I've got to hand it to Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. Not only did they resist the urge to bring Wolverine in for a guest appearance in Alpha Flight until the penultimate issue, but they found a way to make sure that he sticks around for the final battle.
However, because this is the inevitable Wolverine appearance in Alpha Flight, most of the issue follows his narrative. Some of the more recent comic book fans may not be aware of this, but Wolverine has major ties to Alpha Flight, especially with James and Heather Hudson as well as Puck. Pak and Van Lente play up on this by having Wolverine approach Heather first about the accusations of treason that she's made against her husband, James (aka Guardian).
Wolverine once had some potentially romantic feelings towards Heather and she briefly uses that against him. There's also a nice moment when Logan realizes that something is wrong with Heather and she immediately knows that he's noticed her physical change. Who knew that having four toes could be so creepy?
From there, Wolverine is eventually reunited with Alpha Flight just in time for another prerequisite showdown with Guardian. At first, Guardian actually has a reason to start a fight with Logan, but the second part of their conflict definitely felt forced. It's not like Wolverine to ever turn his back on his friends in their hour of need and his "I'm an Avenger now" spiel didn't ring true to his character.
But that did lead to a hilarious scene in which Sasquatch dealt with both Wolverine and Guardian. Unfortunately, it seems like Pak and Van Lente are making Sasquatch talk and act more like the Hulk; which seems like the wrong direction to take his character.
As always, Dale Eaglesham's art shines with some exceptionally sharp pages. The previously mentioned Sasquatch page is the best in the issue, but the opening scene with Heather and Logan on the beach was also very well drawn and it hid Heather's physical changes until just the right panel.
For the last few months, Alpha Flight has had a traitor on the team. By the end of this issue, the traitor is not only exposed, but it turns out that Alpha Flight has an unexpected ally of their own. And this time, the Master of the Earth is coming to deal with the team himself.
Pak and Van Lente also get the ball rolling on the final battle with Vindicator and her Alpha Strike team; which is why Logan can't get out of dodge this time. Wolverine's opponent even manages to take him down a peg. But don't hold your breathe about that lasting for too long.
Alpha Flight is one of those Marvel books that just doesn't work without the right creative team. In that regard, Pak, Van Lente and Eaglesham have done a terrific job of making these characters interesting again. It's a shame that the next issue may be the last time that they have their own title for the foreseeable future. But I'm eager to see how this story finally wraps up.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5/10