In this review of Alpha Flight #1, it is a dark time for human rights. The mutants have set up their home on Mars but the mutants left on earth are being hunted by the normal humans. Even former teams of non mutant heroes are being employed by the government to hunt down the mutants. Alpha Flight is one such example.
Alpha Flight #1
Written by: Ed Brisson
Art by: Scott Godlewski
Main Cover by: Leonard Kirk
Variant Covers: Ron Lim, Javier Garron, Dan Jurgens, and Arthur Adams
Page Count: 28 Pages
Release Date: August 16, 2023
Please Note: This review contains spoilers
Alpha Flight #1 begins with Erika Poiron, the new director of Department H. She is making a public announcement of the new direction of the Alpha Flight. She mentions the mutant threat facing the United States. Together with her own nation of Canada, mutants have been banned from both countries. She is also there to introduce Alpha Flight, the Canadian first line of defense against the mutant threat. The team consists of Guardian, Shaman, Snowbird, and Puck.
Not everyone is so happy with this new direction. Guardian, the first leader of the team is hit in the head with a cup of coffee. The individual who threw this cup calls the team trainers. They have turned on their teammates Northstar and Aurora, two mutants who were a part of Alpha Flight. The police quickly tackle the man and Guardian tells them to let him go, he has a right to speak his dissension. Guardian ignores that he threw a hot cup of coffee at him and also refuses to press charges.
Alpha Flight is not the only weapon against the mutants
Erika is seen later in the night with the members of Alpha Flight at Department H headquarters. Alpha Flight will always be the face of the fight against the mutants, the Box Sentinels will improve their efficiency. She takes them to see Roger Bochs Jr. He is running the Box Program building off of his late father’s work. Bochs has created a new sentinel. These robots are sleeker and faster than the Stark Sentinels. They can even walk through doors. This will greatly reduce the collateral damage caused by the original models.
Puck actually questions this tactic. He says that it is a little authoritarian to send in robots. Erika cuts him off and says the country is under siege. They need to use every tool at their disposal to save lives. There will be no discussion. The team will work with the Box Sentinels.
After Erika leaves the room, Roger addresses the team concerns. He has designed a failsafe to prevent the sentinels from going rogue. He, himself will be in command of the robots using a command helmet. The robots will only do what he allows them to do. He has the ability to shut them down. Just then Alpha Flight is called into action.
In California, Dr Lucas Peterson is approached by a woman with Orchis security training their weapons on him. She has discovered that Peterson is a mutant. The Orchis soldiers are there to take him in. He activates his powers and flees the building.
Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada
In Canada, the mutant is identified as Argent, real name Laurent Babvota. He was last known to be in Quebec. He has sent a half dozen officers to the hospital. Shaman tries to talk the obviously scared boy down. The boy attacks out of fear. He just wants to be left alone. He is only defending himself because the officers attacked him first. Snowbird takes to the air to take the boy but she is attacked mid air by Aurora. She tells Snowbird that the boy is under their protection. Puck tries to follow Argent who is running away at this point but he is attacked by Daken who is calling himself Fang now. On a side note, I do not like the design of Fang. He looks like a Wolverine version of Timberwolf from the Legion of Superheroes. It is thought in fandom that Wolverine and Timberwolf are similar characters but this is too on the nose.
Northstar swoops in and snatches Argent. He tells the boy that they are going to take him to a safe place. Guardian takes down Northstar. This leads to a standoff between the remaining combatants. Argent gives us exposition about the disappearances of the Krakoan Gates. Argent tried to find an open one but he found that they were all closed. He just wants to go to where it is safe. Just then Nemesis arrives. He takes the boy and Northstar in a portal and disappears with both of them. Fang and Aurora also vanished leaving Alpha Flight alone. This battle was filmed by the bystanders.
Lucas is in a gas station, he has bought a burner phone to call his family. His wife Eleanor answers. He tells her that he is a mutant but he has not used his powers in years. After the conversation, he fries the phone and tosses it away. Afterwards we find that Orchis officers were with Eleanor and her daughter. They have tracked the call and are on their way to Gaberville to apprehend Lucius. We get a text page that identifies Lucus as Feedback, a former member of Alpha Flight.
Fallout of Failure
Back in Department H Headquarters, Erika is furious. The failure of Saskatoon is trending all over social media. Guardian explains that they did not expect their former teammates to interrupt. Now they will be prepared and the others will not be able to get the drop on them. Erika however tells Alpha Flight that the Box Sentinels will go live tomorrow.
Krakow North, Manitoba, Canada
In a mutant safe house Argent is settling in. Nemesis and the others transported him there. Argent asks about Mars only having mutants and asks if they can take him to Mars. Northstar tells him that it is not safe there but they are going to take him to Chadilar until it is. In the meantime, they are attempting to gather as many mutants as they can and bring them all there in one haul. Alpha Flight interrupts this conversation. Shaman reports that Department H is about to deploy the Box Sentinels. They will discover that they are all working together. They have to get every mutant in the safe house off of earth.
Alpha Flight #1 had me guessing until the very last page. I am very concerned about where this story is going. The opening identifies that being a mutant is outlawed and we are introduced to the superhero team that is being tasked with bringing in the mutants. We even see an operation that is designed to show how they do it which erupts into a fight between the mutants and the nonmutant heroes. We see espionage and subterfuge.
This for me is a very scary thought. A lot of commentators in the past have equated mutants as the queer population of the Marvel Universe. I, being queer see the parallels easily enough. Mutants are feared by the humans to the point of them being hunted down. Mutants come to their own in adolescence which for the most part is true for queer folks. To see this type of world where mutants are hunted down because they are mutants is scary for me to think about as a queer person in this political climate. Religious and political leaders say just that now. I hope that more people read these stories and look past the fun action and adventure and really read what is happening here. This is a discriminatory story that tells what can happen when fear, hate and discrimination goes unchecked. It is a hard but necessary read for this day and age.
The most encouraging thing in this story is the reveal. Alpha Flight remains the heroes here when it is revealed that they are working with the mutants to help the mutants escape. Alpha Flight is truly the allies of this story and it is true. Queer people need allies to help us survive and this story provides that gives me hope.
The art in Alpha Flight #1 is entertaining in this book. The Orchis soldiers are terrifying in their design. They are dressed head to toe in tactical gear carrying heavy laser site weapons. Their helmets even include masks that cover most of the wearer’s face making it very difficult to identify them which to be honest will be hard because the eyes focus on their weapons first.
The colors are also very bright and dynamic . The colors create the overall feel of the scene. It displays the powers of Feedback and is good in showing the backdrop of the action whether it is occurring in the day or night.