Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alpha Flight and the Defenders


Sure, they might have been introduced in a battle with the X-Men, but the members of Alpha Flight soon had more in common with the Defenders. After losing their ties to the Canadian government in X-Men #140, Alpha Flight worked largely as a non-team throughout most of their original series, with a different combination of heroes taking part in each adventure.

As a physician turned medicine man, Michael Twoyoungmen had a career path that paralleled that of Stephen Strange. Though Shaman's magic concentrated largely around nature, his medicine pouch also gave him the ability to transport the team to other dimensions—a hallmark power of Dr. Strange.

A back story in Alpha Flight #11 told how Bruce Banner's transformation into the Hulk inspired Walter Langkowski to experiment with gamma rays, leading to his own transformation into Sasquatch. At a point when Sasquatch began to succumb to Hulk-like rage, Shaman bound him with vegetation (Alpha Flight #12), reminiscent of the Crimson Bands that Dr. Strange used at times to immobilize the Hulk.

Of all the heroes in Alpha Flight, Northstar was arguably the least content, yet Dr. Strange once enlisted his help on a mission with the Secret Defenders. The Canadian mutant accompanied Hulk and Nova in Secret Defenders #11.
The above illustrations by John Byrne come from X-Men #120 and Alpha Flight #12.

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