Jim McCann Revives ALPHA FLIGHT During CHAOS WAR


Thanks to Chaos War, dead is the new alive in Marvel Comics. Monday brought news of the three-issue Chaos War: Dead Avengers series, and next up is Chaos War: Alpha Flight — a one-shot reuniting the classic Alpha Flight lineup, even though most members of the Canadian super-team are no longer in the land of the breathing.

Introduced by John Byrne in 1979’s Uncanny X-Men #120, Alpha Flight went on to star in 130 issues of their own eponymous series from 1983 to 1994. After a few revivals, nearly the whole team died after an attack from The Collective back in New Avengers #16 — but this is comics, and those things tend to change.

Out in November and from the team of writer Jim McCann (Hawkeye & Mockingbird) and artist Reilly Brown (Heroic Age: Prince of Power), Chaos War: Alpha Flight sees Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman and Marrina all shuffled back onto the mortal coil and joining up with surviving teammates against the Chaos King’s threat. As it turns out, coming back to life isn’t always the greatest thing to happen to a dead person.

Newsarama talked with both McCann and series editor Mark Paniccia on the return of Alpha Flight, what it means to the larger Chaos War story, and why a certain diminutive mustachioed gentleman doesn’t seem to be involved.

Newsarama: Jim, Alpha Flight is most certainly one of Marvel's biggest cult favorite teams, but are they one of your personal favorites?

Jim McCann: Big time. If there were one “dream team” I could write, it’s been Alpha Flight — the original team. I’ve loved them since I was introduced to the team when I first started reading comics, so this is a very special team for me.

Nrama: Mark, why a one-shot, and why Alpha Flight?

Mark Paniccia: When developing the Chaos War event, we had the opportunity to expand with a variety of other characters/teams and Alpha Flight was one of those things that we couldn't keep ourselves from.

Nrama: Alright, Jim, so Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman and Marrina are all back in the one-shot. Before we get too far into things, because people are going to ask: where's Puck?

McCann: Yes, they are going to ask that, aren’t they? [Laughs.]

Nrama: It sounds like the resurrected characters will be re-joining Alpha Flight — so does that mean we can expect living Alpha Flight-ers, like Sasquatch, Snowbird and, even though he's over in X-Men, Northstar?

McCann: This is the entire original Byrne team (minus Puck) — living and dead. Both Northstar and Aurora will be there as well as Sasquatch and Snowbird.

Nrama: The preview text released to press states: "who among Alpha Flight wants to put their friends back in the grave?" Does that mean the resurrected Alpha Flight members are actually going to end up in opposition to their living counterparts?

McCann: The great thing about Alpha Flight is that there is always conflict within the team. It’s what makes them so unique — they often are, or create, their own enemies. That sort of conflict and sense of “What can possibly go wrong when things seem right?” is at the heart of the story.

Nrama: Mark, this is definitely a premature question, but is part of the motivation with this release possibly testing the waters to maybe further explore the Alpha Flight characters and concepts in the future?

Paniccia: Alpha Flight is one of those teams that has a very strong core following and we thought Chaos War allowed us a unique chance to bring the original team back for one more adventure. That certainly doesn't mean we wouldn't try to continue with more if there were enough interest in the book.

Nrama: What is Alpha Flight's role in the larger conflict of Chaos War? How do they get drawn in?

McCann: It’s due to the Chaos King’s actions in Chaos War #3. I can’t say much without giving that away, but those actions attract a lot of attention, including one of Alpha Flight’s greatest foes. Because of that, Alpha Flight is needed — and only Alpha Flight can save said foe. But will they want to?

Nrama: To whatever degree you can speak to this at this point, what's the nature of resurrection for these characters? Are they pretty much as they are as the last time we saw them (alive)?

McCann: It’s a dream come true for one member of Alpha Flight … and the worst possible nightmare for another. Like all things, this return comes with a catch, and it’s a biggie! As to how they are when they return, you’ll have to read — but I will say this: They are not zombies or anything like that.

Nrama: Though he was possessed by Xorn at the time, Michael Pointer is responsible for the deaths of 75% of the resurrected characters. He even wore the Guardian uniform for a spell. Will he make an appearance at all, or at least be mentioned?

McCann: I stopped reading at the word “Xorn.” Seriously, though, this story is about the original Alphans and why they are such a compelling team. The events surrounding their deaths will be touched upon, an explanation of where they have been, and a possible future for them.

Nrama: Jim, how do Guardian and Vindicator compare to the Marvel Comics couple you're most closely associated with, Hawkeye and Mockingbird?

McCann: The Hudsons are different in that Heather had to grow into the role of a leader. She was not a super hero until she saw her husband apparently killed in action the first time. Guardian has always wanted to be the hero and the leader- he has that confidence surrounding him. They grew to become equals, whereas Hawkeye & Mockingbird have always been on the same level and therefore have butted heads and been a bit more on the same page than the Hudsons. Oh, and Hawkeye & Mockingbird don’t have matching costumes.

Hoping ALPHA FLIGHT sticks around beyond Chaos War?

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