VINDICATOR II: Page 2 of 7

Publication Date: 11th Jan 2019
Written By: Daytripper.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


Thanks to Heather’s summons, Alpha Flight were successful in defeating Tundra, first of the Great Beasts, enemies of Alpha Flight's Snowbird. In the aftermath, the team gathered at Heather and Mac's home, where they decided to remain together as an independent team. However, with arguments between some of the members, Heather began to wonder if this was such a great idea after all. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #1]

Alpha Flight had barely been back together for one mission when the individual members of the team became caught up with adventures on their own, or personal matters in their own lives. Mac, who had changed his codename to Guardian, was not excluded from this when he received a job offer from RoXXon in the United States. After discussing the invitation, Mac and Heather decided that Canada did not have such a great need for super heroes and agreed to move to the United States so Mac could resume his original career as a scientist. Mac almost immediately relocated to the States, while Heather was left to pack up their life in Ottawa. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #6, 11]

Heather arrived in the United States and was collected from the airport by a woman named Delphine Courtney, who claimed to be an associate of Mac's. However, after two hours of waiting for Mac and no answers about his whereabouts, Heather grew suspicious. Her concern was confirmed when Delphine turned on a video recording of Jerry Jaxon. Jaxon's recording reminded Heather of how Mac “betrayed” him back at Am-Cam by stealing the exo-skeleton and cybernetic helmet. It also informed her of what happened to Jaxon himself – that he was fired, his wife left him and he attempted suicide, but in the process only managed to paralyze himself. After learning of Vindicator, Jaxon set upon a path of revenge, arranging for Mac to receive a job offer at RoXXon and assembling members of the disbanded Beta and Gamma Flights – now known as Omega Flight – whose purpose it was to kill Hudson and destroy Alpha Flight. Realizing this was all a set-up, Heather was not prepared to sit idly by while Mac was in danger. However, when she attempted to leave, Delphine Courtney stopped her and informed her that Jaxon wanted her destroyed as well, as she was as much to blame for Mac's betrayal of him. When the women began to fight, Heather made a startling discovery about Delphine – she was no woman at all – but a robot!

Although her glasses had been broken in her tussle with Delphine, Heather managed to escape and search for Mac. While Alpha Flight battled Omega Flight, Mac was severely beaten by Jerry Jaxon, who was cybernetically controlling the Box armor designed by Roger Bochs. Mac’s battlesuit was badly damaged and he was busy trying to stop it from exploding by dismantling the power pack when Heather, who had been searching for Mac, walked into the room. Tragically, in doing so she distracted Mac at a critical moment and the power pack exploded, apparently reducing Mac to cinders. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #12]

One month after Mac's death, Heather was living in a room near Parliament Hill, cared for by Shaman and Puck. She was still having nightmares about her husband's fiery demise and blamed herself for his death. Matters grew worse for Heather when she, Shaman and Puck met with Alpha Flight's old government liaison, Gary Cody, and brought him up to speed on the events that led to Mac's death. Gary reported that, with Department H's closing down and Mac's work with the government being retro-actively cancelled, Heather was left with no widow’s benefit for Mac's death in service to his country. Heather's troubles were compounded by the fact that Mac's life insurance policy wouldn't pay out, as there was no body and he therefore wouldn’t be legally dead for seven years. Additionally, her previous job had been filled and she had nowhere to live. When Puck told Heather that she had Alpha Flight and her parents, Heather informed him that she hadn't spoken to her parents since she and Mac married in the registry office, and her mother would just rub her nose in all of this. As for Alpha Flight, there was no Alpha Flight without Mac. Nevertheless, Heather vowed that she was not beaten yet. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #13]

Heather continued to spend time with Puck, which was a comfort to her. While out for lunch, Puck offered Heather some words of encouragement about her future. Hearing it, Heather likened Puck's advice to the advice she gave to Mac, which eventually inspired him to go on to become Guardian and form Alpha Flight. She lamented the possibility that if she hadn't given Mac that advice then he might still be alive. Puck was about to tell Heather that he always felt she was the true leader of Alpha Flight when a piercing scream alerted them to danger. Heather ignored Puck's instruction to stay behind as they raced to the pier and discovered a devastated woman, whose baby had been snatched by something that emerged from the water and grabbed its stroller. Before even Puck could act, Heather instinctively dove into the water and swam deep. She located the stroller but found herself unable to free it from the weeds. As she returned to the surface for air, her legs were torn to shreds by a mysterious creature. After he had taken her to the hospital, Puck returned to the scene and investigated the underwater menace. While recuperating from her injuries, Heather was left to also deal with her grief about Mac's death. At this moment of great despair, an old friend arrived – Wolverine.

Heather and Wolverine reminisced about the past and about Mac. During this time, Wolverine helped Heather to process her grief. Puck, fresh from his adventure solving the underwater menace, joined in the “therapy” session and Heather was surprised to hear how he truly felt about Alpha Flight. He felt it wasn’t over for the team; that there was chance for a new lease of life – with her as the leader. Heather was shocked. After all, she was just an ordinary woman, with no special powers. However, Wolverine reminded Heather that she was always at Mac's side and was always the glue that held Alpha Flight together. To honor Mac and his memory, and for Alpha Flight to survive, Heather announced that she would lead the team. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #14, 16-17]

Recovering from her injuries, Heather stayed with Puck for a time and, while sorting through her things, she found one of Mac's spare costumes that he had worn over his destroyed battlesuit. Heather assured Puck that she wasn't thinking of wearing it herself. After all, the battlesuit was destroyed. Puck nevertheless encouraged Heather in her role as leader, so Heather, after deciding that the team needed a centralized headquarters, set about contacting the individual members of Alpha Flight in an attempt to regroup them. Not all former members were enthusiastic, such as Northstar, who emphatically conveyed his lack of interest. Heather and Puck arrived in Fort Calgary, where Shaman, reunited with his long-absent daughter, Elizabeth, was investigating a mystical menace. The menace was none-other than another of the Great Beasts. There, Heather witnessed Elizabeth transform into the powerful sorceress, Talisman. Heather, still recovering from her leg injuries, was unable to journey into the past with the others to defeat the Great Beast. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #18-19]

As Elizabeth was still close to Heather's parents, they regrouped back at Heather's childhood home, a place where Heather found it strange to be after all the time that had passed. Heather was pleased that her parents were on vacation at the time, so she did not have to have an awkward reunion with them. While processing the changes that had happened to her foster sister, Heather also grew closer with Puck, viewing him as a very close friend. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #20]

Heather was out in Vancouver with Talisman on a rainy night when she got the shock of her life – she saw Mac up ahead in the crowd. Heather called out to him and ran after him, but a crowd of people got in her way. Concerned for her friend, Talisman ran after Heather and reminded her that Guardian was dead. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #22]

When a mystical disturbance in Ungava Bay somehow weakened Snowbird and was discovered to be linked with Cyclops, Alpha Flight teamed up, albeit uneasily, with the X-Men. As the teams journeyed to their destination, Heather reunited with Wolverine again. Still grappling with being the non-powered leader of a super team, Heather found some comfort in talking to Wolverine about matters. Upon arriving at Ungava Bay, the teams were amazed to see a palace built into the snow-covered mountain and were greeted by Cyclops, his wife Madelyne and the team they had been piloting. Each of them had been transformed by the magical Fire Fountain though which their plane had passed, enhancing all of their skills and abilities to their fullest potential. Madelyne Pryor was given the ability to heal and she used this talent on several members of Alpha Flight. When the two teams were taken to the Fire Fountain, Heather found herself drawn to it. She passed through its light, whereupon she was transformed by its magics. When queried as to what her power was, Heather explained that it was the power to lead – to be Alpha Flight's, Canada's and the world's guardian.

However, it was soon discovered that not all was as it seemed. Though the fountain enhanced the abilities of regular humans and mutants, it did so by draining the life force of magical beings, leaving Snowbird withered closer to death and Shaman growing similarly ill. Like the whole group, Heather was concerned about what was happening but the power of the fountain was too strong. Even after the truth was exposed and that the Asgardian trickster god Loki was involved, Heather sided with those who had been transformed or healed by the Fire Fountain, leaving a small few to fight against them. In the end, the heroes rejected Loki’s gifts and all of the powers that had been bestowed by the fountain were lost, including Heather and her “power to lead.”  [X-Men / Alpha Flight (1st series) #1-2]

Though returned to normal, Heather’s world was nonetheless turned upside down when Guardian suddenly and inexplicably made a return. Seeing her shock and disbelief at seeing her husband apparently alive and well after having witnessed his death, Mac responded by taking Heather in his arms and kissing her passionately. Ultimately, the shock proved too great for Heather and she passed out. After recovering, Heather listened to Mac’s story, as he explained the elaborate and convoluted way in which he survived the explosion of his power pack, a story which involved teleportation, time travel and extraterrestrials. She also learned that the man she had seen in a crowd in Vancouver before had indeed been Mac, who had run away because he thought that her life would be better without him. The biggest revelation, however, was he had become a cyborg, the result of the aliens that had saved his life.

Just as the team seemed to come to grips with Guardian’s return, they responded to a summons from police at the West Edmonton Mall, which was apparently under siege by the team’s old nemeses, Omega Flight. Splitting up to enter the immense shopping complex from different directions, Heather teamed up with Guardian. At first, Heather was confused at encountering none of the villains, only to realize too late that one was right next to her. The man posing as Guardian was not her husband returned from the dead but the robot Delphine Courtney, posing as Mac all in a plan to fulfil her original programming – to destroy Alpha Flight. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #25-26]

Captured along with the rest of the team that had accompanied her, Heather could only wait as Delphine and Omega Flight prepared to spring the trap on the rest of Alpha Flight when they came to investigate. Unfortunately for them, Omega Flight’s trap backfired and Alpha Flight turned the tables, forcing Omega Flight to flee. The villains’ bad luck grew worse when their escape route was cut off by Madison Jeffries, a former associate of Alpha Flight’s with a personal grudge against Delphine Courtney. Ultimately, Omega Flight was defeated and the robot posing as Heather’s husband was destroyed. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #27-28]

Alpha Flight re-grouped at Roger Bochs' laboratory, where Heather ordered everyone to stand down and relax, reconvening in two hours. However, when she returned from her own private time in which she addressed her thoughts about the return of “Mac,” she found to her horror that her teammates had been busy engaging in a dangerous scientific experiment about which they hadn’t bothered to brief her. Without her knowledge or consent, Roger Bochs and Walter Langkowski, the latter of whose soul was residing in the Box armor, had created an interdimensional portal and were literally “fishing” in the rift to find a new body to replace his recently destroyed one. Heather tried to assert herself as team leader and order the group to halt the operation, but it was too late. The body on the other end of the line emerged from the portal and turned out to be the Hulk, who had been imprisoned within the transdimensional “crossroads” some weeks before by Doctor Strange.

Already caught off guard, Alpha Flight’s response to the Hulk was worsened by the many problems amongst its members. When it became clear that the berserk Hulk was about to turn its rage onto the whole city of Vancouver, Heather leapt onto the beast’s back, vowing that the Hulk would not smash the city, not while a single Alphan was capable of drawing breath. When the Hulk shrugged her off and leapt away, Heather immediately went to work, rallying her team to pursue the monster. In a short order, Alpha Flight located the Hulk in the city’s downtown and, working as an effective force, drove the Hulk south, out of Canada and toward his native United States.

Alpha Flight’s good fortune did not end there, as they were visited by government liaison Gary Cody, who had come to Vancouver to inform them that Department H was to be refunded without limits, as the new administration recognized the importance Alpha Flight played. As head of the department, Cody promised the skeptical Heather that Alpha Flight would have a free hand, with no strings attached. Though the members of Alpha Flight were unified by this announcement, Heather wondered how long it would be before they questioned her role as non-powered leader. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #28-29]

Heather supervised the move of Alpha Flight into a permanent headquarters – the old family home of Water Langkowski on Tamarind Island. The sprawling mansion was outfitted with state of the art technology, transformed into the perfect home and headquarters for the team. At the same time, Heather continued to keep track of all the personal issues with which her team was dealing. On one such mission, Heather began using the Alphanex computer system to delve into the background of Madison Jeffries, who had been hanging around the team since he helped defeat Omega Flight. Upon discovering that Jeffries had a brother, Dr. Lionel Jeffries, Heather used her new Alpha Flight priority clearance card to visit him at a hospital in Montreal. There, she was shocked to discover that he was not a doctor, but a patient. Worse, a single touch from Heather caused her to fall victim to the power of Lionel Jeffries, who could transmute flesh just as Madison Jefferies could transmute technology. Heather's body was hideously transformed by Lionel, who called himself “Scramble.” Fortunately, Alpha Flight had followed Heather and came to her rescue. In the end, Madison was able to return his brother to sanity, enabling him to restore Heather's body. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #30]