Alpha Flight (1st series) #28

Issue Date: 
November 1985
Story Title: 

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: 

Omega Flight are fleeing the West Edmonton Mall until Madison Jeffries stops them, and while Diamond Lil is surprised to learn her ex-boyfriend is still alive, Jeffries wants to stop Omega Flight so he uses his powers to create a robot to stop them. In the fight, Delphine Courtney throws one of Flashbacks future selves in between him and the robot, and it is killed. Jeffries then destroys Delphine Courtney before leaving his robot to watch Omega Flight until the police arrive. Inside the mall he finds Alpha Flight who have just battled the Beyonder after he rescued Talisman from the void, and after he leaves, Talisman wakes only to have a fight with her father about he has let her down so much. Furious Talisman teleports Alpha Flight, less Snowbird, back to their Vancouver headquarters. Back in their headquarters, Walter and Roger get started on catching Walt a new body, while Heather worries about the stability of Shaman. Despite Heather’s disapproving of the plan, it goes okay, and Walt’s soul is free from the Box armor, until the body they bring in for Walt is that of the Incredible Hulk!

Full Summary: 

The parking lot of the sprawling West Edmonton Mall, where four unique individuals are running from their confrontation with Canada’s premiere super-heroes, Alpha Flight. These four comprise some of Alpha Flight’s greatest enemies – Omega Flight. They are the android Delphine Courtney, a.k.a. “Dark Guardian” who has been impersonating Alpha Flight’s deceased leader, of whose death Omega Flight is responsible. Diamond Lil a.k.a. Lillian Crawley is the sultry indestructible and moody temptress, while Gardner Monroe, better known as “Flashback” is the man who can summon himself from the future, and Kyle “Wildchild” Gibney is the feral junior-league Wolverine.

As the four villains run through the car park Wildchild asks Delphine to run through the plan again, as he was of the understanding that it was foolproof. Delphine mocks Wildchild asking him if he could have done better and calculated all the possible permutations – such as the arrival of the “one from beyond”. Kyle replies that he doesn’t profess to have all the answers, but that Delphine did, and even though they managed to get Alpha Flight on the ropes, Omega Flight still ends up running away. Diamond Lil agrees with Wildchild and asks Courtney what went wrong, as they were busted out of prison with this big plan to kill Alpha Flight – Flashback cuts Lil off and says bluntly that their “great leader” screwed up and they almost get killed because of it.

Delphine walks over to Flashback and grabs him by the collar, declaring that he has heard enough of his whining to last one hundred lifetimes. Wildchild and Diamond Lil are startled when a car a car appears to collapse into itself, but Lil realizes that it is changing shape, like something alive. Horror spreads across Delphine’s face realizing what is happening he orders Lil and Flashback to form a defense line, and Flashback summons two future-selves, mentioning that Courtney sounds scared, Flashback jokes that he thought nothing scared him. Suddenly, a man steps out from behind the car and declares that one thing scares Courtney – and it’s him. ‘Hiya Lil!’ he ads.

Diamond Lil is stunned to see her former boyfriend, Madison Jeffries, and reveals that she thought he was dead. Jeffries tells his ex that so did a lot of other people, which is the way he wanted it, but that he doesn’t ‘kick off’ so easily. Lillian asks Jeffries what happened to him, for when Delphine didn’t recruit him into Omega Flight she thought the rumors must have been true. Jeffries informs Lil that Delphine did not even try and recruit him for Omega Flight. Delphine tells Diamond Lil that if Jeffries is not with them, then he is against them and must have gone over to Alpha Flight, as that would be the only reason as to why he is here now.

Jeffries says ‘not entirely, but you know that, don’t you’ to Delphine before admitting that he was rather miffed when he heard the real Guardian was killed, as he liked him, for James Hudson was one of the few people who ever gave him a fair share. Jeffries reveals that if Alpha Flight was going to ‘kick your butt for what you did’ then he would like to be in on it. Standing beside the car, which he has changed into some kind of creature, Jeffries uses his transmorphic powers to control the robot into attacking Omega. Flashback stands to the side and tells Lil that she better do something as it is out of his league. Lillian shoves Gardner to the side and tells him that everything is out of his league as all he and his future selves are good for are ‘instant crowd-scenes’. She exclaims that she will prove why she is called “Diamond Lil” and she uses her super strength to punch the robot, but it grabs her and tosses her across the parking lot.

Jeffries cries out when he sees the woman he once cared for lying still on the ground and rushes over to her. Lil is okay and as he helps her up Jeffries tells her that she should have stayed out of the way, as even though she is indestructible, she can still feel pain if she gets hit hard enough. Lillian asks Jeffries why he is here, as he never cared about Alpha Flight, Jeffries agrees, but reveals that when Roger Bochs told him what happened he thought something was wrong. He tells Lil that he knows she is not bad, sure, she has a big chip on her shoulder, but nothing that would make her go wrong. He informs Lil that he figured whoever was behind it all had probably messed with her head, and Wildchild and Flashback’s too. Jeffries says that he doesn’t know Flashback from ‘a hole in the ground’ but that he, Lil and Wildchild were in Gamma Flight together and he figured he should try and get them out of this mess.

Jeffries turns around when he sees his robot approach Delphine Courtney and Wildchild. The robot picks up Wildchild, who asks Courtney to help him. Delphine replies that he cannot, as ‘that mystical glob’ Shaman hit him with jammed his defense circuitry so he cannot fire and electromagnetic bolts. Wildchild is tossed aside and the robot moves in on Delphine, who grabs one of Flashback’s future selves and shoves him in front of himself for protection. The future Flashback asks Delphine what he is doing when the robot’s metal claws go into the future Flashback’s chest. Gardner cries out in horror and future selves around him begin to disappear. He rushes over to the dead future man and declares that he is dead, he reminds everyone that his future men are al him from some period yet to come- ‘you’ve murdered my future!’ he shouts at Delphine.

Jeffries walks over to Delphine and tells him that he was wrong in thinking he would take it like a man, so it is time to stop playing games and get down and dirty. Delphine backs away from Jeffries, pleading, he tells him that he doesn’t have to do this and that he can make him a rich man. Jeffries is unimpressed and tells Delphine that if he wanted to be rich he would not be digging ditches for a living, especially not when he can do what he can do. Jeffries tells Delphine that it is all over for him and says that it can start by ripping off the Guardian disguise. Unable to resist, Delphine tears the face of Guardian from its body, Jeffries telling Delphine that all he is, is another machine. Delphine’s mouth is wide open and the android’s body tips back as Jeffries reminds him he killed a man he respected and liked – and so now Delphine has to pay. With that, all of the android’s insides come up through its mouth, and Delphine Courtney is no more.

Wildchild asks Lil if she saw what happened to Courtney and Lil tells Kyle that he knew it was not a real person. Hands in pockets, Jeffries walks over to his former Gamma Flight teammates and declares that the android is nothing but scrap metal now – which is what he thinks will happen to any machine that starts thinking it is above humans. Lil asks Jeffries what is going to happen to her and Wildchild and Flashback, to which Jeffries replies that Flashback will ‘be busy going crackers’ for a while, but as for her and Kyle, they are still accomplices to murder and have to take the fall. ‘I’m dead…I’m dead! Maybe in a day or a week…or an hour!’ cries Flashback. Diamond Lil stands and watches Jeffries turn and leave, declaring that he will leave his robot to watch over them and make sure they don’t go anywhere until the cops arrive, before he tells Lil that he will see her some other time – like in twenty years.

Making his way through the sprawling West Edmonton Mall, Jeffries tells himself that according to Bochs, Alpha Flight should be around here somewhere, but in a place as big as this “around here” could be anywhere – but it looks like he has found them! Jeffries walks into a spacious area of the mall, only to see Alpha Flight – Heather Hudson, Shaman, Walter Langkowski, Aurora and Puck, as well as former members Snowbird and Northstar, standing before a mysterious being holding another member of Alpha Flight, Talisman, in his arms. The mysterious being is called the Beyonder and he declares that there is still much that puzzles him about the ‘business of being human’. He reminds Alpha Flight that they have battled against him and seen a fraction of his power, and they know he could easily destroy them, yet he senses that al but one of them would still fight against him.

Shaman reveals that it is he who will not fight the Beyonder now that he knows his true nature, and he agrees with the Beyonder when he says that he is from beyond and much more than human. Twoyoungmen informs the Beyonder that by saving his daughter he has proved himself. The Beyonder tells Shaman that he has something else to ponder – that within his daughter’s mortal frame dwells great power, yet that very mortality and humanity is a barrier to the power, yet it perplexes her. Shaman tells the Beyonder that it is less Elizabeth’ humanity than it is her youth, for in the fullness of her years, will come the fullness of her powers.

The handsome former Alphan, Northstar walks up to the rest of the group from where he was standing to the back and declares that he cannot believe everyone is talking to a self professed alien who appeared from no where, attacked without provocation as if they were talking to him about the weather! He adds that for all they know he could be a previously unseen member of Omega Flight. The diminutive Puck tells Jean-Paul Beaubier to calm down and reminds him that events were not so clear and simple. Team leader Heather Hudson agrees with Puck and tells Jean-Paul that it was they who were to blame, not the Beyonder. She tells everyone that it is time they stepped back and tried to be more analytical and less “hair-triggered”. Sitting down to nurse her wounds, Aurora tells her estranged brother to listen to Heather, as she is right.

The Beyonder puts Talisman down as she wakes up, clutching her head she asks why everyone has to talk so loud before declaring that she ‘feels like I’ve been smoking out of the wrong pipe’ and asks everyone what happened. The Beyonder tells Talisman that her friends can inform her of what happened, for it is time for he to depart. Talisman asks him to wait, but in a blinding flash, the Beyonder is gone. Elizabeth declares that the Beyonder was awesome, but that she still does not remember what happened. The serene goddess Snowbird walks up to her friend and informs her that it is he human side which clouds her memory, for it seeks to protect her sanity after all that has happened to her – in the void!

Talisman looks at Narya and remembers the false Guardian turning Shaman’s medicine pouch inside out trying to find Smart Alec. Shaman reminds his daughter that the void is the universe, which lies beyond his medicine pouch, the universe from which all his power flows, and that it was only her power as the Talisman that could contain the void and force it back into the pouch. Talisman frowns and proclaims that she remembers now – and punches her father in the face.

Shaman wipes his mouth and tells Elizabeth that he is sorry, but Elizabeth screams ‘save it’ and furiously upset she tells him that she doesn’t want to hear any more of his lies, which is all she ever gets from him, lies, half truths and broken promises. Elizabeth reminds Twoyoungmen that he promised to save her mother and didn’t, and that when he told her to put on ‘this wretched headband’ he didn’t tell her it would never come off and now she has turned into ‘some kind of mystical freak!’ She reminds him that he promised to save her from the void – and he let her down again.

Hoping to calm her former charge, Heather tells Elizabeth that there were ‘extenuating circumstances’ Power begins to swirl around Elizabeth and her eyes flash a blood red color as she tells Heather that she thought she was her friend. She asks her foster sister how she can take Shaman’s side, after all he has lied to her about, over and over again and this time it almost cost her sanity! Heather tells Elizabeth that she must know Shaman didn’t do it deliberately, and he had to make a choice about who to save first - she or Snowbird – and he thought he could do both. ‘But he didn’t,’ Talisman reminds her coldly as she tells everyone to stop trying to make it better, in a fury she screams ‘why don’t you all just go away!’ and with that, Alpha Flight, Northstar, Snowbird and Jeffries are all teleported away.

Suddenly, Alpha Flight appears in their downtown headquarters, much to the surprise of roger Bochs who is in one of the labs. Aurora stands aghast and asks if Talisman really has such power, to which a forlorn Shaman replies that she has, but that she does not realize it, for she could have sent them anywhere, to any time and any place. Heather remarks how incredible that is before noticing Snowbird is not present and asks where Narya is. Shaman reveals that Snowbird is not so east to transport against her will and that she would have remained in Edmonton or used the teleportation to send her to a place of her choice.

Heather tells Twoyoungmen that he sounds terrible, to which he asks why should he not, for everything that Elizabeth said was true, he has broken promises to her again and again. And when he is not breaking promises he is using her, manipulating her despite his intentions being for the best, ands in the end he treats her not better than one of his mystical tools. From within the Box armor, Walt declares that he feels sorry for Shaman, but asks what of Omega Flight, for they left them running around loose. Madison Jeffries steps forward and announcing his presence he informs Alpha Flight that he took care of Omega Flight.

Bochs sees his friend and asks Jeffries what he is doing here, to which Madison replies that he doesn’t know, for the last thing he remembers is watching Alpha Flight have a family squabble. Northstar proclaims that Elizabeth’s spell must have transported him too, and Judd is also surprised to see the one member of Gamma Flight who did not end up in Omega. Heather raises her voice and tells everyone to ‘hold it right there, this has now gone ten steps past crazy’. She reminds everyone that they spent twenty-four hours ‘full clip’ so now everyone can chill for a while and they will debrief in two hours. She tells everyone to take time to clear their thoughts while she has a bath.

While in the bath, Heather listens to her voice journal she recorded, where she states that everything is back to what is considered “normal” for Alpha Flight, and she can see now that Mac’s resurrection was a plot right from the start, a very carefully constructed lie. She continues to say that Shaman is her main concern now, for when his wife died fifteen years ago it tore him apart and he took ten years to get back together. Heather thinks that the business with Elizabeth is affecting Shaman the same way, and she is worried about him, as he is an old friend. Heather recalls that before Mac’s death, Michael was as much team leader as her husband was, for Michael was the older and wiser one, the council they needed to keep their sanity whilst playing super-hero. Since the mantle of leadership fell to Heather, she too has come to depend on Michael the same way, without realizing it.

Heather stops the playback and begins to record new thoughts, fearing that if the incident has triggered some kind of regression in Shaman, then she is not certain Alpha Flight can cope with it, for his power is as much sureness of self as it is anything else he pulls out of the pouch. Putting on her clothes, Heather reminds herself that Alpha Flight has survived the loss of Mac and Sasquatch, the resignation of Northstar and the multiple personalities of Aurora But if they lose Shaman, it could prove a devastating blow, for he has been the team’s inner strength.

Suddenly, the lights go out, Heather decides that it cannot be a power outage, as they have their own generators, so she strides towards one of the labs and asks Roger Bochs what is going on. As she enters the lab she sees Walter inside the box armor with some kind of fishing rod ready to go “interdimensional fishing”. Roger apologizes to Heather s he had not anticipated such a sudden surge of power and that before he could compensate, the breakers tripped automatically, but the lights should return any minute. Ignoring all the technical talk, Heather just asks Roger what he thinks he is doing.

Aurora, who is watching from the edge of the room with Northstar, Puck and Jeffries, tells Heather that there is nothing to worry about, just that Bochs has come up with a way to get a new body for Walter. Heather is shocked and reminds everyone that Walter’s body was destroyed when Snowbird killed the monster that possessed him, which is why his soul now resides in the Box armor. Heather asks Aurora to explain herself, but Judd speaks up, telling Heather that it is a sound plan, as Bochs deduced that since Walter’s Sasquatch body came from another dimension, crossing the boundaries by a mystical means, using scientific means, they may be able to probe adjacent dimensions to find a more suitable body for Walter. Judd adds that they have been planning this for some weeks now.

Furious, Heather asks if anyone thought it would be worthwhile to tell her about it, even though the premise is sound, she asks them when they became experts on interdimensional stuff. She tells them that for all they know they may be on the verge of freeing the Great Beasts again or worse! Heather asks where Shaman is and tells the others that she would have at least expected them to tell him about it. Roger tells Heather that Shaman does know what they are doing but wasn’t feeling well – Heather cuts Roger off and exclaims that Michael is the only one of them with any knowledge in the interdimensional field yet he is too shaken up to be of any help, yet they all go ahead with it anyway. Heather declares that as team leader she thinks the plan is too dangerous and orders Walter and Roger to stop it.

Walt tells Heather that it is too late, as they have already hooked their target and the “fishing rod” is not designed to let go once it has latched on. Box struggles to reel him in, as the Beast they have caught seems to have his own idea how to play the game and is not cooperating. Heather is in dismay and orders Judd to go find Shaman and orders Walt to let go of the rod if he has to so he can stop this. Walt tells Heather that he will not, as he has been cooped up too long in the Box armor and informs Roger that he is preparing for trans-interface fusion and tells him to get ready to re-emerge with Box.

‘“Trans…?” What? Bochs, Walt, don’t!’ cries Heather, but it is too late, as Walt’s soul leaves the Box robot and Roger re-emerges into it. Now in control of the Box armor, Walt realizes that their “prize” is fighting back, and he calls to Jeffries to boost more power to the rod as Walter should be making contact any moment now. Jeffries fiddles with the control panel as Heather turns to him and asks him if he is in on this too as he has only been with them half a second! Jeffries tells Heather that he and Bochs go ‘back a bit’ as he used his transmutator powers to help rebuild the Box robot, and that Bochs filled him in on the plan while Heather was having a bath.

Jeffries tells Heather that it is a solid plan as there are strong scientific principals behind it. He points to the “fishing rod” and informs Heather that it projects a cohesive stream of Epsilon Particles and at the other end they penetrate living matter without damaging it. The Particles then lock onto the genetic pattern like a super hook, and ‘the line is just played out until the catch can be reeled in’. Heather asks Jeffries what the “trans-facial infusion” is and what they have hooked. Jeffries tells Heather – calling her “Mrs. H” – that it is called “trans-interface fusion” and that is a bit trickier, though it seems like Walt has fired himself from the Box armor and transmitted himself down the epsilon stream and theoretically into whatever is on the other end.

Jeffries tells Heather that whatever is on the other end is rather vague, and pointing to a computer screen he tells her that that is the clearest image Bochs was able to get from the dimensional interface - a being that is big, humanoid and with almost no brainwave – perfect for what Walter needs. Bochs cautions everyone that their catch is coming through, and as Shaman enters the room he asks Bochs if he stabilized the warp. Bochs replies that there was no time for something happened at the other end, and their catch has stopped fighting for a moment. Bochs declares that this is their chance to get Walter back, so he pulls on the rod and soon a green creature lies on the ground of the lab. Aurora calls to it but they realize too late – that it is the Hulk, and he stands up and smashes Box.

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

Madison Jeffries

Delphine Courtney / “Dark Guardian”

Diamond Lil, Flashback, Wildchild (all Omega Flight)

The Beyonder


Story Notes: 

Aside from providing the covers to Alpha Flight (1st series) #81-82, this is John Byrne’s final work on Alpha Flight. From this point on the creative teams of Alpha Flight and the Incredible Hulk switched places.

Jeffries assumption that Omega Flight were somehow being manipulated psychically is correct, as Delphine has a small amount of mind controlling power.

Shaman hurled a mystical weapon at Delphine Courtney to free Snowbird, whom he had captured. [Alpha Flight (first series) #27]

It will be much sooner than twenty years before Jeffries and Lil are reunited, as when the government creates a new Gamma Flight to replace Alpha Flight, Diamond Lil and Wildchild are pardoned for the crimes if they join Gamma Flight. Both are freed from prison, however Lil joins up with Alpha Flight before Gamma Flight even make their official debut. [Alpha Flight (first series) #71,76]

Flashback is not mentioned again until Alpha Flight (1st series) #76, when Diamond Lil makes a throw-away comment about how he was no longer with them in prison one day. It was assumed that his past caught up with him and he was pulled back to the West Edmonton Mall and killed. In truth, however, it seems that Flashback was released from prison early and tried to prevent his death by never appearing in costume again (as his future self was wearing the uniform when he died). All was going fine until he woke up one morning and discovered his old costume in the bathroom. He sought Alpha Flight’s help, which led them to go back in time, resulting in a contrived series of events. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #9-12]

Alpha Flight battled the Beyonder, who saved Talisman from the void in Secret Wars II #4, which obviously takes place before this issue.

Shaman’s wife, Kathryn, died of cancer. [Back story in Alpha Flight (first series) #5]

Both Snowbird and Northstar rejoin Alpha Flight officially next issue. [Alpha Flight (first series) #29]

Sasquatch’s body was destroyed by Snowbird because it was also inhabited by Tanaraq, one of the Great Beasts whom she was created to destroy. [Alpha Flight (first series) #23-24]

Jeffries help Roger rebuild Box after it was damaged in battle with Omega Flight [Alpha Flight (first series) #12,16]

Upon realizing that the body they found for him belonged to that of his old friend, Bruce Banner, Walter could not take it over, so his soul wandered around aimlessly until he came to the soulless body of Smart Alec, he took over than until Pestilence was purged from Snowbird’s body and Walter took over that as Wanda, until Snowbird changed it into a male body later on. [Incredible Hulk (first series) #313, Alpha Flight (first series) #44-46]

Issue Information: 
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