Friday, September 28, 2012

Review- ALPHA FLIGHT: THE COMPLETE SERIES BY GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE


ALPHA FLIGHT: THE COMPLETE SERIES BY GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Alpha Flight Nos. 0.1, 1-8 (cover dates July, 2011- March, 2012)
Writers: Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Artists: Dale Eagelsham, Ben Oliver (penciler, issue 0.1) and Dan Green (inker, issue 0.1).
As I stated in my review of Alpha Flight by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente Vol. 1 Premiere Hardcover, this is a half double dip. Marvel canceled this series and then scrapped the plans for both the second hardcover (collecting 5-8) and the first softcover (collecting 0.1 and 1-4, identical to the Premiere Hardcover), instead soliciting this trade paperback of the entire series. It's really a no win scenario any way you slice it, but here we are.
I will review this with two things in mind: 1. How does this rate as a standalone read? Meaning, how does this read to someone who has never heard of Alpha Flight before? And 2. How does this compare to the original John Byrne run on the title? Let's proceed. Dale Eaglesham's artwork is, as always, a delight to the eyes. Pak and Van Lente do a mostly effective set-up of who the team is and what they can do in the 0.1 issue that kicks things off. You see everyone's powers displayed. Things are laid out clearly, but I suspect that there are things that wouldn't make sense to the uninitiated. Nothing insurmountable as the series progresses, mind you, but the Great Beasts and Master of the World references probably don't mean much to those not already invested in the characters from the original series.
Point 2: This compares favorably to the original series, with a few minor qualms. Marrina's characterization is completely different, but as I stated in my review of the Premiere Hardcover of this series, the original was so vanilla that I doubt anyone minds. I enjoyed the Spaced Invaders Easter egg. Prepare to die, Earth Scum! Was a catchphrase that myself and my idiot friends used circa 1989 after seeing that movie. Shaman cracking a joke was slightly out of character, but nothing major. Everyone seems to be a cut-up in comic books these days. 
I enjoyed the Master's team, Alpha Strike. It was nice to see the whole team involved in a real donnybrook, like when they took on Omega Flight back in the day. Puck seems off of his rocker, which is kind of interesting. It's never really explored here, my guess being that they intended this to be the focus of a second or third arc. Sadly, the sales weren't there. I am glad that we have the first title worthy of the name Alpha Flight since the original series. The abysmal 2004 reboot? Forget about it. Jump right from the original series into this one.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This book has a decent weight coated stock paper. It's a bit shiny but is perfectly acceptable for modern, computer colored material. This has the same nice wax coated cardstock cover as all Marvel trade paperbacks.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5.

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