Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thoughts And Goodies!

Well, it has been awhile since I posted, so I need to catch up on a few things...

OF Issue 1 is out, and is earning rave reviews. It has sold completely out in it's first week (an unheard of feat!), and is undergoing a second printing of it's first issue . The second printing features new cover art (taken from an inside piece). Here is a sneak peak at the new cover, which will debut May 9th 2007.

I have yet to review issue 1 myself, mainly because i have still not seen it. it seems i was a victim of it's sold-out status, even though i ordered it two months in advance i still have not gotten it sent to me, so it may be a while before i actually get to see it. Sigh...the waiting is the hardest part.

Here is a review written about OF issue 1...

Reviewer: Jason Grasso, Story Title: Alpha to Omega, Part 1
“Damn, I love Canada.”
Writer: Michael Avon Oeming Artist: Scott Kolins Colorist: Brian Reber Letterer: VC's Cory Petit Assistant Editor: Daniel Ketchum Editor: Andy Schmidt Editor In Chief: Joe Quesada Publisher: Dan Buckley Published by: Marvel
My only experience with Alpha Flight was the excellent and underappreciated reboot in the late 1990s with Steven Seagle and Scott Clark. When I initially become interested in the Marvel Universe, the original Alpha Flight just wasn’t in vogue nor was I ambitious enough to look at much beyond the X-Men and Spider-Man. The second volume was one of the first instances where I started realizing the wealth of interesting characters out there and how given the right setting (and a good writer), even the most unappealing characters or teams could become incredibly intriguing.
Of those titles/reboots that I got into on the ground floor, Daredevil took off and never looked back, the Thunderbolts prospered and even survived cancellation to fight again, and the brothers in arms that led Heroes for Hire (Luke Cage and Iron Fist) went on to become integral parts in Daredevil and various Avengers titles. Sadly, Alpha Flight was cancelled only a couple of years later and that was the last I saw of the Canadian superhero team.
The Alpha Flight team had the unfortunate pleasure of being in The Collective’s warpath during a post-House of M arc in New Avengers. With the Civil War over and the Registration Act in full force, many super-villains have fled to Canada to renew their lives of crime in a country that’s lacking a definitive response team. Enter Omega Flight.
The first issue of this limited series focuses on the formation of the Omega Flight team. (Some holes, specifically the recruitment of U.S.Agent and the new Guardian, were already filled in by a couple of supplemental stories from Civil War one-shots.) The government recognizes the increase in criminal activity and seeks S.H.I.E.L.D.’s help with cleaning it up. Their first recruit is Dr. Walter Langkowski, who we first see trying to help teach some students about science but failing in the face of the fame his alter ego Sasquatch has wrought upon him. He’s asked to lead the new Omega Flight (which brings an appropriate initial response from Langkowksi, proving that Oeming has done his homework). Clearly, there had been previous chatter about starting a new Flight, which Langkowski was not ready for. He finally gives in and agrees to lead a team that has already started assembling. S.H.I.E.L.D., under Tony Stark’s direction, has agreed to lend the services of three Americans (U.S.Agent, Arachne and an unidentified member that we can presume is Michael Pointer, the man behind The Collective).
The title takes a bit of a surreal turn when Talisman is introduced. She’s amidst a rather spiritually-abstract (and visually intensive) storytelling session at a festival. Before long, her vision is broken up by inquiring minds and she’s startled to see Sasquatch awaiting her. She turns down his offer to join the team, citing her father’s wishes and her own responsibilities. Unfortunately, the drama behind her refusal is a little weak given her placement on the front cover!
The story ends with a battle between a brazen Wrecking Crew and a severely ticked-off Sasquatch, going at it alone. Dr. Langkowski is still racking his brain over heading up the new Omega Flight when he gets a call about the Wrecking Crew’s entry into his country. The ending of the battle is a bit harried and confusing but it looks like Sasquatch is going to need Omega Flight to save him.
The artwork in this issue really intrigued me. It’s not heavy on ink nor is the color too bold and bright, instead going with a more muted look. Kolins does a great job giving the action a unique and almost quirky look to it. His take on the ending battle is action-packed and fun, giving a traditionally-illustrated Sasquatch a lot of moments to shine. (Langkowski in general spotlights the entire issue.) Also notable is the sequence with Talisman as well as the rather attractive cover.
There’s a rather newsworthy movement to make Omega Flight an ongoing series. It’s rather ironic then that it would arrive the same week as Avengers: The Initiative, a title that itself was supposed to be a limited run but was given ongoing status before its first issue. I won’t spend time comparing the two since one of my colleagues is reviewing that title but suffice it to say that I think Marvel gave the wrong title an indefinite run. Here you have characters with rich history in a relevant setting while that other title focuses on silly unknowns with retread powers and awful codenames (Emo Boy? C’mon!) being trained by a badly-stereotyped guy with a gigantic glove.
Hopefully Omega Flight doesn’t depart on us too soon. Oeming has crafted a compelling intro to the series, with enough reverence of Alpha Flight and Canada to show respect to its history, but also enough allusion to the current state of the Marvel Universe to keep things fresh and relevant. It’s odd that a limited series about a team would kick off without appearances by most of its members (really my only complaint), but Oeming could be setting up Omega Flight to be a new player in the Marvel Universe, with or without its own title. It remains to be seen how the team dynamic will play out, with such a varied group of characters yet to interact. Or what the ultimate climax of the series will be. But right now, it is worth anticipating.

Now, on to other news. Yes, more news!

Below find some mighty fine artwork from OF # 2.
Below that, find a preview of OF Issue 2.

Omega Flight #2: The Ravages of the North

By Eric Drumm

Oh, Canada! The Great White North is a land of tranquility and beauty, serene with wintery goodness, hockey and maple syrup. However, in the Marvel Universe, Canada is being invaded in the pages of OMEGA FLIGHT!

With the Superhuman Registration Act in full effect after the events of CIVIL WAR in the U.S., many heroes and villains are looking to take the expatriate route and run to wherever they can. Finding refuge and wreaking havoc along the way, some villains are making their way to Canada. To combat this influx of villainy, a whole new team has been assembled in the form of Omega Flight. "The SHRA certainly has an impact on Canada," says OMEGA FLIGHT editor Andy Schmidt. "Heroes and villains alike are coming across the border now that the superheroes are more organized than ever before. That's a whole lot of supervillain crime crossing the border, and Canada--since the destruction of Alpha Flight--is not equipped to deal with new crime surge."

Canada's premiere superhero team, Alpha Flight, suffered heavy casualties in the pages of NEW AVENGERS, leading to the disbandment of the group. Surviving members Sasquatch and Shaman went their separate ways, bitterly going back to civilian life. With a wave of super crime reaching tsunami proportions, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Canadian Secret Service decided to get the band back together, but with a few replacements. Tapping Sasquatch to act as team leader in OMEGA FLIGHT #1, he seeks out Shaman to join the group. She declines, citing that the flood of villains into Canada is an American problem, and their mess to clean up.

Not soon after we learn that some of Canada's new residents are none other than an amped up Wrecking Crew! Thinking that Canadian folk will be easy pickings, they get a rude awakening from a solo Sasquatch. Taking on the whole crew alone, Sasquatch quickly and painfully learned that he alone can't repel the invaders.

With Canada in trouble, can Omega Flight come together in time to drive out the villain displacement caused by CIVIL WAR? Who else might be taking a Canadian vacation? According to Schmidt, this is just the beginning. "It's not just the Wrecking Crew!" he mysteriously teases.

Find out what happens to the toughest Canucks since Wolverine in OMEGA FLIGHT #2 by Micheal Avon Oeming and Scott Kolins on sale May 1.


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