Marvel Comics, 1983-1985
It occurred to me that it was time to start a new recurring feature here at the Rambler; enthusing about comics I have enjoyed. I'm going to keep it flexible - an appreciation can be anything from a single issue to an entire series, and anything in between.
This inaugural A.C.A. is about Alpha Flight, specifically issues 1-28. Alpha Flight was a group of Canadian superhero characters that first appeared in a 1980 issue of X-Men - specifically designed by creator John Byrne - himself Canadian - merely as a team that could 'survive a fight with the X-Men.' The back story is that Alpha Flight is a branch of the military, and Wolverine was originally part of the team who went awol to join the X-Men. The Canadian government, having poured untold resources into his creation, sends Alpha Flight to reclaim him.
Wolverine doesn't return with them, and by the time Alpha Flight's own comic premiered, the government funding had been cut off and the team was officially disbanded.
What followed was one of the oddest superhero comics of the 1980s, a decade where superhero deconstruction was the norm. Alpha Flight preceded Watchmen (by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons) and The Dark Knight Returns (by Frank Miller) by a few years, but was also part of the era's thematic shift away from the 'what' of superheroes to the 'why' of them. The difference between Alpha Flight and the other two books (beyond their being substantially more famous to the general public) is that, while Moore and Miller on some fundamental level thought superheroes were silly, John Byrne unabashedly loved them. But he also spent a lot of time thinking about the 'why,' and that's the fundamental core of this book about a 'team' that rarely met or acted together.