This comic answers the question that dozens of people around the world have always wanted to know: What if Wolverine led Alpha Flight?
I know; you have lost sleep pondering this unknowable question. Thanks to writer Simon “Transformers” Furman and penciller Bryan “The Ultimates” Hitch, we can finally find out.
The X-Men would die, of course. It’s not an Alternate Reality story unless people die.
This comic posits another possible outcome to 1979’s Uncanny X-Men #120-121, a classic storyline from the Claremont/Byrne era that introduced Canada’s very own superteam, Alpha Flight, who eventually got their own frequently cancelled and relaunched series. In that storyline, Alpha Flight leader James “Vindicator” Hudson tries to repo the mutant Wolverine, whom the Canadian government has invested a lot of money and training in, and bring him back into the fold as a Canadian agent. The X-Men and Alpha Flight throw down in a raging blizzard in Calgary, until Wolverine ends the fun by agreeing to surrender. Sulking, The X-Men get in their plane to fly back to The States – and find Wolvie chillaxin’ in the cockpit after escaping from the Canadians. That spunky little rascal!
In this tale of a possible future, Wolverine doesn’t break out from Canadian custody and the X-Men hop into their plane without him. After they cross over into American airspace, the mutants turn their jet around and try to sneak back into Canada to rescue their teammate.
Here’s what happens when you screw with The Canadian Air Force:
In your face, mutants! Trying to sneak over the incredibly militarized, tightly guarded, non-porous Canadian/American border, eh? Nice try. NOBODY gets across that border without Canada or America knowing about it! That shit’s locked up tighter than the Berlin Wall!
What happens after Wolverine learns that The X-Men died at the hands of the bloodthirsty Canadian military? He gets pissed, then settles down and decides to lead Alpha Flight. What the hell else is he going to do?
The rest of the book shows how Alpha Flight and Wolverine would have fared with the feral mutant at the helm. Wolverine leads the original Alpha line-up against foes like Annihilus and The Hellfire Club. He finds that leadership helps him chill and not freak out and kill people quite as much, which is a plus. The Alpha heroes are transformed into an effective team under Wolverine’s wise guidance.
Plus, the heroes that can’t fly get jetpacks, which makes a hell of a lot of sense. Alpha Flight also picks up a new motto, seen below:
“Let’s do it?”
That’s Wolverine’s battle cry? What about something more motivational, like: “Let’s actualize our inner potential!” or something more in character, like: “I am going to fucking stab you!” or something more Canadian, like: “Beer, please!”
I want to go on record as saying that I liked this comic book. I am one of the twelve people on Earth who would have loved to see Wolverine lead Alpha Flight back in the day, and I am a blindly uncritical fan of the original Alpha Flight roster. Furman’s script matches the tone and tenor of the original storyline well and serves up some geeky retro Marvel goodness, and although Bryan Hitch’s pencils seem distorted by the ink job, I still like the art.
Thank you, What If? #59, for daring to show us a possible reality where Canadian superheroes kick ass and save the world – until they get cancelled, that is.