Saturday, July 6, 2013

Alpha Bits

When I was in New York, I came upon a cool toy/hobby shop called the Forbidden Planet. While I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, as always, something managed to catch my attention….

Now, many people love the Avengers or the X-Men, me….while I too like those teams, I usually prefer to go for more obscure teams. Case in point, Alpha Flight, Canada’s very own super team. I really don’t know what it is about these guys, I remember just randomly picking up a couple Alpha Flight comics years ago and being instantly hooked and since then they have remained my favourite super team.

Being the obscure team that they were, you didn’t get that many Alpha Flight toys very often. So when I saw two “box sets” of Alpha Flight minimates that would essentially give me the main team (albeit in minimate form) I thought long and hard about purchasing it. Of course the usual thought ran through my head that making this purchase could potentially open the floodgates of collecting yet another toyline…something I was usually prone to doing. So using better judgement I decided to pass on them.

My good resolve didn’t last very long after that though. A few weeks later, on my last day in Los Angeles before going home to the Philippines, I came upon another store with the same 2 Alpha Flight minimates box sets at a further discounted price, my resolve just crumbled and I eagerly scooped both up. I waited until I got home to Manila to finally open these guys up and really see what all the fuss was about.

So first let’s do a rundown of what I got. Box set #1 got me 4 Alphans. First up is their leader, Mac Hudson aka Guardian. Think Canada’s version of Captain America. Come to think of it, I think it was this guy’s Canadian flag inspired costume that first attracted me to the Flight. There really isn’t much I can say though about him since he basically was already dead by the time I started reading the comics. I just thought he looked really cool. Next we have Puck, who I’ve written a whole other entry on in the past so just follow this link to learn more about the guy.

The final two in this set are Marrina and Northstar. As the name implies, Marrina is the team’s resident water girl. She’s actually a member of the plodex who are a savage world conquering race of aliens who’s true form is similar to that of a prehistoric sea leviathan. Anyway, as part of their conquest strategy, they scatter their eggs throughout space to different planets to incubate, hatch and ultimately multiply and destroy stuff. It was just earth’s luck that Marrina’s egg landed and was discovered by a loving family and upon hatching, she took the form of a human and was raised to be good (hmmm….sounds like a familiar origin story…). 

She eventually grew up, met Namor the Submariner and they got married. Unfortunately, she ultimately reverted to her savage leviathan form and Namor was forced to kill her (til death do us part). For some reason though she’s currently alive and back to normal…I have no idea how though but that’s good I guess?

And finally we have Alpha’s resident speedster, Northstar. Aside from being really really fast, there are 2 interesting points worth mentioning about this guy. First is that he has a twin sister, Aurora who is also a member of the team. She possesses similar powers of super speed and flight and in true wonder twin powers fashion, when they come into contact with each other (usually by holding hands) they amplify their powers and produce a blinding light.  

The second is that he was one of the first ever openly gay superheroes in comics. When the character was created way back in 1979, creator John Byrne really did intend for him to be gay, but was not allowed by the powers that be in Marvel to reveal that fact. It took well over a decade before he was finally allowed to officially “come out” in 1992.