Alpha Flight (1st series) #27

Issue Date: 
October 1985
Story Title: 

John Byrne (Writer and Penciler), Keith Williams (Inker), Andy Yanchus (Colorist), Rick Parker (Letterer), Don Daley (Assistant Editor), Denny O’Neil (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Delphine Courtney and Omega Flight succeeded in taking down half of Alpha Flight, and Delphine uses a drugged Talisman to contact the remainder of the team by torturing her. This sends out a mystical s-o-s to Shaman who had just finished healing Aurora’s wounds and was informed that Roger Bochs has located a new body for Walter Langkowski. When Shaman gets the signal, he Walter and Aurora teleport to the West Edmonton Mall where the others are, and they quickly learns something is wrong when “Guardian” steals the medicine pouch in search of Smart Alec. Finding nothing, Delphine turns the pouch inside out and unleashes the void, which is the universe within Shaman’s pouch. Omega Flight flee, leaving Alpha Flight to be consumed by the void. Shaman rescues his daughter so that she can go into the pouch and rescue the Alphans while he closes it from the outside. Talisman manages to do this, and Alpha Flight is rescued from the void until Delphine prevents Shaman from pulling Talisman from it, by holding up Snowbird, whom he abducted when she left Doug Thompson’s home to go aid her former teammates when she felt they were in danger. Faced with a dilemma – to save Snowbird or Talisman, Shaman thinks he can do both and he firstly frees Snowbird, but in the moment it took to do that, the void consumes Talisman, and Shaman has no way to save his daughter, even though he promised her he would.

Full Summary: 

The West Edmonton Mall, where Delphine Courtney, an evil robot wears the costume of the late Guardian, one of Canada’s finest super heroes, and after impersonating him to fulfill her programming – to destroy Alpha Flight – she exclaims that she has won. Unable to move because Delphine is holding onto her, Alpha Flight team leader, Heather Hudson asks the robot if she isn't getting a bit ahead of herself before remarking that she thought robots had super-accurate computers for brains. Delphine calms down and tells Heather that she is right, and that she was just getting ahead of herself, letting her delight carry her away. Delphine exclaims that if she exaggerates it is only by a slight degree and motions towards Omega Flight – Diamond Lil, Flashback and Wildchild – whom have each apprehended one of Alpha. Delphine declares that Puck, Talisman and Northstar have all been taken care of.

Defiantly, Heather boasts that there is still half of Alpha Flight left to bust up Delphine’s ‘little social club’, just like they have done before. Delphine asks Heather what the cost will be this time and reminds her that in the last encounter Omega Flight was successful in their primary task – the murder of James MacDonald Hudson, a.k.a. Guardian. However, Delphine states that the first mission was only partly completed, since their leader, Jerry Jaxon, was also killed and the rest of Omega Flight captured. Delphine reveals that it was she who freed all but one of Omega Flight and so with the team nearly restored then it will be easy enough to dispose of what remains of Alpha Flight.

Delphine asks Flashback to bring Talisman over to her, and as Elizabeth Twoyoungmen is dragged by the former member of Beta Flight, she asks why the robot is wearing Guardian’s costume before wondering why she cannot think straight. Delphine grabs Elizabeth and informs her that she is wearing Guardian’s costume because she has been posing as him, which was the most important element in her plan of revenge before informing her that she is groggy because she has been drugged. This was necessary to prevent her from sending a mystical signal to her father until Delphine was ready for her to. Delphine

Delphine tells Elizabeth to summon her father into the trap, to which Talisman replies that she will not. Delphine grabs Elizabeth by her neck and tells her that she is asking her to voluntarily summon Shaman, for it must be involuntarily so he will sense danger and bring Langkowski with him. ‘Go climb your thumb, creep’ snaps Elizabeth until the robot puts pressure on the hold and begins to choke Elizabeth declaring that her bravado is wasted, and Talisman utters a cry in pain.

Meanwhile, in Alpha Flight’s down town headquarters, Shaman uses his magickal powers on Aurora to heal her wounds and informs her that he has done all he can. Walter Langkowski, in the Box armor walks into the room and asks his friend how his lover is doing. Twoyoungmen reports that Aurora has three broken ribs, and smiling, Aurora tells Walter not to worry, as Shaman has taken good care of her. Michael reveals that he used an ancient herbal potion from his medicine pouch and that she should be fine in about a week. Walter leads the way down the hallway and as he mentions he is glad to hear Aurora will be okay he declares that he has good news of his own.

Walt asks Aurora and Twoyoungmen if they know about the “top secret” project he and Bochs have been working on, as it seems like it is about to come into effect. As the trio enters a lab, Aurora asks the wheelchair-bound Roger Bochs if he has found a body for Walter. Roger smiles and tells Aurora that he has found “something” before reminding everyone of how Walter’s body was destroyed in the final battle with the Great Beasts, and that his soul now resides in Roger’s own robot-body, Box. This is not a particularly satisfactory situation for either of them, as Roger created Box to free him from the restraints of the wheelchair.

Touching some buttons on a control panel, Bochs declares that as Walter is a very “physical” person, he is not happy inside the Box armor either. Roger reveals that because Walter’s Sasquatch body was from another dimension then they might be able to find a replacement from a similar source. With Shaman’s help, Roger was able to build an interdimensional scanner, and the computer screen turns on, displaying something, Roger believes he has hit ‘pay-dirt’. Shaman is shocked and reveals to Bochs that he seems to have tapped into a dimensional nexus – a crossroads of realities!

Roger smiles and tells Shaman that he has done more than that, although it is difficult to get a clear fix due to the shifting interface, but the crossroads seems to have an occupant who is tailor-made for their requirements. An image appears on the computer screen, but it is shady and hard to see. Even though he has no body, Walter smiles and reading the computer he sees that the creature is humanoid with virtually no brainwave pattern and ‘built like a brick ship-yard!’ Aurora smiles too and asks her boyfriend if he can put his mind into this other creature.

Walter informs Aurora that Bochs is working on a trans-dimensional probe – he stops talking and turns to Shaman, as does Roger, when they see something is wrong with him. Roger asks Shaman if he is all right, and Shaman who rests a hand against his head declares that he feels strange – suddenly, pain surges through him. Aurora grabs him to steady him and asks him what the matter is. Sweat rolls down Twoyoungmen’s face and reveals that there is terrible pain, but not physical pain, and not his pain, but sympathetic vibrations, and that the person is experiencing the pain is Elizabeth – someone is torturing Shamans’ daughter. He declares that they must go to her now.

Elsewhere, Yellowknife to be exact, the quaint home of RCMP officer Douglas Thompson, and more recently, the home of the goddess Narya, better known as former Alpha Flight powerhouse, Snowbird. Snowbird wraps her cloak around her naked body and leaves the bedroom, moments later Douglas follows her out. Doug asks Narya if anything is wrong, and Narya replies that she thought he was still sleeping and apologizes for waking him. Doug embraces Narya and tells her that he would rather be awake with her, but nevertheless he feels that something is wrong.

Snowbird tells Doug that she feels confused and feels that a great distress has come to her former teammates, and that she must return to Alpha Flight. Doug reminds Narya that Alpha Flight does not even know she is still on Earth. Snowbird says that she is aware of that fact but nevertheless cannot ignore the feeling she has and therefore must go to them. Narya removes her cloak and her costume appears on herself before she takes to the skies, exclaiming ‘the time has come for Snowbird to fly once more!’

Back at the West Edmonton Mall, a teleportation signal announces the arrival of Twoyoungmen, Walter and Aurora. Walt congratulates Shaman on his teleportation spell getting them across the country in little time, as Aurora wonders were they are and where the rest of Alpha Flight could be. Shaman informs Aurora that he cannot answer either of her questions as he simply bought them to this place by homing in on Talisman’s aura, however it looks like a shopping center. Leaning against a wall, Delphine Courtney has disguised herself as Guardian again and informs Shaman that they are at the biggest shopping center in the world and that he is glad they could make it.

Shaman starts to say that he sensed something before asking where the rest of Alpha Flight and his daughter are. “Guardian” motions to a corner of the mall and tells Twoyoungmen that Elizabeth is helping stand guard over Omega Flight, and that everything is fine. In fact though, Omega Flight is holding the unconscious members of Alpha Flight up to make it look like they are all right.

“Guardian” tells Shaman that there is one small thing that bothers him, that Smart Alec is not with Omega Flight, and he wants to know what happened to him. Shaman realizes that Mac would not know what happened to Smart Alec and reveals that Alec Thorne tried to steal his medicine pouch, however he looked into it, something that no one except his own daughter can do and survive. Therefore, explains Michael, Smart Alec was robbed of his mind and soul. He states that he did not know what to do with him and so he reduced Alec’s mindless body to the size of a small doll and he is inside the medicine pouch right now.

Shocked “Guardian” declares that what Shaman did was inhuman. Michael informs him that Puck felt the opposite – that it was too kind of a fate for a member of Omega Flight. Grabbing the medicine pouch from Shaman’s hip, “Guardian” declares that he will deal with Puck later, before taking to the air. Shaman cries out after “Guardian” and calls him to come back. Grinning, “Guardian” declares that that is not part of the plan. In a burst of light, Aurora flies after Delphine, reminding Shaman that Guardian cannot fly as fast as she. Shaman asks Aurora to wait, but she does not listen and so he sends Walter to fly after her, as she is in no state to go up against Guardian.

Aurora catches up to “Guardian” and tells him that while she doesn’t know what game he is playing, it is not to go any further. With his hand inside the pouch, “Guardian” tells Aurora that it is not a game anymore, as Omega Flight want Smart Alec back, and that he is going to get him for them. Delphine frowns and declares that Shaman lied, and tipping the pouch upside down proclaims that there is nothing in it. Delphine looks for a secret pocket of some sorts, but finding none decides to turn the pouch inside out – much to her horror.

Strange lights and shapes flow from the medicine pouch and Aurora tries to fly away from it declaring that it hurts her eyes to look at it, however it moves too fast, even for she and it pulls her. Suddenly Box grabs her, but much to Walter’s surprise he finds that for all his super strength he cannot pull Aurora out, nor can he let go of her, and he too is drawn into the void.

On the far side of the mall, the void closes in on the unconscious Alphans and the members of Omega Flight. Wildchild drops Elizabeth and declares that that was not part of the plan. Diamond Lil gets up off the floor and proclaims that it is some kind of ‘mystical energy bubble’ and that it is eating up everything in its path. Gardner “Flashback” Monroe tells Lillian Crawley to ‘save the instant analysis’ as they are in its path too! The three members of Omega Flight begin to run away as Wildchild asks ‘what about Alpha Flight?’ Diamond Lil tells Kyle to leave them, as the plan was to kill them eventually, and this void should take care of it.

Shaman curses Guardian – ‘if it is Guardian’ he adds for a fool for unleashing the universe that dwells beyond his medicine pouch, as uncontrolled it will grow and grow until everything is consumed by it. Shaman rushes over to the Alphans, knowing he must act quickly to contain it, however he cannot act alone, and that he has to risk the others to get Talisman clear. Shaman pulls his weary daughter off the ground and calls to her. Elizabeth starts to say something when Shaman tells her not to speak, but to save her strength for the task that lies ahead.

Looking at her father strangely, Talisman asks him what this “task” is, and hurrying her along Shaman informs her that it is the most dangerous threat that the nation, planet and Alpha Flight has ever faced. This it is something that can only be stopped by an equal force from within it and without it. Shaman reveals that he will be the force from without, while she will be the force from within. Looking back at the void, a horrified Elizabeth asks her father if he wants her to go inside ‘that?’ Shaman tells Elizabeth that she must, for the expanding void has already consumed Alpha Flight and with every second that passes they risk their lives and sanity.

Shaman reveals that the void is the madness, which lies beyond his medicine pouch, a madness of which only Elizabeth Twoyoungmen can face unscathed. Shaman declares that there is still a good chance that their friends are as yet unaffected, or he would not have risked this course of action. For Heather, Judd and Northstar appeared to be unconscious while Walter will be protected by the robotic armor, however Shaman fears for Aurora, whose split-personality puts her on the razors edge of sanity even at the best of times. Nervous, Elizabeth tells her father to stop talking as she is convinced. She declares that Alpha Flight are her friends and welcomed her into their ranks with no questions, but she feels so new still, and is worried about anything going wrong.

Shaman tells Elizabeth that he will monitor her progress and as she enters the rainbow colored void he calls out to her that he promises to keep her safe. Talisman enters the void, floating in it, she is astounded at what it looks like, for even though she didn’t know what to expect, this was not it. Elizabeth tells herself that nothing seems real, yet she is sure she is the one who is not real, and adds that she can see why being within the void would be hard on someone’s sanity. Talisman floats around in the void and wonders why she doesn’t get turned inside out like everyone else in the pouch, and while she knows she is supposed to be some kind of long prophesied “super-shaman”, she still feels like she is an eighteen year old art college student, not a wizard.

Talisman realizes that she doesn’t have any trouble maneuvering through ‘this nonsense’, for all she has to do is will herself in any given direction. Elizabeth tells herself to give up with the “twenty questions” and get down to saving Alpha Flight. Noticing how the void keeps shifting, Elizabeth realizes that it might be a hard task, for it seems as if the whole universe it turning on itself, and pushing out at the same time. Elizabeth notices something and realizes that it is her teammates, who are not too far away from her, she calls to them and tells them to stay where they are – not that they could hear her anyway – and she thinks to herself that this task may be easier than she thought – until she sees Aurora spiraling away from the others.

On the outside of the void, Shaman has realizes that his plan is working, for the very presence of a mystical force as powerful as his daughter is drawing back the edges of the expanding void. He holds it in place, to make certain it is a controlled collapse, as she will need time to locate Alpha and then get herself out of the void. Shaman exclaims that he is so proud of his daughter, and there has been little to bring him such joy, for his medical failure cost him Elizabeth’s mother and because he foolishly promised to save Kathryn that failure nearly cost him Elizabeth a well. Before the adventure which transformed Elizabeth into the Talisman they had not spoken in thirteen years.

Shaman sees Heather, the twins, Walter and Judd emerge from the void as it shrinks around them and deduces that they are unharmed but unconscious still. Seeing his daughter near the outer perimeter of the void he extends his hand to her, informing her that the void will continue to collapse on its own. Elizabeth tells her father to hurry when suddenly an electromagnetic blast sends Shaman flying back from the void and Elizabeth remains trapped within it.

Shaman cries out and looking up to the second level of the mall sees Delphine, who is holding Snowbird captive! Delphine tells Shaman that this development will be of interest to him and Shaman is shocked to see Narya, who with choked breath calls to Shaman to help her. Delphine asks Shaman why he is so surprised, as it was easy enough to get close to Snowbird when she approached, after all, Snowbird had no way of knowing Delphine was not Guardian. Snowbird asks Shaman what is happening until Delphine uses and electromagnetic pulse on her to quiet her.

Shaman curses Delphine, for in her human form, Snowbird is rather mortal, so Shaman knows he needs to help her. Elizabeth still trapped within the void asks her father to get her out first. Twoyoungmen tells Elizabeth that it will only take a moment, and that she needs to be brave as he reaches into the void, as he would his medicine pouch, he pulls from it a solution to the problem – and a grassy mass is thrown at Delphine and it covers the robot’s face. Shaman tells Narya that the spell will not hold Delphine long and the goddess flies down towards her former teammate.

Snowbird thanks Shaman before asking whom it is that is masquerading as their former leader. Shaman tells Narya that he has no time for explanations and turns to the void to rescue Elizabeth, only to his dismay he sees that the collapsing of the void accelerated and is almost gone. Elizabeth cries out shrilly from the void and extends a hand when her father tells her to fight against the mystic forces, for she has the power. Scared, Elizabeth replies that she cannot and all Michael Twoyoungmen can do is say ‘no’ over and over again as the void shrinks back into the pouch and Elizabeth’s final words are ‘Help me! You promised!’

Shaman lets out a cry as he sticks his hand into the pouch, before beginning he begins to weep. Snowbird stands at his side and he exclaims that nothing can be drawn from the pouch that is bigger than the mouth of the pouch. He declares that he has failed his daughter as he failed to save her mother, as he has failed so many times over and over. While she is concerned for her friend, the more pressing issue for Snowbird at the moment, is the fact that ‘the Talisman has been consumed by the void!’

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Box III, Puck, Shaman, Talisman II (all Alpha Flight)

Northstar, Snowbird (both former members of Alpha flight)

Heather McNeil Hudson

Roger Bochs

Doug Thompson

Delphine Courtney / “Dark Guardian”

Diamond Lil, Flashback, Wildchild (all Omega Flight)

Story Notes: 

Guardian was killed in Alpha Flight (first series) #12, Delphine Courtney has been posing as him since Alpha Flight (first series) #22. Delphine is able to have a male form, because she is a robotic construct.

Aurora was injured in battle in Alpha Flight (first series) #26.

Walter Langkowski / Sasquatch had his body destroyed after it was revealed to be inhabited by the Great Beast known as Tanaraq. Since then he has been residing in the Box armor. [Alpha Flight (first series) #23-24]

Snowbird quit Alpha Flight after defeating the Great Beasts as she wished to experience what it is like to be human without worrying about her godly duties or responsibilities in Alpha Flight. However she told Alpha Flight that she was returning to the realm of the Arctic Gods, which she didn’t do. [Alpha Flight (first series) #24]

The conceited Smart Alec tried to learn the secrets of Shaman’s medicine pouch and so he stole it from him, however his mind was robbed and he was reduced to a much smaller size until Shaman could work out what to do with him. [Alpha Flight (first series) #12-13] Smart Alec’s body is later destroyed in a battle between Pestilence and Box, and his mind remains lost to this day. [Alpha Flight (first series) #45]

Shaman and Elizabeth’s origin is seen in the back-story of Alpha Flight (first series) #5-6.

Issue Information: 
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