Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alpha Flight return IN A SERIES!

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Yes, you have heard it correctly…Alpha Flight is returning to its own series!


Alpha Flight will be a maxi-series, eight issues, starting in June of 2011. In May of 2001, a special “.1” episode will come out to introduce the series.

Writers are Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. Artist is Canadian Dale Eaglesham, and covers on all 8 issues will be by Phil Jimenez. The first four issues will feature the Fear Itself brand on the covers, as the series is launching out of the events of the Fear Itself comic event.
The “Point 1” issue will feature the artistic talents of Ben Oliver.

Fred Van Lente is a huge Alpha Flight fan, while Greg Pak knows next to nothing about them, which FVL promises will bring a richness to the writing process that will keep it both fun and informative. Dale Eaglesham tells us that his knowledge of actual Canadian locales will keep him involved in the whole process, and FVL lets out that the writers are deeply entrenched in figuring out how the Canadian political system works (very well, thank you!).

In the new series, a new government takes over Canada, a facist regime that brands Alpha Flight as traitors and has them on the run from their own government. As well, FVL tells us that one or more people will be working ‘from the inside’ to try to bring about the downfall of Alpha Flight, who will spend the series both trying to figure out who is sabotaging them as well as figuring out who the main villains in this whole thing are.

FVL says that the series will bring together the whole original team from the days of John Byrne, not actually seen working together since X-Men 120. Puck is hinted at as being in the book, although publicly nothing has been officially said yet...


There is a sort of reboot underfoot in many ways, as the writers have decided that the only things that are absolute canon are things John Byrne did and said about and for these characters. Anything Pak and Van Lente do not like about what subsequent writers did to Alpha Flight members or the team as a whole will likely be entirely ignored or at least not commented on. “This is one of those stories that wants to start with a clean slate,” says Pak.


Greg Pak gives props to editor Mark Paniccia, who really championed the book. (Note to self: Put Mark on my Christmas list)


When asked about Wolverine, Namor, The Avengers, or the X-Men showing up in the series, FVL laughed. The writers are keeping quiet about guest appearances, although we’ve been told that one of the four mentioned will be appearing, but which one may be a surprise to us…


FVL notes that the original Alpha Flight #1 back in the 80's sold half a billion copies. The artistic team expects this series to sell well, and hope that if it does then there will be a ninth issue and beyond!


Greg Pak, who, as the non-Alpha-geek of the two writers, should know, says that fans do not need to have read anything Alpha beforehand, nor even Chaos War, to be able to dive right in and appreciate this new series. He goes on to say that some amount of time has passed since Chaos War ends when the story picks up in issue one, and the team is back to being "the glorious defenders of their great nation." FVL mentions the team still is working for Department H, but as a result of Fear Itself there is a change in the Canadian government and "Alpha Flight find themselves to be that country's greatest traitors," and adds they'll need to work to discover who or what is behind the government takeover.


FVL says he is “a walking encyclopedia of Alpha Flight knowledge." The Canadian on the creative crew, Eaglesham, says that Alpha Flight are synonymous with Canada, and that he cannot wait for Alpha Flight to become a “serious contender” in the Marvel Universe; he hopes to “inject a lot of humanity” into the series, Adding “there's a lot of depth to these characters, and a lot of potential."


FVL thinks Alpha Flight is “such a wonderfully colourful bunch. In creating them, John Byrne really gave each of them such an interesting personality." Greg Pak adds that they are loved for their “self-deprecating humour” – I think he is talking about Alpha Flight, not himself and Van Lente!


Greg Pak goes on to say that the series will show “what happens when the government you work for starts doing things you don't like”. He clarifies that the series is perfect to launch out of Fear Itself, because “it's the government they serve going crazy.” FVL adds that “Since we have an entire country to play with, we can do it and do it right.” The two seem to have put some thought into the fun of having a world government that they can do amazing stories through, without having it affect every single comic out there like it would if it was the American government that turned facist. “It's the all-new Canada!" Van Lente said. Which made Eaglesham a little nervous…


While FVL says they are having difficulty in getting Puck released to them for this series, Pak somewhat contradicted this by saying that if the readers buy it and read it expecting to see Puck, they might be quite happy. They heavily hint that Puck will appear in the series…but nowhere is he listed as a part of the Alpha Flight team…


Note: This leads me to believe that Puck is still in Hell, and may even be part of the plot against Alpha Flight!


Northstar will definitely be a full-time member of Alpha Flight from here on out, although the writers remain open to allowing him to be used by X-Men writers should they wish to. Northstar’s boyfriend, Kyle, introduced in X-Men, will also be making an appearance in the new Alpha Flight series.


Van Lente said that while the government turns against Alpha Flight, some members of Alpha Flight side with the government.


Greg Pak lets us know that he and FVL planned for this series when they wrote the Chaos War: Alpha Flight one-shot, and then after the success of that issue they got their plans approved. He adds that this series will not be a comedy, but a clear-cut action-adventure, one that people really need to check out. "It's not a spoof book. It's a big, crazy action-adventure thriller with a big canvass and the world turned on its ear," he says.


It was mentioned, too, that the Canadian government going fascist should not be a surprise, as the end of the original Alpha Flight series helped to set this up.


My thought: Could Joshua Lord (changed from Justin Lord, thanks to the eagle eye of reader Dana) be behind all of this?

Van Lente also says that since time has passed since the end of Chaos War and the resurrection of Alpha Flight (or at least the four dead members who returned to the living), it will be “seamless” for new readers to jump onboard, as they will immediately see signs of Alpha Flight relaxing and all settled into the their new digs.


Pak says "Old time Alpha Flight fans will have a lot of fun seeing everything referencds, but you don't even have to have read an 'Alpha Flight' book before." He adds that in issue one, “All hell breaks loose.” (Note: A reference to Puck, who currently leads the denizens of Hell?) "I love these characters, and it's a total blast to be punching into it," he added.


Eaglesham says "I'm pretty excited to build a Canadian super-team into a force in the mainstream…”

Over the past few years, the most oft-repeated comment from Marvel Editorial has been that they were waiting for the right pitch to make the fan favorite team work in the modern Marvel U. What was the element of this pitch that made this series get the green light? The hard right fascist government story hook didn't hurt, the writers explained. "We're going to play this on a huge scale, and it fits right in with the 'Fear Itself' story line," said Pak, while Van Lente noted that doing such a twist in Canada opened them up for some more story latitude. "We can do this right and in the most intense way possible."


"The other aspect to this isthat this is the original team," Van Lente said, noting that this will be the first appearance of the original team working together as one force on the page maybe ever – a situation brought about by many of the members return from the dead in "Chaos War."


Pak added that the fascist takeover of the Canadian government was hinted at in the end of the original, long-running ‘Alpha Flight’ monthly. "Stories often come out of unexpected contrasts. The stereotype of Canada is not one you'd automatically associate with booming fascism," said Pak.





Here is a sample piece of cover art by Phil Jimenez…

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Ben Oliver's wikipedia page…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Oliver



and Ben Oliver’s blog…
http://benoliverart.blogspot.com/





Dale Eaglesham’s site…
http://www.daleeaglesham.com/








Greg Pak’s site…
http://www.pakbuzz.com/







Fred Van Lente’s site…
http://www.fredvanlente.com/




















4 Comments:

Anonymous rplass said...

Hey man this is great news! The Jiminez covers are going to make this series! Thanks for the creator links - very handy, good idea!

3:56 AM PST  
Blogger Dredd Sweet said...

:)

5:04 AM PST  
Blogger Dana said...

I think you mean Joshua Lord?

11:44 AM PST  
Blogger Dredd Sweet said...

D'oh!

Thanks Dana, I'll make the adjustment in the article. Good catch!

1:51 PM PST  

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