Alpha Flight (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
October 1984
Story Title: 
Blind Date

John Byrne (Writer and Penciler), Rick Parker (Letterer), Andy Yanchus (Colorist), Denny O’Neil (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief).

Brief Description: 

Puck and Marrina chat before she enters the lake and explores, following a scent of the creature she is tracking. Marrina enters a cave, within a rock, and sometime later returns to Puck, though changed, very aggressive and almost possessed as has happened to her before. Judd and Marrina battle until the Sub-Mariner arrives, and believing his beloved Marrina in danger, he attacks Judd. A mysterious stranger watches as Marrina and her lover the Sub-Mariner battle it out, and when Puck regains consciousness, the stranger knocks him out almost immediately, before turning his attention to Namor and after Marrina blinds him, the stranger knocks Namor out, and reveals himself as the Master of the World!
Elsewhere „Anne McKenzie" reveals to her fellow RCMP officer, Doug Thompson, that she is really Snowbird of Alpha Flight, doing so because she thought he was owed an explanation, Narya thought she would be freed of another mortal tie, until Doug reveals that he loves her. Meanwhile, Aurora gives herself a radical haircut, thinking it will rid her of her current mental problems. Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen is visited by his estranged daughter Elizabeth who reveals that she requires his aid as Shaman, revealing she knows of his secret identity.

figment of one man’s imagination

Full Summary: 

The Northwest Territories, where Sergeant Doug Thompson of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police is currently posted. He is a man of simple taste, and unaccustomed to the questions which have been bothering him as of late, questions to which he may just get an answer to. The doorbell rings, startling Doug as he washes some dishes. As he walks to the front door he wonders who the visitor could be, before worrying it could be his superior, Inspector Hamilton who will have no-doubt come to ruin Doug’s afternoon. Doug recalls how that since his personal interest in Anne McKenzie has been more than professional; Hamilton has been trying to pin Doug down for Anne’s "jail break."

Opening the door, Doug is shocked to see the woman he was just thinking of standing on the doorstep. Anne apologizes to Doug for disturbing him and asks if she can come inside. Doug tells her to get inside quickly before the neighbors see her as half of them also work for the RCMP. An unhappy Anne holds herself closely as Doug asks her where she has been for the past weeks, after breaking out of jail and not even telling him. Anne tells Doug she knows she owes him a thousand answers to a thousand questions – which is the only reason she came back, adding that Doug was her only friend within the post, and she thought he deserved an explanation.

Anne turns away from Doug and tells him that it is impossible to put into simple words for him, and the best way she can explain is to show. As her lithe body starts to change, melting almost, Douglas Thompson is almost in disbelief, as Anne’s features blur like snow, and where once standing before him was Anne McKenzie, now stands before him, Snowbird, Goddess of the North and one of Alpha Flight’s most powerful members. As Doug calls out to Anne, the beautiful Snowbird tells him she is no longer Anne McKenzie, and in truth she never was, as Anne was merely a figment of one man’s imagination.

Confused and somewhat frightened, Doug sits down to collect himself, staring up at the woman he once believed to be Anne McKenzie, he now sees Snowbird of Alpha Flight, a super heroine! Snowbird tells Doug that is the term they use to describe her and her teammates, but in truth she is much more. Narya gives Doug a brief account of her origin, telling him she is the daughter of a mortal man and the goddess Nelvanna of the Northern Lights. She adds that when she joined Alpha Flight, Guardian and their former superior, Inspector Cranmer created the guise of Anne McKenzie as a "secret identity" for her, however Cranmer died and Hamilton could not be made aware of her situation.

Doug understands now that that is why Hamilton locked "Anne" up, because she could not account for being AWOL so many times. He asks Narya why she didn’t wait for the rest of Alpha Flight to just bail her out. Clasping Doug’s hand, Narya explains that she was put upon the Earth for a specific purpose, one which she cannot reveal to him, adding that she was called upon to that purpose while imprisoned. Narya gets up to leave asking Doug to forgive her, as she has already said more than she ought to, but because of his kindness towards her, felt that he deserved no less.

As Snowbird walks away, Doug calls to her, telling her that she cannot walk out of his life just now, and that he didn’t try to help her because he is just a "sweet guy". He helped her because he is in love with her! And for Snowbird, who thought coming to Doug would relieve her of a loose end, she only finds herself more caught up in the thralls of humanity.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, the Alpha Flight members Eugene "Puck" Judd and the amphibious Marrina Smallwood stand on the edge of Lake Ontario. Dressed in a new garment, given to her by her lover, Namor MacKenzie, also known as the Sub-Mariner, Prince of Atlantis, Marrina laments of how beautiful the lake looks and how she almost forgot how beautiful the surface world can be. The usually cynical Judd tells his close friend not to become to enthralled by it, as it could just as easily be blood turning the water red, not the sunset, what with all the killings recently.

She who is the consort of Atlantis’ ruler kneels down so she is at the same height as her dwarven teammate as he informs her that seventeen people have been murdered by something in the water, reminding Marrina that she is the only member of Alpha Flight equipped to investigate, adding that he doesn’t want her to get careless. Marrina tries to reassure her friend and tells him she will be on her guard at all times. As Marrina wades into the lake, Judd tells her that the beast beneath the water does not seem to give much warning. Marrina reminds Judd that she has more in common with the water than those who have so far been taken by the beast within it and like a shark or dolphin, can sense other movements in the water. Marrina proclaims that she doubts anything could sneak up on her once she is submerged.

What Judd does not know however, is that Marrina’s heart does not reflect her light and confident words, for the soul of Marrina is deeply troubled. As she swims further out into the lake, Marrina ponders another of Judds comments mentioned earlier – that the killer beneath the lake is from her race. She dives beneath the lake now and reminds herself that she was raised to think and behave as a human being, even though she is not truly one of them. For in truth, her ancestors are an alien race whose origins lie countless light years out into space, perhaps even beyond this galaxy. Marrina still has much to learn of her origin, but what she does know, is that thousands of her race were sent to conquer Earth, though only Marrina survived, and because she was premature in hatching, she survived and took on human characteristics. However from the evidence Judd has seen of the killings, it has made him believe that perhaps it was not just Marrina that survived.

Marrina swims deeper into the blackened water and she begins to get some small sense of the gigantic task this search would be for surface dwellers. Lake Ontario covers almost forty thousand square miles and contains nearly four hundred cubic miles of water. Within minutes of being in the water, Marrina’s eyes become almost useless in the aquatic night, and her other senses take over. She can now feel "messages" carried through the water as if they were printed on a newspaper. Marrina’s senses probe out further and further, and in a series of spirals the young Alphan swims, feeling the textures of the water, detecting the most precise nuances in the water which are normally undetectable by surface instruments.

Marrina swims onwards and onwards until, coming to a large rock, Marrina discovers a scent trail, and cautiously she draws closer, and immediately feels a strange tingle ripple through her body. She becomes suddenly dizzy, and she senses a great loneliness, one that cries out, craving the company of its own kind. Marrina realizes that she too understands the feeling, for it too is her own. Marrina hesitates for some long and agonizing moments and she floats beyond the jutting rock, until she finally knowing what it all means.

Marrina dives into the narrow gap of the large rock, she swims through the narrow passage, which is an absolute blackness, even Marrina’s constantly scanning senses, despite their power, can tell her very little in the constricting fissure, except that the tunnel goes down deeper and deeper. Marrina squeezes her lithe body through a narrower part of the fissure as if a movement within the rock caused the channel to narrow. Suddenly though, Marrina becomes stuck and for one terrible instant blind terror takes over within her body, no diver could come down this far into the channel and find her, if indeed she could ever be found at all.

If this truly is the path used by the monster, then Marrina can pose no threat to the monster, for she is truly vulnerable herself. Using ever last ounce of her ailing strength, Marrina strains against her captivity, and finally, the Alphan is free! Beyond the bottleneck of the tunnel, the channel opens much wider, the rock walls fall now outside the tips of Marrina’s questioning fingertips. Marrina realizes that if the monster does in deed use this passage, then its bones must be arranged much different to the way hers are.

Finally, ahead of Marrina, the darkness begins to shimmer, flickering with a pale light that perhaps no other eyes but those of Marrina could see. To Marrina it is not a light, but a beacon, a torch suddenly burst into flame inside of a hidden antechamber. In truth however, it is nothing more than the bioluminescence of algae coating the walls of this hollow within the rock. Marrina sees this when her head rises up above the water, inside what appears to be almost a cave. There is no sound, but the distant dripping of water and the strange scent she has followed here hangs heavily like a shroud in the air.

Marrina walks up the bank and out of the water, feeling heavily overpowered Marrina feels the scent almost reach into her mind as if it were created specifically for her! She figures it would support Pucks theory that this creature is one of her race, now calling to her with a strange chemical signal that only Marrina can sense. Marrina’s promise to Puck is forgotten as she rises from the water and her senses drop to human levels, which will cost her dearly, as the frightened young woman discovers seeing what is within the cave.

Not quite meanwhile, the Alpha Flight member Aurora huddles in the British Columbia apartment of her teammate and lover Dr. Walter "Sasquatch" Langkowski. It was on this fateful morning that Aurora’s "other self", the prudish Jeanne-Marie persona, decided to make an appearance, making this perhaps the greatest battle Aurora has ever faced, outweighing every other battle and adventure she has taken part in. Wrapped only in a towel, Aurora walks from the bed fearing for what she may see if she looks in the mirror. For Aurora is what some may call a schizophrenic. Others will call her a classic paranoid. But it is not her fault, for the harsh childhood she lived split her into two distinct personalities, it was Aurora’s other self who has been dominant for most of these years, and it was this other self, that looked at Aurora from out the mirror earlier this morning.

In the bath room, Aurora cautiously looks into the mirror, and she can hear Jeanne-Marie calling out to her. Aurora picks up some scissors, and she tells herself that she needs to do something that will reaffirm her, from the timid, shy and boring Jeanne-Marie. Raising the scissors to her beautiful hair, Aurora tells herself that she knows exactly what to do.

Back in Toronto, Judd stands on the shore of Lake Ontario, wondering where Marrina could be after two hours since he last saw her. He wonders if perhaps he should not have let Marrina go, and that he could have found a way to bring in their other teammates, he thinks about Snowbird, deciding she is more powerful than Marrina, and she can change into animals, though Puck digresses that he has not seen her change into a fish…suddenly, he sees Marrina bob up from the lake. He calls over to his friend, and Marrina moves quickly towards the shore.

However upon seeing Marrina rise out of the water, Judd instantly wishes he had not called out to her, for she looks changed, less human than she normally does, and Judd remembers what happened to himself last time she was like this. He can hear Marrina’s breath in rasping gasps, and beneath her skin, her muscles twitch and jerk as if they are trying to figure out what they are. In her eyes however, burns a cold and terrible fire, a fire of hatred and death.

With a sudden animal snarl, Marrina’s teeth glint in the dying light and she strikes, lunging out of the lake towards Judd. Fast as Marrina is however, Judd is slightly faster, and cart-wheeling out of the way, he wonders why this keeps happening to her, especially as Marrina is the sweetest being he has ever met, and the murderous rages do not fit with her. He wonders what it is that sets her off before getting back to the battle at hand, realizing he is at a serious disadvantage, for his training instincts are to the offensive, and trying to knock Marrina out may cause more damage to her than he intends, because if he slips, then she will be dead.

Judd recalls how he promised Guardian that his days of killing were over when he was paroled into Beta Flight and Judd intends to keep that promise if he can help it, especially if it means not killing his dear friend Marrina. The two friends have known each other for two years since they served together in the now disbanded Beta Flight, adn in those years, Judd had seen no indication or clue to this side of Marrina.

Puck dives out of the way just in time as Marrina hurls a large rock at him, wondering what it could be that comes over Marrina and unleashes the killer instinct of her race. He thinks that because it has happened just now, proves it has something to do with the creature in the lake. Judd takes off his jacket and remembers that last time she did this she drew most of Alpha Flight North to the would-be world conqueror known as the Master. Judd knows he is supposed to be dead, but figures that this could just be a part of his long-term plan.

Judd uses his jacket to try and catch Marrina in as she uncontrollably lunges for Judd, and he hopes he can take her out without killing her. Judd remembers a long time ago in Spain where "Papa Hemingway" taught him a thing or two about bullfighting. He played a similar „game" with a bull and was laughed at by others around him, the bull was not the first, nor would it be the last of all terrors Judd faces from all across the world, faced them and vanquished them.

Far out beyond the shore of the lake, the waters stir, until suddenly, the powerful Sub-Mariner, Namor, Prince of Atlantis flies from the water to the sky, calling out the name of his beloved Marrina. The handsome Atlantean sees Marrina on the beach with Judd, though he sees the scene somewhat differently than it is. Fearing for his beloved’s life, Namor dives towards Judd, warning him of what will come if he has harmed the chosen one of Namor the First.

Namor takes a swipe at Judd, not knowing what power the diminutive man possesses, he knocks Judd back, before the Alphan can explain what is transpiring. As Marrina gathers herself, Namor holds Judd in his hands, starting to ask Marrina why Judd was fighting her – but his only response is a distorted snarl, which nails of ice down his spine.

In Calgary, Alberta however, the Alpha Flight member known as Shaman is going to receive a very different kind of chill. A sports car pulls up outside the Sarcee Reservation medical center where Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen spends much of his time. An attractive young woman steps out of the car and thanks her friend, Paul, for the ride before telling him she will see him back at the student residence. Paul asks Elizabeth if she would like him to wait for her as he has nothing better to do, but she declines the offer, especially as she doesn’t know how long, or painful, this reunion is going to be.

Elizabeth swings the door open forcefully, remembering that she was only four years old when she saw her father last, and that their parting was not particularly pleasant. The woman at the desk greets Elizabeth and informing her that Dr. Twoyoungmen is busy, she asks Elizabeth to be seated. Elizabeth ignores the woman, who tries to get her attention when she walks straight for Shaman’s office. With an attitude that Elizabeth will later become infamous for, Elizabeth tells the assistant not to ‘get your feathers ruffled’ and that he will see her, patient or not.

Elizabeth slams open the door to Michael’s office as he tends to an elderly lady, and with a sense of drama that she will also become known for, Elizabeth says ‘Hello…father. It’s been a long time’. The voice seems to be suspended in the air as Michael Twoyoungmen processes it, sensing a familiarity in it, and a sense of sadness. Turning around, Michael is shocked and almost afraid at seeing his daughter before him. Smiling, he grabs Elizabeth’s arms and tells her that it is so wonderful to see her after such a very long time.

In her usual defensive style, Elizabeth retreats, holding her hands up and telling her father not to hug or touch her, as this is not a cheerful reunion, strictly business. Shaman’s happiness subsides suddenly and asks her if she is sick. Elizabeth informs her father that she is not sick, and even if she were would not come to see him for medical attention. She reveals that she wants to talk to him as Shaman, and the middle-aged Alphan is very surprised.

Back in Toronto, a man wearing a hat and suit with long coat climbs some rocks near the edge of the lake where Namor is fighting his beloved. He decides his patience has been rewarded, and while the weeks have been very long, they were worth the wait, for after forty thousand years, what do a few weeks matter compared to this prize? The man tells him self that he knew the natural instincts of his "pet" would create a situation that would lead to the involvement of Alpha Flight, specifically Marrina.

The mysterious man decides that the arrival of the Sub-Mariner is an added bonus and that since his long-term plans mean the destruction of Namor’s race, the chance to study him up-close is very fortunate. The man narrows his cold eyes beneath his hat and thinks that if Marrina destroys her beloved now then it would reveal much of the weaknesses of the Homo Mermanus, though if she fails in destroying him, it would but just as advantageous for he would learn of Namor’s strengths. In either case, victory will be his, for Homo Mermanus is due for extinction.

In the shallows of the lake, Namor and Marrina struggle valiantly, as the prince of Atlantis asks his lover what has come over her. Namor realizes that Marrina is completely incoherent and totally under another spell. On the rocks, Judd regains consciousness and can not believe Marrina is holding her own against the Sub-Mariner, even though she is no where near as strong as he is. Puck thinks something must be holding Namor back and suddenly remembers that before Namor attacked him, he called Marrina his "chosen one".

Suddenly, the mysterious man knocks Judd out by tapping the back of his neck. Picking the diminutive Alphan up, the man realizes he has not met him before, but from his stature would assume him to be Puck. The man reveals that Puck intrigues him because of his remarkable ability to overcome all his physical shortcomings, which would suggest an incredible strength of will.

Namor holds Marrina up above his body, deciding that she fights like one hundred tigers, and is almost immune to anything less than his full strength, but he wonders how he can use that without killing her. Namor doesn’t have long to ponder as Marrina uses her webbed hands to swipe at Namor’s eyes. Momentarily blinding him. Marrina leaps from Namor’s grasp as the mysterious man approaches him. The mysterious man informs Namor that his blindness will only be a temporary effect as the skin of Marrina’s people secretes and oil which causes extreme constriction of the pupils, he adds haughtily that it is one more thing Marrina’s fellow Alphans have to learn about her.

As the blinded Namor asks the man who he is, he is struck and knocked unconscious, the man telling Namor that answers will come later. Namor falls to the rocks and the man begins to strip off his own business style suit, proclaiming that as the Sub-Mariner has fallen, so shall the rest of his race, for the time of his supremacy is fast approaching, and all sentient life shall bow down to him…the Master of the World! The ancient and powerful enemy of Alpha Flight laughs as lightening begins to flicker behind him, displaying the Master in all his awesome glory, but the unconscious Namor can do nothing.

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Marrina, Puck, Shaman, Snowbird (all Alpha Flight)

Elizabeth Twoyoungmen

Namor the Sub-Mariner, Marrina’s lover

Doug Thompson, RCMP, Snowbird’s lover

The Master of the World

Receptionist at the medical center

Patients at the medical center

Paul, a friend of Elizabeth’s

Story Notes: 

Snowbird was given the human guise of "Anne McKenzie" by James Hudson/Guardian and it was he who set her up working with the RCMP as he thought it would be a good opportunity for Narya to learn more about humanity. [Alpha Flight (first series) #2 and also behind the scenes].

Anne McKenzie was imprisoned by Inspector Hamilton due to her unexplained absences. When she picked up on a mystic signal of one of the Great Beasts, Snowbird broke herself out of the cell, to destroy the Beast. [Alpha Flight (first series) #6]

Marina’s origin thus far has been told in Alpha Flight (first series) #2-#4.

Aurora’s rather radical new hairstyle lasts almost half of the series, until she appears after a long absence from the team with her original long hair again when she is summoned by Talisman during the "Sorcerer Affair". [ca. Alpha Flight #80]

Aurora’s illness is classified her as classical paranoia. It seems to have more in common though with the rather controversial condition that was is referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder.

Another puzzle piece of Puck’s mysterious past and a hint at his longevity as he was apparently good friends with famous American writer Ernest Hemingway.

Marrina disemboweled Puck when she first received the Master of the Worlds call. [Alpha Flight (first series) #2]

Marrina received the Alpha signal last issue, and while the Sub-Mariner left Atlantis only a moment after she did, and despite his powerful speed, Marrina is many times faster than he in the water, and she easily raced form his sight.

Elizabeth Twoyoungmen disowned her father after he failed to save her mother in Alpha Flight (first series)#5, second story. She lived with the McNeil family until she began attending college, and she has not seen her father since she was a child. She first appeared as an adult last issue.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: