Warning: contains spoilers for Alpha Flight #1!

With the X-Men reeling following the recent assault on Krakoa during the Hellfire Gala by anti-mutant organization Orchis, mutants are once again feared and on the run – and with this new paradigm comes new models of Sentinels. So far, readers have witnessed the introduction the Stark Sentinels, based on Iron Man’s technology, and in Alpha Flight #1, a new type has emerged – one that corrupts everything the X-Men stand for.

Alpha Flight #1 – written by Ed Brisson, drawn by Scott Godlewski, colored by Matt Milla and lettered by Travis Lanham – reintroduces Canada’s premiere superteam, who have seemingly sided with the anti-mutant policies of their country’s Department H, who oversees Alpha Flight as well as all super-powered activity in Canada. The Department has ordered the creation of a new model of Sentinel, called the “Box Sentinel.”

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A text piece in Alpha Flight #1 reveals the model originated with an original member of Alpha Flight: Roger Bochs Sr, or “Box,” as he was known to the team. A wheelchair user, Box created a number of innovations aimed at helping people with disabilities. In the present day, his son, born with the same genetic condition of his father, has carried on his namesake’s research – but readers learn that Bochs Jr has pledged to help protect Canada from “the growing Krakoan nationalist threat.” The new “Box Sentinels” are not seen in the issue, but they are the latest in a long line of the mutant-hunting robots.

The Sentinels have been a looming presence in the lives of the X-Men since the beginning of the franchise, first appearing in 1965’s X-Men #14. Over the years, there have been many makes and models of Sentinels unleashed against mutantkind. Some have been purely robotic, some have been bio-organic; still others have been microscopic in nature. Most recently, Orchis gained control of Iron Man’s technology, using them to create the Stark Sentinel. Regardless of their form, more Sentinels spells more bad news for mutants. What makes the Box Sentinels truly heartbreaking, though, is they pervert the X-Men’s ideals of equality and tolerance.

X-Men comics have always explored themes of tolerance and equality, with mutants functioning as stand-ins for members of marginalized communities. The technology used to create the Box Sentinels originated in the research of Roger Bochs, who sought to use advanced tech to help those with disabilities, including himself. His son has twisted his father’s work, turning it into an instrument of oppression. As the text piece in Alpha Flight #1 reminds readers, Bochs Sr. was a member in good standing of Alpha Flight. By allying himself Orchis, Bochs’ son tarnishes his father’s name. Bochs Jr is taking technology intended to help, and using it to harm, running counter to everything the X-Men stand for.

Alpha Flight #1 is available now from Marvel Comics!

 The Box Sentinels have a tragic origin.  Read More