Alpha Flight (1st series) #118

Issue Date: 
March 1993
Story Title: 
The Clampdown, part 1

Simon Furman (Writer), Pat Broderick (Penciler), Bruce Patterson (Inker), Janice Chiang & “Friends” (Letterers), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Dan Cuddy (Assistant Editor), Rob Tokar (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Albert Louis is attacked by a group known as the Hardliners and during the mêlée he reveals himself as a mutant. Guardian learns of Robert Hagon and his Super Powers Bill, before confronting General Clarke about Weapon Omega and his past, to which Clarke reveals a lot of information to Heather, including Weapon Omega’s origin. Weapon Omega visits Wyre who is being held in a padded cell, and tries to get him to help give his life back, before Weapon Omega announces that he now wishes to be called Wildheart. In downtown Toronto, Puck leads Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora and Alpha Flight’s sort-of-ally Nemesis against a rampaging Thunderball, a battle which is watched by the Hardliners, who report to a man known as Joshua Lord. As the battle progresses, the other three members of the Wrecking Crew arrive.

Full Summary: 

Halifax, Nova Scotia - it seems so long ago, Albert Louis thinks to himself - a life time almost. Back when he was normal - though he doesn’t think “normal” is a dirty word. He had a job which he didn’t loathe, enough cash in his pocket and a good crowd to hang out with. Life was good - and with the possibility of a girl in his life, it was getting better by the minute. He remembers that feeling, tries to taste it, live it and never tire of the pleasure of simply being. He was happy then - but happiness is such a terribly fragile thing…and so easily shattered.

The door to the pub is suddenly smashed open and a group of men wearing some form of metal battle suit enter. They are announced as the Hardliners as one of them orders a certain formation pattern, ‘Let’s put this scum where he belongs,’ the Hardliner adds. The patrons at the pub erupt in a flurry of questions - ‘What the -?’ ‘What’s happening?’ ‘Please! Someone!’

The Hardliners begin using their technologically advanced equipment to scan the patrons in the pub - and eventually lock onto their target - a young man called Albert Louis. ‘Close him down!’ one of the Hardliners orders. Eyes wide with fear, Albert realizes that they are talking about him - and all of the Hardliners ready their weapons.

Albert knows that it will be hard to explain the next few seconds in which he lunged to the side, knocking his friends to the ground with him as he shouts and screams every foul name he can muster at his mysterious antagonists - then something strange happens - he describes it as letting the genie from the bottle, or letting the cat out of the bag…the dark, shameful thing his parents made him swear that he would always keep hidden, and at last, he understood why. He is a mutant.

His power is hard to describe, but essentially he released an energy form of himself which attacked one of the Hardliners that was about to shoot him. The men in suits were no longer the enemy - never mind that they had almost butchered half a dozen innocent bystanders trying to get to him - now the only monster the crowd saw…was him. ‘Don’t worry, maniacs! There’s plenty more where that came from!’ he shouts as he releases more energy versions of himself, all of whom are then directed at the attacking Hardliners.

Albert Louis wishes that he could say he did it for those whose lives the Hardliners had almost taken - but the anger and rage within him… - it was for the life they had taken - his own. All of it gone, its sensations, so recently warm, now cold to the touch. Running from the bar he is now cast out - and the only life to which he could now belong was one both brutal and hostile.

Meanwhile, at Department H, the home and headquarters of Canada’s premiere super hero team, Alpha Flight, the team’s long-serving leader is having a heated argument with General Clarke. ‘Don’t give me “Need to know”!’ Heather exclaims, telling Clarke that what she needs to know is exactly who they are dealing with here - Weapon Omega - or is he still Wild Child - the crazed animal-thing that he was some years ago when he first got involved in the Department. ‘Is that clear, General? Is that tidy and orderly enough for that rigid military mind of yours?’ Heather asks.

Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Guardian tells Clarke that she doesn’t want any more mysteries - no more evasion - she wants to know where Weapon Omega…Wild Child…came from and who he was - all of this time, nothing held back. ‘Or I’ll start airing your dirty laundry…in public!’ ‘Don’t threaten me, Guardian!’ Jeremy Clarke snaps back, telling Heather that the Weapon Omega situation is just as likely to blow up in her face as it is his - especially now with Robert Hagon’s Super-Powers bill about to get its hearing in parliament.

‘What Super-Powers bill?’ Heather asks. Clarke informs Heather that it has been all over the news for the past few days, and adds that he would have thought keeping up-to-date with current affairs would be one of the most basic duties of Alpha Flight’s leader. ‘Or is that a little too “tidy and ordered” for you?’ he mocks. Heather turns angrily to her teammate Colin Ashworth Hume, better known as Windshear.

Windshear exclaims that the Super Powers bill was the next order of business, but with the business with Manikin and the trouble in Montreal, there has been no chance to sit down and talk about it. Clarke explains that Robert Hagon wants, among other things, the enforced registration of all super-beings in Canada, and riding as he is, the current wave of anti-paranormal mania, the feeling on Parliament Hill is that he might get it!

Windshear motions to a computer screen where Hagon’s mugshot appears, and Colin informs Heather that Hagon is ostensibly a progressive conservatism who has roots that go back to the student unrest in the Seventies with links to radical organizations like the Federation de Liberation de Quebec. However the links have only been inferred and though not proven, were never actually severed. Clarke tells Heather that Hagon is trouble, and that she should believe him when he says that this is not the time to rock the boat.

Heather leans back in her chair and thinks to herself that she knows she is pushing this, but after all - she is fed up with dark secrets dogging Alpha Flight’s every step - and skeletons routinely falling from team-members’ closets. Heather thought that she could trust Walter Langkowski a.k.a. Sasquatch, only to discover that he once buried reports that could have stomped Wild Child ever being admitted to Department H. She wonders how much pain and suffering could have been averted - if they had just known what they were getting.

Clarke watches Heather and thinks to himself that he will give her the information. But in truth, he has always intended doing so. However it pays to be cagey, pays to wait. For in his experience, it makes them think they’re getting more than they really are. ‘Well, Clarke?’ Heather asks, ‘Are you going to tell me…or are we just going to wait for Omega to crack up again?’ She suggests that if he wants to avoid giving Hagon more ammunition, then he should tell her about Wild Child. ‘And while you’re at it…tell me what his connection is to a genetically enhanced assassin called Wyre!’

The assassin Heather is speaking of currently sits naked in a padded cell somewhere within Department H. Finally, he looks up at the door and tells the person that is standing there that if they have questions then they should come in and ask them. ‘I need…’ begins Kyle a.k.a. Weapon Omega, formerly Wild Child as he comes into view. Wyre cuts him off, remarking that he knows what he needs - a past and an identity - before revealing that sadly, he can supply neither.

Wyre points out that it is strange, for in many ways they are very alike, for Wyre has spent a large part of his life trying to destroy Wild Child and others like him - trying to erase what no amount of blood could ever wash away. He reminds Weapon Omega that years ago he let the scientists use his DNA to breed monsters, and that he thought destroying those monsters would bring him peace. But h was wrong - and now he is empty, just like Kyle - a void waiting to be filled.

Weapon Omega reminds Wyre that he told him the Secret Empire took him from the streets - raw material to be transformed into a killer, and asks who he was before - some nameless drifter? ‘Or did I have friends, family?’ He asks Wyre to help him find out and suggests that if he wants so desperately to make amends, then why not turn destructive in constructive. ‘You helped take my life away…now help give it back!’ Wyre just opens his eyes.

But deep within the soundproof walls of the holding cell, a call to arms that echoes through the rest of the massive complex goes unheard…but takes the rest of Alpha Flight to Toronto - into a war zone! The criminal known as Thunderball of the Wrecking Crew swings his ball ‘n’ chain around his head and aims it at a parked bus, hitting it across the road, right into the path of Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier. Jean-Paul’s sister, Aurora warns him to watch out, but Northstar replies that he is in no danger - only suddenly, he realizes that he might be in danger after all.

Aurora and Windshear turn their attention to Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski who runs towards Thunderball. Windshear is stunned at how Thunderball whacked a whole bus at Northstar, and Aurora threatens Thunderball should her brother be hurt. Sasquatch tells his former lover to relax, for Northstar can outrun a bus any day - even if it airborne, adding that he will handle Thunderball.

Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck thinks to himself that he recognizes Thunderball and if memory serves, this rampage is all wrong - for the guy is a doctor, ‘or something’ and yet he is raging like a wounded bull elephant. Judd calls to Sasquatch and tells him to back off - ‘That’s an order!’ Lunging at Thunderball, Walt asks Puck what is with him these days - ‘Old age finally catching up with you, eh?’ Before remarking that the only way to deal with a nutcase like this is brute force - when suddenly, Thunderball smacks his chain ‘n’ ball into Sasquatch, knocking him across the road and into some vending machines.

Windshear thinks to himself that Judd made a good decision, as did Heather for nominating Puck field leader for this outing, while realizing that when Langkowski is in his Sasquatch form, he certainly thinks with his fists and not his brain. Hume uses his mutant power to create solid air in an attempt to contain Thunderball before he lays waste to the better part of Toronto. Hume creates a block of solid air particles around Thunderball - and it seems to do the trick - until Thunderball smashes his ball ‘n’ chain into the wall of air, shattering it.

Alpha Flight’s mysterious associate Nemesis dodges the ball while determining that Windshear is injured, for the destruction of the solid air wall must have created some form of psionic backlash. ‘Good’ she thinks to herself, vowing that if there is justice to be meted out, it will be done by the sword of Nemesis. Nemesis informs Thunderball that she will relieve him of that destructive toy and then of his head - but as her sword comes in contact with the chain, her sword is knocked straight out of her hand. Nemesis is shocked, as her sword can cut through anything - unless Thunderball’s weapon is sorcerously empowered.

Puck rushes up towards Thunderball while thinking that if he had his way then he would have left Nemesis at home because she is not a team player - and never has been. As he does a somersault, Judd knows he can understand Heather’s reasoning for sending Nemesis on this mission - it is better to have their “Avenging Angel” close by where they can keep an eye on her than off doing her solo bit of dispensing justice with the slash of a sword blade - even if it does mean hauling her pretentious butt out of the fire now and again - he adds as he pushes Nemesis to safety from Thunderball’s weapon.

Meanwhile, on a nearby hotel rooftop, several men dressed in some strange armor are watching Alpha Flight’s battle with Thunderball. One of them informs the leader that Lord is requesting an update on the situation - he wants to know why they haven’t secured the target. The group leader replies that Lord can be told the mission is a failure as Thunderball was more powerful than anticipated - instead of taking him out, all the pacifier did was tick him off. He adds that Lord should be informed Alpha Flight is now involved, and that they are requesting further instructions. After a moment, the other man has heard back from Lord, and explains that Lord gives them strict instructions not to engage, but to withdraw and let Alpha Flight take the blame for this mess.

Back at Department H, night has fallen, and Heather is finally having her meeting with General Clarke. He reveals that ten years ago, they had just learned that a supposedly defunct government project had been revised by a subversive organization known as the Secret Empire. He explains that the projects aim was to create an army of paranormally savage killers, replicated from the DNA of their existing super-assassin, Wyre. It took three years to locate the base - and when they do find arrive they find it has been gutted by fire, everything destroyed.

However, a salvaged section of security video footage revealed that Wyre himself was responsible for the destruction, though it is unknown precisely why Wyre turned on his masters. Clarke continues, revealing that in the remains of the Empire’s base, the clean-up squad discovered one of the creatures, pinned beneath the wreckage - it was still alive. Then, through a mixture of hypnotherapy and drug treatments, they managed to submerge the beast the Empire had brought into the fore, without losing the creature’s enhanced abilities.

‘We codenamed it Wild Child’. Clarke explains that Wyre somehow discovered that Wild Child and others like him survived the destruction and Wyre resurfaced, intent on finishing the job. With their security now compromised, Wild Child had to be relocated. The ideal place for Wild Child’s relocation was the fledgling Department H, where, naturally, Walter Langkowski who was running the usual psych-tests, discovered what a volatile time-bomb Alpha had inherited - even then Wild Child’s control was slipping.

Clarke explains that in James Hudson’s absence, Langkowski refused to accept Wild Child into the program, but Clarke’s predecessor, General Chasen, insisted. Clarke adds that the alternative - though never voiced - was to either abandon Wild Child to Wyre’s tender mercies, or have him put down like an animal. Heather remains silent all this time, learning much she was unaware of. Clarke then tells her that she knows the rest - Langkowski decided that he could not turn his back on Wild Child and buried the psych reports, for he truly believed that he could help Wild Child in the way that Heather and Mac helped Wolverine.

Clarke admits that there were setbacks and blood was spilt, before pointing out the results - Weapon Omega - suddenly, Clarke is interrupted by the former Wild Child who has been listening outside. Kyle enters the office, declaring that he is not Weapon Omega nor is he Wild Child. He exclaims that if he is to be the author of his own destiny, then it will be as Wildheart!

Back in Toronto, Northstar jokingly asks Sasquatch if he has finished window shopping, but Walt just growls, and asks Thunderball if he remembers him, before smashing him in the face.

Judd approaches Nemesis and informs her that Alpha Flight doesn’t have room for solo players, so she needs to follow orders or - Nemesis cuts Judd off, ‘Follow orders? Do you seriously believe I wish to be a part of your little team?’ she asks, before declaring that she is wed to Fate - his angel of death, and warns Judd that if he interferes with destiny’s will, then he too will taste the blade of justice.

‘Uh huh,’ Judd thinks to himself, before telling Nemesis he will explain it once more - for as far as the public is concerned, she is a part of Alpha Flight - and now more than ever they have to be seen to operate within the law. Judd declares that he doesn’t care about Fate or his will, and warns Nemesis that if she oversteps the mark then he will take her destiny very much into his own hands. ‘Got it?’

Northstar runs circles around Thunderball, wondering what it will take to put him down, and supposing that where one or two blows failed, two dozen might succeed, and he begins punching Thunderball repeatedly - until the green and gold wearing criminal whacks Jean-Paul, causing the feisty mutant to fall to the ground. Northstar exclaims that this is madness and points out that if anything, Thunderball is getting stronger. He asks what they can do to stop him - when his sister approaches Thunderball.

Jean-Paul tries to get his sister away from Thunderball, but Aurora tells her brother that she would have considered him to be above such macho posturing, and adds that perhaps he is not so “enlightened” as he cares to think. Aurora declares that not only is she perfectly capable of handling herself in a fight, she is fully able to think beyond simply trading blows. Thunderball approaches Aurora with his fists ready, when suddenly a brilliant light shines from deep inside Aurora.

Thunderball suddenly gets dizzy, and falls at Aurora’s feet. ‘Was it not the beauty who soothed the savage beast?’ asks Aurora, leaning over Thunderball. Jean-Paul is at a loss for words, and with these new hypnotic lights his sister just used, he wonders if there is no limit to the powers she can conjure in this latest incarnation. He decides that while his sister may loathe him when she is Jeanne-Marie, it is with Jeanne-Marie that he is beginning to feel most at ease.

Aurora exclaims that it is so unlike her brother to have nothing to say, when suddenly there is a green glow - and the Wrecker, Bulldozer and Pile Driver appear before Alpha Flight! Wrecker declares that Alpha Flight picked the wrong guy to beat up on, for when you take on one of them, they better be ready to take on the whole of the Wrecking Crew!

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Guardian III, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Weapon Omega / Wildheart, Windshear (all Alpha Flight)

Nemesis III


General Clarke

Albert Louis

Albert’s friends

Patrons at bar

Bulldozer, Pile Driver, Thunderball, Wrecker (all the Wrecking Crew)

The Hardliners

On Computer Screen:

Robert Hagon

In Guardian’s Thoughts:

Weapon Omega

Story Notes: 

First appearance of Albert Louis, who later takes the codename Feedback.

The business with Manikin, where he got injured by the Jackal II took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #114.

The ordeal in Montreal involving Weapon Omega, Wyre, Kane and Nemesis III took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #115-117.

It was revealed that Sasquatch had ties to Wild Child / Weapon Omega’s past in Alpha Flight (1st series) #116-117.

Issue Information: 
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