Friday, August 24, 2012

Review- ALPHA FLIGHT BY GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE VOL. 1

ALPHA FLIGHT BY GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2011; Hardcover)
Note: Actually released in 2012
Collects Alpha Flight Nos. 0.1, 1-4 (cover dates July- November, 2011)
Writers: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Artists: Dale Eaglesham and Drew Hennessy (issues 1-4) and Ben Oliver and Dan Green (Issue 0.1 only).
I have loved Alpha Flight since I was a comic book buying kid in the '80s. I liked how dysfunctional and disjointed the team was, seldom operating as a real team like the Fantastic Four or The Avengers. I have read the original 28 issues of Alpha Flight dozens of times over the years, and know the original versions of these characters inside out. I stuck with the book until the issues in the 50s or 60s. I have bought every ill-fated and half-hearted attempt to reboot and/or reinvigorate these characters, mostly because I hate my money. The ill-advised 2004-2005 series, the Omega Flight mini-series a couple of years ago, etc., always hoping for a return to form and never getting one.
Until now. This is as close in tone and feel to John Byrne's run as we'll likely ever see. The artwork by Dale Eaglesham really captures the spirit and feel of the '80s title while looking and feeling modern. Pak and Van Lente are mostly faithful to the original characters, with the exception of Marrina, who is completely out of character here. The original character was nothing spectacular anyways, so this is a minor gripe. Puck is just downright bizarre now, but in a cool way. It doesn't matter, because Bill Mantlo inadvertently destroyed him. 
I really enjoyed this book, and will have to bump up the trade paperback of the complete series up in queue to see how things end. This is about as solid a comic book as you can get, and it's a shame that it didn't last. All of the old villains tend to rear their heads, such as the Great Beasts.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.  
The OCD zone- This is exactly the same as every other Marvel Premiere Edition hardcover, not to be confused with the soon to be extinct Marvel Premiere Classic Hardcover. The former, like this book, has glued binding. The latter has sewn binding. The paper is the same nice, thick coated stock that one who buys these books is accustomed to.
My only real gripe about this book is format oriented. Marvel solicited this as a hardcover, which I pre-ordered and bought. Then there was Amazon “ghost” for a Vol. 2 which was never officially solicited. So what did they do? Released all nine issues in a trade paperback. So in order to get issues 5-8, I would either have to A) hunt down back issues or B) re-purchase the issues collected in this hardcover in a trade paperback. I did the latter, for better or for worse. A pox upon format changes!
Paper rating: 5 out of 5.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5.

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