Overview

Omega Flight #1

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Omega Flight #1

Credits

  • Words: Michael Avon Oeming
  • Art: Scott Kolins
  • Inks: Scott Kolins
  • Colors: Brian Reber
  • Story Title: Alpha to Omega – Part 1
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Apr 4, 2007

From the ashes of Alpha Flight a new team is born. But in the aftermath of Civil War, what’s left of Canada’s heroes may need a little help to defend her borders.

As the Superhuman Registration Act comes into force in the U.S., those wishing to avoid its purview, like the Wrecking Crew this month, are flooding into Canada. With superhuman crime escalating, the time has come for a new Canadian super-team. But with much of Alpha Flight dead (slaughtered off-panel in New Avengers), who will rise to face the challenge?

Michael Avon Oeming’s new version of the cult fan-favorite is a curious beast. The team mixes old faces from Alpha Flight’s heyday with established second-string American heroes and a controversial new version of Guardian. The premise being that Canada no longer has the metahuman resources to police itself and needs U.S. help to put together an effective defense against the fallout of Civil War.

This first issue begins the building of the newly-codenamed Omega Flight and concentrates on Walter Langkowski (Sasquatch) as, under governmental supervision, he takes the first steps towards the formation of the group. Fans of the John Byrne run of Alpha Flight will be pleased to see a heavy focus on Shaman’s daughter Talisman, whose reluctance to join up will no doubt be a temporary one.

The remainder of Omega Flight is largely unseen this month beyond the cover and a couple of cameos but consists of U.S.Agent, former Spider-Woman Arachne, Beta Ray Bill and a new Guardian who just happens to be the man who killed Alpha Flight. This last, in particular, is a very intriguing move and I look forward to seeing where Oeming goes with this. Perhaps it’s time to take the name "Vindicator" out of mothballs?

Oeming does an admirable job of trying to tie this to previous versions of the Flight (as we seem to have to refer to them now) and there are some nice attempts at continuity touches even if the explanation as to why this new Flight would take on the name of the original’s deadliest enemies is flawed (the original Omega Flight did not steal the name from Department H, which had only Alpha, Beta and Gamma Flights but never mind…). Still, there are enjoyable references to Yukon Jack and the events of Alpha Flight Vol. 3 and the Talisman dream sequence has plenty of hints for the longer-term reader.

This is a well-constructed and tightly-written opening issue with strong characterization and a logical premise for the rebirth of the Flight. The intrinsic problem, however, is that Omega Flight is trying too hard to be all things to all people. Alpha Flight fans may well be unsatisfied that so few actual Alphans (and there are plenty of surviving members from the original three volumes) are on the team while more mainstream Marvel fans are hardly likely to find the likes of U.S.Agent and Arachne a major draw.

The revamp also seems to largely miss the point of what made Alpha Flight popular in the first place. Fans loved it because its cast existed in a slightly divorced pocket of the Marvel Universe, populated by particularly grotesque and often macabre villains. When the rest of the Marvel Universe impinged on Alpha’s world it was all the more special for its infrequency. By tying Omega Flight so heavily into Marvel’s current crossover output, that’s been lost.

Scott Kolins is impressive throughout on art. His fight scenes are flowing and animated but it’s the smaller details that are of greater note. He embellishes Oeming’s characterization with great panache. Just check out Langkowski’s near despair about being sucked back into the super-hero game, Talisman’s awe at her supernatural vision or her joy at seeing Sasquatch. Special mention for his Byrne-influenced rendition of Sasquatch which is marvelous.

A cautious thumbs-up for Omega Flight then. Oeming tries very hard to catch the spirit of Alpha, even if a lot of what made it unique has had to be sacrificed. While it may not be exactly what some of us longer-term fans were hoping for in an Alpha Flight revival, on its own merits and on the basis of this first issue, it deserves to be a success. At the very least, it certainly deserves more than just five issues to find an audience!

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