BIOGRAPHY - Page 2
Essentially dead, all was not lost for Walter, as Snowbird revealed she had only destroyed his physical form, but his soul could be saved. In order to preserve it, Walter’s body was crystallized and the team traveled up to an ancient place in Canada’s north, called the Eye of the World, where the walls between dimension were thin enough for Alpha Flight to cross the border. All available Alphans, even former member Northstar and affiliate Box, answered Talisman’s summons call and, once they were in the Realm of the Great Beast, they started to search for Langkowski’s soul. A harrowing battle took place in the Realm of the Beasts and, without Walter’s spirit aiding Alpha Flight, they would have lost this fight. His soul retrieved, Alpha Flight returned home, only to discover that, in the meantime, his body had crumbled to dust and was beyond repair. A new body was needed to house Walt’s soul, which was at least temporarily found in the form of the Box armor conducted of “living metal,” that quadriplegic Roger Bochs had built for himself. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #24]
Walter remained with Alpha Flight as the Box but, being a very physical man, he could not stand being inside the metal armor for long. It did nothing to satisfy Aurora's needs either, and Roger Bochs was unhappy about not being able to walk around again. So, Walt and Bochs used their scientific minds to find a mindless body for Walt to put his mind into. Scanning the so-called Crossroads, a strange realm serving as a Nexus of Realities, for a new suitable host, Alpha Flight cheered when they found a humanoid strong body with next to no brainwave activity. An energy line was hooked to this body, and Walt’s spirit traveled along to take it over. However, as the mind-switch took place, Walt discovered that this mindless body was in fact that of the savage Hulk - his old high school friend Bruce Banner, whose mind was indeed buried somewhere deep inside, and now cast out because of him. Although Banner wanted to sacrifice himself, thinking that Langkowski could control the Hulk’s temper, which was actually his own suppressed rage, Walt could not bring himself to take the life of his old friend for his own sake. Therefore, as Alpha Flight reeled in the mindless and savage incredible Hulk, Walter Langkowski’s mind was left to wander the Crossroads. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #27-28, Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #313] Following his apparent death, Alpha Flight moved into Walter’s Tamarind Island home.
Eventually, while exploring the Crossroads and its myriad side-dimensions, Walt’s spirit was reunited with a former associate - the catatonic body of Smart Alec whom Shaman had long ago reduced in size and put in his medicine pouch to try and find away to restore his sanity. Walt’s spirit entered the tiny body, and managed to return to Earth by crawling out of Shaman’s pouch, finding himself in Alpha Flight’s headquarters, months having passed for his teammates months in the meantime. When Walter tried to alert Heather Hudson to his presence, she believed him to actually be Smart Alec and captured him, just as the Albino Sasquatch, which Snowbird often morphed into, crashed into the room. Snowbird having died and been buried only recently in that form, Heather at first thought it was her reborn, only to soon discovered that the Sorcerer Pestilence, the villain responsible for her death, had taken over her soulless body.
During the confusion, Walter was able to transfer his consciousness into the empty Box armor and engaged the enemy in battle, surprising everyone that the Box robot was operating when Roger Bochs was not inside. Walt revealed himself to his former teammates, including his former lover, Aurora, who ironically was now involved with Roger Bochs. A fight followed in which all of Alpha Flight did their best, but it was Walter inside the Box armor who succeeded in defeating the enemy, by using the armor’s internal power pack to purge the enemy from Snowbird’s Sasquatch form. The spirit of the villain was then captured by Shaman’s medicine pouch where he remains to this day. Unfortunately, Smart Alec’s body had been crushed during the battle, but Walter was not trapped in the armor again as he managed to transfer his consciousness into Snowbird's Sasquatch form, pleasing Aurora very much, but angering Roger Bochs. However, in a cruel twist of fate, when Walter morphed out of the Sasquatch form to a human appearance, he found himself stuck in female body - no big surprise, as Snowbird had been a woman.
Giving himself the name “Wanda,” Walt rejoined Alpha Flight, but this caused friction between the unstable Bochs and Aurora. At Aurora’s request, Dr. Lionel Jeffries, a mutant with the ability to change flesh was brought in to transform Walt back into a man. However, because the body belonged to a demi-goddess, Jeffries’ power had no effect on him. Walt tried to adjust to his life as Wanda and tried to rebuild his / her friendship with the other Alphans. However, it wasn’t going to be a smooth process, as Northstar revealed he preferred Langkowski as a man, and Aurora cruelly explained that she could not love Langkowski if he remained a woman. Nevertheless, Walt continued on in life with the usual witty comments and intelligence that he contributed to the team before his death. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #44-46]
But it wouldn’t be long before there wasn’t much of a team left, as Bochs was killed and Aurora, Northstar and Puck all left the team under various circumstances, leaving “Wanda” with Heather and Madison Jeffries as a new Box, as well as a couple of teenagers dubbed Beta Flight. Actually, of this line-up, Sasquatch was the only original Alpha Flight member that remained. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #49-51]
With good reason, Wanda was soon plagued by an identity crisis. After all, she had been so many things in her life - a handsome man, a monster, dead, a robot and now an attractive woman. But life could be worse, and Wanda remained optimistic. However, life did get much worse for Wanda and the rest of Alpha Flight, firstly with Mansion Alpha being destroyed by new enemy Bedlam the Brain Blast, forcing the team to use Bedlam’s isolated base near the northpole as a temporary headquarters after his defeat. Summoned by an unseen force to a certain spot in the snowy wastelands, Sasquatch began sculpting a number of bizarre formation, which allowed four of the Great Beasts to reappear on Earth again. They tried to convince Wanda that she was still one of them, because she still wore the guise of Tanaraq, but her body tapping into Snowbird’s knowledge of northern mythology, she rejected their evil influence and, alongside Alpha Flight, managed to overcome and banish them again. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #52-55]
As a result of their battle with the Great Beast, Alpha Flight were the blasted into space, where the resided for some time and first witnessed the deadly menace of the Dream Queen. Taking an unpleasant detour through Lifeworld, the Dream Queen’s dimension, Alpha Flight eventually found a way back home. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #56-60]
On Earth, in the meantime, Walter’s “widow,” Veronica Langkowski had claimed the Langkowski fortune for herself, as, fortunately for her, Walter had left a will, naming everything to her. That’s where Wanda’s troubles began, for, when she wanted to use the money to help funding a once more independent Alpha Flight, she found that she could not access any of her funds as no one believed her story about being reborn as a woman. Wanda tried valiantly to get her fortune back, and a court hearing took place in which she tried to explain everything to the judge. She was examined by a Lifeform Identifier, a device which had ironically been invented by Langkowski himself, but the machine couldn’t come up with a definite answer. Wanda even took a lie detector test, which confirmed her story as true. When the Judge took a recess to decide the fate of the Langkowski fortune, she was visited by a government agent under the control of the Dream Queen, who “convinced” her to award Walter’s fortune to Veronica. Not satisfied yet, the Dream Queen also created an illusion in the courtroom of Snowbird and the Northern Gods as well as the Great Beasts, all vying for Sasquatch to join them. Things took an interesting turn when one of the Beasts took Veronica, who called out for “Walter” to help her, making it perfectly clear that she knew Wanda was really Walter. After the hallucinatory battle ended, this revelation should have worked in Wanda’s favor, but Wanda boasted that she didn’t need the money or anyone else and walked out of the courthouse - where she was reunited with the long-gone Aurora, who was now a nun and had come to help ease her former lover’s suffering. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #59, 61, 64]
[Note: There are conflicting issues when it comes to the Langkowski’s divorce. While in Alpha Flight (1st series) #59 it says that Walter and Veronica had only been talking about it but not gotten through with it by the time he died, making Veronica legally his widow and heir as Walter had not left a will, quite the opposite is established in the following issues. Alpha Flight (1st series) #61 reveals that they had a divorce, and in #64 Walter’s will is read in court, him leaving everything to Veronica.]
Around the same time, Heather Hudson decided to disband Alpha Flight and everyone went their separate ways. Little did anyone know, the disbanding was influenced by the Dream Queen, whose real threat was only just beginning. Being the longest serving member of Alpha Flight, Sasquatch was dealing with the team’s disbanding the hardest, and took to the far North. The Dream Queen’s ongoing torment of Alpha Flight made Wanda believe that she had uncovered an enormous amount of gold - enough to put Alpha Flight back in business - except once she had carried it all back to town, Wanda realized that it was a bunch of granite. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #66-67]
Before long, the Dream Queen made her way to Earth and, with the powerful sorceress exposed as the mastermind behind Alpha Flight's recent series of misfortunes, Heather Hudson reunited as many Alpha Flight and Beta Flight members as she could. Before the Dream Queen began her rampage across Edmonton, she cast a spell on Wanda, making her become her secret pawn. The reason for this would become apparent when the former Alphans were led by Talisman, who knew what was up with the Dream Queen, to see Shaman so that she could have her powers back. However, right when Shaman was passing the mystic coronet back to his daughter, Wanda transformed into Sasquatch and stole it, making her way across the city to give the item of phenomenal power to the Dream Queen. En route, with the rest of the team hot on her tail, Sasquatch was visited by Snowbird's spirit from the afterlife, who used her powers to transform the female body into a simulacrum of Walter's, restoring the manhood that he truly yearned for. The Dream Queen's spell disrupted by the change, Walt gave the coronet to its rightful owner and was overjoyed to be himself again. Once again turning orange-brown when he transformed into Sasquatch, Walter and the other former Alphans then used their combined abilities to end the Dream Queen’s wrath. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #68-70]