DIAMOND LIL: Page 3 of 6

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5th January 2008

Alpha Flight returning to their governmentally sanctioned status, and them also having taken in the members of Gamma Flight, they had more members at their disposal than ever before. Before the official line-up was picked, it was decided to try out the various heroes in different combinations over the next few missions, to see how well they would work together. Not wanting to be separated from her lover, Lil was determined to prove her worth to the team. However, something that Lil had been trying to deny and ignore made its way to the surface. When Heather found her crying in the showers, Diamond Lil could no longer deny that she had a lump in her left breast, and it was getting bigger. Believing it to be cancer, Lil was scared and angry. While no outside force could hurt her indestructible body, she had no idea how to fight a threat originating from within. Her powers even turned out to be a curse, for with the doctors being unable to do a biopsy, as none of their instruments was able to penetrate her diamond hard skin, they couldn’t tell whether the tumor was malignant or benign. On the day the official roster of Alpha Flight was announced, including both Madison and Lillian, she filled her teammates in on her medical status and promised to do her all for Alpha Flight. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #91, 94-95]

Weeks later, while Canada was harboring the woman known only as Her, the Consortium, an intergalactic business conglomerate, sent numerous aliens to invade the county in order to blackmail Her being turned over to them. Amidst the battle, Diamond Lil was caught by surprise when her skin was cut by one of the alien’s lasers. Realizing this weapon to be the solution to her problem, Lil skipped the fight and pursued the alien throughout the entire city, demanding the gun from him. The fact that it was an implant, cybernetically connected to the alien’s body, didn’t stop her from acquiring the laser. Returning to the fight, Lil apologized for bugging out on the others, who proved to be rather understanding. However, she kept mum about what exactly she did to the alien that the weapon had belonged to. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #97-100]

Right after the conflict with the aliens (during which James Hudson apparently died again), Madison helped Department H‘s medical staff to modify the laser gun, so that it could be used like a scalpel. Lillian was rather thankful that Madison was there for her as she had feared with Hudson gone, he might go back to Heather. Madison easily calmed her fears, explaining that, while he and Heather had loved each other, he had come to the realization that they had never been in love. Fortunately, the biopsy revealed that the lump was nothing more than an infected cyst containing clotted blood - she didn’t have cancer. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #101]

Next time, it was Madison’s health that was endangered. Having transformed the Box armor into an aircraft, Madison submerged with it and was then seriously injured when Diablo somehow cut its electrical power, causing the Boxship to crash. Diamond Lil refused to leave his side, even though they faced certain annihilation by one of Diablo‘s flame creatures. Proclaiming their love for each other, Madison asked Lil to

marry him, should they make it out alive. Her positive answer gave him enough strength to assemble a shelter from nearby wreckage parts and, once Alpha Flight had defeated the foe, and returned home, the happy couple announced their engagement to the rest of the team, just like their intent to retire from active duty. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #102-104]

Naturally, Alpha Flight wouldn’t let them go without celebrating the good news. While the men took Madison to a tavern, Heather and Aurora arranged a bachelorette party for Lillian in a female strip club. During their night out, it became rather obvious that Lil and Heather had fully gotten over their enmity and now considered each other close friends. Lil even went as far as asking Heather what to expect from Madison in their wedding night. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #104-105]

Unfortunately, though, the marriage did not go as well as they had hoped, as Madison missed the super-hero life too much: He would often sneak out at night to spend a few hours in his Box armor, and over-eagerly answered to summon calls from Alpha Flight, even when it weren't true any emergency situations. Lil did not take too kindly to this, confiding in Heather about her concerns and even outright threatening Madison to call it quits if their relationship wouldn’t have top priority for him. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #109, 122, 125]

With anti-mutant / superhero hysteria rising in Canada, mostly due to the schemes of Joshua Lord, the Senator already responsible for the Superhuman Registration Act, it was decided to temporarily shut down Department H’s Flight programs and lay low for a while. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #130]

When Alpha Flight was restarted several moths later, Lillian was furious about Madison re-joining the active roster. After a certain while, having calmed down a bit, Diamond Lil wanted to talk to her husband face to face and dropped by Department H for a visit. She was unaware of things being handled differently than back in her days, the superiors of Alpha Flight having many secrets and hidden agendas, them even ordering Alpha Flight to be brainwashed every now and then to cover up them learning too much. The fact that Madison had been among the team, only to be kidnapped by the villain team called Zodiac, was just one of the things the team no longer remembered. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #5]

Chief scientist Dr. Horatio Huxley had Diamond Lil knocked out and taken to his labs, where she was subjected to a barrage of tests and experiments. To study its effects on human physiology, Lil was infected with a low dose of Thetagen-24, an aggressive strand of bacteria. Previous test subjects had died of the bacteria’s effects, however Lil’s mutant power saved her, keeping the infection from spreading more than skin deep. As such, it couldn’t mess up her system and rather lived as a parasite on her skin. It was long weeks before Alpha Flight eventually discovered Huxley’s experiments and rescued Lillian. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #6, 11, 18-19]

It is unknown what happened to Lillian after this as she did not rejoin Alpha Flight, so presumably she was recuperating elsewhere. If she or Alpha Flight made any efforts to locate the missing Madison, they must have been futile, for he was later stolen from his kidnappers by operatives of the revamped Weapon X Program. After having Madison brainwashed, the Director ordered him to design a concentration camp for mutants. In a cruel twist of fate, Lil happens to be one of the dozens of mutants who were captured by Weapon X and taken to the camp. Her bad temper getting the better of her, Lillian tried to fight with the guards but was beaten to a pulp, her mutant power canceled out by a negation field covering the entire camp. [Weapon X (2nd series) #5]

Whereas several other inmates were killed in the camp’s gas chambers shortly after their arrival, as they were either considered too dangerous or without any potential use, Lillian was among those prisoners that the Weapon X staff wanted to eventually re-program into loyal operatives for them. However, before they had a chance to do so, the tragedy known as M-Day struck the world, rendering over 90% of Earth’s mutant population powerless. At the same time, the Weapon X program was robbed of all of its super-powered agents as well as their prime directive. With only a few hundred mutants left worldwide, Homo superior were a dying species on the brink of extinction.

It is unknown whether the Weapon X staff released their prisoners voluntary, or if the few remaining mutants among the prisoners managed to break out on their own, but Diamond Lil found herself free again. Having nowhere else to go, Lil sought refuge at the Xavier Institute, just like many others mutants when several anti-mutant groups took advantage of the situation and started to hunt down the few mutants left. The mansion already overcrowded with staff and students, Lillian was forced to sleep outside in the camp like dozens of other mutants, heroes and villains alike. These mutants have been dubbed “The 198,” after the number of mutants that the government knows to be still around.

The camp was only a temporary and somewhat unpractical solution, though. Especially when the US government sent the Sentinel Squad O*N*E to protect and to watch over “The 198,“ many of the people residing in the camp felt more like prisoners than like guest, prompting a large number of them to leave. [X-Men: The 198 #4, X-Men (2nd series) #183] Currently, it is unknown if Lillian is still living on the Xavier estate, or if she left like several other residents of the camp, who felt more like prisoners than like guests.