February 12, 2011

Ye Olde School Cafe’: X-Men/ Alpha Flight -The Gift

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Written by: Billy
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Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of Ye Olde School Café! In this week’s installment we’ll be looking at the X-Men/ Alpha Flight crossover “The Gift”, by Chris Claremont. It was only two issues long, but was a story that included Alpha Flight that wasn’t terrible…sorry, I’m not a big Alpha Flight fan. This was a story that tested certain members’ moral and ethical virtues to their breaking point, and I’m going to bring it to you right now!

Our story begins with a small plane flying over Alaska, and heading north for a geological expedition. One of the pilots, Scott Summers, heads out of the cockpit to see how the passengers are doing. He first talks with two geologists about their love for adventure, and also for things of a magical nature. Scott then makes his way back further and joins a conversation he wishes he hadn’t. Two men are discussing how “regular people” need to be proactive and stop the mutants before they can kill them. Scott gets angry inside and decides to move to the rear of the plane where the cargo is stored. While there, he talks with Sam about the two men and their bigotry. Sam tells Scott that it still hurts him to this day to hear people talk like that. Scott tells him he wishes he could make it all go away. Sam then tells Scott that… “Wishing’s fine son, but some things, the really important ones, have to be earned. Otherwise, they mean nothing.” Scott then gets called to the cockpit by Madelyne. The weather they are experiencing is like nothing she’s ever seen before, but Scott tells her that he’s seen it before. Once, the X-Men tangled with Alpha Flight, Scott tells Madelyne, and that their mystic member, Shaman, manipulated the weather exactly like this. Just as they are trying to send out an S.O.S., a flash of lightning blinds them.

We then switch our attention to upstate New York, and some young mutants having a good time. Inside a local restaurant, Doug Ramsey is teasing Illyana Rasputin and a friend. A fellow teenager tries to rough up Doug, but Illyana intercedes and the boy backs down. The two leave there and head back to the mansion and run right into Kitty Pryde. She’s running a training exercise for the rest of the team. Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Rogue, and Rachel Summers are about to start a training program when all of a sudden, Rachel gets hit with a tremendous psychic bolt. Her powers then activate a program set to kill instead of the normal training program. Kitty cries out for the Professor to help, but within a blink of an eye, the X-Men are transported to the frozen tundra where Scott and Madelyne’s plane crashed.

Next, we look in on Alpha Flight’s resident Sasquatch, Walter Langkowski. He is getting an exam by Shaman, to determine why he seems to be losing control of his mind when he transforms and uses his powers. Shaman tells Walter he’s in perfect physical shape and sends him on his way. Shaman then tells Heather Hudson that Langkowski’s affliction is either mental or magical in nature. As the two are talking, they are interrupted by Snowbird stumbling into the room. She starts to tell them that something terrible is happening in Ungava Bay, but is knocked over as Rachel Summers grabs Shaman, using her Phoenix powers to slam him into the wall. Shaman tries to use his medicine pouch, but Rachel tosses it away. Outside, Northstar grabs Rogue, but she kisses him and then he’s out cold. Inside, Puck and Sasquatch confront Rachel, but Professor Xavier intervenes and stops them from throwing down. As everyone is trying to figure out what is happening, Snowbird is dying. She tells everybody that the same time she started to feel ill, is when Scott’s plane went down.

We then get to see Loki as he is trying to bargain with the beings know as “We Who Sit Above in Shadow.” He wants to make a deal with them, but they want him to try and prove that a person’s nature can be changed. Loki is more than happy to meddle in the lives of the people of Midgard. Loki tells them that he will use his tricks to make peace over all the land. They agree to help him slightly, and then make a judgment on him and his actions after the whole affair is over. We change scenes to the X-Men and Alpha Flight on an airplane headed to Ungava Bay to investigate Snowbird’s feelings of dread in that area. On the plane, several passengers have regrets about their recent actions. Rachel wishes she wouldn’t have attacked Alpha Flight unprovoked. Heather then wishes she didn’t distract her late husband, Mac, so he’d still be alive. Logan offers Heather some advice and a drink to calm her flustered state. She refuses the drink, but then their conversation is interrupted by the plane landing. The two teams exit the plane and Rogue and Northstar talk about their meeting earlier, and then about how much their powers define them as who they are.

And this is where I will stop for now, but come back next week to see the X-Men and Alpha Flight tested, not only physically, but emotionally more than ever!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. This story actually got me interested in Alpha Flight and I actually collected some back issues for some more clarity on the characters. That quickly ended and I just stuck with this story as their high point.

  2. Billy

    @Speech- Yeah, Alpha Flight to me has always been horrible. I do think some of the characters are OK, but they just can’t put together a great story. 🙁

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