Graphic Novel Review: Captain Marvel: Rise of Alpha Flight

Captain Marvel: Rise of Alpha Flight

Captain Marvel: Rise of Alpha Flight - Credit: Archant

Face front, true believers! The Captain has made her return and oh, how mighty it is. It’s a bold new frontier for Carol Danvers as she soars to new heights in her greatest mission yet - leader of the all-new Alpha Flight space program. As earth’s first line of defence, Carol and her team aim to protect the planet from extraterrestrial threats. But can she be a soldier and a diplomat? The superstar team behind Marvel’s Agent Carter TV series, Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, make their comics debut alongside the talented Kris Anka.

(Panini Books)

The rise of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, to her current position as the prominent Marvel Comics female super-hero was not only long overdue, but shows no signs of slowing down, especially given her major role in this summer’s Civil War II crossover epic.

This latest volume of her solo series not only marks a major shift in the Captain’s position in the wider Marvel Universe, but continues the development she has enjoyed in terms of characterisation in recent years, a far cry from when Carol Danvers was the stand-by victim of lazy plotting whenever a (male) writer needed to put a female hero through the ringer. All hail progressive comics!

So, back to Alpha Flight… Considering the number of times Marvel’s Earth is regularly threatened by forces from outer space, it seems incredible that it took decades for the creation of a dedicated extra-planetary defence force.

The eventual destruction of SWORD, and its geostationary Peak headquarters, left this void waiting to be filled, a position now taken by a revamped and repurposed Alpha Flight.

Despite taking the name of the obsolete Canadian super-team, and incorporating members Sasquatch, Puck and Aurora (as well as former SWORD boss Abigail Brand), that is where the similarities end, as the new Flight is a low-orbit space station which acts as Earth’s first line of defence against extraterrestrial threats.

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The Alpha Flight Program is overseen by representatives from Earth nations and their otherworldly allies, but is ultimately commanded by Carol Danvers, somewhat reluctantly stepping up to the challenge of running the station and leading the team.

This inaugural arc finds the Flight station and Danvers herself under threat from a force of aliens intent on wreaking vengeance on the Kree race for ancient acts of aggression, but also sets up the concepts behind the new series and how it will work alongside the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Having only dipped in and out of Carol Danvers’ adventures over the decades, this new volume not only proves remarkably accessible without extensive knowledge of her career, but succeeds in breathing new life into fan favourites from the previous incarnation of Alpha Flight without sacrificing their history or forcing them to change for the worse to fit into their revamped roles.

A promising start to a decidedly different Marvel series which manages to be both a solo title and a team book at the same time. Recommended.