Alpha Flight (1st series) #24

Issue Date: 
July 1985
Story Title: 
Final Conflict

John Byrne (Writer & Penciler), Bob Wiacek (Inker), Andy Yanchus (Colorist), Rick Parker (Letterer), Don Daley (Assistant Editor), Dennis O’Neil (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Alpha Flight gather at the Eye of the World as they prepare to make the journey into the realm of the Beasts to save the soul of their slain teammate, SasquatchIn the realm of the Great Beasts, Snowbird encounters Somon the Artificer, leader of the Great Beasts, while three other Great Beasts make their presence known to the other Alphans. Alpha Flight’s ally, Box suddenly arrives at the Eye of the World, where team leader Heather Hudson waits for her team while guarding over Walter’s body – which begins to crumble. Snowbird engages Somon in battle, causing him to lose control over the other Great Beasts, who attack each other instead of the Alphans. Shaman stops Snowbird from killing Somon, as they need him to save Walter. Somon takes them to the Well of Sorrows and informs them that the ones who love and hate Walter and one of great power must go into it to get Walter’s soul. Aurora, Northstar and Talisman go into the Well, only to learn Somon tricked them, and they are killed. Sensing her teammates’ deaths, Snowbird kills Somon as Shaman pulls their bodies from the Well. Shaman realizes that Walter’s soul is in fact the sphere above them, and Walter uses his life force to resurrect the three fallen heroes. Shaman recovers what remains of Walts’ soul and they return to the Eye of the World, only to learn that his body has been totally destroyed. Not all is lost however, as Roger is removed from the Box armor and Walter’s soul sent in to it, as a temporary body. With that Snowbird declares her time on Earth is done and departs for the realm of the Arctic Gods, however in fact she goes to her lover Doug Thompson, for she has been a goddess and a hero, and now wants to be human.

Full Summary: 

Chapter One: The Gathering

The Eye of the World … Rain pours down into the frigid air as five unique individuals huddle in a crater. Collectively the comprise most of the members of Canada’s premiere super hero team known as Alpha Flight, who have recently learnt shocking news about one of their own, watched him die by the hands of another of their own, only to learn that his soul still exists. Now, they face one of their greatest challenges of all time.

Elizabeth Twoyoungmen, a.k.a. Talisman, the youngest and newest member of Alpha Flight exclaims how incredible this all is, adding that she feels like she is on the moon. Alpha Flight’s non-powered and non-costumed leader, Heather McNeil Hudson agrees with the young woman she used to baby sit as a child for it does have a lunar look to it, but she doubts that there is weather like this on the moon. She declares that she cannot remember when she has felt so cold. Elizabeth informs Heather that huddling into her jacket will not do her much good as she can sense that what everyone is feeling id some kind of ‘preternatural’ cold. The diminutive Alphan known as Puck agrees, informing the women that the crater they stand in has an ancient and mysterious history and that the Inuit’s in these parts of the world call it “the Eye of the World” and that they believe it is older than man.

The serene goddess, Snowbird steps forward and tells Judd that he is well versed in such matters. Judd looks up at the young woman he is not so fond of and informs her he has ‘been around, eh?’ Before adding that he has crossed the dark pathways more than once though luckily he has never felt the urge to travel down them and would prefer to leave it to the adepts like her or Talisman. Away from the group in another corner of the crater, the unstable Alphan known as Aurora stand up from the green cloth she was leaning on and declares that she cannot believe she is hearing all of this. She rushes over to the rest of the group, but Heather holds her back before she can get to Snowbird.

Furious, Aurora reminds her teammates that Snowbird just murdered the man she loves and cannot believe they can just stand around and talk to her as if nothing has happened. ‘What’s the matter with all of you?’ Heather tries to calm Aurora down and reminds her that she knows what happened, and why it had to happen – Snowbird did what was necessary to save them all. Aurora goes back to the green cloth and pulling at it she exposes the body of Walter Langkowski, now turned to stone, she asks says was this necessary? She tells the others to look at Walter and reminds Heather that she was not present when it happened, and exclaims that Snowbird tore out Walter’s living heart with her bare hands! Not to mention that now his body has turned into some kind of stone.

Snowbird stands near Aurora and informs the French-Canadian mutant that it is a crystallization process was to preserve Walter’s body. Snowbird apologizes and tells Aurora that she thought she understood what had just transpired. She reminds the unstable young woman that her lover had been possessed by one of the Great Beasts, the ancient evil she was set upon the Earth to destroy! Aurora snaps back So you say, but how can I believe it?and she reminds Snowbird that as Sasquatch, Walter was one of the founding members of Alpha Flight, and he fought evil whenever he was called upon to do so.

Aurora turns away from the goddess and frowns as Narya declares that it was a mark of the strength of Walter’s soul that he was able to control the Beast as long as he did. Narya reminds Aurora that in the past few months, Walt lost the fine edge he needed sometimes until at last Tanaraq was able to take control. Narya reiterates that it was Tanaraq whom she slew and that Walter’s soul may yet be rescued. Talisman joins Snowbird and reminds Aurora that this is the reason they are a million miles away from civilization in a place so evil that it makes her skin crawl, because Snowbird says it is the last access to the Realm of the Great Beasts – which is where they have to go!

Then I pray we are up to it, daughter, bellows the voice of Talisman’s estranged father, Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen a.k.a. Shaman as he teleports into the Eye of the World. Talisman is surprised and somewhat relieved at the arrival of her father no matter how much she dislikes him and admits that she is glad he answered her mystic summons. Shaman smiles and tells his daughter that he had little choice, for the signal she transmitted was not simply a call to come, but a compulsion! Talisman puts a hand to her mouth and says Oops!,reminding everyone how new she is to her powers, she obviously does not know her strength. Heather suggests that Talisman briefs her father on what has happened when Aurora storms up and proclaims that she shall, declaring that no one knows more about what has gone on than she.

Calling Aurora by her little-used real name, Jeanne-Marie, Heather tells her that she thinks she will be busy elsewhere and suggests she look up in the sky. Suddenly, a handsome young man flies to the ground of the crater, it is the former Alphan Jean-Paul Beaubier, a.k.a. Northstar. In his native tongue he says to his sister that he knew it was she who somehow reached into his mind and summoned him to this place, he boasts that he knew she would one day call him and ask for help, no matter what else she might say about him. Fury adding to her anger, Aurora races over and punches her twin brother in the face, sending the former Olympic skier to the ground.

Confused, Jean-Paul asks Aurora what she did that for and informs her that he only came because he sensed her need. Shaman walks over and helps his former teammate off the ground informing him that it was not his sister’s summons that he felt in his head, but the summons of his daughter and Shaman realizes that Elizabeth managed to send a general compulsion to all members of Alpha Flight. Northstar is surprised to learn Shaman has a daughter. Michael forgets that they had not met, for Elizabeth joined after Jean-Paul quit the team. He introduces them and Elizabeth blushes, admitting that she is somewhat of a fan of his form his old Olympic skiing days. She apologizes for messing with his head like that and tells him she was just trying to reach Shaman.

Annoyed, Jean-Paul turns and walks away declaring he does not understand any of it, however if Aurora does not need him then he has no reason to stay as his relationship with Alpha Flight is over. I’ll thank you to not trouble me again, he says storming off when Snowbird walks up behind him and says One moment Northstar… and the handsome man is suddenly frozen in his tracks. Shaman realizes that Jean-Paul is still conscious and asks Narya what – and how she has done what she has done to him. Calmly, Snowbird informs everyone that this is an ability she has not previously needed to use and reveals that her arsenal against the Great Beasts includes the ability to compel others to aid her if they will not do so willingly.

Shocked, Shaman turns to Narya and crossly tells her he does not approve, reminding her it is dangerous to shape the minds of humans against there will and he has sworn never to do it himself. Narya tells Shaman that she respects his decision, but that on this day they are about to engage in final conflict that the world has never imagined and that if they are to be victorious they will need all their forces mustered against the Great Beasts. She declares that with so much at stake, the morality of her deed must take second place in their considering. She reminds Shaman that he has the power to open the ancient barriers to the Realm of the Great Beasts and asks him to do so. Twoyoungmen complies but tells Narya that the matter of mind control is not over and they shall speak of it again. Snowbird agrees, if they survive the battle ahead, and as Shaman pulls a totem key from his medicine pouch he tells Alpha Flight to prepare themselves.

Chapter Two: The Barrier

A bright light shines from Shaman’s key-staff as he holds it about himself. Aurora exclaims that she can feel it against her flesh like a wind, to which Snowbird informs her that it is more than light – it is power! Judd looks up at Shaman and declares that he has never heard anything like the language Twoyoungmen is chanting and asks Elizabeth if it means anything to her. Elizabeth replies that it seems to when she doesn’t think about it, but when she tries to focus on it, it doesn’t mean anything. The light shines so bright now that it is blinding and Snowbird feels that the barrier grows weak now for the moment of breaching is at hand. She turns to Heather and states that while she is their leader it would make sense if she stayed here to watch over Walter’s body, especially as she has no powers of her own to protect herself with.

A little disappointed and somewhat annoyed, Heather agrees with Narya as Shaman tells her not to fear and informs her that the Eye of the World is protected by many powerful and ancient spells, which is why they open the barrier within it. He states that nothing can harm her while she remains within it. Heather tells Michael that she appreciates what he just told her but that she was wondering if there was anything she could do to help. As the six Alphans with power fade from view, he informs her that there is nothing she can do but wait – and pray.

The six figures are transported by means not of their own through planes indescribable as Twoyoungmen reveals what lay ahead has been seen by few mortal eyes, and that they need to keep their courage strong for what they are witnessing is just illusions and that nothing is real. The six forms glide past giant mechanical walls as Shaman tells them to prepare themselves for the ultimate moment of discontinuity, in which they need to hold their hearts and souls close but open their minds, for a closed mind is no defense against the impossible. They approach a glowing green pool and plunge into it, landing in the Realm of the Great Beasts.

Chapter Three: The Shattered Lands

The six super heroes stand on a wall and gaze around at the Realm of the Great Beasts, a land that lay in ruins and is deserted of color. Shaman informs them that it once was a planet like Earth, but at the same time a universe outside of their own. A few million years ago however, the Great Beasts rose, pillaged the land and corrupted the world – then they set forth in search of greener pastures. As the Alphans listen intently, Twoyoungmen reveals that the Beasts attacked Earth, the planet nearest their own world on the mystic continuum, and three times they were driven back, the final time they were sealed behind a barrier designed to keep them forever on the barren world they had destroyed. Snowbird speaks up and informs her sort-of-friends that the final battle also cost the victors just as much as the Beasts. For Tundra, who she adds on a side note who was always at war with the Beast of the snows, Kolomaq, conceived a plan, even as the end of the battle approached.

Snowbird continues, revealing that Tundra created a magical vortex that spun the energies of the barrier back on its creators, so just as the Beasts were trapped within their own dimension, Snowbird’s people too became imprisoned. Puck remarks that that ‘is quite a story’ and reveals he has heard it in many forms all around the globe. He admits that the Beasts’ realm is not quite what he expected, as from all the small details and ancient legends he was expecting something somewhat less comprehensible like ‘a universe of swirling mists, or maybe a huge floating mouth with a highway leading out of it’. Twoyoungmen tells his diminutive friend that indeed such things exist, but on planes other than this one, for here, the shape of the land is dictated by the Great Beasts known as Somon, the Artificer.

Aurora turns to Snowbird and reminds her that she said Walter was here and alive somewhere. Snowbird calmly tells her unstable teammate that Walter is nearby, but that his form is not human. Shaman moves his teammates along and tells them that if Walter is to be rescued then they need to defeat the Beasts in their own lair and that they need to be on guard for the enemy may attack at any moment. Shaman orders the three fliers – Snowbird, Northstar and Aurora – to take to the air and scout out the area. Snowbird complies and as Northstar and Aurora travel somewhat behind her, Jean-Paul tells her that they can “scout” all they like, but asks her what they are exactly looking for. Snowbird replies that at best they need to find one or more of the Beasts themselves.

Snowbird seems some dwelling where she thinks the Beasts may hide or perhaps where they are keeping Walter, but her attention is diverted when Aurora sees one of the Beasts standing on a balcony. The wise old Beast greets the Alphans and remarks that it has been too long since they have had guests on his sad and tired world. He tells them that they are most welcome – as meat is welcome in the house of a starving man! Snowbird flies over to the Beast addressing him as the most ancient and powerful of the Beasts and declares that in his destruction lies the death of all! As Snowbird prepares to strike him he says ‘perhaps halfling’ before grabbing her and tossing her aside, informing her that her enthusiasm is her undoing. Grasping his staff, Somon reminds Snowbird of whom she would contend with, boasting that he is older than the oldest and more powerful than the greatest wielder of power. I am unimpressed says Snowbird coldly as she remarks that she can see no evidence of his power, as he struck her as any mortal would. Somon asks her if she requires a demonstration of his power and tells her that she is foolish as he raises his staff and declares this is the power of Somon, when the ground nearby erupts.

Meanwhile, Shaman, Talisman and Puck walk through the destroyed land when Judd notices something wrong with Shaman, who leans against a beam for support while standing. Judd asks him what is wrong and the mystic replies that he felt a great surge of evil. Elizabeth declares that she also felt it and remarks that it has to be something very nasty to stand out against the background “noise” of the realm. Shaman declares that it is and alerts his daughter to the looming presence of the giant Great Beast known as Tundra. Suddenly, from behind them, the decaying form of the fire Beast, Kariooq the Corrupter raises from the ground as Tolamaq the fire Beast surrounds them. Shaman declares that Somon the Artificer must be nearby, for while three of the Beasts have all been previously destroyed, these three remain, and only the Artificer could summon him together. Elizabeth calls out to her father what can we do? How can we stop them as they run for their lives.

Chapter Four: The Outsider

The rain continues to pour down and Heather huddles into her jacket while recording on a tape her thoughts -–she feels something is happening, though cannot clearly define what it is, but she thinks somehow the coldness of the place is different. Though it does not register on her pocket thermometer so it is not an actual change in temperature…different kind of cold. She wishes that she could be more specific, but realizes that there is nothing in her past experiences that can prepare her for something like this. She states that she is recording my rambling journal of immediate perceptions with the hopes that it will be of some use to anyone who might survive to find it should Alpha Flight fail. She expresses how frustrated she feels not being able to communicate wit them and not knowing if they are alive.

Heather tries to guess what Mac would have done, but she knows that will not do her any good. She remembers back to the day she saw him on the street – which was days ago. She changes her mind to “thought” she saw him on the street, and it still rests on her mind – for she saw him die! But she knows that the man she saw on the street was undeniably her husband. Heather wonders, if Mac did somehow survive, though she cannot imagine in her wildest dreams how, why he would run away from her like that, and why he would take so long to get in touch with her. She exclaims that it is so confusing when suddenly, a voice from above her says Mrs. Hudson?

As the voice is revealed to belong to that of Roger Bochs, a.k.a. Box, Heather jumps to her feet, and roger informs her that he has redesigned Box after what happened in New York and that the robot armor is now stronger and more powerful. Heather asks roger what he is doing here, to which he admits that he is not sure, and reveals that he heard on the news that Alpha was active in Vancouver and was on his way there when he felt some sort of compulsion to fly North to wherever here is. Heather realizes that Box must have been affected by Talisman’s signal and she wonders how many other “friends of Alpha” it reached and are making their way to the Eye of the World.

Heather tells Roger that she is glad to see him as misery loves company they do say. Roger asks Heather what is going on and who ‘this “Talisman” person is’ and motions to the crystallized body of Walter asking what it is and why it is crumbling. Crumbly? says Heather stunned, and turning around she sees the body of Dr. Walter Langkowski begin to crumble.

Chapter Five: The Battle Begins

Northstar and Aurora fly by the giant Tundra and Aurora wonders how he can be here when they destroyed him. Northstar suggests that what they destroyed may have only been an Earthly manifestation, while they see the real Tundra before them.

Judd encourages Elizabeth to keep moving and to stay ahead of Tolamaq who flickers furiously behind them. Elizabeth snaps back that she is trying and asks Shaman if he can do anything. Shaman replies that he cannot do anything while the Artificer has command over the other Beasts, for Somon alone turns the Beasts’ natural antagonism against others rather than each other, so any action Shaman would try to take would only delay the Beasts temporarily at best. And there is no time for even those bellows Kariooq as his giant green hand almost slams down on Twoyoungmen.

Shaman admits that the Corrupter is quick and powerful, but informs the Beast that he is Shaman of the Sarcee and that he can stop him if he must. Shaman declares that somewhere within his medicine pouch lies Kariooq’s destruction and he bombards the Beast with ice. Kariooq puts his arm up to shield himself, for ice is the preserver and therefore his ancient enemy. Tolamaq the fire Beast suddenly appears and tells Kariooq not to snivel as he can save him with ease and the fire Beast spreads over the ice covered Corrupter. Judd remarks that the ice didn’t do much and Talisman agrees, saying that it only seemed to scare Kariooq not stop him. Shaman reveals that he did not expect the ice to stop Kariooq, merely slow both the Beasts to create a greater distance between they three and the Beasts.

Meanwhile, Somon declares that Shaman is wiser than he anticipated, in fact he admits that all of Narya’s mortal allies seem more than he first imagined them to be. He believes that the race of man must have changed much since he last walked Snowbird’s Earth. He turns to Snowbird and asks her if he as right, before revealing that he can even sense her Hidden Fires. Beginning to transform into a polar bear, Narya exclaims that if Somon has the power to look beyond her human shape to do so if he dares and look upon her True Fires. Somon does so and reveals that he can see the flicker of spirits belonging to his oldest enemies – Nelvanna and Hodiak and he asks her what they are to her.

Snowbird, now fully transformed, informs Somon that he names her mother and grandfather and that she is human only in the bloodline of her father – and that on the other side lies the power to defeat him! Somon tells Narya that he respects her powers, but nonetheless senses a weakness about her, a youthfulness that defies her adult shape, and he tells her not to celebrate her victory just yet. Somon declares that he is the Artificer after all and that this city and the whole planet is his to command just as Snowbird commands her shapeshifting powers. He begins to demonstrate and Snowbird feels the platform she stands on stir and seem to grow.

The platform beneath Narya does grow – into a cage as Somon informs Narya that he knows all about shapeshifters and how Snowbird cannot remain in the form of the bear for too long. For if she does, the spirit of the bear assuming dominance, and so Snowbird must give up the form of the polar bear or sacrifice her soul. Narya informs Somon that he is correct but also in err and as she uses the powerful polar bear’s form to break through the cage she declares that he underestimates the strength of Snowbird – and Somon cries out as the polar bear leaps at him in fury.

Elsewhere, Northstar and Aurora continue to dodge Tundra and Aurora suggests to her brother that he draw the Beast in a different direction when she notices something happen to it. Jean-Paul too notices, for Tundra has lost interest in them and is turning – and as Aurora points out, he is attacking Kariooq the Corrupter.

On the ground Talisman sees the Beasts fighting amongst themselves and asks her father what is occurring. Shaman realizes that Somon must have lost his control over the Beasts, for without him to command them, the Beasts have turned on one another. He recalls that this is how Snowbird’s people defeated the Beasts before, by using the Beasts’ hatred of each other to overbalance their hatred of humankind. Talisman asks why this has happened all of a sudden and the mutant twins fly up to their allies, Aurora revealing that Snowbird is battling the leader of the Beasts. Northstar declares that she has transformed into a giant polar bear and is ripping Somon to shreds.

Shaman, with Talisman and Judd in tow begins to run towards Snowbird, declaring that they need to hurry, for Somon is the most powerful of the Beasts but at the same time the most mortal – meaning if Somon is destroyed then they may never find Walter’s soul!

The giant polar bear that is Snowbird pounces on Somon as the Beast pleads with her to stop. Shaman quickly arrives and uses his powers on Snowbird to make her stop, and informs her not to slay Somon, for they need him. The polar bear growls, meaning that Snowbird may have lost control of it all together. The polar bear sits up on its hind legs as Shaman tries to reach the goddess within, telling Narya not to give in to the bloodlust. He asks her to give up the bear-form, informing her that she has done what needed to be done and that she does not need to kill Somon.

Looking down at the withered Beast, Shaman proclaims that like all evil things, Somon is weak and cowardly at heart, and Snowbird has shown him the face of his own death. Twoyoungmen orders Somon to show them what they need to see and Somon replies that they have won and that he is theirs to command, but informs them that what the seek will cost them much down the paths of love, hate and power!

Chapter Six: The Well of Sorrows

Alpha Flight, Northstar and Somon gather around a huge pit with a spiral staircase leading into it and the Artificer motions to the great glow-globe of Phistash-Hasrak above them and the pit of ultimate sadness beneath it. He reveals that within the pit remain the souls of the uncounted billions who once inhabited the world before they the Beasts seized it for their own and within it, they lie and scream in unending anger. He declares that here too lies the soul of the man they seek, for that no mortal soul can exist upon the surface of the planet, and when Walter was transported to this realm, he was sent to the pit.

Snowbird stands beside Somon she reminds him that he spoke of ‘love, hate and power’ and to the point she tells him to make himself clear. Somon doesn’t look at the beautiful goddess as he informs Alpha that if they wish to save their friend they need three forces to unite and enter the well of sorrows. He declares that Langkowski can only be saved from oblivion by one who loves him, one who hates him and one who wields great power – power greater than that even of Snowbird herself.

Judd points to Aurora and declares that the love part is easy before asking which of them hates Walter. He admits himself that he is not fond of Walter, but wouldn't go as far as to say he hates him. Hugging herself, Aurora states that the person who hates Walter is as obvious as her love for Walter is – that her brother is the person who hates him. Clenching her fist she asks Jean-Paul if she is not correct. Northstar is somewhat taken aback and protests, No! I do not…I mean… he cannot quite get the words out and simply exclaims that this is absurd and refuses to take part in it. Snowbird informs Jean-Paul that he has no choice in the matter, for the compulsion to aid her against the Beasts extends to this task.

Shaman declares that Northstar and Aurora will go in to the pit – with his daughter! Horrified, Elizabeth reminds her father that she is still wet behind the ears and has only been playing at this magical stuff like all day. Shaman tells Elizabeth that nevertheless, she is still the Talisman, the long-promised one, whose power is far greater than perhaps anyone’s. He tells her that she and she alone can face what lies within the well of sorrows. Talisman leads the way down the spiral staircase as Shaman prays for the Great Spirit to watch upon each of them. Standing next to Twoyoungmen, Judd tells the mystic that he doesn’t like this situation and that he smells a very large rat, but doesn’t know exactly what it is. Still guarding Somon, Snowbird tells Puck that his caution is well placed, but that the soul of Walter is nearby and only they three can find and rescue it – and Narya prays that they are up to it.

Descending the staircase, it gets darker and darker so that Aurora’s new light power is useless against the blackness. Northstar asks Elizabeth if she can see anything, and the attractive young woman replies that she cannot see anything, but can feel something all around them – something evil! Talisman senses something alive and it swirls around the heroes in the darkness, even Aurora can feel it. Jean-Paul asks if it is Walter’s soul, but Elizabeth sees that it is not – and as Somon appears before them she realizes that Judd was right – it is a trap! The giant form of the Artificer asks the heroes if the dare challenge his power when they do not understand even a tenth part of its scope. He reminds them that he commands this world and fills it with his will, for he is the actual life of the planet, and as his long finger nails extend out, he plunges them into the bodies of Elizabeth, Jean-Paul and Aurora and declares that he is their death.

Back around the top of the pit, Snowbird convulses and grabs her stomach as she feels what had just happened to her allies. Shaman asks her what is going on, and weakened, Narya walks towards Somon, informing Shaman that he betrayed them. Somon exclaims that he has not said nothing that was not true in part, but simply did not say all that was true! Snowbird declares that in the end he meant the same, which merits the same punishment, and so with her bare hand she shoves it though the body of the Artificer, and kills him. Judd is shocked and informs Shaman, who tells Judd that something most foul has happened below, and regrets that he allowed himself to be lulled by Somon’s complacency. However in truth, the Beasts only purpose in bringing them to the well of sorrows was to divide their forces, and lifting his daughter and the twins out of the pit with a levitation spell, he sees that they are indeed dead.

Chapter Seven: The Price

Snowbird, Twoyoungmen and Judd stand over the bodies of Aurora, Northstar and Elizabeth as Judd remarks that there is not even a mark on them and wonders how they could have died. Shaman informs him that it was a psychic death for something in the Well of Sorrows drained their very life force from them. Seemingly scared, Narya declares that there may be a chance that their friends can be saved if their life force was rekindled. Shaman tells her that she talks of fantasy for he does not have the power to do that, as only one as powerful as his daughter Elizabeth had the power to tap and channel the forces necessary for the task. Narya defies him and exclaims that there must be a way as she can feel this world they stand on shudder as its own death-throes begin now that Somon is destroyed.

Snowbird starts to suggest something when she motions to the energy sphere above them which seems to be stirring. Judd declares that the sphere is changing and Narya informs the men with her that she senses emotion, like grief and anguish emanating from the sphere. The sphere changes in color from yellow to pink to orange and finally red, which is when energy flows down from it and engulfs the fallen heroes. Narya, Twoyoungmen and Puck stare in awe as first Elizabeth, then Jean-Paul and finally Aurora wake, and Narya asks how the energy resurrected them.

Shaman helps his daughter to her feet and Elizabeth asks him what happened, as she feels so strange. Shaman tells her that she is right to feel strange as she had a close encounter with the everlasting dark as the Artificer lied to them to misdirect them. Pulling a vine from his medicine pouch, Shaman reminds the others of how Somon called the energy sphere the glow-globe of Phistash-Hasrak, which in Somon’s ancient language means “a soul that wanders”. Michael admits that he simply took it to be a reference to the souls imprisoned in the Well of Sorrows, but that was not the case. The vine he pulled from his pouch extends up to the sphere and he begins to pull it down towards him.

Shaman declares that there are no souls held in the pit anymore and that the essence Snowbird felt came from the sphere above, not the well below. Holding the globe in his hands and reveals that it is the soul of Walter, and a great and noble soul it must be, for Walter sensed the distress of the Alphans and used his own life energy to rekindle the dead heroes. An act that cost him dearly, for his energy level has dwindled to a tiny fraction of what it should be. The Alphans gather around Twoyoungmen as he reminds them the Artificer is dead at Snowbird’s hands and without him to control them, the other Great Beasts are powerless and forced by their dark natures to battle each other as the world around them dies. As the six super heroes fade from the desolate realm of the Great Beasts, Twoyoungmen declares that their task is done, but they must return Walt’s soul to his body before it dwindles away to nothing.

Heather Hudson kneels over the completely broken body of Walter Langkowski and sees Alpha arrive back in the Eye of the World. Snowbird informs her old friend that the task was a complete success, for the Beast’s destroyed and the soul of Walter has been recovered. Looking around, Narya asks where Walt’s body is, and Heather informs everyone that it is right in front of her. She says that she doesn’t know what happened, for it just crumbled away while they were gone. Shaman admits he feared something like that may have happened, for it was the nature of the Eye of the World and the reason for his haste.

Northstar puts a hand up to his face to cover his tears, as Narya too looks somewhat saddened. Aurora rushes up to the crumbled body of her lover and asks Shaman if there is anything he can, like re-form Walter’s body. Shaman informs the distraught young woman that he cannot, however if Walter’s soul had not been diminished to what it now is, there may have been a chance he could have used it to recreate Walter’s mortal form. Yet if he were to project the soul to the broken body it would be like scattering Walter’s soul to the wind.

Snowbird declares that there still must be something that can be done, but Shaman declares that there is nothing – until he turns to Box. Roger says yes sir? as Shaman declares that the “living metal” of the Box armor may be just the vessel to contain Walter’s spirit – at least temporarily. He tells Bochs that if he agrees to break off his tele-psychic contact and let him infuse Walter into the robot – Bochs cuts Shaman off and declares that he agrees in principal, however there is a catch. Roger reveals that has since re-designed Box since they last met and he no longer controls the robot from a distance, but phases in and becomes part of it.

Shaman asks Bochs if what he is saying is that his plan will not work, but Roger replies that what he is saying is that somebody better catch him when he phases out! And the pudgy quadriplegic phases from the Box armor and as Jean-Paul catches him he tells Shaman to ‘do it quickly’. Shaman tells Northstar not to distress himself and he breaks the vine from the soul of Walter and thrusts Walter into the Box robot.

For a moment it seems like nothing happened – until Walter’s voice comes from within the robot and putting a hand to his face asks ‘what happened?’ Smiling, Aurora stands beside her lover and declares that he is alive! Walter asks if he really is, as he doesn’t feel right, more ‘like a 56 Buick and he asks for an explanation. Smiling, Twoyoungmen informs his friend that they will have plenty of time for explanation later, but for now it is suffice to say they have faced what is perhaps their most challenging ordeal yet – and prevailed, meaning Alpha Flight is whole once more! The rain still pouring down, Snowbird suddenly declares that Alpha Flight is only whole for a while – for now the Great Beasts have been destroyed, her purpose is thus fulfilled, and Snowbird’s time on Earth is done!

Epilogue: The Human Factor

Heather Hudson sits on a couch in Doug Thompson’s apartment as Doug sits opposite her and asks if Snowbird ‘just left?’ Heather informs Doug that there was really nothing anyone could do about it, as Shaman had mentioned Narya spoke often of her longing for the day when her task on Earth would be done and she could return to the realm of her “real” family. Heather gets to her feet as Doug looks upset and Heather tells him that Shaman also knew of Narya’s relationship with him and she thought that as team leader she should be the one to…her voice trails off as Doug says to give him the bad news.

Doug informs Heather that he appreciates the consideration, but that it is hard for him to put in proper words right now. Heather shakes Doug’s hand as she leaves his home and asks if she may call him “Doug”. She tells him that she knows how he must feel, as she too suffered loss of her own not long ago. She says ‘good-bye’ and tells him to take care. Doug replies that he will, and thanks her as she goes.

As the door to the house closes, one inside opens and snowbird steps into the lounge! Narya thanks Douglas and tells him that ‘it went perfectly’. Doug smiles and replies that he didn’t win those “Little Theatre” acting awards for nothing, before admitting that he did not like lying like that, even for her. Snowbird removes her royal headpiece as Doug admits to not understanding why Snowbird wants the rest of Alpha Flight to think she has gone to the realm of the Arctic Gods, when she is really here in Yellowknife.

Snowbird replies that it is necessary, and taking off her cloak she reminds Doug that she has only lived upon his Earth for a very short time, and in that time she has been a goddess and a hero. However, it is his love for her and hers for him, which has shown her there are sides to mortal spirit that she had not even begun to guess. Snowbird reveals that that is why she came to him, in secret, for she wants him to help her to learn. Teach me to be human, my love. Teach me to be a woman…. Snowbird and Doug Thompson kiss, and Snowbird enters a new chapter in her life.

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird, Talisman II (all Alpha Flight)

Northstar (former member of Alpha Flight)

Heather McNeil Hudson

Doug Thompson

Box (Associate of Alpha Flight)

Kariooq, Somon the Artificer, Tolamaq, Tundra (All Great Beasts)

Story Notes: 

For the transformation of Walter into Sasquatch see his origin tale in the back up story of Alpha Flight (first series) #11. Tanaraq had tried several times to take over Walt completely [Alpha Flight (first series) #2, 10, 12] Before he fully emerged and was killed by Snowbird [Alpha Flight (first series) 23].

Though this is apparently their first meeting, Northstar and Talisman have in fact met prior to this issue, in the first X-Men & Alpha Flight limited series, where Talisman’s reaction to Jean-Paul was the same as here – awe – while Jean-Paul too reacts similarly, telling Elizabeth to “Stop gawking”. However, while it is set before this issue, the X-Men & Alpha Flight mini series was not published until after this issue, hence the confusion.

The three Great Beasts that have been destroyed prior to this issue include Kolomaq the Snow Beast, killed by Snowbird [Alpha Flight (first series) #6]. Ranaq the Devourer, killed by Lucas Stang in the past [Alpha Flight (first series) #18-19] and Tanaraq, whom Snowbird killed by killing the body of his host, her teammate Sasquatch. [Alpha Flight (first series) #23] While it seems the Tundra was destroyed by Alpha Flight [Alpha Flight (first series) #1] but as Northstar points out, it may have just been an Earthly manifestation, while the real one appears this issue.

Heather’s Husband, the founder of Alpha Flight, Mac Hudson a.k.a. Guardian was thought to have been killed before her eyes, until she recently thought she saw him out on the street. [Alpha Flight (first series) #12, 22] The mystery surrounding the supposed return of Guardian takes place in Alpha Flight (first series) #25-28.

With the help of Madison Jeffries, the Box armor was redesigned behind the scenes between Alpha Flight (first series) #16 and #22.

Northstar’s attempt to prove he does not hate Walter may possibly be interpreted as being some small love for Walter, after all, one argues most with the one they love….

This issue features a bonus Shaman pin-up.

Issue Information: 
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