James MacDonald Hudson II (bio-synthoid duplicate)
Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1
James MacDonald Hudson (progenitor)
• Bio-synthetic duplicate wearing an
electromagnetic skinsuit that augmented
his strength, speed and reflexes, and
allowed him to sense energy fluctuations,
manipulate electromagnetism into
concussive bolts, funnels of plasma
energy, magnetic charges, electrical
shocks, and an inertia-dampening force field, levitate and propel himself along magnetic ley lines, and place himself at rest with the Earth’s rotation to launch forward at high speeds
In a time when Alpha Flight was disbanded, the Canadian government authorized the reactivation of Department H under the overall control of a mysterious man known only as Director X. Director X and his senior staff orchestrated a very different version of the department, one which did not shy away from exploiting Canada’s superhuman “assets” however they saw fit. Their secret agenda included human experimentation, collaboration with terrorists and liberal use of brainwashing and mindwipes to control their agents.
Despite all the covert activities, Department H also understood the need for heroes in the public eye. To that end, not only did Alpha Flight need to be reformed, but Canada’s national hero, Guardian, had to be reactivated. James MacDonald Hudson, the original Guardian, proved to be intractable and unwilling to work with the new amoral Department H. Undeterred, the department siphoned off Hudson’s memories, leaving him vegetative before launching him into deep space to die. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #19]
They then used his genetic material as a test subject and grew several semi-organic synthoid replicas of Hudson in a lab, each representing him at a different age in his life. One such replica, a 19 year old version of James Hudson, was chosen by Department H to become their new Guardian. Presumably, Alpha’s acting liaison General Jeremy Clarke believed a young adult variant would be more pliable to Department H, more likely to yield to authority. The synthoid was imprinted with the incomplete memory download that had been retrieved from the original Hudson, as well as additional information recreated (and in some cases, re-imagined) from Alpha Flight’s old mission files. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #20]
The young Hudson was fed a cover story to explain his age and memory gaps – supposedly, he had recently come to Department H to utilize an old program known as the Lazarus Protocols. Reconstructed by the Prometheus Division from a de-evolver they scrounged from the High Evolutionary, Lazarus was allegedly capable of reversing the physical history of a subject. The real Hudson had been transformed into a cyborg infused with alien technology during his last few resurrections, and Lazarus could potentially reverse those changes and make him fully human again. The 19 year old Hudson believed that the de-evolver had overloaded, pushing his adult body back into its teens before shorting out altogether. Young Hudson was used as the nexus around which Clarke formed a new Alpha Flight team.
Clarke named Mac leader of the team as Guardian and he spent several days training the group before his first real test… the induction of Heather Hudson as the new Vindicator. From Heather’s perspective, she had seen her adult husband only weeks ago before he disappeared and, as far as both were concerned, this Guardian was the same man. Mac delivered her the same cover story he’d been fed by Clarke, but the team was sent into action before they could discuss their “relationship” any further. Despite his memory implants, Guardian’s inexperience shone through on the mission against Zodiac, as he spent more time insisting to Puck and Vindicator that he was in charge than acting like it. The team’s lack of organization led to chaos on the battlefield, and Madison Jeffries was knocked out and kidnapped by Zodiac on Guardian’s watch before the villains fled. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1]
Guardian continued to have difficulty asserting himself in the role of Alpha’s leader, as General Clarke’s manipulations kept Mac firmly in the role of foot soldier, earnest to prove himself to authority figures and never questioning them. He barely had time to notice what his very presence was doing to Heather, a woman he was supposed to love but barely remembered from mission logs and memory implants. It was hard for both of them when they visited the town of Orloo, and Mac didn’t even remember marrying Heather there. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #2-3]
It wasn’t just the Alpha veterans who were making things difficult for Guardian, either. The hotheaded Radius consistently refused to follow orders in the field. Mac found he couldn’t properly relate to Radius, as either the nineteen year old contemporary he was, or the veteran hero and leader he believed himself to be, and so the two mostly just butted heads. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #5]
Murmur was another sort of problem altogether. Despite their age difference, Mac still wanted to rekindle his romance with Heather, but they had difficulty finding common ground to start from, and Murmur’s sexual advances didn’t help any. Murmur was beautiful, desperately affectionate, and very appealing to the young man Guardian had become. She may have even used her mind control power to subtly prod his attentions for her. When Heather came across them just as Murmur grabbed Mac in a passionate kiss, it only added jealousy to the list of hurtles Mac and Heather had in their relationship. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #7]
Guardian’s “memory” remained a troubling area for him, as Department H frequently subjected him and the other members to mind-altering treatments, altering their recollections even from day to day. Thanks to this and his “ready to please” attitude, Mac was easily manipulated into believing that Wolverine was a dangerous criminal who was still AWOL from the Canadian authorities, when in fact General Clarke just wanted to reclaim Weapon X for his own purposes. Mind-warped and twisted into believing Weapon X killed their teammate Madison Jeffries as well, a determined Alpha Flight attempted to apprehend Wolverine in Westchester County. Naturally, a fight broke out with the X-Men when they came to Wolverine’s defense, but it ended once the two teams compared notes. Department H’s lies were just too sloppy to hold up under scrutiny and, once their heads cleared, Alpha Flight could easily recognize them for what they were. Guardian and the group returned to the department to confront Clarke about the false information. Mac was particularly concerned about Department H’s trustworthiness, as everything he knew about himself came from the memory implants they prepared for him. If ‘H’ couldn’t be trusted, Mac realized his own identity might be suspect as well. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #9, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #355]
Alpha Flight’s confrontation with General Clarke and the staff was postponed indefinitely, however. First they were tricked into the Microverse before returning in the midst of an attack on the complex by Zodiac. Clarke died during the attack while preventing the department’s nuclear reactor from detonating, leaving open questions about just how high up the corruption went. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #10-12]
With his identity already in question, Guardian found his role as team leader even more precarious than before. It became clear just how much General Clarke had relied on him, not for his abilities but for his obedience. The new director, Mr. Gentry, was a more honest administrator, but therefore was also ready to challenge and criticize Mac’s performance instead of treating him like a puppet. The death of General Clarke also put an end to the regular memory wipes and conditioning, leaving veterans like Puck and Heather more clear-headed and even less willing to follow the young Hudson’s orders than before. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #14-15]
Mac’s struggles came to a head when Alpha Flight was forced to confront a new Weapon X. Created under the old regime, Weapon X was empowered by sentient bacterium with a taste for energy, making him a potential threat to the entire nation. As Guardian’s team scrambled to recapture the deranged test subject, they ran afoul of another Alpha Flight team, complete with their own James MacDonald Hudson. Faced with a man who knew his own life better than him, the young Guardian had trouble coping with the revelation. Still, the two Guardians soon realized they were in perfect sync, their identical thought processes giving them an almost-telepathic link, convincing them to trust each other and bring their teams side-by-side to defeat Weapon X. As Weapon X prepared to set off a nuclear device called the Hellpounder, Mac put aside his insecurities and organized a battle plan that had all of Alpha Flight working together at his command.
The two Macs, young and old, used their suits to generate an electromagnetic barrier that contained the Hellpounder’s detonation, and saved all of Canada. In the aftermath, Mr. Gentry explored his predecessor’s notes to find the truth about the two Guardians and uncovered data on the synthoid duplicate experiments. Initially, Gentry refused to reveal to the two Hudsons which one was the original. The younger Guardian had proven himself a valuable leader and asset to his team and his country, and had earned the right to call himself James Hudson. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #18-20]
Despite Gentry’s preference, however, the truth was eventually revealed and the teenaged Mac learned of his real origins. Additionally, with the return of Alpha Flight’s original members, the decision was made to downgrade the new recruits and make them operate as a secondary Beta Flight team instead. Nevertheless, the young Mac retained his newfound confidence and made the new Beta team a force to be reckoned with. As Heather stepped down from active duty to act as the team’s civil liaison, Mac became the new Vindicator to distinguish himself from his older counterpart.
On a routine field mission, Guardian and Vindicator were captured by MODOK and agents of AIM. Heather Hudson assembled Alpha Flight and some extra help from Wolverine to hunt them down and rescue them, but most of the group was captured as well in the process. Wolverine managed to stay on the loose and locate the Macs, freeing them from AIM’s clutches. The three heroes regrouped to come up with a plan to save Heather and Alpha Flight. Vindicator located a massive battle suit to turn the odds in their favor, and piloted the armor to run interference while Hudson and Wolverine freed their friends. MODOK fought back fiercely, and a parting blast from his psionic emitter struck down the battle suit and started up a series of explosions through the complex. Vindicator was unable to free himself from the damaged equipment, and was killed as the explosions consumed AIM’s base. [Wolverine (2nd series) #142-143]