VINDICATOR II: Page 4 of 7

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


Though she had finally moved past the legacy of her husband, her husband’s legacy was not through with Heather. Years before, Mac had discovered a super being that he had left in stasis due to its instability. Now, years later, the creature known as Bedlam the Brain-Blast was accidentally freed by Gary Cody during one of his unauthorized investigations into Department H files. Unaware of Bedlam’s even existence, Heather and Alpha Flight were caught completely off guard when he attacked them during a training session, destroying all of Mansion Alpha and placing them all under his mental thrall. Heather found herself transported to the Arctic Circle, where her mind was linked to those of Bedlam's other captives, four super-beings called the Derangers, which the Alphans were forced to battle. Help arrived in the form of Madison Jeffries and Wolverine, the former having escaped Bedlam’s control due to immunity and the latter having been contacted by automatic notification of Bedlam’s escape. Ultimately, Heather freed herself from Bedlam’s control when she realized that her battle suit responded to her own thoughts, allowing her to strike back. Faced with certain death otherwise, Heather struck first, killing Bedlam before he could kill her.

With their home destroyed and vowing no longer to work with a government that had betrayed them, Heather decided the team would remain in Bedlam's base until they decided what to do next. Problems aside, Heather was pleased to be back in the arms of Jeffries once again. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #53]

Alpha Flight’s time in the Arctic Circle base did not last long, however. When the Great Beasts rose again to torment Sasquatch, Jeffries was forced to absorb the entire base into his Box armor to increase his mass to match them. During the battle, Vindicator, the rest of Alpha Flight and Beta Flight, along with the surviving Deranger called Goblyn were blasted into space. Rendered senseless by the ordeal, Jeffries-as-Box instinctively became a spaceship, warping uncontrollably through space. Worse for the team, among the legacy mass of the deconstructed base were deadly creatures of Bedlam’s design, which Sasquatch dubbed “Bedlamites.” In the end, Heather and Alpha Flight were able to destroy the creatures and bring Jeffries back to his senses, allowing them to alter course back to Earth. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #55-56]

Unfortunately, the team’s trip back home was diverted by the diabolical Dreamqueen, the ruler of interdimensional realm called Liveworld and who had a connection to Beta Flight’s newest member, Goblyn. As part of their powers, Goblyn and her sister, Laura Dean, were able to switch places with each other in Liveworld, an ability which the Dreamqueen coveted so that she could use to invade Earth’s dimension. Through a mix of magic and technology, Jeffries’ impromptu-starship warped across the dimensional divide and crashed in Liveworld. By happenstance, Heather was the only Alphan badly hurt during the crash and remained unconscious through the whirlwind of events that followed, which included Alpha Flight’s battle against the Dreamqueen’s minions and escape back to Earth. The portal through which the team returned had peripherally been generated by the former Alphan Puck, who was having a completely unrelated adventure in Chinese-controlled Tibet and was currently finding himself in between the Chinese military and the local mystic known as the High Lama. Still in love with Heather, Puck rescued the unconscious Heather from the battle, enlisted the aid of the High Lama to heal her and held back the Dreamqueen while the portal to Liveworld was closed, trapping himself and her on the other side. Healed by the High Lama, Heather awoke to full health at which point she and the rest of Alpha Flight were teleported home by the Lama. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #58-60]

Though back home safe and sound, Heather and Alpha Flight found themselves summoned before a hostile parliamentary inquiry. The team’s return via foreign soil had been in the middle of an already tense situation between Chinese and Soviet forces, nearly leading to a military escalation on both sides that could have sparked a world war. However, as the hearing continued, it became clear to Heather that its true purpose was control over Alpha Flight. The government’s true wishes were to fund the super team, in exchange for which it would be able to monitor them in oversight. Much to the bureaucrats’ surprise, Heather announced that Alpha Flight rejected the government’s funding, vowing to continue to defend Canada without the government's interference. With that, the hearing was over and Alpha Flight remained independent.

Still, Heather knew that Alpha Flight was not destitute. She still had some money left over from Mac’s life insurance policy, which had evidently finally paid out, and planned to use it to tide the team over until Sasquatch's fortune could fund the team thereafter. Free of the government hanging over Alpha Flight's shoulder, Heather asked Jeffries to marry her, and he accepted the proposal. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #61]

Unfortunately, Heather’s plans soon unraveled. Under the eyes of the law, Sasquatch’s true identity, Walter Langkowski, was deceased and the truth of his mind having been transferred into that of a woman’s body was unprovable. Worse, her fortune was currently controlled by Walter’s wife, who since he had never actually divorced had now inherited the Langkowski fortune and refused to hand it back over. Despite all her bravado before the committee, with neither funding nor headquarters, Heather was forced to disband Alpha Flight, scattering the team. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #62]

For Heather and Madison, they were able to move into the old home in Ottawa that Heather had shared with Mac. Madison wasted no time transforming the house’s basement into a high-tech command center, which Heather lovingly approved. The two later visited Heather’s parents in Calgary, where they enjoyed a cordial visit, though both Heather’s mom and dad couldn’t help up individually ask both Heather and Madison if they really wanted to marry a super-hero, after what had happened to Mac. Despite not technically being active, Heather had begun to wear her Vindicator battlesuit under all her civilian clothing, even wearing it while being fitted in town for her wedding dress. While Heather focused on plans for her upcoming wedding, Jeffries was plagued by nightmares about his involvement in the deaths of his brother and Roger Bochs. He also dreamed of his Box armor going rogue, massacring innocents. Unfortunately, a combination of his dreams, fears and subconscious gave rise to a personality within the Box armor, which attacked and tried to kill Heather. It was only after Jeffries phased out of the armor and dealt with his guilt about the deaths of his brother and Bochs that he and Heather were able to regain control. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #63-65]

As the wedding day loomed, Heather discovered that her psychological need to wear her Vindicator costume had somehow grown into a physical one. No matter how hard she tried, she was unable to remove the battlesuit, which she feared was melding to her.  Desperate for help, she fled her parents' home, tracking down the former Beta Flight member Manikin at the hospital in which he was now working. Worked almost into a psychosis by her dilemma, Heather was beyond reason and actually attacked Manikin, intending to force him to help her. Fortunately, Manikin’s most primitive self, the amoebic Proto, saved the day by dropping on Heather and dissolving most of the battlesuit’s command circuits. Restored to sanity by her restored freedom, Heather was assured by Jeffries that he would be able to repair the battlesuit. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #66]

Her reason restored, Heather began to wonder if there was a connection with her recent breakdown and Madison’s recent problems. Heather gathered Madison, Sasquatch and the three Beta Flight girls to investigate and learned that most had indeed been experiencing strange goings-on since Alpha Flight disbanded. In fact, Heather was right and the source of their woes was the Dreamqueen, who had planted psychic seeds in their minds during their escape from Liveworld. With a foothold in the real world, the Dreamqueen had manipulated the former Alphan Talisman to uncover an artifact which allowed her to enter the world, walking free in Canada. Acting quickly, Vindicator worked alongside both Talisman and her father Shaman to battle the Dreamqueen, not only defeating her before she could lay waste to Canada but banishing her once again to Liveworld. In the wake of their victory, Heather took no time in declaring her intention to reform Alpha Flight. To her surprise, Talisman told Heather that they would indeed need to do so, announcing worse was still to come. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #67-70]

The attack of the Dreamqueen on the city of Edmonton proved to be a wake-up call for the Canadian government, which literally wasted no time by extending their offer for funding at the site of the just concluded battle. Heather surprised the officials by promptly declining, citing her the government’s previous meddling, but it was Heather in turn who was surprised when Talisman added that the reason they didn’t need the federal government was that the local Edmonton government was about to offer their own. Sure enough, the mayor of Edmonton arrived, offering Alpha Flight a home, provided they promised to protect the city from future threats like they did with the Dreamqueen. Heather was shocked, not only that Talisman had known the offer was coming before it did but that she had so publicly challenged her authority as team leader.

As ever for Heather, one step forward for Alpha Flight was followed by one step back, as all three Beta Flight girls – Purple Girl, Goblyn and Laura Dean – decided to leave the team. On a more personal level, when the team went their separate ways to consider the Edmonton offer and attend personal matters, Heather witnessed from afar Diamond Lil kissing her ex-boyfriend Jeffries. Assuming the worst, Heather departed before seeing her fiancé rejecting Lil’s advances.

Just as Heather wondered if the day could get any worse, she returned home to find Talisman waiting for her. Talisman explained that she’d recently learned that Canada was a nexus for supernatural, negative forces, which explained many of the enemies Alpha Flight had fought – the Great Beasts, Pestilence and even the Dreamqueen. Worse, these forces were but warnings for more dangerous forces that would be upon them soon and Alpha Flight would be the only group capable of dealing with the crisis. Unfortunately for them both, the dark force of which Talisman warned burst into the house in the form of Llan the Sorcerer, a powerful mystic that had lain dormant for the last ten thousand years. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #71]

Immediately, Llan transported not only Heather and Talisman, but all of Alpha Flight to a “non-realm” of his own creation. Demonstrating various powers against which they were no match, Llan goaded the group into attacking him. Heather soon learned that this had been his plan all along, as he intended to trick Talisman into attacking her, thereby setting him free to walk to Earth while Alpha Flight remained trapped in the non-realm. Though they were unable to transport back home directly, Talisman began to lead the group through the Crossroads, an interdimensional nexus which connected countless dimensions.

As the team journeyed from dimension to dimension, each one taking them one step closer to home, Heather confronted Diamond Lil, warning her that when they returned to Earth she was going back to jail for her part in the death of Guardian. To her surprise, Lil revealed that the government had pardoned her to be part of a new super team it was creating to replace Alpha Flight. When Lil challenged her relationship with Jeffries, Heather slapped her, all too late forgetting that Lil was invulnerable. Jeffries intervened and explained to Lil that he and Vindicator would have been married by now if these supernatural disasters hadn't gotten in the way. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #72-73]

After several dangerous adventures in other realities, the teams’ luck turned around when they arrived in the realm of the Dreamqueen. Not only were they reunited with Puck but Talisman was able to use the portal the Dreamqueen had used to escape to return to Earth. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #75]

Again, Alpha Flight’s good fortune was mixed with bad. Upon returning home, Heather called her mother, only to learn that Alpha Flight had been gone three months. Additionally, both Puck and Shaman were now ill, as a result of their adventures. Though still reeling from their return, when she learned of an attack occurring in Montreal, Heather ordered Alpha Flight into action. Upon arrival, Heather learned of something else that had happened during their absence. The Canadian government had formed a new super-hero team called Gamma Flight, a group that they could control without question. Although the two teams worked together to stop a demon, the source of the attack, Vindicator was informed by Gamma Flight's leader, the mysterious Nemesis, that not only was Alpha Flight was no longer sanctioned by the government but Gamma had orders to arrest them if Alpha Flight were found operating in Canada. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #76]

Despite the warning, Heather intended to investigate Edmonton’s proposal and soon visited the building being offered by its mayor. Accompanying her during the visit, Talisman declared it the base she had foretold several months before and emphatically urged Heather to accept and have the team move in as soon as possible. At first, Heather assumed that Talisman was attempting to usurp her authority as team leader, only to have Talisman tell her that she wasn't even interested in being a member of Alpha Flight and that she was only there to stop Llan the Sorcerer from opening the Gateway of Night and unleashing the horror called the Sweeping Dark. Talisman also revealed that the building was built on a well of earth magic, which she could use to summon armies from beyond for the coming war. Seeming without choice in the matter, Heather accepted the mayor’s offer and the team soon moved into their new home, “Maison Alpha.” [Alpha Flight (1st series) #78]

Though still somewhat threatened in her role as leader, Heather decided she would simply have to trust the warnings that Talisman kept predicting. She also started to feel concern for Talisman, as she watched her sink deeper and deeper into the mystical dilemma that plagued her. Meanwhile, the Sorcerer's evil influence started to bring American villains northward to Canada and Heather found herself not only battling Nekra and the Scorpion, but doing so alongside Diamond Lil. Unfortunately, Gamma Flight showed up to enforce the injunction against Alpha Flight by arresting them. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #79-80]

Although she knew that her team could easily overpower its Gamma counterpart, Heather allowed Alpha Flight to be taken into custody. However, it soon became apparent that the officials holding them were demonic agents of Llan, who had during the chaos of the last three months finally succeeded in opening the Eye of the World, bringing him one step closer to his plan to open the Gateway of Night. After escaping from prison, Vindicator and Alpha Flight were reunited with former members of the team whom Talisman had drawn into the battle. Gamma Flight again attempted to arrest the Alphans but Heather finally managed to convince them of the dangers of the Sorcerer and the two sides joined together.

The alliance proved just in time, as Llan’s army became to emerge from the Eye of the World, deep in the Northwest Territories. Together, Vindicator and Nemesis led both Alpha and Gamma Flight into battle against Llan's invasion army of demons, all the while Talisman dealt directly with Llan himself. Though nearly exhausted by the countless demons and horrors they faced, Heather rallied on both teams in the battle, even as teammates on both sides fell. During the battle, Heather took a moment to seek out Madison and let him know that, despite knowing about him and Lil kissing, she still loved and wanted him. To her surprise, he assured her that, though he had been confused about his feelings, he knew that Heather was the one for him and would make it up to her after they survived the battle

As valiantly as both teams fought, they would have eventually been overwhelmed by Llan’s horde if not for Doctor Strange, who helped seal away the Sorcerer for another 10,000 years. Now freed of the doom which had seemed to loom for so long, Heather told her fellow Alphans that it was time for a new beginning. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #84-86]