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Marvel Universe 

Alpha Flight

 

Universe
Marvel Universe

Base of Operations
Department H, Ontario, Canada; formerly Tamarind Island, British Columbia, Canada; Mansion Alpha, Winnipeg, Canada

First Appearance
X-Men #120 (1979)

Current Members:
None



Alpha Flight is a team of superhuman Canadian operatives that originated in the private sector with an engineer named James MacDonald Hudson who had developed an exoskeleton to assist in geological exploration. When Hudson learned that the U.S. military had appropriated his invention, he destroyed the plans and made off with the helmet necessary to control the apparatus. Heather McNeil, then executive secretary to Hudson's immediate superior Jerome Jaxon, was shocked by the sudden turn of events and arranged a meeting between Hudson and the Canadian government. Hudson was able to plead his case and the government stepped in to resolve the situation. The Canadian prime minister subsequently invited Hudson to participate in the creation of Department H, a top-secret research and development agency within the country's Ministry of Defense. Hudson married Heather soon after.

Inspired by the debut of the superhuman adventurers the Fantastic Four, Hudson's first recruit for the team's first incarnation, code-named the Flight, was the feral mutant, Wolverine who had joined Department H some years earlier as an espionage agent. Wolverine participated in the initial phases of the team's creation, and after an initial mission against the forces of the criminal mastermind Egghead, it was decided that Wolverine would lead the team. However, for his own reasons, Wolverine left Department H and joined the X-Men, the mutant team formed by Professor Charles Xavier. In Wolverine's stead, Hudson donned a modified version of the exoskeleton he had created and first took the name Weapon Alpha, then Vindicator, then later settled on Guardian. Recruiting five more super-powered champions, the newly formed Alpha Flight initially clashed with the X-Men in an attempt to capture Wolverine, but the two teams later cooperated against the monstrous Wendigo. Alpha Flight subsequently lost government funding, but its members decided to remain operational as freelance adventurers.

Following Hudson's apparent death, leadership of Alpha Flight was assumed by his wife Heather when she donned his battlesuit and succeeded him as Vindicator. The Canadian government resumed sponsorship of Alpha Flight, and the team established a headquarters on Tamarind Island off the coast of British Columbia. However, relations between the team and the government grew strained over time. Alpha Flight's government liaison, a former intelligence agent named Gary Cody, sought to keep the team under control by resurrecting one of Hudson's earliest attempts to create a superhuman being. This creature, known as Bedlam, killed Cody before violently confronting the team. After a pitched battle, Vindicator managed to destroy Bedlam.

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During one of the team's adventures in another dimension, Department H created a new team dubbed Gamma Flight to act as their official agents during Alpha Flight's absence. When Alpha Flight eventually returned to Earth, the two teams initially clashed but soon put aside their differences to oppose the threat of the extradimensional menace of Llan the Sorcerer. After Hudson returned alive and well, Alpha Flight and Gamma Flight were combined into the one team that were reinstated as Canada's official government operatives. The restructured team continued to face various threats, at one point teaming up with Wolverine against the forces of the Brass Bishop, but ultimately Department H was dissolved and the team disbanded.

Department H was eventually reinstated under the administration of General Jeremy Clarke, who was charged with creating a new Alpha Flight. The new team, which included a mixture of veterans and neophytes led by a seemingly youthful Hudson, found itself manipulated by subversive tactics and clandestine missions, including one against the X-Men. Department H's deception was not laid bare until an encounter with the remaining members of the original Alpha Flight team, including the true Hudson. The younger Guardian was revealed to be a synthetic being created to supplant the original, who had refused to rejoin the Department H and was subsequently targeted for assassination. The two teams joined forces and regained control of Department H.

Wolverine subsequently helped the reformed team against the weapon-making terrorists of Advanced Idea Mechanics, during which the team regained a former member in Snowbird but lost the younger Guardian who sacrificed his life to ensure the team's freedom. Alpha Flight returned the favor by helping Wolverine defeat the cannibalistic sorcerer Mauvais. Wolverine also briefly served as mentor to a new member, Earthmover, who was being groomed to replace Shaman on the team.

Alpha Flight's next challenge was of a very personal nature when Hudson was attacked and seemingly killed by an insane scientist Jiroult who sought Heather's affections for his own. Hudson was saved by Shaman's magic but left physically crippled, Hudson donned an experimental exo-suit to prevent Jiroult from killing Heather. He was later fully healed with the help of the X-Man Archangel. After Heather had gave birth to a baby girl.

The team was later charged with retrieving Canadian citizen Sammy Paré from the X-Men's home at the Xavier Institute, as the Attorney General's office, the Governor of Connecticut, and the Canadian government had deemed the school unsafe for children to inhabit. This led to a clash with the X-Men, which was quickly halted after Sammy agreed to return back to Canada with Alpha Flight.

After the race of alien beings known as the Plodex targeted Alpha Flight and captured most of the team, Sasquatch set out to gather a new team of novice Canadian heroes to rescue them. Sasquatch offered membership to Yukon Jack (king of a hidden civilization) and then Zuzha Yu (daughter of Puck), but they both turned him down. Despite reviving Nemesis from suspended animation and awakening Centennial's long-dormant powers, neither of them wanted to join either. Eventually tricking them all into becoming a part of the team, and joined by the new Major Mapleleaf, son of the WW2 hero of the same name, Sasquatch prepared them for a battle with the Plodex, who were responsible for the disappearance of the prior members. Discovering that the Plodex ship was full of unhatched eggs, the group hit a moral snag; although the Plodex were a warlike race, many members felt they still deserved a chance to change. The infighting stopped when the prior Alpha Flight decided to take the Plodex back to their home planet and raise them themselves. Sasquatch's group, along with a young Plodex named Mar who stayed behind, were left to defend Canada. While out on a date Mapleleaf and Puck were attacked by wax duplicates of dozens of heroes, controlled by the Manimator, whom Puck easily defeated with a left hook.

Following a struggle with a mind-controlled Big Hero 6, events spiraled out of control when the team tried to use time travel to save former enemy Flashback, whose future self had been killed in a previous battle. A series of efforts resulted in history being rewritten for the worse with each change they made. Sasquatch was ultimately able to enlist the past Shaman's help in stabilizing the timeline and saving Flashback. Soon after, Centennial and Nemesis apparently perished, Mar and Yukon Jack left, and Puck and Major Mapleleaf went to reserve status.

Recently, Alpha Flight sought to impede the progress of the supremely empowered Michael Pointer but were decimated by his multitude of powers. Apparently Sasquatch was the only one to survive and has since then helped create a new Omega Flight.