ALPHA FLIGHT #1 (1983): First Appearances of Marina and Puck!

This is about as well-done as a first issue can be.  Starting with the cover.  None of the Marvel Universe characters are in the book, but John Byrne is smart enough to put them on the cover.  Move some units, get more people interesting.  Also, it’s giant-sized, so he has time to slowly, gradually, introduce readers to the full cast of the team—a team that to now has never had a major role, except as part of Wolverine’s past.

It starts with team leader Vindicator, who lets us know through his own reverie that there are also Beta and Gamma Flights—and this is before Marvel had multiple Avengers teams or X-Men teams.  It makes sense, though, doesn’t it?  If the government had access to supers, it would maximize them

We also meet Heather, Vindicator’s red-headed girlfriend, who Byrne establishes as more than just a side-character.  It’s because of her that two new characters enter the Alpha Flight team as she pulls Puck and Marina up from Beta Flight.  Byrne gives every character at least a page to establish their basic character, then there’s a big fight against a one-off foe before all the Alphas get into plain clothes and go to Vindicator’s house where we get the traditional Marvel team book conclusion:

A fight between the team members.  But it’s all in good fun.

Byrne never leans heavily on the X-mythology here—this book is clearly intended to stand on its own.

Creator: John Byrne
Grade: A
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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