Thursday, December 16, 2010

Interview with the creative team

Here is a link

to the interview conducted by and on with Reilly Brown and Jim McCann, creators (pencils and words) of Chaos War:Alpha Flight !

A very engaging interview, with two men who are truly fans of the franchise (and salivate at the thought of doing more with them...).

Read it, and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chaos War: Alpha Flight (full review)

Twenty-three pages of oozing Alpha Flight goodness... aaaaahhhhhh! [very large and loud contented sigh]

Written by Jim McCann
Art by Reilly Brown and Terry Pallot
Colors by Val Staples
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover art by Salva Espin and Victor Olazaba

Where oh where oh where to begin? [Note to self - endeavour not to appear to be merely a fanboy, but a serious reviewer.]

First, Truth be told, for me, this is one of the worst parts of this issue. I think, were I not an Alpha Flight fan, the cover would turn me off enough that I might not even wish to purchase the comic.

It brings up memories of too many piss-poor artists who were previously pushed onto the Alpha Flight franchise. The style is silly, the figures are all out of proportion, the expressions are stupid and almost all the same. Could have really done with better and more established (I am guessing Espin and Olazaba are newcomers?) cover artists!

That being said, the actual layout or overall vision of the cover picture is good; the living Alphans in front, charging into action, with the iconic headshots of the four dead Alphans who appear inside floating in the clouds looking on. A cool concept...just poorly executed.

Were I to give the cover a rating out of ten, ten being highest, this cover would rank a 4/10.

Interior art, by Brown and Pallot, is much better. Perfect? No, not by a long shot. Still not my favourite style, too much anime influence. But the attention to detail is quite amazing. For instance, in the second panel of the second page of action. And the following panels, where , is awesome; the look on her face, her hair, her jewelry, even the blood splatter, all drawn in an expert manner! [Note: I'm not sure if Narya has ever looked this good, since John Byrne himself drew her!] Page six, the big reveal panel where into the land of the living, is amazing; they all look so happy to be back (and when is the last time you saw Shaman smile?)! Page seven,
between Heather and Northstar and Snowbird and Shaman...brought a tear to my eye. Page ten, the huge scene of the Chaos King's into the Great Beasts; everyone watching, Shaman helping Narya to her feet, she with barely contained rage (as seen in her clenched fist), he acting like the concerned father helping her up off the ground...Page fourteen, Marrina in her ...Page seventeen, of Heather...And page 22, the last panel on the page is another image...

The details are amazing. Unfortunately, I still am not a big fan of a lot of the facial imagery, something about the style used just turns my stomach a bit. It's like...were there actually two artists, one who draws faces well and one who doesn't? And Sasquatch...sigh. Look, I get it, he's hard to draw! But, geez...was that seriously the best those two could do with him? His face was all wrong, proportions totally off. The arms have to be longer, like an orangutan. And you need to find a way to make him look fiercer when he is in battle. Yes, he is orange and cuddly when he smiles, but when he snarls, he should look bad-arse!

As far as interior art goes on this issue, were I to give it a rating out of ten (again, with ten being the highest), I would rate it 8/10. They got much right. Just not Sasquatch. Any other marks that came off their final score, would have just simply been for me not liking the style used so much...

Things I like that I noticed in this issue...

Page two, Snowbird is referred to correctly as Narya. Also, it is pointed out to the reader that only Snowbird can travel between dimensions, the Inuit gods cannot. Page three, the land of the Great Beasts is colourless (again, correct!). And the Great Beasts are well-drawn. Interesting that they refer to themselves as the "gods of the elder night", a term I have not heard before in reference to them. I'm not quite sure what exactly it is that on the last panel of page three, but I am willing to bet that one panel was well-researched and totally in keeping with canon and continuity for Alpha Flight! On page four, Sasquatch is shown images of dead loved ones; I am trying to figure out . I see AF on the right. Is that Saint Elmo next to them, with the beard? Who else is there? I note that Snowbird says, on page five, that her "family is dying", NOT that they are already dead, so perhaps they will not be eternally-wiped-from-existence. Page seven, Mac says it's good to be alive, "Again, again." LOL. Also on that same page, (in a classic pose for those two) while Northstar looks on (wish we could have seen his face in this panel!), and the panel where they realize Puck is is great, Shaman looks so lost looking at his hands while Narya stands by supporting him, Marrina hugs herself quietly, Sas looks anguished as he cries out Puck's name, and Heather and Mac stare at the ground and mourn silently as they hold hands. Page 8, the way Narya says "Files" in quotations,she reminds us all that she is a god (demi-god) and above mortals, there is both some attitude towards Heather in how she states that and also there is the fact she is hurting inside from the attack on her kin. Page eleven, and the AF infighting has begun! Snowbird and Sasquatch argue. Then Sasquatch and Northstar argue. Love it! Page eleven lists the fact that the Great Beasts need to be on our plane for twenty minutes before being restored to full power. On page fifteen, Aurora and Northstar butt heads over their involvement with the X-Men versus their place with Alpha Flight. Mac brings up his and Heather's daughter ( I really think she should have done that, not him!). And Snowbird turns her back on saving Somon from death on page 16. Page 18, we see Marrina slowly losing control and becoming more of a plodex beast again. And there's Sas's anger when he realizes that the dead Alphans are trying to sacrifice themselves again. Page 19, lol, why Northstar attacks Mac and tells him Heather is a better leader...I don't know WHY he does this, but it sure is funny! It is strange, how on page 21 Marrina is now all calm and under control, almost like banishing the Great Beasts did away with whatever was tainting her.

There were a lot of great moments in this issue. Alpha Flight fans cannot help but be encouraged. Jim McCann did a splendid job with writing the characters, he treated them with respect. The issue went by very quickly, I wish it had been double-sized or something, but it was very, very, very good nonetheless.

As far as intangibles go, in that I mean did the writing (and art) stay true to what Alpha Flight was all about? In this, were I to give it a rating out of ten, with ten being the highest, I would rate it 10/10.

As far as the actual script, and the plot, considering this was a one-shot spun out of a larger event, I'd once again have to give it a 10/10 due to the way Alpha Flight was treated.

There were some disappointments, although they were so overshadwoed by the highs that I hate to even discuss them...but I will anyways. Puck being absent...sucked. The fact that the other AFers who died in NA#16 did not get resurrected too, and Shaman's explanation that they "were with" him, and then suddenly when the Chaos King's forces attacked...what, he lost them? It was weak; understandable, but weak. As much as I loved seeing Aurora, I almost wish she hadn't been so close to Walter, hugging him and stuff, or that Northstar had blown up and attacked Walt again becuz of it. Also, as good as she looked, I missed her red designed outfit from her little tete-a-tete with Norman Osbourne...More info on how Shaman got his medicine pouch back, why Mac and Heather are suddenly lookin' lovey again after all they have gone through, whether or not Mac is a clone or a cyborg or a real person or a 19 year old would have been good to know, and at least SOME mention of Elizabeth by Shaman would have been expected (as well as an appearance). And Heather`s suit, and her powers? Hmm...oh well, I liked it anyways!

But, it is hard to complain, really. Overall, it is hardly worth it (complaining, I mean). What Jim McCann did, in one single issue, was to breathe hope back into a dead franchise! Amazing job, Mr McCann!

Of course, the best part of the Chaos War:Alpha Flight one-shot comic book, is that it exists! The second best thing about it, is that Alpha Flight is in it. The third best thing, is that Alpha Flight is alive again, and back together (or nearly so - poor Puck...). So, the fact that it was beautifully written, and the characters were handled respectfully (and they stayed true to their character), is an absolute blessing on the side.

All in all, I would recommend this issue to any fan of the Flight. Here is hoping Mr. McCann gets a chance to write more great Alpha Flight stories!

My final rankings...

Story - 10/10
Art - 8/10
Intangibles - 10/10

Grand Total Rating - 28/30 !!!

Cheers! And long live Alpha Flight!

Note: Some described images above can be clicked on to reveal a scan of the actual image. Yes, they are links!

Below, I am also including a short interview conducted with Jim McCann in the pages of X-Men Curse of the Mutants Spotlight issue. Yer welcome!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

better review, but...

My review, quickie though it was, of the Alpha Flight Chaos War comic was, shall we say, mildly humdrum; it had good points, and it had bad.

My review of Wolverine issue 3, guest-starring Puck, showed that i hated, deplored, and detested this comic and all that it stood for.

By contrast, Dead Avengers issue 1 was all that a good comic book could hope to be. Amusing, informing, well-written, well-drawn, not too rushed feeling, and with excellent and interesting characters, it drew me in and had me wanting more.

Just so that nobody thinks I am just on a negative kick right now...

Wolverine Issue # 3

Just read issue 3 of Wolverine. It (guest-)stars Puck, which is why I bought it.

The content - hated it.
The plot - hated it.
The script - hated it.
The art - completely sucked.
Puck - only on one page. Hated the way they drew him. And he isn't very heroic, now, is he? Well, that is just WRONG!

All in all, this was a waste of time and money. Both of which I wish I had back.

A Quick Review

First thoughts, having just finished reading the "Chaos War: Alpha Flight" one-shot comic book.

The plot was decent, if feeling a bit rushed throughout.

The interaction between the characters was fairly believeable, if feeling a bit rushed.

The art was...not my style preference. Too close to anime for my tastes. Sasquatch's body looked fine, but his head looked gimpy.

The fact that Puck was never seen (only briefly mentioned in one or two panels) was lame.

The fact that Sasquatch almost seemed to take over leadership of the team on the last page, was inappropriate.

The non-appearances of Diamond Lil' and Smart Alec and Wild Child,was forgiveable, but may have been a mistake in the long run. Bringing back thse characters, as well as the others (plus Puck!), might have been a smarter long-term plan of action.

The sense of each Alphan grating on the others was well-handled, as well as the mentioning of Mac and Heather's child. Having Shaman not ask about Talisman (and not having her appear) was odd, to say the least...

All in all, I am happy they are back. The book was mighty okay, and the bringing back of Alpha Flight was an awesome idea (not killing them in the first place, would have been even awesomer).


Friday, December 10, 2010

excitement building...

Just got my parcel notice in the mailbox today. That means that tomorrow, after 1pm, I can go and pick up my copy of the one-shot return of Alpha Flight comic.

Which means that, after work tomorrow night, I can finally read it!


Thursday, December 02, 2010

New Flight Fan-Fic by Flightpath07

This is a small piece of new Fan-Fiction written by myself.

Three chapters, followed by a short breakdown of who is on the team.


Chapter One

A scene inside a government penitentiary, maximum security. Outside, heavily armed and armoured guards, high stone walls, guards towers, machine gun posts, barb-wire, everybody on high alert at all times. Inside, cold and starkly barren white walls, fluorescent lights, long corridors broken up only by the many sets of floor-to-ceiling iron bars and the heavy and thick metal doors.

One large room, where a group of three distinguished individuals are seated on a platform behind a long table; all three are frowning heavily.

The man in the middle clears his throat and looks up from the papers before him.

“Mister Cody, this is an extremely unusual request you have brought before us today.”

The slight man with the strong spectacles stood up, from behind a small table in front of and to the side of the three member panel. His reddish-brown hair was receding, although he was still only in his very early-forties. His moustache was small and pencil thin. But his voice was the opposite of what one would expect from this man, as it boomed out with good-natured confidence.

“Yes, and I am thankful that you have taken the time today to review my work with your…guest here. The fact that you have allowed me the time to interview him extensively these last few weeks, gives me great hope that you are going to allow me to continue on the work of my brother, Gary. After all, if you didn’t believe in what I have been doing with Mr. Cassidy, I don’t think you would have invited me here to his parole hearing. I stand by my research, my stated goals, and my strong belief that I can make this work. And my government stands behind me, as well. Gentlemen and lady…I respectfully await your approval.”

The man in the middle takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose. The woman to his left leans forward, elbows on the table, and speaks.

“And what of you, Mr. Cassidy? What do you think of all this? Are you in agreement that this…job opportunity…that is waiting for you on the other side of these walls…that this is something that is to your liking, something you can throw yourself behind?”

Gordon Cody sits back down. Only his one hand rubbing his chin betrays any sign of his nervousness, as he looks over to the table that is facing the three on the podium.

The man in the orange prison jumpsuit looks up. He begins to rise from his chair, causing the two guards on either side of him to react, one hitting him in the stomach with a nightstick and the pressing a Tazer to his side and jolting him with electricity. He sinks back into his chair with a loud groan, his head slumping forward and whacking on the table in front of him.

The distinguished woman waves irritably at the two guards. “For the love of pete, let him stand up and speak for himself, would you! The man could be a free man tomorrow; at least do him the courtesy of not hitting him until he actually tries to make a break for it, would you please?”

Gordon Cody chews on his bottom lip.

After a few moments, the man in orange raises his head again. He looks at the table with the three people behind it, then glances over at Gordon Cody. Looking forward again, he slowly rises to his feet. Gordon Cody wonders to himself if he is the only one who notices the way the man glances at his two guards out of the corners of his eyes as he does so…

He reaches his feet. His hands are shackled in front of him; his feet are bare on the cold floor. His hair is short, dark, so dark as to be pitch black, and parted in the middle. His nose is thin and pointed. His eyebrows are dark and thick. His moustache and pointed goatee are neatly trimmed. He has a strong face, one many women would find handsome. Then he scowls briefly, and for just one small moment his rugged handsomeness is lost in one small look of regal rage, and then the look disappears. He breathes in deeply, and address the three he is facing, in his Irish accent.

“Aye…I’m ready to be out of here, that is for sure. But there is more to my story than that…my story of redemption, as it were. It is a long story, to be sure, and it had its roots a long time ago. But of late, there be nothing more I have wanted to do, aye, nothing a’tall more precious to me, than hearing the wondrous offer Mr Cody has so generously extended to me on behalf of his Canadian government. Once, I was called Black Tom Cassidy. And I reckon that I always will, what with my dark hair and all. But the blackness that was in my heart for so long…that is a part of me that I have said good riddance to. So, when y’ask me if’n I’m ready to go out and conquer me demons, the answer is a firm and resounding aye. Aye, I’m ready. The government of Canada is putting itself in a predicament, trusting an ex-con to be a part of their new Alpha Flight team. But Black Tom appreciates what they are doin’ for him, and Black Tom’ll make sure he plays by the rules, all the rules, that’s for sure.”

And with that, he sat back down.

Gordon Cody bit his bottom lip again. He glanced at the table. The three at the big table put their heads together, and some whispering ensued. The man in the middle was frowning and gesturing as he shook his head. The man to his right, dressed in the white coat that proclaimed him of the medical profession, stabbed his pencil repeatedly at the clipboard full of papers that he pushed towards the man in the middle. The woman to his left put her hand over his and spoke softly, but firmly.

The deliberating took barely four minutes, but felt like it lasted a lifetime.

At last, the man in the center stood up. “Prisoner Tom Cassidy, you may rise now,” he said. The woman to his left glared at him; he glanced at her, then cleared his throat as Tom Cassidy got slowly to his feet.

“Black Tom Cassidy, this institution finds you to be a free man, your debt to society paid at this time. As of noon tomorrow, you are to be remanded into the custody of the Canadian government, and her representative Mr. Gordon Cody, and are to be flown directly to Canada once released by this penal institution. There, as per the agreement laid out, you are to remain for the full three years of your probation, and not to exit that country except as your work demands. Should you ever be found on American soil, for a non-work-related incident, you will be locked up and incarcerated for the rest of your natural life, if there is any justice at all.” The man leaned over and stamped a piece of paper in front of him. “Black Tom, let us never see your troubled face again. Dismissed!”

Black Tom Cassidy let out a sigh of relief, and Gordon Cody’s face beamed out a smile bright enough to grow plants under.

“May I have a word with Tom?” asked Special Agent Cody, of Canada’s Hudson Department, of the three figures behind the desk. The woman smiled, and answered him; “You can walk with him as far as the security area. He is back to his cell tonight, but he’s all your tomorrow at noon. Take good care of him, Mr. Cody…we really hope we never see him behind these walls again.”

Gordon nodded and ran to catch up to Black Tom as his guards escorted him from the room and into the hallway. The two guards fell back ten feet behind as Gordon and Tom walked together.

“I hope you are ready for this, Tom. This is your big chance, your last and best chance to make a go of it…”

Black Tom Cassidy smiled at the suited Canadian. “Aye, I know all that. And I am truly thankful for this opportunity, I am. Please tell your government just how happy I am to be serving under them, would you?”

Gordon nodded. “I will do that.”

“As much as I appreciate you and your government working out this plan for me, taking these risks to set up this chance for me…”

He paused. When he did not continue, Gordon glanced at expectantly him as they walked.

“Your government did do for me that other favour that I asked of them, didn’t they Mr. Cody?” asked Black Tom.

“Of course they did, Tom. He is waiting for you in Canada. Knowing how he feels about you, he’ll probably be the first person to greet you when you disembark the plane.”

“Ah, that’s good to hear!” smiled Tom.

“But that is not what you were going to say, is it, Tom? You were mentioning something about us setting up this chance for you, then you stopped. Are you going to finish that thought, or do I have to get it out of you in more therapy sessions?”

“Nah, I’ll yell ye. As long as me old pal Juggs is on-board for this Canadian superhero thing, I’m not goin’ to hide nothin’ from ya, Gordon. See, I was just thinking that you and the government put all this work in to give me a second chance, and how nice that is of you to do. But…did you notice how close that vote was to release me?”

Gordon Cody nodded. “Looks like your doctor was on your side, but the two other chair-people were divided. The director didn’t seem to trust your rehabilitation too much.”

“Aye, I’m thinkin’ it was the vote of Ms. Dancey that swung it in my favour. She’s mainly in charge of the paperwork here at this prison; did you know that, Mr. Cody? But she is also a qualified psychiatrist herself. A very smart woman, that one. She should be running this place, not that dumbbell Director Stacey Cookson!”

“Cookson…that was the guy in the middle, then; didn’t remember his name. But…what does this have to do, exactly, with my government taking a chance on you? I’m not understanding.”

As they were getting close to a large metal door set into the hallway, Black Tom slowed his walking pace. He faced partially towards Special Agent Cody. “Black Tom never leaves anything to chance. If hers was the swing vote, then it is a good thing that Black Tom slept with her last week, isn’t it?” He smiled, and winked, then stepped closer to the metal door. The two guards had caught up by now, and pushed past Cody, who was standing stil and nodding to himself. ‘Smart,’ he thought. ‘Very smart indeed. Just as smart as I thought he was, and more so!’

Chapter Two

The interior of a building in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Looks like an unused office building of some sort. Many cubicles, but nobody working.

A hallway, with a water cooler and some dead potted plants in it. Just around the corner form it, comes the sound of a loud machine humming, followed by the sound of a falling can. Seconds later, a shout.

Snowbird, in full uniform, comes around the corner towards the water cooler, dripping wet with a dark coloured liquid running off her face. She is NOT smiling.

She half turns behind her as she marches past the water cooler, throwing words over her shoulder angrily. “I can open my own stupid can of cola, you know! There’s no NEED for you to follow me around, and then slice open my can of pop with those stupid bone-blades of yours! Stop following me, and leave me alone!!!”

She storms by the water cooler, and around another corner and off. Following her at a quick jog comes none other than Yukon Jack, dressed in his fur loincloth. The tattooed black symbols on his arms and chests are glowing. He stops in front of the water cooler, staring at it with a puzzled expression. He pokes it hard, with one finger, and the bottle jiggles and the water within swishes around. Yukon Jack stares for a few more seconds, then shrugs and hurries off after Snowbird, calling after her; “You should be happy, wife, that a god such as myself would love you enough to stoop to opening cans of soda pop for you…”

As he steps around the corner she previously went around, her voice, very angry, comes floating back towards the water cooler. “I am…NOT…your wife, and you are…NOT…a god. Now…stop….following…me!” As the last word came out, there was a pause, followed by the angry roar of a polar bear, and Yukon Jack hurried back around the corner and went back in the direction he had come from.

In another part of the same building, in a much quieter section. James MacDonald Hudson, Mac to his friends, stepped off an elevator. He was dressed in a brown suit, the tie loosened and hanging askew. A greasy wrench and some hastily folded papers were half falling out of his pocket.

Beside him walked the man known as Puck. He wore his Alpha Flight costume, but with the headpiece pushed back and hanging limply behind him.

“You sure this is going to work out alright, Mac?” asked Puck.

“Eugene, the one thing I am sure of in life, is that you can never be sure of anything.”

Eugene Milton Judd nodded, but said nothing.

Mac continued. “We’ve all been through a hell of a lot lately…no pun intended.” Judd noticeably shuddered. “But, my diminutive friend, we’re here, we’re alive, and our country wants us. And this time, their plan at least sounds like it might work.”

The two walked slowly down the hallway together. Finally, Judd spoke.

“Yeah, but we just get everybody back together, back and in the land of the living, and already so many have gone their separate ways…”

Mac nodded sagely. “The times, they are a-changin’, Puck. We’re all getting older, and we have been through a lot. Some of us…need more time than others to sort out what has happened, figure out who they are and what they want to accomplish. We wouldn’t be friends if we didn’t allow them that space, now would we?”

A distant sound of machinery running, power tools being used, was gradually growing louder as they walked.

Mac continued. “Heather and I, while still legally married…we are not really much of a couple anymore. She’s gone off to her folks place, and rightly so – she has a child to take care of. She needs time. She may be back. I think she’ll be back. But only time will tell us that answer. Walter…well, Walter saw us all die, and he had to live through that pain. I can see it in his eyes…its haunted him. I can’t blame him for saying he wants out of the hero game for now. Walter’s a scientist, and a teacher, and that is what he wants to be. Being a hero was never part of Walter’s plan, you know that as well as I do, Eugene. I wish him well. We’ll miss him; we’ll miss him a lot.”

“And the others, too,” said Judd. The sound of the machinery was now louder.

“Again, Marrina is feeling traumatized. She is the last of her race on this planet. She has been used and abused by her own genetic makeup. She loved, and was subsequently killed by the man she loved. I wish she had stuck around with us, but she needs to go and figure out who she is. Shaman wants to spend time with his daughter, Elizabeth, for the time being, but has promised us that if we should have need of him, he will answer our call. He also mentioned that he wished to track down Earthmover and find out what happened to his one-time protégé, Michael mentioned something about him having too much power and how it was dangerous for him to be left alone with it. Northstar, I never figured he’d stay with us. Apparently he feels he has a good thing going in San Francisco, so he buggered off again…”

“Leaving his sister here!” interjected Puck.

Mac continued. “Yes, that was a surprise. To be honest, I think she only decided to stay after she heard that Walter wasn’t staying. I guess there is a lot of painful history there, still…Lil is dead, I’ve been told. Unlike us, she didn’t get a second chance. That’s a real shame. Nice of Madison to tell us, though. Even nicer of him to come by and help us with our work for a few days; his help really speeded things up in our work. Rachelle and I have it almost all done now, whereas it would have taken us months to accomplish it without his powers assisting us…”

“Which brings us to the new team members, as well as some who have been with us before” said Judd, grinding to a halt in front of a closed metal door. The cacophony of metal screeches and grinding noises came from within.

Mac faced him. “Murmur was a good suggestion on your part, Judd. I’m glad you tracked her down and brought her into the fold. She’s not much older than Rachelle is, which should really help her to fit in with us. I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

“And what about the criminals?” asked Puck bluntly.

Mac frowned. “I thought you would have more compassion on them, Eugene, seeing as how you were once one of them as well. Black Tom Cassidy needed a place to call home. He seemed to be working very hard at rehabilitation while in prison, and had expressed remorse many times over what has happened in his past. Both he and his pal the Juggernaut are a risk, but I think they are good risks for Alpha Flight at this time. Agent Cody and Black Tom should be in the air as we speak, and Aurora and Juggernaut are waiting to meet them at the Ottawa International Airport. They are the last of the team to arrive.”

The metal door suddenly opened, and the red-headed woman who came out almost collided with the two in the hallway. “There you are, Mac!” she cried out, hands on hips. “Hurry up, we need to finish the Box robot so I can take it for a trial run!”

Her red hair was all one length, and fell to the top of the shoulders. Her eyes were blue. She was dressed in a stained white t-shirt, blue denim overalls with grease all over the front of them, and combat boots, and she held a cordless drill in her left hand. And she couldn’t be more than 17 years old, thought Puck to himself.

“Eugene Milton Judd, I’d like you to meet Rachelle Allison Bochs. Rachelle, this is the living legend known as Puck. Eugene, this is the pilot for our new Box robot, and the daughter of the late Roger Bochs himself.”

Rachelle flashed a bright smile, and leaned over slightly and held out her hand to shake with Judd. “I am very pleased to meet you, Mr. Puck. I am going to carry on my father’s legacy. Oh, and I’m 19 years old, by the way, just turned last month.”

Puck stared at her slack-jawed as he released her hand. She shrugged. “I always get asked that; it’s just commonplace for me to tell people my age now.” She glanced back at Mac. “Mac; are you ready to finish up my robot and get her into the air?”

Mac smiled kindly at her. “Let’s get to it!” he said, and the two stepped through the door and it closed hard behind them.

Puck turned and began the walk back to the elevator. He began to mutter aloud to himself. “Two convicts, in Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy. A woman who may or may not have split personalities, in Aurora, but at least we are familiar with her. An Inuit goddess in Snowbird, and a strange man who behaves like he is a god, in Yukon Jack. Then there’s me, and then there’s Mac. Then we’ve got the young and inexperienced daughter of a dead Alphan in this Rachelle Bochs, and Murmur, who unfortunately has shown a strange need for physical contact with people. Hmm…yeah, Mac, that’s one big happy family, all right…” Puck sighed. “Oh well. It’s Alpha Flight, and that means it is home.”

Chapter Three

“So, you’re ready then?” asked Mac.

“Ready,” answered Rachelle.

“Okay, just two tests left, then you are certified good-to-go!”

Rachelle stood beside the van in the middle of the empty field. She was dressed in a white front-zippered jumpsuit with a red maple leaf over the left breast, and the same combat boots as before. She glanced inside, where Mac sat at a computer terminal, he now wearing his Guardian battlesuit.

“Um…Mac? Are we going to do this…anytime soon?”

“Oh, sorry.” Mac shook his head. “Just lost in thought. Alright…um, weapons check, then?”

“That’s what I am here for!” the redheaded teenager announced with a big smile.

“Okay…target is that haystack at the other end of the field. Whenever you are ready, let’s give this tin can a go!” said Mac.

She nodded, and stepped away from the van several feet. “Weapons test in three…two…one…test away!”

With that, she reached up and grabbed the zipper of her jumpsuit and quickly unzipped it to her belly. She grabbed both halves of the jumpsuit and pulled it slightly apart at the chest. Two round holes appeared, one over the other, in the middle of her chest, where previously there had been just skin. From these two holes fired two rockets, streaking over the ground, and exploding downfield in a fiery shower of burnt hay.

“Awesome!” cried Mac, crawling out of the van. He stepped over to her and high-fived the teenager. “Rachelle, that worked great! Did you see that!?!”

She hurriedly zipped back up her jumpsuit.

Mac noticed. “Oh, hey, don’t worry about it. Nothing I haven’t seen before, anyways. Heck, I built some of it!”

He bit his bottom lip, hard, as he noticed her blush.

“Really, Rachelle, that worked great. Those chest rockets are a thing of wonder. Your Dad designed those…just perfect. Um…we are going to have to re-design your uniform, however. Hmm…”

“Side zippers,” said Rachelle, looking at him. “Side zippers, so I can get in and out of the costume. Do away with the front zipper, put a hole between the…well, between the boobs, a hole in the costume, just skin showing through there, so I can fire these off without torching my costume in the mix!”

“Yup, that’ll work,” said Mac. “You’ve got a really good brain in there, Rachelle.”

She shrugged. “Only thing that is an original part, actually.” She smiled. “Okay, so the weapons are a go. And we have already checked the legs,” she said, raising one leg in the air, and then smiling as it quickly shot out and extended ten feet. She reeled her leg back in and put it down. “And, the arms, too” she said, raising an arm and also extending it out to ten feet and then back.

“And we’ve already seen you lift the van over your head,” said James MacDonald Hudson. “This robot body isn’t as strong as your Dad’s was, but it isn’t exactly weak, either.”

“And it is a heck of a lot better looking,” said Rachelle with a laugh.

Mac put an arm around her. “Your Dad did a good job keeping you safe. He loved you very much. He designed robots for a living, and he did it all for you.”

“Stupid disease,” said Rachelle Bochs. “But my Dad and I, we beat it in the end. It may have taken my body, but with my brain transplanted into this robot body…ha! Now I get to fight crime and be a hero! How cool is that?!”

“Alright,” said Mac as he took off into the air. He called back down at her. “Get those booster rockets firing, and let’s see how you manoeuvre up in my element!”

There came a rumbling, the ground under Rachelle’s combat boots began to grow hot, and then she slowly rose into the air…

The new Alpha Flight

1. Guardian - James "Mac" MacDonald Hudson

2. Puck - Eugene Milton Judd

3. Snowbird - Narya/Anne MacKenzie

4. Aurora - Jeanne-Marie Beaubier

5. Box - Rachelle Allison Bochs
- 19 year old daughter of the late Roger Bochs. She, with the help of Mac, and Madison Jeffries, created her own version of the Box robot that houses her brain, the rest of her teenage body having been destroyed by disease. It has flight abilities, strength, chest rockets for weapons, and hyper-extension of both arms and legs.

6. Yukon Jack - Yukotujakzurjimozoata
- Yukon Jack can manipulate and enlarge the bone pieces which normally rest over his body, which can apparently slice through anything at will. He also has the power to emit light from his hand, possibly related to the telekinetic bone manipulation. He is a very skilled hand to hand fighter, usually fighting with a very strong and durable bone knife. He is apparently immune to temperature changes despite wearing little more than a loincloth. (from WIKIPEDIA)

7. Murmur - Arlette Truffaut
- Psionic ability that allows her to manipulate others upon physical contact; by touching them they are completely under her control and obey verbal commands. May have other, unknown or unexplained, powers as well?

8. Black Tom Cassidy - Thomas Samuel Eamon Cassidy
- Black Tom is a mutant whose principal power is the ability to generate and discharge concussive blasts of force and heat through any wooden medium. He typically carrisd a shillelagh, a traditional Irish wooden fighting stick, which he uses as a focus for his power. He was immune to Banshee's sonic powers, as each other's powers cancel each other out on contact. Black Tom is a good hand-to-hand combatant, and skilled with bladed weapons: he has carried a sword and battle-axe on occasion. He is also a master of terrorist strategies and tactics.

9. Juggernaut - Cain Marko (stepbrother of Charles Xavier)
- When Cain Marko finds the Gem of the mystical entity Cyttorak, he is empowered with magical energies and transformed into an immortal avatar.As the Juggernaut, Marko possesses superhuman strength, being capable of shattering mountains,lifting and using buildings as weapons,and extreme durability,which is also amplified by a mystical force field that grants invulnerability (at its maximum).When the force field has been temporarily absorbed by Thor's Hammer, the Juggernaut's natural durability proved to be great enough to withstand blows from Thor.The Juggernaut is described as physically unstoppable once in motion,does not tire from physical activity and is able to survive without food, water, or oxygen.The character, however, is vulnerable to mental attacks, a weakness that has been exploited via the removal of his helmet.The Juggernaut has circumvented this weakness by on occasion wearing a metal skullcap inside his main helmet.If Juggernaut loses his helmet he can recreate it by touching certain materials (as long as he possesses the full power of the gem). (from WIKIPEDIA)

10. Shaman - Michael Twoyoungmen
- reserve member of the new Alpha Flight.