Meet Alpha Flight, Canada's Premier Super Hero Team
Who is Alpha Flight? Learn more about this Canadian Super Hero team and their mission to protect the True North here!
While many of the Marvel Universe's heroes call the United States home, some are dedicated to keeping Canada strong and free. Made up entirely of Canadian heroes, Alpha Flight has played an important role in the Super Hero community for several decades, and they're not going to stop bringing evildoers to justice anytime soon. With Canada's premier hero team getting their own solo series for FALL OF X, let's break down everything you need to know about the team and its history.
Alpha Flight Origins
Alpha Flight's history begins with James MacDonald Hudson. As an engineer for the Am-Can Corporation, Hudson created a powerful suit to help find underground oil deposits. When he learned it was going to be used as a weapon, he stole the suit, earning the ire of the company's vice president, Jerome Jaxon. After finding out what Hudson did, the Canadian government brought him in to help found Department H, a top-secret security agency working under Canada's Ministry of Defense.
In response to the Fantastic Four's debut, Hudson created his own team of superpowered people: the Flight. The original group featured Wolverine, Stitch, Saint Elmo, Snowbird, Smart Alec, and Groundhog, with Hudson and Walter Langkowski providing support. The Flight's first mission pit them against Egghead's Emissaries of Evil. While the fledgling Super Hero team successfully stopped those villains, Saint Elmo died in the battle, and Groundhog left the team.
Following that pyrrhic victory, Hudson reorganized the Flight into three different groups: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Flight. Gamma Flight was meant to be filled with trainees who would eventually go to Beta Flight before finally joining Alpha Flight itself.
By the time Alpha Flight officially debuted in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #120, Hudson and Langkowski were operating as Vindicator and Sasquatch alongside photokinetic mutant Jean-Paul Beaubier, AKA Northstar; his similarly powered sister Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, AKA Aurora; Sarcee sorcerer Michael Twoyoungmen, AKA Shaman; and shapeshifter Narya, AKA Snowbird. In their first appearance, Alpha Flight fought the X-Men to capture Wolverine. By the end of the encounter, though, Alpha Flight decided to let Wolverine remain with his new team.
Alpha Flight's Continued Adventures
Due to budgetary concerns, the Canadian government disbanded Alpha Flight and Department H for a time following their confrontation with Wolverine. Still, unwilling to give up the dream of having a team, Hudson reestablished the group as an independent entity, with iconic members Eugene Judd, AKA Puck, and Marrina Smallwood joining soon after. During that period, Hudson also changed his Super Hero nom de guerre from Vindicator to Guardian.
Early in the team's history as an independent entity, they found themselves up against Eshu, AKA Master of the World, an ancient caveman mutated by an alien race called the Plodex to be immortal. Alpha Flight successfully defeated the Master of the World, but their victory was short-lived. Soon after, Jaxon returned to Hudson's life with a Super Villain team called Omega Flight backing him up. Hudson seemingly died while battling the group.
Hudson's wife, Heather McNeil, led Alpha Flight following her husband's death. Employing the same technology Hudson once used, McNeil has since served as both Vindicator and Guardian. Helmed by McNeil, Alpha Flight ended up working with the Canadian government again, with Gary Cody acting as liaison between the two entities. However, unhappy about his inability to control Alpha Flight, Cody unleashed the villain Bedlam. The vicious psychic then wrecked Cody's mind and nearly destroyed Department H.
In general, Alpha Flight's relationship with the Canadian government has remained tumultuous in the decades since the group's creation. Alpha Flight's early stories feature several different lineups for the team, surprise resurrections, secret clones, and so much more that's made the team's life extremely difficult. Regardless of the circumstances, though, Alpha Flight consistently keeps the True North strong and free.
Alpha Flight's Big Team Change
The third ALPHA FLIGHT series, which released in 2004, made some major changes to the team. Prior to ALPHA FLIGHT (2004), several members of the team's original lineup were either dead or no longer in active service. As such, the series kicked off with Sasquatch creating an all-new, all different version of the titular team. This new Alpha Flight featured Rutherford Princeton III, AKA Centennial; Louis Sadler, Jr., AKA Major Mapleleaf; Amelia Weatherly, AKA Nemesis; Zuzha Yu, AKA Puck; and Yukotujakzurjimozoata, AKA Yukon Jack.
Initially, Sasquatch's Alpha Flight found a lot of success when they took on and defeated the Plodex—but this didn't last long. After they fought Japan's Big Hero 6 team, nearly all of Sasquatch's recruits were either presumed dead or left the team.
While several original members soon returned to buoy Alpha Flight's ranks, tragedy struck again extremely soon. In NEW AVENGERS (2005) #16, Michael Pointer, AKA the Collective, murdered almost all of Alpha Flight when attempting to enter Canada from the United States.
Alpha Flight remained out of commission until CHAOS WAR (2010), where various gods came together to fight against Amatsu-Mikaboshi, AKA the Chaos King. During the event, Hudson, McNeil, Twoyoungmen, and Marrina all returned from the dead and teamed back up with Snowbird, Aurora, Northstar, and Sasquatch to once again form Alpha Flight. Puck rejoined the team shortly after during FEAR ITSELF (2011), which saw Earth's heroes contending with Serpent, an Asgardian deity who caused panic on Earth.
When Alpha Flight reunited, life became increasingly difficult for the group again. Master of the World formed the Unity Party, with Cody at the group's head. In that capacity, Master of the World began brainwashing people—including McNeil, by manipulating her desire to regain custody of her daughter with Hudson. She then assembled the villainous Alpha Strike.
Overall, the Unity Party proved a formidable foe, and Cody ended up becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. In the end, Alpha Flight stopped the Unity Party, but they were tragically unable to undo the brainwashing McNeil suffered.
In the years since Alpha Flight defeated the Unity Party, the group has appeared in several different series, including HULK (2008) and AMAZING X-MEN (2013). It's also important to note that sometimes names associated with the Alpha Flight mythos end up referring to something different. For example, the Alpha Flight space program features some members of the original team, but it's an entirely separate entity.
Now, Alpha Flight's close association with mutants is about to come back in a big way. In HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1, anti-mutant group Orchis dealt a major blow to Krakoa, and public support for mutants has reached an all-time low. As a result, the government has tasked with Alpha Flight protecting Canada from potential mutant threats, with Hudson leading Snowbird, Puck, and Shaman into battle. However, now that their former allies like Aurora and Northstar are the targets of anti-mutant sentiment, they'll find their loyalty to Canada tested once again.
To find out what happens next, pick up ALPHA FLIGHT (2023) #1, on sale August 16!
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