Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brain Splatter Meet and Greet: Alpha Flight

After Marvel's move the other day to refile some trademarks on some properties, I took to my keyboard to think out loud about what the studio may have in mind for those properties. Since then I've fielded enough questions about two of those properties to make it worth the effort to try to introduce everyone to them. If they turn out to be future TV or film properties (my money would be on something similar to the Netflix series) then people will have a nice reference; if not, no harm was done and some people got to do a little reading on some more obscure corners of the Marvel universe. Follow along after the jump to get a little backstory on Alpha Flight and what a potential TV series might look like in the future.

For a brand that hasn't really had a long history of success or any sustained titles, Alpha Flight has a pretty decent following and has almost achieved the coveted "cult" status. Basically Canada's Avengers, Alpha Flight is a team, with a rotating roster, of superheroes that distinctly represent Canadian culture and heritage. While the team was originally concocted as part of Wolverine's long and twisted history, it did take on a life of its own and get its own backstory which made it a part of Canada's Department of National Defence.

The team's leader, James MacDonald Hudson, has gone by the names of Weapon Alpha, Guardian and Vindicator over the years, but his maple leaf emblazoned outfit has remained a constant. Hudson designed and exoskeletal suit that allowed him to fly, fire blasts of energy and tinker with fundamental forces like gravity and electromagnetism. His first charge as leader of Alpha Flight was the return of Canadian citizen, Wolverine, to his homeland after he had left to join the X-Men. Needless to say that didn't go well and, it appears, that Canada has been happy to leave Wolverine alone in the time that's passed.

The rest of the original Alpha Flight team consisted of mutant siblings Northstar and Aurora, Sasquatch, Shaman and Snowbird. While the Canadian connections are evident in their namen, , the members of the team, especially Shaman a medicine man of the First Nation) and Snowbird (an Inuit deity), have deeper ties to the heritage of Canada. Over the years the team also saw X-Men fan favorite Puck, Hudson's wife, Heather and several other less prominent names come and go.

The team has interacted with Red Hulk, Beta Ray Bill and U.S. Agent as well as making an ill-fated appearance in the most recent volume of The Avengers. And, while they've never kept a title for very long, they are very popular and, at one point, the subject of a potential Marvel film.

While Alpha Flight originated in the world of the X-Men, it's not a certainty that the film rights to them reside at FOX. In fact, with Marvel refreshing the trademark, it's possible they hold the rights. While a film seems like a longshot given Marvel's full plate, a TV series or animated film are well within the range of possibilities for the property. An Alpha Flight series would almost certainly see the team brought together and then used by the government to fight supervillains. Though  none of Alpha Flight's rouges are truly well-known, the villain Wendigo may ring a bell to fans of the Wolverine and The Hulk and could be a good point from which to begin.

Keep in mind that the most likely scenario is that Marvel was just doing some housekeeping when they reupped their trademark for Alpha Flight; however, until we know better, we can always deal in the realm of possibilities.  What are your connections, experiences and thoughts about Alpha Flight?