Alpha Flight (1st series) #17

Issue Date: 
December 1984
Story Title: 
Dreams Die Hard...

John Byrne (Writer and Penciler) Andy Yanchus (Colorist), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Linda Grant (Assistant Editor), Denny O’Neil (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief). Reprinted material by Chris Claremont (dialogue) and Terry Austin (inks)

Brief Description: 

Heather and Wolverine reminisce about the past, in particular the recently departed James Hudson, Heather’s husband, Wolverines best friend, the man called Guardian! They go over the events leading up to Mac’s attempt to capture Wolverine from the X-Men, from both sides of the story. Logan learns of all the bureaucracy and things Mac had to deal with after his sudden departure from Department H, while Heather learns that alongside the X-Men, Logan saved the universe! Wolverine describes the battle that went on between Mac and he, and eventually the other X-Men he was with, until Mac retreated, and Heather tells Logan of what happened when Mac returned to Canada. Logan tries to convince Heather that she is not responsible for Mac’s death and that sometimes dreamers die, but the dream lives on. Puck joins the two and together with Logan, they convince Heather that she can lead Alpha Flight, to carry on Mac’s dream, which she accepts. Meanwhile, with the aim of severing ties to her brother Northstar, Aurora has her teammate and lover, Walter Langkowski experiment on her, using molecular realignment to change the structure of her DNA.

Full Summary: 

(Flashback, around Giant-Size X-Men #1)

James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Weapon Alpha stands before his wife, Heather McNeil Hudson and wearing his new costume, a red and white outfit which hides the cybernetic circuitry giving him his powers while showcasing Canada’s flag. The handsome hero asks his wife how he looks. Heather grins and tells Mac that he looks like he was born to wear the suit. Mac smiles back, saying that it has a certain quality to it, not to mention the advantage he has over his American counterparts, for unlike he, they can only wear stylized versions of their flag.

Heather gets off her seat in Mac’s office which is situated five hundred meters below Parliament Hill, and she reminds Mac that looking the part isn't everything, especially as most American heroes didn’t just wake up one morning and think “Nice day, I think I’ll put on a costume and fight crime,” but they have skills, power and experience. Mac tells Heather not to stress and that he promises not to fight Dr. Doom on his first outing. Trying to assure her, Mac reminds Heather that they have been assembling their own band of heroes, adding that it is mostly for national pride.

Mac carries on, saying that Canada isn’t the kind of country that breeds ‘world-conquering types’, and that the rest of Alpha Flight will be more than ready before he goes into any real action. Heather tells Mac that she hopes so, but that she would rather someone else was leader, like Logan or Michael – anyone but her husband! Taking his cybernetic helmet off, Mac reminds Heather that he wanted Logan to be leader, but that Logan isn't suited to it, for his idea of subtlety is to use one of his claws rather than all six. As for Michael, Mac reminds Heather that he has spent the last ten years trying to be one with nature, which the demands of leading Alpha Flight would go against.

Suddenly, Gary Cody, Department H. liaison rushes into Mac’s office, telling him there is trouble. Mac and Heather ask what is going on, and Gary answers that it is Weapon X! Gary explains that Weapon X blew a fuse, and now Major Chasen is on line and mad enough to climb right out of the viewer!

A short moment later, Mac arrives at the viewscreen and asks Chasen what the problem is. Furious, Chasen tells Mac that it is his ‘bloody super-agent’ that he assured him was safe to be around other people. Mac tells Chasen that he is, but Chasen directs Mac’s attention to what is left of his tie, telling him that five minutes ago, it was sliced with one of Weapon X’s claws, which he could have used to cut out his heart! Mac tries to assure Chasen that there was no chance of the happening before asking what happened to Logan.

Chasen raises his voice again, and condescendingly tells Mac that he doesn’t understand that Weapon X almost killed him, and now he is off base! Chasen adds that all he can say about it is “good riddance”. Surprised, Mac asks where Logan has gone, to which Chasen asks Mac who would care, but that he went off with the American bigwig. Chasen tells Mac that it is his job to find Weapon X, but that he will get the pleasure to fry him when they get back. Chasen signs out and cuts the transmission before Mac can say anything. Mac seems devastated, especially as he was sure nothing like this would happen, especially after all the years of therapy.


Sitting up in her hospital bed, Heather Hudson tells Logan that it seems funny how Mac was the only person who ever spoke to him or about him that way. Heather feels however that despite the two men’s differences she thinks Mac was Logan’s greatest friend. Sitting in a chair beside Heather’s bed, Logan agrees with her, though of course he would never have said it to Mac’s face – perhaps he should have, Logan thinks, though there is not much point in debating that now, of course. Logan tells Heather that everyone goes through their life missing the mark and firing emotional arrows in all directions, or even no direction hoping somehow they will find their target, and that is how life was between Logan and Mac.

Heather tells Logan that she felt he could always talk to her easier than he could to Mac and asks him why. Logan replies that psychiatrists could examine that question forever and never come up with an answer, but taking a guess, he tells her that it is probably because he never felt threatened by her. Logan reminds Heather that he was in a bad shape when she and Mac first found him, where he was hating the world that made him what he is and hating himself for letting it happen. The X-Man codenamed Wolverine tells Heather that it is because she and Mac – but mostly she broke through it all, mostly with love.

Heather admits to Logan that despite the time they lived together as an extended family under one roof she is still surprise when Logan lets his soft human side show through. Heather tells Logan that they did love him, both of them, as much as any parent could love a child, despite Logan being older than both of them, yet that is sometimes what he seemed to be – a child desperately in need of the love they had to offer. Jokingly, Logan tells Heather not to spread that around too much as he has a reputation to protect.

Logan tells Heather that he never really thought how much it must have hurt her and Mac when he took off to join the X-Men! Heather tells Logan that she had never seen such anguish in Mac’s eyes.


Its nearly midnight as Heather tries to comfort Mac as he cries out how he feels betrayed, as if Logan just reached into his chest and pulled out his heart. Mac wonders how Logan could have done this too them after all they did for him. Heather tells Mac not to let it eat away at him, as she is sure Logan must have a good reason. Mac asks his wife if Logan would have a reason, saying that he is psychotic, a time bomb ticking away and waiting to explode. Mac reminds Heather that it is their responsibility, as they are the ones who – Mac is cut off by a phone call, it’s Gary Cody.

Mac asks Gary if he has any word on Logan, but Gary needs Mac to meet him now. Mac asks Gary if he knows what the time it, especially as he has had such a long day and doesn’t need this. Gary snaps back to Mac that his day may have been rough but at least he got home at a decent hour, while he only crawled through the door fifteen minutes ago. Gary informs Mac that the Prime Minister’s office is about to boil over and they want them both at Parliament Hill now! Mac apologizes for snapping at Gary and tells him he will see him in twenty minutes.

Half an hour later, a government minister tells Mac that he is lucky the Prime Minister is out of town, especially as things have been going bad enough without this incident. The minister informs Mac and Gary that if this incident gets at all leaked to the media, things will be less than pretty. Mac tells the minister that he doesn’t see that there is a great deal he or Gary Cody can do, especially considering the details to Weapon X that make it difficult to judge any serious wrong doings on Logan’s part. The Minister tells Mac that he knows “Wolverine” is a close friend of his, and reminds him that the mutant represents an investment of several million dollars of taxpayer money.

Mac replies that he is aware of that, and tells the Minister that he must be aware that as a special agent of the government, Wolverine was granted certain freedoms – the official cuts Hudson off and tells him that he is not interested in any more excuses. The Minister tells Hudson that as far as he is concerned, Wolverine is Canadian property, which the Prime Minister will agree to if he ever found out. The official sternly tells Mac that the Prime Minister will not find out, as this matter is going to be settled without one word ever getting to the Prime Minister.

Gary Cody tells the Minister that they will get right on it, to which Mac, albeit annoyed, agrees to, before asking if the Minister realizes he is talking about nothing less than a covert invasion of the United States!


Logan reminds Heather that Mac always had a flair for the dramatic before Heather asks Logan what he was doing this time, as it took weeks for Department H to set up the invasion. Logan tells Heather that he had been keeping busy, firstly joining the X-Men and fighting a walking island called Krakoa. Following that the X-Men were hi-jacked by the mutant hunting Sentinels before going up against an old enemy of the original X-Men, the would-be world conqueror, Magneto. Logan jokes that by the time Mac came looking for him, the only thing he and the X-Men had been doing that week was save the whole universe! Logan adds that he came back with a new costume, one he didn’t really care for as it wasn’t his to begin with.


As Logan gets into a spare of his real costume he wonders what his happy-go-lucky teammates are doing for the day, and heading down the stairs he discovers Storm, Banshee, Colossus and Moira MacTaggert are going out for a picnic. Banshee supposes it is just the four of them going, to which Logan calls from the top of the stairs that he is coming too. The always blunt Moira MacTaggert tells Logan that his joining them is fine, but asks since when did he become sociable? Wolverine tells Moira that he isn't crashing their picnic, that he just needs a lift to the far side of the river so he can do some hunting.

Storm is rather taken aback at this notion that Wolverine would take the lives of innocent animals not for survival, but merely for sport! Putting his mask on, and calling Ororo a “broad” he snaps back that even if he would, what business of hers would it be? Logan tells Storm that he said hunting, and nothing about killing, as it takes no skill. What does take skill, Logan proclaims, is sneaking up close enough to a skittish doe to touch her. The mistress of the weather apologizes to Logan for misjudging him, to which Logan tells her that he couldn’t care less as all of them have been misjudging him since they day he joined!

Meanwhile, Mac, Gary Cody and several technicians were already over American airspace, in commandeered S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment. Gary Cody tells Mac, codenamed “Weapon Alpha” to get ready before letting Mac fly out of the aircraft. Practically a novice in superheroics, Mac realizes this is the first practical test he has given the battle suit adding that he hopes his shields will hold, as Logan is tough. Mac digresses that he cannot in any case depend on technical superiority, and that he will probably have to take him off guard – and keep him that way! Regretfully, Mac realizes that to catch Logan off guard, he will need to provoke one of his berserker rages – which could leave Mac dead!

Wolverine had no way of knowing Mac was approaching him while he was tracking this one particular deer that he had been following for about a couple of hours and genuinely having a good time. Suddenly, the deer tensed up, Logan could even feel it, though he thought that he had been spotted, when something sets the deer off, Logan realizes that it wasn’t him. He wonders who it could have been then, as he thought he was alone in this part of the woods – when Weapon Alpha attacks!

Mac asks “Weapon X” if he recognizes him, and introduces himself under his flashy codename. Mac informs Logan that his vacation is over and that Department H don’t know and don’t care about what he has been doing in the States, and they don’t particularly care, but they just want him back. Sitting down, Logan reminds Mac that he has quit, cutting all his ties – including Chasen’s – and now he is a free agent and is not going back for anyone.

Mac tells Logan that he always was a royal pain in the butt, as short and feisty and arrogant as his namesake, but now it is time to learn some manners! Unsheathing his claws, Logan asks Mac if he thinks he is the man to teach him those manners, adding that where he comes from, they are fighting words! ‘And Wolverine never backs away from a fight!’ With that, Logan lunges at Mac, scraping his claws across Mac’s battle suit forcefield. Mac thinks Logan is faster than he remembers, gibing him by telling him that he throws as good a punch as ever – before Mac punches back and asks Logan how well he will take it!

Mac throws a good punch, but Logan throws back better, reminding Mac that he should remember the old days – when Mac would hit and Logan would hit back harder, adding that no matter how hard he hits him, he will keep coming back. Logan tells himself that he is trying to talk big, before admitting to himself that Mac’s punch was good. Logan knows that despite their size differences, he was always better, but he doesn’t know what this glowing suit is all about. Suddenly, Mac takes to the air, surprising Wolverine.

Mac informs Logan that his battle suit is the ultimate product of Canadian technology and its powers combined with his training make him the equal of any of the Avengers! Cleverly, Logan tells Mac to prove it, as until then he is all mouth. Logan wonders to himself if Mac is just playing with him and that when he cuts to full strength, it will hurt – and Mac slams into Wolverine from the air.

Meanwhile, a few miles upstream, in a small lake Sean “Banshee” Cassidy tosses Moira MacTaggert up in the air, much to her protests. Sitting on blanket near the lake, Ororo tells Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin that it is wonderful to have a day to themselves without Danger Room problems or super villains to deal with. She informs her teammate that the sun reminds her of her home back in Africa, adding that she wishes she did not have to wear ‘these absurd scraps of clothing’. Colossus asks Storm if she remembers what happened when she went swimming in the pool at the Institute. Her attention briefly diverted as Moira pushes Sean under the water, Ororo tells her handsome Russian friend that she remembers, but will never understand.

Storm tells Colossus that it is only for the Professor’s sake that she endures America’s strange taboos, before asking him about his homeland. Leaning against a tree, Piotr informs Ororo that in Transbaikal there is a great emptiness like he has seen no where else, not even in pictures of Africa or the American West. He adds that in summer, the land is beautiful, while in the winter, it is awesome. Happily, he tells Storm that when the snow comes, everything stands still, his voice trails off as he tells Ororo that he cannot tell her, but perhaps someday show her. Eager, Storm hopes so too, before realizing Piotr loves his homeland, to which he asks ‘doesn’t everyone?’

With that said, Wolverine is suddenly flung before them, a tree stopping him from going further. Storm and Colossus rush over and Ororo realizes Logan is unconscious. Colossus suggests Storm gets Banshee, while he will face whoever attacked Logan. As Mac makes his entrance through the brush, annoyed that there are witnesses, more so because they seem to know Wolverine. Mac calls to them, warning them to stay out as his business is with Weapon X.

Colossus holds up his arm, motioning for Mac to stop, informing him that Wolverine is his friend, and if he wants go get to him, he will need to go through him! Mac tells Colossus that it is his funeral, while wondering to himself who the Russian is. Mac’s question is answered when Piotr transforms his body; flesh is replaced by steel, and using his super strength, Colossus punches the unsuspecting Mac, sending him crashing through the trees.

Getting up from the destroyed trees he landed in, Mac realizes he has a fight on his hands, and picking part of a tree, he reminds the X-Men that he warned them to stay out of his fight, and that now they will pay the price! Mac realizes that his battle suit is still intact as he is picking up the fir tree like it was a twig. Storm summons her powers and informs Hudson that for attacking one of the X-Men he has attacked them all, but she doesn’t hear Logan’s cries for her to stop, and lightening strikes the tree trunk, reducing it to cinders.

Firing an electromagnetic blast back, Hudson wonders who these people are, could they be part of a group? As the electromagnetic is shot from Hudson, he tells Storm that she throws a mean zap, but he can do that too! Colossus warns Storm to get behind him as his armored form will shield her, but to everyone’s surprise, the blast bounces off Colossus and ricochets towards Moira MacTaggert, who is now standing on the bank of the water. Moira cries out as the blast hits her, and Sean flies over to get her before she drowns.

Banshee pulls his beloved from the water, relieved she is still breathing, but unconscious and with a burn across her forehead, which means she could have a concussion – or worse! Enraged, Banshee is focused on ‘Major Maple Leaf or whatever you call yourself’ and using his sonic scream, he flies towards Mac, yelling at him that he is going to pay for Moira’s possible death. Mac recognizes Banshee from an old Interpool flyer, and manages to dodge his sonic scream as it liquefies the tree behind him.

Not knowing if the battle suit can handle so much tightly condensed punishment Mac takes to the air, not intending to test the suits limits that far. Storm and Banshee follow in hot pursuit, and Mac realizes this mission is a botch, especially as only a fool would stay and fight super-beings he knows nothing about and James Hudson is no fool! Streaking off ahead of the mutants, Mac swears that he will return when he knows more about the “X-Men” – and he will bring Alpha Flight with him to equalize the fight!

Miles from where the fateful battle took place, Mac slows down, surprised that his trick worked – that by using the gravity controls on his suit he was able to render himself “at rest” relative to the turning of the earth below him. This stunt gave him instant velocity over a thousand miles an hour. Frowning, Mac sarcastically tells himself to bury his real thoughts in technical analysis and not to think about the woman that he almost killed. He doesn’t think he has turned out to be much of a super hero and only with himself to blame for that. Mac tells himself that he has had enough recrimination for now, and that he should head home to wrap himself up in Heather’s heart and hide. ‘Weapon Alpha has made a less than auspicious debut’ he tells himself, before adding ‘whatever else happens there’s an awful lot I have to vindicate!’


Eyes closed, Heather tells Logan that following the tussle between Mac and he, he returned home to her, but part of his soul remained in the United States. Logan tells Heather that Mac always cared too much about the “other guy”, the one who might get hurt in a battle between super-folks, adding that the second time Mac, and the rest of Alpha Flight, came to find him, Mac was the voice of reason during the battle. Heather thinks it is somewhat of a contradiction, as other super heroes never seem to worry about such things.

Heather starts to cry and she shakes her fists, upset that Mac’s worrying eventually killed him, informing Logan that she has managed to piece together that in the last seconds of his life, Mac was trying to disarm the power pack of his battle suit. Heather pauses before suggesting that Mac would have succeeded – had she not walked in at that very moment, thus distracting him. Heather blames herself Logan realizes, and as he climbs onto the bed to comfort her he understands what Shaman told him earlier, that all the grief Heather is holding inside of her is probably driving her crazy.

Logan tries to tell Heather that she is not responsible for Mac’s death, that if it was going to work this way, then he could be held accountable too for refusing to be leader of Alpha Flight. The wise X-Man reminds Heather that her husband had a dream, a dream to make this crazy world a better place than it is. Logan proclaims that it was a good dream, but that the people who work hard to oppose good dreams sometimes win for a while, while the dreams – and the dreamer – die.

Someone startles Wolverine as they tell him that from someone with a reputation such as his, he makes a pretty speech. Logan turns to see the diminutive Alphan called Puck standing in the doorway and Logan jokes that he should have known only Judd could have sneaked up on him like that, adding that he is glad he showed up before he left. Judd agrees, though shows that he is didn’t expect to see Logan here when he would be, he tells the former Alphan that he is glad to finally meet him face to face.

The two men shake hands as Logan reminds Judd they have both seen enough of the same action, even if they weren’t on the same side, he asks Judd if that was him in Maracaibo. Judd proclaims he is flattered Logan recognized his signature in the midst of all that mess, and asks Logan to join him for a coffee later to talk. Judd leaps onto Heather’s bed and asks her how she is feeling, adding that he knows it is past visiting hours, but felt he needed to come by and check on her progress.

Heather tells Judd that she is better now, and that she and Logan were reminiscing, suggesting one could call it “Last rites for Alpha Flight”. Judd tells Heather that that is not why she came here, and he knows Mac would not want to hear that kind of talk either. Logan backs Judd up, telling Heather that if she lets Alpha Flight dry up and blow away now, then Guardian would have died for nothing and the bad guys really would have one.

Wolverine sits down on the other side of the bed and tells Heather that dreams die hard, he should know, and that the death of a dream can be worse than the death of the dreamer, for it can touch more lives and leave a bigger emptiness. Judd reminds Heather that she had once said Mac’s dream died with him, but it was what she said after that – that Heather Hudson wasn’t beaten yet – that made him think that perhaps Alpha Flight isn't dead, suggesting to Heather that even she knows that.

Judd tells Heather that once upon a time, if a man’s heart died, then the man died too, but not any more, for these days a man can get a second chance at life. Heather asks Judd if he is saying the same of Alpha Flight, that the group could go on with a new leader. Judd tells Heather she is correct, and Heather asks him if it will be him, but Judd replies that there is only one person he thinks is qualified for the job – someone who has been there from the start. Thinking Judd is talking about him, Wolverine tells Judd to “hold his horses” as he has other commitments and cannot go back to Alpha – yet – Judd tells Logan he was talking about Heather!

Taken aback, Heather stutters, saying that she isn't a super hero, that she doesn’t have any abilities and is just a woman! ‘And I’m just a dwarf, eh?’ replies Judd, which is something that has never stopped him when he has made his mind up. Logan grins and tells Heather that Judd has a point, as she and Mac were the mother and father of Alpha Flight, but she was the real spirit. He reminds Heather that even though she didn’t want Mac to risk his life al the time, she stuck by him, for she was the glue that held Alpha Flight together. Gathering herself together, Heather admits she never thought about it that way, but they are right, that if Alpha Flight is to survive, it needs a leader, for Mac and for the dream ‘I will be that leader!’

Elsewhere, the Alpha Flight member Aurora is suspended in a tank inside the lab of her teammate and lover, Dr. Walter Langkowski, also known as Sasquatch. Inside the tank, Aurora signals to Walt that she is ready whenever he is. Walt calls back that he has been ready for about twenty minutes, and now the equipment is. He asks the bubbly Alphan if she is certain she wants to do this – for once it is done, there is no going back. Aurora reminds Walt that they have already discussed it, and she knows what she is doing.

Walt activates the tank, and as bubbles explode in it, Aurora lets out a moan, and then a loud scream, before being thrust from the tank. Walt rushes over to Aurora, and she tells him she is okay, reminding him he said it may hurt a little. Walt helps Aurora up from the floor, correcting Aurora, for what he said was that there might be some ‘discomfort’, and that molecular rearrangement has never been attempted on a human subject, and he never expected there to be such agony. Aurora smiles now as she tells Walt that it was a small price to pay if it worked.

Walt informs Aurora that they wont know if it worked until he is able to run some tests, which they will do when Aurora feels up to it. Aurora agrees, before telling Walt to wait until she gets changed, as she has something she wishes to show him! As Walt watches his girlfriend leave the room he wonders if the university would approve if they knew the real purpose he was using their equipment for. For that matter, he wonders too, how Aurora would react if he was not just doing this to help her sever all bonds to her brother Northstar. Walt frowns, reminding himself that Aurora is a mutant, born with the ability to fly almost at lightspeed, and that mutants have never had it easy, for anti-mutant sentiments rise and fall like fashion, and right now, it’s on the rise.

Walt knows that humans fear mutants as the worst conceivable “wolf in the fold” – because anyone could be a mutant. Walt believes that as long as some mutants insist on styling themselves as “homo superior” and threatening eventual domination of the Earth, then people have a right to be afraid. But Walt cares about Aurora, which gives him the right to protect her, he believes that if this project worked and enables her to stop being a mutant, though she will retain her powers, she will just be to any detection device, a normal human. Walts thoughts trail off as Aurora re-enters the room, dressed in her new costume, she asks Walt what he thinks, he replies ‘Holy cow!’

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Puck, Sasquatch (all Alpha Flight)

Heather Hudson


In Flashback

Weapon Alpha/James Hudson

Heather Hudson
Banshee, Colossus, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert
Gary Cody

Gary Cody’s (presumed) wife

Major Chasen

Canadian Official




Story Notes: 

Many of the flashback sequences in this story are direct reprints of Uncanny X-Men #109, Guardian’s first appearance. To clarify, this story is about the events of that issue, from both Heather and Wolverine’s points of view.

For more on the little-known about early years of Department H, Alpha Flight and the relationship between Wolverine and Mac and Heather see the Alpha Flight Special, the Alpha Flight Flashback, the origin stories in Alpha Flight (first series) #2-3, #5-11, Alpha Flight (first series) #51-53 and #92 and Marvel Comics Presents #51-53.

Wolverine joined the X-Men in Giant Sized X-Men #1, his adventures with them involving the Sentinels, Magneto and of course the Phoenix occurred from X-Men (first series) #94-108.

Wolverine knew that Mac had designed an electromagnetic super suit, a prototype design was made for Am-Cam [back-story in Alpha Flight (first series) #2-3]. It was further redesigned for its intended wearer – Detective Sean Bernard [Alpha Flight Special] but upon his resignation it was streamlined for Mac to wear.

When Banshee calls Mac “Major Maple Leaf” he is quite founded in doing so, for there was a WWII Canadian hero called Major Maple Leaf, whom Banshee was probably aware of, even though he did not appear until years later, and he may have presumed that Mac was a new Major Maple Leaf. [Alpha Flight (first series) #106]

Continuity wise, Hudson’s next appearance is with the other original Alphans (Snowbird, Northstar, Aurora, Sasquatch and Shaman) in Uncanny X-Men #120-121 when Alpha Flight make their first appearance and try to bring back Wolverine.

Following this incident Mac changes his name to Vindicator, and then to Guardian, and years later, while under the influence of the Master, Antiguard. [Uncanny X-Men #120, Alpha Flight (first series) #2, Alpha Flight (first series) #130], the codename Vindicator is then later used mostly be Heather when she dons her battle suit. [Alpha Flight (first series) #32].

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: