Alpha Flight was the top level of a three-tiered program codenamed Department H within the Canadian Ministry of Defense. New recruits or those whose powers proved unstable would be assigned to Gamma Flight in order to learn to properly use their powers. Those who could control their abilities but required further training formed the basis of Beta Flight. The active members in the field who where tasked with dealing with any superhuman threats to the nation were in Alpha Flight.
James MacDonald Hudson had the idea to form Alpha Flight after the public emergence of the Fantastic Four and was given oversight of Department H, which was named after him. Hudson had intended that Wolverine be the leader of Alpha Flight. However, this task fell to Hudson himself when Wolverine was recruited by Professor X to become a member of the X-Men.
Originally using the codename Weapon Alpha, Hudson tried to bring Wolverine back to Canada and Alpha Flight by force. This led to a battle between Weapon Alpha and the X-Men. Outnumbered, Weapon Alpha was forced to retreat.
Hudson changed his codename to Vindicator after feeling responsible for injuring Moira MacTaggert in the battle. Several months later, the X-Men were forced to make an emergency landing in Canada due to the magic of Alpha Flight's Shaman. Realizing something strange was happening, they were soon confronted by the full Alpha Flight team who again wished to bring Wolverine into their custody.
This first formation of Alpha Flight consisted of team leader Vindicator, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Aurora and Northstar. Vindicator soon learned that the government was shutting down funding of Alpha Flight.
Alpha Flight was created by John Byrne and Chris Claremont. Alpha Flight burst onto the pages of Marvel in 1979 with their first appearance in the Uncanny X-Men #120 as the Canadian government's soon-to-be-disbanded superhero team. Claremont was the writer, John Byrne was the penciller and Terry Austin was the inker for this issue. Byrne and Claremont co-plotted the storyline together.
Major Story Arcs
Gone Before They Started?
The first issue of Alpha Flight opened with us learning that the Canadian superteam Alpha Flight was being disbanded. Only weeks prior, three members of Alpha Flight (Vindicator, Snowbird, and Shaman) along with two X-Men (Wolverine and Nightcrawler) defeated the mystical creature known as the Wendigo in the Canadian wilderness. A week after they returned, however, the Canadian Prime Minister delivered the bad news to Hudson. Department H, the secret superhuman arm of the Canadian Ministry of Defense, was being shut down. Allowed to keep his security clearance and the electromagnetic battle suit he designed, Hudson intended to continue protecting Canada as needed without the government's help.
Shortly after arriving home, Mac received a call from Gary Cody, his former government liaison, to alert him to a mysterious phenomena in the northern wilderness. An ancient giant creature known as Tundra was being conjured back into existence and was threatening to harm Canada, so Vindicator left to investigate. Mac's wife Heather, fearing for her husband's safety out there alone went to his office and sent out a call to action to the rest of Alpha Flight through a government computer. Two members of Beta Flight had been about to graduate to Alpha Flight just before they were disbanded but were not official members yet were also summoned by Heather to assist Mac. Those two team members, Puck and Marrina, became key figures within the early days of Alpha Flight. Through implanted transponders, each member heard the call and the scattered team made their way to the battle with Tundra. All but Puck that is, who couldn't arrange transportation to northern Canada. He arrived at Mac's and Heather's apartment after they had defeated Tundra. They decided to remain together as a team even without government funding. The name "Alpha Flight" didn't seem to make sense without Beta or Gamma Flight, but Puck insisted that he worked hard to join Alpha Flight and that's what they were going to be called. After some prompting from Shaman, Hudson also changed his codename from Vindicator to Guardian to punctuate the point that they are Canada's guardians.
Some of the former members of Beta Flight and Gamma Flight felt abandoned after Department H's disbanding and were assembled by an enemy of Mac as Omega Flight, Alpha Flight's opposite number. Mac was killed in an explosion during a subsequent battle while attempting to repair his damaged Guardian suit after being interrupted by Heather. Heather took Mac's death very hard, but eventually Logan and Puck convinced her that she was the right person to lead Alpha Flight. After Mac returned as part cyborg (which turned out to be a ruse), she began to wear a duplicate electromagnetic battle suit and call herself Vindicator. Eventually, the programs in Department H were taken over and perverted for evil purposes. Through deaths and resurrections, strange transformations, and sudden reversals, Alpha Flight fought on, loyal to the mission of protecting their homeland.
The New Team
When the original members of Alpha Flight were abducted by the alien Plodex, Sasquatch assembled a new oddball squad. The team consisted of the 97-year-old Centennial, Major Mapleleaf (the son of a World War II-era hero), the deadly Nemesis, a new Puck (the original Puck's daughter), and the mysterious Yukon Jack. The newbies saved the original Alpha Flight and remained part of the team after the mission was complete.
Death of the Team
In the New Avengers arc "The Collective", Alpha Flight pursued the Collective-empowered Michael Pointer, who had destroyed his home town in Alaska. When the team confronted him, he brutally attacked them, killing almost all of them. Sasquatch was the only one who survived, and he helped form Canada's newest defense squad, Omega Flight.
In Quidlivun, the Northern Gods battle the Chaos King and his forces. Nelvanna sends Snowbird back to Earth moments before Nelvanna is slain by the Chaos King. In the Shattered Lands, Somon and the other Great Beasts discuss the situation with Sasquatch, who has in his possession a mystical power that will enable the Great Beasts to return to Earth, for they claim that they are the only ones with the might to kill the Chaos King. Sasquatch strikes up a deal with them: the Great Beasts will return Sasquatch’s deceased friends to Earth, provided he protects the Great Beasts while they regain their strength. The Great Beasts promise not to attempt to claim Earth for themselves for one hundred years. Sasquatch accepts their deal. In Alberta, Snowbird reunites with Northstar and Aurora when they sense a strange summons to this location. Sasquatch arrives via a portal, followed by Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman and Marrina. The reunion is a joyous one, though the rest of their friends are still caught up in the chaos in the Underworlds. Snowbird explains who the Chaos King is before the slave god hordes of the Chaos King arrive. Thinking they are here for her, Snowbird battles them alongside Guardian and the twins. Sasquatch then explains to his friends the deal he made with the Great Beasts, who are now battling the slave gods. Snowbird is understandably distraught that her deadliest enemies are once more walking the Earth. Sasquatch and Snowbird debate the situation until several civilians nearby wake from their slumber having been transformed into Wendigo and join the battle against the slave gods.
Eventually, the heroes agree that the Chaos King is the more pressing concern, so they launch into battle against the slave gods. Aurora tells Northstar that this is where they belong: with their friends, and not with the X-Men. Snowbird witnesses one of the Great Beasts fall to the slave gods and does not help him, but when the civilians who were transformed into Wendigo begin to eat the slave gods, Snowbird, Vindicator, Shaman and Northstar reconsider the situation, deciding that they do not need anything from the Great Beasts, though it would mean the deceased Alphans will return to what is left of the Underworld. Guardian, Aurora, Sasquatch and Marrina don’t agree though, so the team briefly battles each other. Snowbird and her followers gain the upper hand, and Snowbird uses a god-like power to freeze the Great Beasts. The Chaos King then arrives and seemingly destroys them. The Wendigo return to their true civilian forms, while Vindicator asks about her daughter, to which Sasquatch reveals she is safe with family. Shaman casts a spell to return the four deceased Alphans to a state just beyond life, but it doesn’t work and he, Vindicator, Guardian and Marrina remain on Earth. Shaman realizes that Death itself is inaccessible, and Snowbird realizes that the Great Beasts lied to Sasquatch: they had no access to their friends, there was simply nowhere else for them to go without Death. Shaman supposes that Death will be restored when the Chaos King is defeated. Sasquatch tells everyone that they have to risk defeating the Chaos King, so the eight heroes of Canada depart to join the battle against the Chaos King and save all of reality.
Alpha Flight in Space
Alpha Flight is relocated to an intergalactic space station that orbits around Earth. The team is given the task of becoming the Earth's primary defense group. Many of the team's original members joined the facility, including Sasquatch, Puck, and Aurora. The team was strengthened with U.S. officer Carol Danvers, better known as Captain Marvel.
Earth 1610 (Ultimate)
The X-men: Colossus, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Wolverine, Angel, Dazzler and the newest X-Man, Firestar, came up against the Ultimate version of Alpha Flight. Alpha Flight consisted of: Vindicator (John Wraith), Aurora, Snowbird, Sunfire, Shaman, Sasquatch (Rahne Sinclair) and Jubilee who had come to bring Northstar back to Canada. The team were all on the mutant enhancement drug Banshee, which caused a mutation in their powers and personality. They then faced the X-Men again, but this time against a few renegade members high on Banshee, led by an enraged Colossus wanting his boyfriend back.
Alpha Flight appeared in Repo Man (Episode 18) and Child of Light (The Phoenix Saga Part 5, Episode 33).
Vindicator and the Canadian Alpha Flight capture Wolverine. Department H demanded their project back: either he rejoins their team or they repossess his indestructible adamantium skeleton. Puck and Snowbird spied on the attempted adamantium removal experiment and informed the other members. After a fierce fight between Alpha Flight and Department H's security androids, Wolverine warns the Alpha Flight members that if any of them try to seek him out, all bets are off. Later, members of Alpha Flight are shown helping citizens as Earth is ravaged by the M'Kraan Crystal.
- Alpha Flight received a line of action figures from ToyBiz in the late 90s. The figures were released in two-packs consisting of Northstar and Aurora, Vindicator and Sasquatch, and Snowbird and Puck. Guardian was also released as a standalone exclusive from ToyFare Magazine.
- Various members of Alpha Flight received busts or statues from Bowen Designs.
- Vindicator, Guardian Snowbird, Northstar and Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck were featured in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection from Eaglemoss Publications.
- Diamond Select released two Minimates box sets featuring Alpha Flight: one with Northstar, Puck, Guardian and Marrina, and another with Aurora, Snowbird, Sasquatch and Shaman.
- Guardian, Northstar Aurora and Puck were featured in Hasbro's Marvel Universe line.
- After previously releasing Guardian in the Wendigo wave and Puck and Sasquatch as Build-a-Figures, Hasbro released a Marvel Legends Alpha Flight box set containing Vindicator, Northstar, Aurora, Snowbird, Shaman and a rereleased Puck. The set was an online exclusive.