Alpha Flight (1st series) #39

Issue Date: 
October 1986
Story Title: 
The Invasion of Atlantis

Bill Mantlo (Writer), David Ross (Penciler), Wilce Portacio (Inker), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Jim Novak (Letterer), Rosemary McCormick-Lowy (Assistant Editor), Carl Potts (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Returning to Mansion Alpha, Alpha Flight are met by Byrrah, cousin of the Sub-Mariner who has come to ask for their help in rescuing Namor’s love, Alpha’s former teammate Marrina, from Attuma. Alpha decides that despite the possible international incident consequences they must rescue Marrina. Snowbird’s husband is annoyed by his wife’s willingness to rescue Marrina when their son is still missing, and storms away, declaring he will find their son himself. Alpha Flight soon learn that ever since they moved into their new home they have been spied on by their government liaison, Gary Cody who orders them not to go to Atlantis, but Vindicator destroys the surveillance equipment that he used to spy on them and tells him that Alpha Flight take orders from no one. Jeffries designs deep-sea suits for those who need them and just in time as Alpha Flight are soon shot out of the sky by Atlantis’ deep-sea security weapons. A battle ensues between Alpha and the Atlanteans, and soon all of Alpha Flight are knocked into the water. No longer bound to Canada, Snowbird assumes the form of a whale to fight, secretly hoping that she will die in the process so that she can return to the gods. Jeffries cannot swim and is sent back to the surface after being rescued. Soon, Alpha Flight is joined by Namor and the Avengers, and together the two teams proceed to battle Attuma and his hordes directly. Northstar frees Marrina, but before they can all flee, Attuma’s hordes overwhelm the heroes and surround them, ready to kill them at Attuma’s command!

Full Summary: 

Desperately needing a rest after the tragic battle with Pestilence, Canada’s premiere super heroes, Alpha Flight, return to their home on Tamarind Island. From within the teams Omni-Jet, sensors indicate an intruder on the shore of the Island. Heather “Vindicator” Hudson, team leader, orders mutant twins Northstar and Aurora to take the diminutive Puck down to the shore and confront the intruder directly, while the others land behind the house and block and escape path the intruder may take.

The twins fly Puck out of the plane and towards the shore, where before he even reaches the ground, Eugene Judd drops from their grasp declaring as he falls that whomever their guest is he has spotted them now. As Judd somersaults towards the blue-skinned Atlantean, he declares that introductions are in order. The Atlantean introduces himself as Byrrah, royal cousin to Namor, the rightful ruler of Atlantis, and proclaims that his lord has commanded him to seek Alpha Flight’s aid.

Judd declares that the Sub-Mariner has aided Alpha Flight in the past, and that of course they will return the favor. Judd guesses Byrrah must have swum a long way to get to Tamarind Island and starts to help him to his feet, when Byrrah shoves Judd back, exclaiming that he is an Atlantean nobleman and needs ‘no assistance from a dwarf’. Just then Heather flies down and tells Byrrah to be at ease, reminding him he is a guest and a supplicant. Byrrah addresses Heather as ‘woman’ and asks her in what capacity she addresses him. Heather declares that she is Vindicator, leader of Alpha Flight. Byrrah says that he thought Guardian was leader, and Heather informs him that Guardian is dead. ‘About the Sub-Mariner’ says Judd.

Soon, in the meeting room of Mansion Alpha, Byrrah is explaining the current predicament to everyone. He declares that after Atlantis ousted Namor from the throne, the barbarian Attuma took over, and took hostage Namor’s beloved against the day of his enemy’s return. The flighty Aurora asks who “Namor’s beloved” is and Byrrah replies that she is a monstrous-looking green-skinned female. The handsome Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier exclaims that it must be Marrina, to which the beautiful goddess Snowbird declares that must be where their former teammate disappeared to, adding that they must rescue her.

Snowbirds husband, the mortal Doug Thompson stands up and asks Narya if she has gone mad, reminding her that they have just come from losing the life-force of their newborn son to the horror known as Pestilence. Thompson tells Snowbird that as soon as she has rested they have to go and rescue him. ‘Must we, Douglas?’ asks Narya calmly, before reminding him that her marriage to him and the birth of ‘that child’ was her undoing! She declares that by binding herself to mortality she has become mortal and has been rejected by the gods in Paradise. She believes that by forswearing her mistakes she will again be welcomed in Paradise.

Mistakes? Is that all our son and I are to you? shouts Doug as he starts to leave the room. Snowbird starts to say I did not mean… when Doug cuts her off, storming out of the room he says Bloody blazes you didn’t! and declaring that it has become crystal clear to him that his wife belongs with her fellow freaks of Alpha Flight, or somewhere off in the clouds with the Gods, not married to a mere mortal such as himself. He adds that as Snowbird is not human he cannot expect her to know what motherly love means, before declaring that he is a father and will not rest until he has saved his son.

Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, formerly “Shaman” and now the new Talisman declares that he fears Pestilence may find his parents before they find him. Judd asks Twoyoungmen if that is a premonition or a prophecy before Heather tells Byrrah that he is presenting Alpha Flight with a problem. She declares that Atlantis, like Canada, is a sovereign nation and the Atlantean people have forced the Sub-Mariner to give up his throne and chosen Attuma as their new ruler. Elizabeth Twoyoungmen, recently stripped of her Talisman powers and succeeded by her father watches her former leader as Heather declares that any assault on Atlantis to free Marrina by Alpha Flight is going to be regarded as an act of war!

Northstar suggests that they act on their own, not as agents of Canada, but Alpha Flight’s ally Madison Jeffries suggests that Atlantis and the world will not see it that way. Roger Bochs proposes that Marrina may not want their help, reminding everyone that she never returned to Alpha Flight. Puck informs everyone that Marrina couldn’t return, for personal reasons. Heather asks Judd, who was present when Marrina ran away if he can tell them about it. Judd reminds everyone that Marrina loved Prince Namor, but then the evil Master of the World exposed her to her true alien mate and unleashed a monstrous side of Marrina’s personality.

Judd declares that in horror and shame, Marrina fled from both Namor and her friends. Heather recalls that Marrina was still consumed by that shame when Alpha recently saw her, but as Judd points out, she is still an Alphan when it comes down to it. Heather agrees, which is why they must help her, but she reminds everyone that Alpha Flight is exhausted and she does not want to trigger an international incident.

Just then, computer monitors turn on and Alpha Flight see before them their government liaison, Gary Cody, who tells Heather that she will not trigger an international incident, as Attuma is the rightful ruler of Atlantis now, and Alpha Flight is expressly prohibited from involving Canada in any war. Alpha Flight is all astonished to see Cody before them and Jean-Paul asks if it is Heather’s doing. Judd is perplexed that Cody monitored their meeting and Jeffries suggests that he is a spy. Roger realizes that the mansion must be bugged and Gary Cody confirms that certain devices were installed when Alpha’s headquarters were remodeled to facilitate electronic surveillance.

Gary informs everyone that since Ottawa pay Alpha Flight’s bills, they have ordered him to keep tabs on Alpha, adding that the eavesdropping was not intrusive. Heather asks Gary if the deal was that there would be no strings attached when Alpha Flight accepted the government funding. Well, yes, but … says Gary, when Heather uses the electromagnetic powers of her battle suit to blast the surveillance screens to bits as she tells Gary that he can tell the Prime Minister and parliament to keep their noses out of Alpha Flight’s business, or the deal is off! Roger asks what that means and as Heather strides out of the room with Twoyoungmen at her side she informs everyone that they go rescue Marrina and pay the piper later. As Jean-Paul looks somewhat shocked at what Heather just did, Jeffries asks him if he still wants to sneer at her now.

Alpha Flight’s Omni-Jet takes less than an hour to bridge the 3,000 miles between the Pacific and Atlantic Seaboards … While inside the Omni-Jet, Heather tells Byrrah that she thinks it is time he divulges the secret undersea position of Atlantis. Eating a donut, Roger reveals that data gleaned from the Alphanex computer would place Atlantis just below them. Byrrah leans across the table and declares that he does not like the arrogance of which Roger boasts of fathoming a state secret. Cripple the Atlantean adds. Jean-Paul tells Byrrah to curb his tongue, as Roger may be cripple, but he is their cripple.

Sipping a cup of coffee, Heather is shocked that Northstar is defending a teammate, and wonders if the sarcastic speedster is growing up. She is glad to hear it, as she knows she needs to count on him more than ever, because both Shaman, since he donned the powers of the Talisman and Snowbird are drawing further away from the rest of the team. Other than that, Heather realizes that Alpha Flight is exhausted after battling menace after menace for months and that Marrina’s peril merely affirms that death, danger and despair are every Alphans lot in life. For better or worse, I lead Alpha Flight! Heather tells herself.

Northstar tells Byrrah that he has come to aid Alpha Flight and suggests to him that he start treating them as allies – and equals, adding that as such he wishes to know two things. Where Atlantis is and how they will fight underwater when they arrive there. Byrrah declares very well and that he will give the crip – Mr. Bochs – the coordinates. Jeffries announces that he and Bochs have already taken care of question two, and declares that while he is getting ready the demonstration he thinks there is a question that nobody has asked yet.

Roger declares that Jeffries is referring to the background check he had Alphanex do on Byrrah, which revealed him to have been at one time the Sub-Mariner’s mortal enemy! Twoyoungmen orders his teammates to be on guard and as everyone turns to face Byrrah, Aurora asks if they have been tricked. Byrrah tells the Alphan’s that he will tolerate their slander only because he has sworn himself to bring Alpha to his cousin. Heather asks him why he would aid a man he once tried to dethrone, Byrrah replies that though Namor is a terrible Prince, Atlantean blood still flows in his veins, whereas Attuma has no legitimate claim to kingship.

Jeffries gets the Alphans’ attention when he declares that he doesn’t know anything about politics but that by working from Bochs’ designs he can certainly transmute machinery into dandy deep-sea pressure suits! Alpha Flight all put on the suit designed for their form, but Snowbird declares that as she can assume the form of any under sea creature she does not need such an apparatus. Aurora declares that she wishes she didn’t need one either, as it is so unstylish! Heather reveals that a mask is all she will need as her electro-fields will deflect and pressure. Roger informs everyone that the masks will supply air, by osmosis, taking pure oxygen from the water. He adds that he would need one too, if he were going into battle as a pudgy paraplegic, but of course he is not, and at that moment he phases into the Box armor, informing everyone that the Bochs robot does not breathe, before asking Alpha Flight if they are ready for the invasion!

Alpha Flight may be ready, but it is Atlantis that fires the first shot, as subsurface-to-surface missiles, which are virtually undetectable and very deadly fire at the Omnijet, causing it to fall into the ocean. However as Alpha Flight land safely on a metal raft thanks to the transmuting powers of Madison Jeffries, they survive. Twoyoungmen alerts Alpha Flight to an attacking horde of Atlanteans, which his water spirits sensed. Attuma’s barbarians are also among the attackers, who surround the life raft consisting of Snowbird in a polar bear form, Twoyoungmen, Judd, Jeffries and Byrrah, while Heather, the twins and Box take to the air.

Heather orders Alpha Flight not to hold back, as Atlantis attacked first, however Judd suggests that one could argue that the Atlanteans were merely defending their realm from invasion. Aurora exclaims that they are terrorists and hold Marrina hostage. Box asks Aurora if that is not the same label that Canada gave her brother, to which Jean-Paul declares that he is not ashamed of his past. Box tells Jean-Paul that he is not suggesting he should be, as he fought for a cause that he believed in, ‘even if you were misguided’ he adds.

Suddenly some kind of vessel is thrown up from the ocean, knocking over the raft and sending Snowbird, Judd, Twoyoungmen, Jeffries and Byrrah into the water. Aurora declares that it may be the very craft that brought down their ship but wonders what force could have cut it in half and sent it flying up from the depths. Heather declares that whatever the cause the vessel struck the remains of their ship and sent their teammates into the ocean.

All four heroes dive into the water and Heather declares that Jeffries was not wearing a deep-sea suit. Box declares that the worst of it is that Madison once told him he cannot swim, and they need to find him before he drowns. Aurora sees the Alphans and alerts her teammates. Seeing an Albino whale amongst the group, Northstar declares that it must be his friend Snowbird, and that she and Byrrah are keeping the Atlanteans at bay while Twoyoungmen is using his powers to send Jeffries out of the water.

Twoyoungmen tells Jeffries that the air spirits will send him to the surface where everyone else will join him once they have rescued Marrina. Reaching the surface, Jeffries swims over to a part of the life raft and asks himself why he had to put himself in a situation where Alpha Flight had to rescue him, why didn’t I make a deep-sea suit for myself? He knows the reason why, but after fighting beside Alpha against some of their most formidable enemies how could he tell them that he was afraid of water?

This is ridiculous! cries Heather Two of my Alphans can’t swim? Judd replies that it is his only shortcoming – you’ll pardon the pun eh? The diminutive Alphan thinks that if he can flail around in the water he can “flounder” in the direction of the fight. Byrrah tells Judd that by the time he reaches the battle, it will be over. Northstar tells Byrrah as he sweeps through a horde of the enemy to let history to reflect that it was Alpha Flight who saved him despite the overwhelming odds.

Vindicator tells Northstar not to get cocky and not to forget that Alpha Flight is out of their element while the Atlanteans are in it. Not that it seems to matter, Vindicator,declares Box who boasts that on land or beneath the sea, Alpha Flight is simply the best, even with water resistance slowing them down. And zee brightest, ne c’est pas? says Aurora as she shines brightly, blinding several of the enemy.

As Judd “flounders” around in the water, he is astonished at the changes that have taken place within Alpha Flight recently, namely Heather taking a fractured group as willing to fight among themselves as they would face the enemy, and forged them into a family. How I love her! he exclaims, but knows that it is still to soon after the death of her husband, Guardian, for her to want to return any love. Judd realizes that the Atlanteans can see him flailing around and are starting to close in.

Judd approaches Narya in her whale form and suggests that he hitch a ride on “snow-whale”. Die dwarf, cries an Atlantean who pokes a spear at Judd when he lands on Snowbird. Judd declares that if his size is going to make him the butt of Atlantean jokes, then it is only fair that he repays the Atlantean with the butt of his own spear, and does so. Judd tells the Atlantean to consider himself lucky that he didn’t ask him if you got the point. Resting on Narya he is happy that he is no longer floating helplessly.

Puck suggests to Snowbird that he be a sub-sea knight and she his charger and that together they make a attack into the midst of their enemy. Snowbird doesn’t see any reason not to, and hopes that perhaps in battle, death will claim her and release her from the mortal coil she now resides in. Snowbird charges forward in the form of the giant whale, mouth open wide as if she is going to swallow everyone in her path, Atlanteans and barbarians turn and flee in terror.

Judd realizes that now that she is mortal, Snowbird can pass beyond the borders of Canada without having to worry about possible death, she can now also assume the form of any creature, whether it is indigenous to the Arctic or not. However Judd knows that the loss of Snowbird’s immortality and her son has left her with a desperate death wish, for she believes that by dying she can rejoin the gods. Judd hopes that her does not perish with her.

Vindicator announces that the first fleet of Atlanteans has turned and fled, but Twoyoungmen points out that more warriors arise from the depths. Heather is about to say that they had to anticipate that, but suddenly realizes that the approaching figures are not troops or Attuma’s fleet, but the Sub-Mariner and the Avengers!

Hrrmph! What are they doing here? asks Northstar crossing his arms. Zee same thing we are! Oui, Madame Wasp? sks Aurora. Wasp agrees and reveals that Namor told the Avengers he also sought Alpha Flight’s aid. Captain Marvel asks Wasp if this then makes the incident an international assault on Atlantis. Box introduces himself to Hercules and in reply to Captain Marvel’s comment, Heather exclaims that she ‘hopes not’ as they are only here to free a hostage. Captain America shakes Heather’s hand and calling her Guardian, declares that the Avenger’s mission. Twoyoungmen asks the handsome Black Knight who he is, and introducing himself Black Knight asks the same question. Byrrah swims up to Namor and tells him that he has done as requested, to which Namor forgives his cousin for his past crimes. Judd tells Namor it is good to see him again, and the feeling is mutual from the Sub-Mariner.

Heather tells Captain America that she is actually Vindicator, as Guardian was her late husband. Captain America expresses his sympathies, but Heather declares that she has gotten over it – almost. Heather realizes that it must have been Captain America who destroyed the Atlantean sub that shot down Alpha Flight’s Omni-Jet, to which Cap tells her that she has Namor and Hercules to thank for that, who in fact took it upon themselves as a point of honor.

Heather asks Captain America now that they have joined forces what they are to do next. Aurora tells herself that there is such an aura of assertiveness about Captain America, while her brother Northstar wonders why Vindicator yields command easily to this aged Avengers? Cap suggests that they save Marrina and get out, to which Byrrah asks what? And not usurp the usurper? Namor tells his cousin that that is correct, and reveals that he has fought hard about it since word was brought to him that Attuma now ruled Atlantis. Namor boasts that in former times his pride would have demanded that he take back that which was his. However he admits that when he ruled Atlantis he ruled neither wisely nor well, and in the end Atlantis cast him out.

Namor declares that pride would compel him to force himself upon his people, but they have since chosen a barbarian over him. Solemnly, and with the attention of all the Avengers and Alpha Flight, Namor declares that all he demands from Atlantis and Attuma now is that the free his beloved Marrina, whom he thought was lost forever, so he can make her his bride. Captain America tells Namor that they will help him, and Vindicator declares that international law sanctions the rescue of hostages.

Byrrah recalls how he once despised his hybrid cousin, but now that he has forsworn both kingdom and his pride, Byrrah does not think he has ever seen a more noble man, and decides that he must convince Namor to reclaim the throne. Captain America asks Captain Marvel, who travels at the speed of light, to fly ahead and scout out to let them know what danger awaits. Whatever they might be, Alpha Flight is ready declares Heather, and the Wasp boasts that the Avengers are ready too.

However, the foe that the two super teams go forth to confront is formidable, for an entire kingdom stands massed against them. Alpha Flight and the Avengers reach the city of Atlantis and prepare to engage the enemy in battle. Still riding on the back of Snowbird, Judd points out that if Attuma s a despot, his subjects seem willing to follow him. Captain America informs Judd that Attuma has promised to re-establish Atlantis’ lost power, adding that he once fought another such dictator who rallied a nation with such promises and nearly destroyed the world.

Captain Marvel declares that she will try and find Marrina and asks what she looks like. Green! exclaims Box as Hercules declares he thinks he can see her below. Indeed, Marrina is below the battleground, trapped within an orb. Marrina exclaims that she wished Namor would not risk his life for her as Attuma bellows that he knew Namor would, adding that as he arrives with his surface-dweller allies he proves to the Atlantean people where his true allegiance lies.

Vindicator tells Namor to go to Marrina, declaring that everyone else will run interference and hold off Attuma’s armies for as long as they can. Namor streaks through the water telling Attuma that while he has usurped his throne, he will not malign his motives. As Namor and Attuma engage in physical combat, Attuma tells Namor that his assault on Atlantis is proof enough that his loyalties lie above the water. Northstar swims over to the orb where Marrina is held captive and freeing her from it he tells her that it is good to see her again, though he wishes it were under more auspicious circumstances.

Namor tells Jean-Paul to take his beloved to the surface, as Attuma tells Namor that more than anything it was his decision to make that monster his queen that turned Atlantis against him and made them willing to serve. Marrina clings to Jean-Paul ands exclaims that she must stop this as she is not worth it.

Attuma’s hordes begin to surround Namor, Marrina and Northstar as Attuma tells Namor he has shown the extent of his treason and now Atlantis will witness his death! Marrina tells Namor not to sacrifice himself for her as she is not worth it. Namor is surprised to see her still here, telling her that if she had fled he could have followed.

Heather looks over and realizes that since Marrina did not flee, she, Jean-Paul and Namor are encircled. Captain America declares that success rests on snatching Marrina from her captors and retreating, for the longer they stay the greater the chances of sparking an international incident are. Alpha Flight and the Avengers move in towards Northstar, Marrina and Namor as Cap declares that diplomacy demands they get out, however as Aurora points out, duty says they save their teammates. No contest as far as I can see declares Captain Marvel.

Both teams fight valiantly, but no matter how mighty the super teams of both Canada and the United States may be, not even they can withstand the assembled might of Atlantis, and eventually all the heroes are surrounded! Attuma shouts that he has long maintained that he is a fool to show mercy to a defeated foe and orders his barbarians to slay the heroes on his command!

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Box, Puck, Northstar, Snowbird, Talisman III / Michael Twoyoungmen Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Marrina, Elizabeth Twoyoungmen (Former members of Alpha Flight)

Madison Jeffries (Ally of Alpha Flight)

Doug Thompson (Snowbird’s husband)

Namor the Sub-Mariner (Marrina’s lover)

Gary Cody (Alpha Flight’s government liaison)

Black Knight III, Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Hercules, Wasp (All Avengers)




Story Notes: 

This story continues in Avengers (first series) #272 and concludes in Alpha Flight (first series) #40.

Namor was deposed in the Sub-Mariner mini-series.

Marrina left Alpha Flight after meeting the Sub-Mariner and he asked her to come live with her. [Alpha Flight (first series) #4] She was separated from Namor and captured by the Master of the World who revealed her origin to her over the course of Alpha Flight (first series) #14-16. Marrina was then captured by Attuma in Alpha Flight (first series) #35.

Snowbird’s son was born and immediately possessed by the horror Pestilence in Alpha Flight (first series) #37-38.

Alpha Flight and Marrina were briefly reunited in Marvel Team-Up Annual #7, featuring the Collector, Spider-Man and Black Cat.

Alpha Flight’s government funding was cut in Uncanny X-Men #140, and was reinstated in Alpha Flight (first series) #29.

Northstar’s past acts of terrorism can be seen in Alpha Flight (first series) #22 and Marvel Fanfare #28.

When she was born, Snowbird was bound to the land of Canada [back-story in Alpha Flight (first series) #7-8] and could not leave Canada without suffering terrible consequences [Alpha Flight (first series) #12]. However when she denounced her immortality she became mortal [Alpha Flight (first series) #37] and in addition to traveling beyond Canada’s borders she can now assume creatures that are not native to the Arctic, such as the whale assumed this issue.

The dictator Captain America is referring to is of course Hitler, whom Captain America fought during World War II.

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