Canadian Illustrated: Alpha Flight
This past weekend I went through some items I had put in storage in Toronto while I lived in the States. Included in the stash were my old comics. Yay. It is by no means an impressive collection, but it contains many great memories from childhood.
There were three main titles that I collected, all of them distributed by Marvel Comics. First was Iron Man, which makes it strange that I have yet to see the movie which is based on the comic. I’d like to see the movie, but Iron Man just isn’t a priority any more. He’ll have to make do without my support. I’m sure he’ll manage.
Second was Power Man and Iron Fist. This comic gave you two heroes for your money, which made it extra economical. This comic teamed a street-savvy, super-strong black hero with impenetrable skin, and a mystically trained martial arts expert who could channel super-amazing power into his fist and knock people silly. Power Man was one of the first – if not the first – black superhero to receive his own title. Iron Fist joined him later and they became a duo. I loved Iron Fist’s uniform – green and yellow.
The third was a super hero team consisting of Canadian heroes called Alpha Flight. Alpha Flight began their run late in my comic collecting life, and so I only have the first ten issues, plus, for reasons unknown, the 27th issue. Alpha Flight consisted of a diverse array of characters from across Canada who represented the major regions of the country: almost as if someone had planned it that way so that no area was left out and everyone felt included: a very Canadian ideal.
Here’s a list of the team as they appeared in the first edition:
(Back: Sasquatch. Middle from Left to Right: North Star, Snowbird, Shaman, Guardian, Aurora. Front: Puck, Marrina. Picture found on ComicsVF.com)
Guardian: The leader of the team. He wore a red and white suit. He himself didn’t have any superpowers but the suit gave him the ability to fly and shoot cool beams of death at enemies. He was also pretty smart. Eventually he died, and was replaced by his super-skinny wife. Super skinny? I believe that being that skinny must be a super power.
Snowbird: Part god, part human and all babe. The offspring of an Inuit god and a man, Considering that her mother was an Inuit god, Snowbird’s human guise was very blonde and caucasian looking. No matter, she was pretty cool, and one of my favourite characters.
Puck: The diminutive Puck didn’t let his size stop him from kicking ass. Fast and strong, Puck was also smart. Lots of good stuff was packed into this small package.
Sasquatch: What Canadian superhero team would be complete without a Sasquatch? Not Alpha Flight. Sasquatch was a man who could change into a giant, furry, killing machine, when needed. He was kind of like the Hulk, except he could control the beast within, at least at the beginning, and maintained his human consciousness while in beast form.
Aurora and Northstar: These two superheroes were twins that had been separated at birth–mutant twins. They were able to fly at great speed and were able to blind opponents with a burst of intense light when the joined hands. Aurora was a woman, while Northstar used his powers to become a skiing champion and eventually it was discovered that he was gay.
Marina: Born from an alien egg imprinted with human DNA, Marina was an aquatic creature who could fly through the air on a spout of water, if necessary.
Shaman: Doctor by day, shaman by…well, whenever he needed to be Shaman. A native-mystic, Shaman used arcane forces to subdue the enemies of Canada.
Interesting group. Having read a couple of the comics since re-finding my collection, I realize, though, that the group was missing some very important characters. Below I list superheroes who should have been a part of the Alpha Flight team if comic book writers had any sense.
The Moose: The Moose not only looks like a moose, but he is, actually, a moose. The Moose has no special abilities other than the fact that he is a moose, and moose are very large, aggressive animals. The rest of the team don’t really like working with The Moose because, being an animal, The Moose has difficulty distinguishing between friend and enemy. The Moose will often attack anything around him that moves, making life difficult on fellow Alpha Flight members. Unfortunately he is not potty trained.
Silver Blade: The Silver Blade wears hockey equipment and a special pair of skates. The skates are equipped with time-distorting, gravity-ignoring abilities (it’s not sure whether it is through technology or magic that the skates work), and allow The Silver Blade the ability to skate over any surface, including maple syrup. The Silver Blade’s goal as a superhero is to capture fifty criminals in a single season.
The Minister: The Minister is an atypical superhero, as she eschews the typical, sexy female hero suit and chooses to wear business attire and a sensible pair of pumps. The Minister spends most of her time skulking around hallways and culling favour from Canadian citizens, without actually putting much effort into making the nation ‘safe’ or ‘secure’ from evil. She talks a good game, though, and everyone believes that The Minister is at the forefront of the fight against super criminals, even though she hasn’t been personally responsible for the capture of a single one.
Captain Beer Store: Captain Beer Store hails from Ontario. He started out as a Beer Store worker, but through a freak accident when a bolt of lightning charged with radioactive particles from the planet Nucleokill hit a case of Lakeport Ale that Captain Beer Store was carrying which caused his genetic material to mutate into the superhero that he is today. Captain Beer Store sports a gigantic beer-belly, which he uses to subdue evil doers by belly-bumping them into submission. Captain Beer Store also has the ability to out drink anyone, and will often challenge his enemies to a beer drinking competition: he has yet to lose.
Miss Toronto: Miss Toronto wears whatever the latest fashion is, while using her natural “talents” to good effect. What are her natural talents? Haughty self-loathing covered up by an air of aggressive superiority. Miss Toronto hates everyone, but also wants to be seen as a good person, therefor she only engages criminals in battle when there are members of the press or a large number of citizens with camera phones around.
What other superheroes do you think should be a member of Alpha Flight?
Entry filed under: beer, canadian, culture, humour, nationalism. Tags: alpha flight, arctic, aroura, beer store, Canada, canadian, canadian superheroes, comics, culture, funny, guardian, humour, iron fist, iron man, marrina, marvel comics, moose, north star, power man, puck, sasquatch, silly, snowbird, toronto.