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"We're the Canadian Football League of superhero teams! (Except, of course, our best heroes don't go to the U.S. and join the Avengers.) But if supervillains ever threaten Campbelltown, New Brunswick, you'll be glad we're here!"
Marvel Year in Review 1993

Alpha Flight is a fictional superhero team published by Marvel Comics, noteworthy for being one of the few Canadian superhero teams. Created by comic book writer/artist John Byrnewho is himself Canadian — the team first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #120 (April 1979). It is considered an X-Men spinoff even though they are more like Canadian Avengers. Throughout most of its history, the team has worked for Department H, a fictitious branch of Canada's Department of National Defence that deals with super-powered persons. Most team members have distinctly Canadian attributes, such as Inuit or First Nations heritage. Their name refers to the three levels of training that team members undergo- Alpha, Beta and Gamma- with Gamma Flight being the least trained and Alpha Flight the best. The other flights tend to act as sidekicks for Alpha (though one version of Gamma Flight went rogue.)

The team was originally just a part of Wolverine's backstory; he left Alpha Flight to join the X-Men. Their first appearance was an attempt to force him to return, during which a fight ensued. They proved popular with readers and after a second appearance in the pages of X-Men in 1983, Byrne launched an eponymous series featuring the group, which continued until 1994. Three short-lived revivals have been attempted since, the most recent titled Omega Flight, in April 2007. Most infamously, the entire team was killed off in one panel just to set up how dangerous The Collective, a new Avengers foe, was.

Notable members of the team include:

  • Guardian/Vindicator (James MacDonald Hudson), a scientist and later, his wife Heather, wearing a suit of Powered Armor with Canadian nationalistic motifs.
  • Sasquatch (Walter Langkowski), another scientist with the ability to turn into a superstrong monster form (named after another word for 'bigfoot').
  • Shaman (Michael Twoyoungmen), a Magical First Nations with a pouch that could provide a lot of magical objects.
  • Snowbird, an Inuit demi-goddess who can transform into an albino female version of any animal (including some legendary ones).
  • Aurora (Jeanne-Marie Beaubier) and Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier), Half-Identical Twins with flight, Super-Speed and the ability to generate intense light when they touch.
  • Box (Roger Bochs), a robot suit of armor that could carry its pilot inside (and thus a 'box'; his friend and eventual successor, Madison Jeffries, is a technopath who can turn into the robot himself)
  • Puck (Eugene Judd), a Pint-Sized Powerhouse and Badass Normal, though it was later retconned that he had superhuman strength and skin like compressed rubber, as well as inhuman agility and reflexes (named after a hockey puck—he's small, fast, and hard).

The original team's dead members were resurrected during 2010-11's Chaos War, and the reunited team has an eight-part maxiseries in 2011-12, tying into Marvel's Fear Itself event. It was boosted to be an ongoing, but Marvel pushed it back to an eight-parter after sales dropped off.

As of All-New, All-Different Marvel, the Alpha Flight program - including Aurora, Sasquatch, Puck, and Abigail Brand - has replaced S.W.O.R.D. as Earth's primary defense against alien threats, under the command of Captain Marvel. They are appearing as supporting characters in her comic.

Comic Books

  • Alpha Flight vol.1 (1983)
  • X-Men / Alpha Flight vol.1 (1985)
  • Alpha Flight vol.2 (1997)
  • X-Men / Alpha Flight vol.2 (1998). An Interquel set early in the 1983 series. When a villain uses Guardian's early prototype battle suits to attack the X-Men, Alpha Flight come to their assistance.
  • Alpha Flight vol.3 (2004)
  • Chaos War: Alpha Flight (2010)
  • Alpha Flight vol.4 (2011). A limited series rooted in the Fear Itself event, with a villain taking advantage of the global chaos to conceal their own plans.
  • Alpha Flight: True North (2019)
  • Alpha Flight vol.5 (2023)

Alpha Flight contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Heather Hudson. She not only possesses an above average intelligence, but is also a decent leader (despite having virtually no previous experience when she first started) as well as quite a bit of power thanks to her Guardian and Vindicator suits.
  • Angst: And lots of it after Guardian was killed in issue 12 of the original series. Heather's guilt because she felt she killed Mac eventually led to her putting on his suit and training herself to use it. She then called herself "Vindicator" for a short time, as Mac did for a while before Puck persuaded him to change to "Guardian."
    • Northstar resented Heather trying to take Guardian's place. Especially at first, when she assumed the helm under Puck's recommendation despite the fact that she wasn't even a Badass Normal. This put her in danger too much, which led to more angst and eventually the decision to put on the suit.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Sasquatch fits the Mythical Monster Motif type while Snowbird fits the All Animal Abilities type.
  • Animorphism: Snowbird's best-known ability is to turn into an albino female version of any animal. Her favorite is a human-sized owl. For awhile she could only turn into creatures native to the frozen north; this includes Sasquatch and Wendigo. However, she eventually lost this restriction.
    • She couldn't shift from one animal directly to another at first. In a spotlight story in one of the early issues, she had to try to do it as she was fighting in a blinding snowstorm. It was extremely painful.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Walter has a lot of trouble convincing the legal system and banking industry that "Wanda" is still him, just gender swapped. Even after shapeshifting into Sasquatch right in court.
  • Back from the Dead: Mac was killed in the first year of Alpha Flight and not resurrected until seven years later.
    • Sasquatch was demonically possessed in Alpha Flight #23 (June, 1985) and swiftly killed by Snowbird. His disembodied spirit turned up in a few stories (including a crossover with the Hulk), but was not fully resurrected with a new body until issue #44 (March, 1987).
    • Snowbird was killed in issue #45 (April, 1987) and buried along with her deceased husband and their child. She was mysteriously resurrected in "Wolverine" vol. 2 #143 (October, 1999) and rejoined Alpha Flight. Writers Erik Larsen and Eric Stephenson hinted at a larger story behind her resurrection, involving the Arctic gods and A.I.M., but the Wolverine series changed writers shortly after.
    • After Chaos War, all dead members of Alpha Flight are back.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Subverted by Purple Girl/Persuasion. She is the daughter of the Purple Man, who by many accounts is a monster due to his selfish/sadistic use of his Compelling Voice powers. Kara is a mutant who inherited her father's abilities, but joined Alpha Flight as a teenager after being taught the error of using her powers to control innocent people. Unfortunately, she later became a villain (of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety), becoming the Purple Woman. However as of Jessica Jones 2019 storyline The Purple Daughter Kara has since reform back into being a good person.
  • Body Backup Drive: The handicapped Roger Bochs has a robot body called Box which he can transfer into and out of at will. During one story arc when Walter Langkowski (Sasquatch) dies his consciousness is transferred to Box until they can find him a new body. They think they found one out in the interdimensional crossroads, but it turns out that it's the Hulk. Langkowski decides to let his soul dissipate in the crossroads.
  • Body Horror: Scramble the Mixed-Up Man used his powers to create these, the last of which was Omega, a fusion of himself and Roger Bochs. It was just... messy.
  • Body Surf: Related to the Body Backup Drive above, how Sasquatch came back; his consciousness found a way to access Shaman's medicine pouch Hammerspace from the crossroads, where he entered the mindless, shrunken body of Smart Alec. After escaping the pouch, he transferred to Box again to help Alpha Flight fight off Pestilence (who'd reanimated the recently-deceased Snowbird's body, which was stuck in Sasquatch form). Electrocuting Pestilence out of Snowbird's body drained Box, but allowed Walter to make one more jump into Snowbird's body (see "Freaky Friday" Flip below).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The premise of the fourth series is that the entire nation of Canada has been brainwashed to serve the Master of the World and his Unity political party. By the end of the series, everyone is de-brainwashed... except, unfortunately, Heather, who flew off to parts unknown.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Northstar and Aurora in their first appearances. They had identical powers and generated a blinding light upon physical contact. This was subverted when they fell out early in the book's run, causing Aurora to redesign her costume and even had her geneticist boyfriend Sasquatch alter her powers to further distinguish her from her brother. As a result, she isn't as fast (the difference between Mach 5 and Mach 2, but still), but can generate light on her own in addition to other abilities that seem to come and go with her multiple personalities.
    • Sasquatch and Aurora's personality were also kind of an item at the time. So as a Take That! to Northstar, whom Sasquatch considered an impediment to a full-blown relationship with Aurora, he changed the "touch-to-make-bright-light" power into "touching-cancels-both-your-powers-out." Which, of course, neither Northstar nor Aurora knew about until they touched during a battle.
  • Canada, Eh?: Given a Lampshade Hanging during the crapload of "unrealities" shown in the 34th issue of What If?.
  • Captain Fishman: Marrina, a green-skinned alien whose alien egg was dumped on Earth's oceans. Her abilities - which are due to her alien genetic makeup - include amphibian physiology, with webbed hands, resistance to oceanic pressure, underwater breathing, etc. Bonus points: she was also married to Namor at one point.
  • Captain Geographic: Guardian and Vindicator always had this going on, though the entire original team plays up some aspect of Canadian culture: Mac, Heather, and Puck are from Ontario (The cities of London, Ottawa and Toronto respectively); Marrina's from the Atlantic Coast; Northstar and Aurora are from Quebec (with Northstar being a former separatist); Snowbird's from the Northern Territories; Shaman represents the First Nations; and Sasquatch is from British Columbia.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Mac Hudson's original Guardian suit (which Heather used during the first series) was electromagnetic. After he came back, Heather was given her own suit that had geothermal powers (at which point she took the name Vindicator).
  • Coming-Out Story/Very Special Episode: Northstar's coming out surrounded a baby girl with AIDS, from which the original Major Mapleleaf's son died, but because he was gay he didn't become a media darling like Northstar's adopted daughter. In all honesty, the story suffers from bad dialogue and worse art, but it still made history when Northstar became Marvel's first openly gay hero.
  • Cool Shades: Heather's near-sighted, and normally wears glasses, so when she takes leadership of Alpha Flight, she dons prescription shades in the field. She adds them to the rebuilt Guardian suit when she first becomes Vindicator. Between the first and second series, Heather gets laser eye surgery, but after a few missions in the geothermal suit, she brings back the Cool Shades to protect her eyes from the wind.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jerome Jaxon, who sought to sell his subordinate Mac's original armor (designed to burrow underground in search of mineral resources) as a weapon to the U.S. military; when Mac steals the armor and takes his control helmet (which he designed in college) to the Canadian government, Jaxon is ruined, and after being Driven to Suicide only to fail, manages to join up with evil Mega-Corp Roxxon and seeks revenge against Mac by forming the original Omega Flight.
  • Darker and Edgier: The second and fourth series attempt to make Alpha Flight EXTREME. The second series in particular was a case of "Follow the Leader" by turning the book into an X-Files clone.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Most of the first 8 or 9 issues of the original series cast the spotlight on one of the individual members of the team before going into the storyline which resulted in Mac!Guardian's death.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The first Guardian's death was unwittingly caused by his own wife. After a particularly nasty fight with a supervillain, his suit goes into meltdown and he has to disassemble it, like, fast. At the last second, Heather barges in the room, distracting Mac. Kaboom.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: A storyline seemed to finally explain Northstar and Aurora's unique powers and appearance by Loki telling them they were actually half-elves. That led to Northstar leaving the team to "find my heritage" in Asgard. Several issues later, a disheveled and humiliated Northstar is shown wandering the land as the reaction of his elven kin to his tale of coming home...was to laugh in his face and ask why Northstar would ever believe any story coming from LOKI.
  • Disappeared Dad: Shaman lost his wife. His response? Abandon his six-year old daughter for ten years.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The entire classic team had just been resurrected plus the two most beloved members of the third series before The Collective killed them in one panel.
  • Election Day Episode: #1 of the 2011 Alpha Flight series is set during the Canadian Federal Election. The winning party is the fictional Unity Party, whose leader quickly turns out to be Prime Minister Evil.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Madison Jeffries was given this treatment early on. For his first several appearances, he was simply referred to as "Mr. Jeffries", until Heather looked up his file.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The original Guardian armor could cancel out the effects of the Earth's rotation, causing it to instantly move westward at the Earth's rotational speed (about 1,000 miles per hour). This allowed the armor's user to essentially vanish from combat in the blink of an eye.
  • Escaped from Hell: Puck, who apparently died somewhere between the return of his dead teammates and the start of the new series. He went to Hell, and teamed up with Wolverine to escape, but only Logan managed to get out, while Puck slayed demons who imprisoned him and took his place. And upon learning his teammates may be in trouble, he immediately gave it up to return and save them.
  • Excuse Plot: The whole idea of Walter Langkowski going "fishing" for a new body for himself in the interdimensional crossroads (so he wouldn't have to stay in the Box robot, denying the paraplegic Roger Bochs his mobility and himself the physical pleasures of his girlfriend Aurora) was an excuse to bring the Hulk, who'd been tripping through the crossroads in his own book, back to Earth. It also just happened to coincide with John Byrne leaving Alpha Flight to write The Incredible Hulk, as Bill Mantlo came over from Hulk to write Alpha Flight.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Alpha Flight's members and enemies were always a blend of Badass Normals, mutants, aliens, robots, magical beings, and so on. There were times when the team's membership was mostly mutants and its enemies mostly magical, but it was always an interesting blend.
  • Flanderization: Ever since joining the X-Men, Northstar has been portrayed as arrogant and snobbish, completely ignoring years of character development over the course of Alpha Flight where he actually became a likable team player.
    • Downplayed in X-Factor (2020). Northstar is prickly, but is X-Factor's leader and cares for his teammates.
  • Flight: This is one of Northstar and Aurora's main abilities. Snowbird is also able to fly in her base form and in a few of her animal ones too. Guardian and Vindicator are also able to fly using their respective supersuits.
  • Flying Brick: Vindicator and Guardian are this while wearing their supersuits. Madison Jefferies and Roger Bochs also became this while fused with the Box robot.
  • Fragile Speedster: Notably averted with Northstar and Aurora. It is explicitly stated that the faster they move, the tougher they become.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Walter Langowski is the king of getting stuck in other people's bodies. He starts out turning into a big orange Sasquatch. When it turns out that this form is actually an evil spirit, his soul gets shoved into the Box robot. After a search for a new flesh-and-blood body brings the Hulk back to Earth instead, Walt consigns himself to the interdimensional crossroads. He eventually finds his way to the pocket dimension of Shaman's medicine bag, only to eventually emerge in Smart Alec's shrunken body. From there he surfs into Snowbird's white Sasquatch body (sort of), which incidentally gender-bends him into a Wanda. Eventually, he gets his own gender and coloration back with help from Snowbird's spirit. The tradition continues in Immortal Hulk, where he and Doc Samson switch bodies through the Green Door, a metaphysical thing that allows the souls of Gamma mutates to to return to their bodies.
  • Fusion Dance: The Switcher version. Sasquatch originally thought he was turning into a furry beast after replicating the Hulk's gamma-ray incident, but it turned out he was switching bodies with the dark god Tanaraq, whose mind was slowly taking over. Of course Snowbird had a bad feeling about the whole thing from the start, but nobody listened to her until she had to kill him in what was one of the coolest fights in the book. It wasn't until after he got better that he was able to finally shapeshift on his own. How? It's a long story.
  • Genius Bruiser: Sasquatch, both a radiation expert and a high-level powerhouse. Puck had elements of this too, especially once he got a power-upgrade to lift upwards of ten tons.
  • Hand Blast: The Guardian suit grants this power to its wearer, allowing them to fire bursts of plasma at their opponents.
  • Jerkass: Smart Alec (Alec Thorne) was this to both his teammates on Omega Flight, and his opponents on Alpha Flight.
  • Legacy Character: The second Puck from the mid-2000s revival, a sprightly Asian-Canadian girl with super-strength, who was the daughter of the original.
    • Snowguard of the Champions is this. She named herself after Snowbird and Guardian and has the same powers as Snowbird. Alpha Flight tried to recruit her in her first appearance, but she refused because they would've put her on the Gamma Flight training program instead of the main team, whereas the Champions were offering full membership.
  • Mama Bear: Heather becomes this for her daughter Claire to a horrible extreme and acts as a deconstruction for the trope because of the actions she commits. Her desire to gain custody of her daughter leads her to join an evil political party that takes over her country, kill her daughter's kind adopted parents which are actually her distant cousins, and eventually kidnap her daughter and head off to parts unknown without her husband's knowledge.
  • Man in the Machine: Originally, Box was a remote-controlled robot, but it was altered to allow its paraplegic creator, Roger Bochs, to physically join with it. It later played host to the spirit of Sasquatch, and then became a variable-form mech with Madison Jeffries.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Walter notably keeps his intelligence as Sasquatch, but its debatable if his stint as "Wanda" affected him. His occasional flirtatious "cutie" or "big boy" could just be part of his sense of humor. Even after he stops doing that, the bank claims "Wanda's" handwriting is far too different from Walter's to be the same person.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Snowbird's animal shapeshifting was initially limited to animals native to Canada. During a fight where she is rendered unable to see, she mentions that she could use a bat's sonar, but was unable to since bats do not live in Canada. Except that they do.
  • Monster Modesty: Marrina is a rare female example since she's a non-human wearing a skimpy one piece swimsuit. Sasquatch fits this trope in a way. Despite being an educated gentleman, he "wears" a fur loincloth and nothing else.
  • Morphic Resonance: Snowbird's animal forms are always albino.
  • Nice Guy: Major Mapleleaf, often to the point of naivete.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Marrina was raised alongside a (normal human) adoptive brother, Dan Smallwood. In his few appearances it was established that Dan was in love with his sister. Unfortunately for him, his love was unrequited.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Snowbird's fight with the beast Kolomaq in #6 of the original series. It's an epic fight spanning six pages. Pity the reader actually sees none of it because it's all whited out by the snowstorm he conjured up.
  • One Robot Army: Madison Jeffries as Box; his ability to morph inorganic materials allowed him to reconfigure the Box robot into virtually any configuration he could think of, basically making him an unlimited-form Transforming Mecha.
  • Remote Body: In early issues Handicapped Gadgeteer Genius Roger Bochs had a robot called Box that he control with a neural interface helmet.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Notably averted. Aurora would wear a scarf with one of her more revealing costumes during winter/arctic missions. However, the blue scarf visually clashed with the white-and-yellow costume and, more than once, a villain attempted to use the scarf to strangle her.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: Nemesis carries a sabre whose blade is only a single molecule thick.
  • Split Personality: Aurora. Whooo boy. At her least complicated, she is split between a free-spirited Femme Fatale who loves her mutant powers and being a superhero ("Aurora"), and a stuffy schoolmarm who would rather lead a quiet life teaching and is religious to the point of bigotry against her own brother Northstar ("Jeanne-Marie"). However, villains who treat this as a weakness learn not to make that mistake twice. Once Jeanne-Marie conceded to helping Alpha Flight, her unique perspective came in handy a few times, and she had energy powers that even Aurora was unaware of.
    • Originally, Jeanne-Marie couldn't access Aurora's powers at all, not that she wanted to. However, by the time the "Unity" storyline comes around, Jeanne-Marie is able to access Aurora's powers and use them quite easily. It's also revealed that the split personality came from abuse while she was a student in a parochial school.
  • Straight Gay: Northstar, despite looking like a beautiful elf most of the time. Helps that he wasn't actually able to come out on panel until the 90s.
  • Super-Strength: Sasquatch originally possessed this in spades, to the point where he once fought the Hulk for fun! Snowbird has this in both her base and Sasquatch forms, while Puck gained superhuman strength after his powers were retconned. Vindicator and Guardian also gained enhanced strength while wearing their suits. Madison Jefferies and Roger Bochs also possessed superhuman strength while fused with the Box robot.
  • Take Our Word for It: Very deliberately invoked by John Byrne when, early in the first series, Puck mentions his adventures fighting the "Brass Bishop", with an editors note pointing out that this adventure has yet to be chronicled. Whether Byrne ever intended on writing said adventure is anyone's guess. It would take almost a decade for other writers to avert the trope and actually pen a "Brass Bishop" story. Curiously, two different villains called Brass Bishop were introduced in the series, each with his own origin and motivation.
  • Team Mom: After Mac's apparent death, Heather was chosen as the new leader for this very reason, even though she was still a civilian (she didn't become Vindicator till later).
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Fish girl and Newfoundlander Marrina spent more time in her own subplot than on the team. Most readers know her better as an honorary Avenger and Namor's wife whom he had to kill when her alien powers spiraled out of control.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Heather, when she became Vindicator (and later taking the name Guardian). Even when her husband, the original Guardian came back, he acknowledged that she had built up more experience using the suit than he did.
  • Tragic AIDS Story: Writer Bill Mantlo had wanted to have Northstar die of AIDS in a Very Special Issue, but the idea was vetoed by editor Andy Mangels. Mangels explained his decision by saying he thought killing off Marvel's only gay superhero at the time by giving him AIDS was too problematic.
  • Unified Naming System: The titular squad is the senior of three Canadian super squads. "Beta Flight" and "Gamma Flight" are basically trainees. In the first issue of the comic book, the junior flights were shut down, with the most promising members being promoted to Alpha; several of the rejects were then recruited into a villainous "Omega Flight".
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Kara Killgrave breaks down and steals her mother's credit cards after she turns purple to go to Banff to watch Jean-Paul Beaubier at a ski exhibition. When she flippantly tells a girl to go "jump off a cliff" with her Compelling Voice, Beaubier has to expose himself as the superhuman speedster Northstar to save her. This ultimately leads to Northstar having to give back all his Olympic medals. This and her subsequent mind controlling of him explains Northstar's icy interactions with Kara throughout the first Alpha Flight run.
  • UST: Wolverine with both Snowbird and Heather. However, both ladies figured legitimately into his backstory before Wolverine Mania started getting out of hand. Heather helped calm him down after the adamantium procedure, while he and Snowbird shared a mutual attraction during his time on the team.
  • Wearing The Maple Leaf As Your Costume: While Guardian (and later Vindicator) wore a unique battle-armor based on the Canadian flag, the entire team would later adorn similar Maple Leaf-themed costumes in the early-to-mid 90s.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Beaubier in his days with a radical Quebec separatist group. Also Kara Killgrave/The Purple Woman in Volume 4. She's working with Citadel to expose the Unity Party's conspiracy, but endangers a lot of people. She even orders law enforcement to fire at Northstar and Guardian.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last issue of The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior guest-stars Alpha Flight. When a Chaos creature winds up on Earth, Puck recognizes it and reveals that he visited that series' dimensional realm of Crystallium years ago and met Crystar's late father. In the thirty years since then, we've never been told how the dickens this happened or what he was talking about.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Northstar and Aurora both possessed the power to fly and run at superhuman speeds that they could use independently. However, the two could also generate a powerful burst of light whenever they touched. This ability was lost for a long while, but the twins eventually regained a more refined version of it later on.

Alternative Title(s): Alpha Flight John Byrne, Alpha Flight 2004, Alpha Flight 1997, Alpha Flight 1983