the upside, Brisson’s fast pace of storytelling helps it to get through the meat, from the setup to the revelation in the final page, mostly using the superhero fight as a necessary part of a formula to set up things going on than something that is entirely superfluous.
One of the most interesting parts is the use of the general populace. Marvel civilians are notoriously fickle, very easy to turn against their heroes with alarming regularity and at times just as easy to turn back again just in time for the new menace. In the case of mutants especially, particularly given their use as a thinly veiled Civil Rights Movement metaphor from their outset decades ago, there seems to be a case for having them find far more enemies than friends, in particular amongst the general population. In “Alpha Flight” #1, Brisson breaks this apart, showing that at least some people are against their local superheroes turning against their mutant friends and allies based on frankly racist thought processes, and others seem to genuinely not care about if someone is a mutant, only that the person is their loved one. By addressing this type of voice, Brisson makes absolutely clear that what the government is doing in “Alpha Flight” #1 is wrong. After all, if even the Marvel civilians call someone out on a change to the status quo instead of rallying to the latest villain scheme, maybe that person, be it a superhero or the government itself, is out of line.Continued below
The artwork provided by Scott Godlewski is very dynamic, especially in fight scenes. From explosions to punches, jumps to shouts, and more besides, there is quite a lot of action at play, and Godlewski makes the most of it. Even in scenes of calm, there is palpable emotion, mostly shown through body language even with faces hidden. The anguish of civilians, be they baseline human or mutant, really helps to bring the more personal factors of Orchis’ assault on an entire human subspecies into question.
Matt Milla’s colors really make Godlewski’s artwork pop out. Splashes of color make for simpler backgrounds in certain violent impact scenes to draw attention to the foreground, while the shine of metal makes other portions seem deliberately inhuman. The shadow is notable in quieter moments, making those parts seem much more dire or depressing. even the whites or blacks seem to have some added depth to them, which is particularly useful when some of the outfits of the heroes present primarily use those shades over other hues.
Final Verdict: 7.0– An interesting introduction brings Canada into the ‘Fall of X.’