Tip o’ the hat to Alpha Flight

by Blaise Tassone

135813_dfa1885233a8e229943378797f292b70c45047c9-194x300 Tip o’ the hat to Alpha Flight

All-Canadian superhero teams are apparently rarer than all-Canadian surf clubs. I can think of only one all-Canadian team of heroes, but it’s a team that’s captured the public imagination for almost 40 years now.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you: Alpha Flight!

With the recent shakeup between Fox and Disney and Marvel now having the rights to use all the X-Men supporting characters, wouldn’t it be interesting if they decide to launch an Alpha Flight movie. Some have actually speculated, making reference to the Captain Marvel/Alpha Flight connections in recent Marvel comics, an Alpha Flight movie happening as a surprise Phase Four move of the MCU. Before that, there was talk of FOX possibly green-lighting an Alpha Flight big screen project.

For the record, I have no idea if any of this will or will not happen. I hope it does. Alpha Flight has real potential and could work as a movie (I think they could even be the next surprise break out team, conceivably taking the place currently held in the MCU by the problem-plagued ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ franchise. Don’t believe me? What do you think will happen when Wolverine makes a cameo appearance to catch up with James and Heather? People will want to see that).

So, just in case an ‘Alpha Flight’ film does happen, I want to consider here the comics you should have in your collection to take advantage of the situation.

X-Men #120 (April 1979) – First Appearance of Alpha-Flight

We can start with this one. Alpha Flight was created by John Byrne and Chris Claremont during their time working together on the Uncanny X-Men. The team was introduced in connection to Wolverine who, at the time, still had a very mysterious past, the only details known about him being that he was originally Canadian. This comic is Alpha Flight’s first official appearance with the following line-up: Aurora (Jeanne-Marie Beaubier), Guardian (James MacDonald Hudson), Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier), Sasquatch (Walter Langowski), Shaman (Michael Twoyoungmen) and Snowbird. The seeds for their origin can be traced back to X-Men #109 (even though Guardian appears there as ‘Weapon Alpha’ in contrast to Wolverine’s ‘Weapon X’ status and here as Vindicator: the man really liked to change code-names). I’m currently bullish on all Silver Age Fantastic Four and Bronze Age X-Men. This one is no exception. In 9.8 certified status it currently has an impressive FMV of $1,900.00, which, given that 9.6 copies are selling for $375.00, is one of those occasions when I personally would opt for a 9.6. Returns are strong in all grades, with best roi found on CGC graded 9.6 which, after 102 recorded sales since 2003, has a positive +123.8% status. If a movie appears, I can easily see this comic reaching X-Men #101 (first Phoenix) price levels.

Alpha Flight #1 (August 1983) – First Alpha Flight Solo Title

Marina and Puck joined the team with this issue, completing the classic line up. ‘Department H’ located somewhere in Ottawa (that’s the capital of Canada by the way, not Toronto- as even some Torontonians would like you to think) cancels their special weapons projects leaving Alpha Flight high and dry. That’s how John Byrne began the solo title that would last for 11 years and produce 130 issues. At one point in the 1980s it seemed like everyone and their dog had a copy of this comic. Fast forward 35 years and this comic has shown a surprisingly strong performance on the market for a Marvel B-string project. The comic in high grade (9.8 is not hard to find) has broken the $100.00 mark repeatedly since 2014 and is actually showing positive returns on investment of +25.7% after 256 recorded sales on GoCollect.com. Returns in lower grades are way down, but that will certainly reverse if a movie happens. If you don’t already have multiple copies, get it while it’s still cheap.

Honorable Mentions: Go to Alpha Flight #33 which is the first appearance of Lady Deathstrike, who appeared in the second X-Men movie (X-2), Alpha Flight #51 which features Jim Lee’s first artwork for Marvel comics and Alpha Flight #106 which is the issue in which Northstar announces that he’s gay and he’s always been gay and then Wild Child becomes Weapon Omega (but not because of Northstar’s sexual orientation). All of these are still super-affordable even in high grades.

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