Alpha Flight (1st series) #40

Issue Date: 
November 1986
Story Title: 

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

Brief Description: 

Namor is joined by Alpha Flight in his search or the now free Marrina, during which Roger Bochs suffers the bends when he momentarily leaves his Box armor. The Alphans are joined by their ally Madison Jeffries in a mini submarine and they catch up to Namor, who had been slowed down by Northstar when he streaked ahead of them. Northstar has issues of his own, wondering why his sister Aurora is getting together with Roger Bochs. Marrina is soon covered in growths, which turn out to be eggs holding her babies. Forced with the possibility that Marrina may give birth to hundreds of deadly Plodex, Vindicator is adamant that they must kill Marrina so they babies are not born, for even though Namor has proclaimed that he will raise the babies with Marrina, no one can guarantee that their natural instincts will not take over. A more pressing concern arises when Marrina’s Plodex mate appears, Marrina being strangely drawn to him. Namor argues with Vindicator some more about what she wants to do, when everyone sees Marrina resist her alien mate, and the growths on her body subside. She has rejected her programming, and denounces her mate. Vindicator changes her mind about killing Marrina now that she has proven she is more human than alien and everyone participates in the killing of Marrina’s hideous mate. Marrina has fully regained her sanity and is reunited officially with Namor, who bids everyone come back to his long ago hidden villa, where he wants to set up his new kingdom. Arriving at the villa, the heroes are greeted by Byrrah and those who believe in Namor and took refuge from the tyrant Attuma. They become Namor’s subjects after agreeing to Marrina being their queen and Namor names their new kingdom Deluvia, where he and Marrina are married.

Full Summary: 

Near Atlantis, where after a battle, Alpha Flight and the Avengers helped Namor the Sub-Mariner rescue his beloved Marrina from the warlord Attuma. Now though, Marrina has fled. Namor calls to Marrina as he swims through the ocean, followed by Alpha Flight. Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier is surprised to hear that the water carries the Sub-Mariner’s calls so that it resounds as loud as a thunderclap. Aurora reminds everyone that Namor is searching for Marrina, who happens to be their teammate also. Heather McNeil Hudson, a.k.a. Alpha Flight’s leader Vindicator swims alongside the Beaubier twins, recalling that Alpha Flight and the Avengers risked sparking an international incident by invading Atlantis to help free Marrina from Attuma, only for Marrina to flee in shame, leaving Namor hysterical and Alpha out of their element!

Namor swims off ahead of Alpha Flight, Vindicator thinking he must have forgotten about them. She wonders if they should continue to follow him, or even if they can, as he swims so fast it is almost impossible to keep up with him. She chooses her course of action and sends Northstar, the team speedster to keep following the Sub-Mariner, while she figures out what to do next. Heather reminds herself that she inherited the mantle of leadership from her late husband, Guardian, and remembers him also agonizing over the dangers he led Alpha Flight into. She looks back to her team – Snowbird, Aurora, Shaman, Puck, Box and of course Northstar – her friends, and family. ‘What right did I have to heed Byrrah when he begged us to aid Prince Namor?’ she wonders…before remembering the events that occurred so recently.

(Flashbacks – Alpha Flight (first series) #39, Avengers (first series) #272)

Byrrah came to Alpha Flight informing them that Attuma has seized both Atlantis and their teammate Marrina. Alpha Flight knew invading Atlantis meant defying their own government and risking an international incident, but Marrina had been an Alphan, just as the Sub-Mariner had been an Avenger, and if aiding a teammate was good enough for the American Avengers, Canada would just have to understand.

For a while, things looked bad, as the Atlanteans supported their tyrant, and had the super heroes come to conquer Atlantis, they would no doubt not have survived, but Namor was content with rescuing Marrina. When the two teams saved her, they fled while Attuma called them cowards all the way. Was Marrina grateful for her rescue? No. She fled, declaring that it would have been better that they let Attuma slay her than for them to see her like this. The Sub-Mariner informed Captain Marvel that he would not be returning to the Avengers, for he had to save Marrina.


Saving Marrina defined Alpha Flight’s mission too, and looking at her motley crew, Heather tells herself to get ready to lead them into another peril, when suddenly, Box cries out in pain. Heather asks him if he is all right, and he informs her that he should be, but that in a moment of panic during the battle with Attuma, he phased out of his armor, and drowning, he tried to surface, impossible given the depth they were at. So raising rapidly the nitrogen in his lungs expanded and burst, meaning he incurred a bad case of what is called the “bends”. Between that and the water pressure, he would have died if he did not phase back into his armor.

Roger declares that apart from twinges of psychosomatic pain he is okay as long as he remains in the robot armor. Aurora swims over to Roger and grabbing his arm declares ‘I cannot love a machine!’ Roger asks her if that is all she can think about, and realizing that it is he tells her not to worry as he will find a way to get back to manhood. Heather finds Aurora and Roger a surprising combination, but none of her business. She turns to the diminutive Eugene “Puck” Judd, who is riding on the back of a white whale, who of course happens to be Alpha Flight’s resident goddess, Snowbird. Heather asks him if he is ready, and Judd reminds her that she is the leader and all she needs to do is give the word and Snowbird – ‘er, Snow-whale’ – and he shall follow.

Michael Twoyoungmen a.k.a. Shaman or the new Talisman announces that the eighth Alphan has arrived, and motions towards Madison Jeffries approaching in some device he has made. Aurora recalls that they left him floating on the surface amidst the remains of their Omnijet. Jeffries declares that he got tired of sitting on the debris of their jet, so transmuted what was left into the nifty mini submarine he is in now. He adds that while normally he gets his designs by merging minds with Roger, but that some of his genius must have rubbed off onto him. As the Alphans gather around Jeffries, he tells Heather that he has a sonar fix on Northstar, Marrina, the Sub-Mariner…and something else! ‘You’re full of surprises’ Heather tells Madison.

Far ahead, Northstar realizes that he moves through water only slightly slower than he moves through the air, adding that with the deep-sea suit Jeffries designed providing oxygen and compensating for the crushing pressures, he could feel well at peace in the solitude of the sea. However, Jean-Paul knows that even here, peace is shattered by passion. The former Olympic skier has seen the turmoil love can wreak on the surface, and just as he was, his sister is now a slave to love, and in return she has enslaved others- Walter Langkowski, Roger Bochs – and of course himself, in a fraternal way. Jean-Paul wonders if Aurora’s longing for love is merely a reaction to the loathing of her Jeanne-Marie persona. Jean-Paul still loves his sister, and would sacrifice everything for her sake, even as the Sub-Mariner threw away crown and kingdom for Marrina.

Speaking of the Sub-Mariner, Jean-Paul sees him ahead, the proud prince reduced to near panic by his raging passion, so blinded by love that he does not notice Jean-Paul when the speedster swims up beside him. However Jean-Paul does not take lightly to being ignored, and swims rings around him – still without acknowledgment, until Jean-Paul disrupts the water around Namor and swims ahead of him, blocking his path.

Namor grabs Jean-Paul by the shoulders and asks him if he is insane, coming between him and his quest. Shocked, Northstar declares that he merely sought to attract his attention and to prove that he is every bit as swift as him. ‘You would play games?’ asks Namor ‘Now, when my love’s life may be at stake?’ He shoves Northstar backwards and tells him that his childish one-upmanship reminds him of the Namor he once was, but this Namor has to put aside pride to attain a greater prize – love.

Northstar realizes that Namor means what he is talking about, that he has renounced all – his power and people – for Marrina. Vindicator and the rest of Alpha Flight soon arrive behind the shocked Northstar, who reminds himself that he keeps saying he would do as much for his sister as Namor is doing for Marrina…but would he really? Heather congratulates the thoughtful Jean-Paul on finding Namor, but Twoyoungmen asks if he has found Marrina. ‘More importantly’ says Jeffries ‘Has that other entity whose lifesigns I’m detecting on my sonar scopes found them both?’

Several leagues ahead…Marrina swims swiftly through the ocean depths, still wishing that she died before Namor came to her rescue, perhaps even more that he never loved her and asked her to be his queen. Marrina does think the honor was great, but all she ever brought him was everlasting sorrow and shame. Marrina tells herself she was a fool to think that their love would ever be, as she is not a human, nor is she Atlantean…not of this planet at all.

Marrina thinks back to her mysterious origins, which revealed her to be an extraterrestrial dispatched eons ago to Earth along with countless others of her kind. Marrina knows that the plan of her race – the Plodex – was to hatch, adapt and survive…by overwhelming whatever life forms already inhabited the planet! However the incubator ship that was carrying Marrina’s egg and the hundreds of other eggs crashed and ejected the eggs too soon – during Earth’s great Ice Age! Most of the eggs were destroyed, but somehow Marrina’s lay dormant beneath the sea for untold centuries, until it was found by a human fisherman. At the moment of hatching, Marrina adapted to both surface and subsea environments. Marrina thought she was alone, the only one of her kind, until the evil Master, who gained both power and immortality from the crippled Plodex ship, introduced her to the hatchling intended to have been…Marrina’s mate!

Marrina remembers that she and her mate clawed at each other, made mad at what she presumed to be bloodlust. However in the months since Namor and Puck rescued her from the Master, she has come to suspect that what transpired during the encounter with her mate was more akin to lust of another, more loathsome kind! Marrina looks over her own body as bumps begin to appear all over it and horrified, she recalls that the Plodex had intended for the eggs to survive, over eons and under the most adverse conditions. A tiny embryo can be made out in one of the bumps across Marrina’s body and she thinks what better way to insure survival of the eggs than to make sure the hatchlings would be compelled to breed uncontrollably upon exposure to each other.

Marrina realizes that the pain, which has wracked her for many months and her reversion to a more monstrous appearance, not to mention the pulsating growths thrusting from her flesh can mean only one thing – ‘I am pregnant!’ Marrina is mortified that she is about to deliver not one, but hundreds of alien offspring whose, very instinct will drive them towards the conquest of the Earth. Marrina loves the Sub-Mariner and the people of the planet who took her in and reared her in a caring environment unknown to the Plodex, therefore she has no wish to live as the agent of destruction of everything she loves.

Namor has reached his beloved, and in the instant he calls her name, Marrina devises a desperate plan and as Namor wraps his arms around Marrina, she pulls away, informing him that he must destroy her. Marrina quickly informs Namor of her shame, and when she finishes, Namor asks her if she though her impregnation by an alien monstrosity against her will would cause him to reject her. Marrina reminds Namor that his Atlanteans would never have accepted a creature such as she as their queen. Namor declares that the same Atlantis would accept a tyrant on its throne, and therefore he is done with such hypocrisy.

Namor tells Marrina that he loves her and will attend to her throughout the fearsome birth. Alpha Flight swims onto the scene and Heather announces that they heard Marrina’s tale and that the “children” about to be born will be the offspring of monsters. Talisman proclaims that their very existence will imperil the Earth. Marrina is shocked to see her former teammates, and stands by her lovers side as Namor tells the Alphans that they overlook the obvious – that Marrina was also the offspring of alien conquerors, yet adapted in a loving environment. Namor defiantly adds that since it is too late to abort the birth, if it was even possible, he means to marry Marrina and that together they shall raise her hatchlings in a loving environment, as their own.

Marrina starts to tell Namor that what he suggests is madness, until Judd exclaims that it sounds good to him, as the creatures should take on the characteristics of their “parents”. Twoyoungmen declares that with role models like Namor and Marrina, their progeny could have much to offer man – or they could be more powerful than humanity and in time, seek to supplant them, declares Heather. Jean-Paul reminds Heather that the same argument has often been advanced against mutants such as Aurora and himself. Unconvinced, Vindicator exclaims that the Plodex are killers who conquer worlds by saturating them with their young who adapt and then take over.

Heather remarks that she understands Marrina’s case was different, that loving parents might curb the hatchlings’ aggressive tendencies, ‘but for Earth’s sake, stop and think – what if you’re all wrong?’ she says raising her voice as Namor swims in front of the stricken Marrina to protect her. Judd asks Heather if what she is suggesting is that they slay Marrina’s children – or Marrina herself so that the birth might be stopped. ‘First you must bypass Namor’s corpse, woman!’ Namor says to Heather, until Marrina swims forward and exclaims that she doesn’t want any of them to die fighting over her, and that Vindicator is right – ‘I must be destroyed!’

Aurora is shocked and declares that she never thought an Alphan could do such a thing – to which Jeffries tells her none of them may get a chance, as his sonar readings in the mini submarine have jumped off the scope – meaning something is coming, something big! Looking at what lies behind Namor and Marrina, Jeffries and the rest of Alpha Flight look on in horror as Jeffries says that if killing Marrina or her children was to be put into vote, he would have to say 'daddy holds a veto'’ and as Namor and Marrina turn to see what Alpha Flight are looking at, they see Marrina’s hideous mate!

‘Zen eet did not perish along with zee Master!’ exclaims Aurora, her accent thickening. Box reminds everyone that the Plodex creature was genetically bred to survive and conquer and he suggests that maybe once hatched, the creature cannot be killed. Vindicator announces that that is all the more reason Marrina’s offspring must not be allowed to be born.

The hideous, deformed alien creature, like a giant glob of muck with many tentacles, a main head with huge gaping teeth and several smaller heads, all the same sickly green color, swims closer to Marrina. Namor curses everyone, proclaiming that he will not allow his chosen bride to be harmed by her teammates or the ‘creature from the stars’. Marrina fears that it has come to harm her, and Namor discovers first hand that the creature can shock at will!

Vindicator realizes that survival of the fittest compels the creature to protect Marrina and her offspring from harm, and declares that the very possibility of hundreds of horrors like it suddenly hatching forth upon the planet is the very reason Marrina must be destroyed. Heather declares that the future of the Earth imposes a duty upon Alpha Flight, that they do what they must and worry about the morality of it in the morning.

Marrina tells herself that Heather is right, even if it is about her destruction she is right about, for Marrina has no wish that she or her children should become like her mate and endanger the Earth. However, Marrina cannot resist the way she is strangely drawn towards the Plodex.

Aurora calls to her former teammate as she swims towards the Plodex and Namor realizes that Marrina is seeking the creature’s protection. Vindicator declares that despite Marrina’s adaptations and all her eons on Earth, when push comes to shove, she cannot override her genetic programming. A mass of bubbles spread around Marrina and the Plodex as they get closer and Box asks if Marrina cannot resist her genes, how can they be sure that her children wont one day revert to the same?

Vindicator exclaims that they cannot know, and tells the Alphans that they have their orders! Alpha’s leader is armed ready with her electromagnetic powers and lets the power flow from her battle suit in a steady stream at the hideous Plodex. Namor calls out to her ‘No!’ and tries to block her way. Heather swims up to Namor and tells him to get out of the way, adding that she feels as bad enough about this without wanting to feel responsible for his death too. ‘Arrogant wench! It is the Avenging Son whom you address!’ Namor snaps back at her. He proclaims that others before her have tried to slay him, and failed!

Box tells Namor to think with his head, instead of his heart and suggests he take another look at Marrina’s mate, who is a composite of all the Earth creatures – human, Atlantean, mammal, fish, ‘you name it, that it’s slain in order to survive’. Namor tells the Alphans that their fear of mankind’s extinction has over ridden their reason, adding that he does not contest the fact that the monster is deserving of destruction – ‘but Marrina is your teammate!’ As Marrina swims amongst her mate’s tentacles, Namor tells the Alphans that if they love Marrina as he does then they should be looking for some way to help her rather than harm her.

Everyone watches the pain stricken amphibian as she swims by her mate and Namor exclaims that Marrina is trying to resist her mate, and as Vindicator and Box hold him back he begs them to heed their hearts. Heather tells him that they cannot take the chance. Namor manages to break free of Heather and Box’s grasp by using his physical might to toss them away.

Marrina watches Namor battle her fellow Alphans, for her sake so that she may survive – even though her survival may result in Earth’s doom. ‘Why? Isn't survival far more important…than love?’ she wonders to herself. Marrina tells herself that that was just the Plodex within her talking, the alien heritage that so horrified her when she first came face-to-face with her monstrous mate. She realizes that its genetic hold on her is strong – but so are her memories. She thinks back to her birth, and to the Smallwoods, whose hearts went out to her even though she was not of this Earth, and to every place she has gone since – the community she was raised in, Beta and Alpha Flight’s and to Namor – where she has accepted, and even loved.

Marrina swiftly turns and faces her alien mate and proclaims ‘I am no alien! I am Marrina – of Earth!’ Instinctively understanding her rejection, if not her words, Marrina’s hideous mate howls – and in that instant, something wonderful happens – Marrina swims away from the Plodex and her pulsating growths and monstrous appearance all fade away. ‘I am myself again!’ she exclaims to her friends. Box asks if she is not pregnant any more, to which Twoyoungmen declares he now begins to understand, for neither they nor Marrina herself had any experience of Plodex child-bearing and simply assumed that from her symptoms she was pregnant. Shaman continues and exclaims that Marrina was never pregnant, but merely in a state of “breeder receptivity”, genetically designed to attract a male of her species and complete the process of perpetuating the race.

Vindicator strikes the Plodex with a plasma blast and declares that by Marrina choosing humanity she stopped sending out biological signals that she was ready to mate. Snowbird in her whale form barges into the Plodex as Namor punches it and announces that the Plodex can no longer sense Marrina and would destroy her as well as everyone else. Box rips a tentacle off the beast and reminds Namor that he said ‘Only over our dead bodies’. Aurora exclaims that they should slay the foul creature, Northstar adding ‘For Marrina!’ Marrina watches and realizes that they all love her and would lay down their lives for her – but Namor most of all.

Vindicator uses her electromagnetic powers to send a powerful blast into the Plodex, while Jean-Paul, Aurora and Namor swim in tandem, creating a undersea vortex that literally rips the Plodex limb from limb. When all the heroes have finished doing their part, the creature that was bred to survive lives no longer. Aurora declares ‘zee monster’s gone!’ but Judd asks what would happen should another Plodex ever reach Earth – will Marrina suffer the same genetic changes? Twoyoungmen guesses that she will not, having utterly rejected her alien heritage. Box proclaims that if the Plodex do land on Earth, then Alpha Flight will stand by Marrina no matter what. Vindicator tells him that Marrina probably won’t need them, as the Plodex adapt to survive.

Namor finishes what Heather was saying by holding Marrina in his arms and declaring that by Marrina choosing humanity and love over bloodlust and conquest, thus she may have found the best way to survive on planet Earth! Judd smiles and tells Namor that it looks like Marrina is in good hands.

The Alphans follow Namor and Marrina as they swim away from the battleground as Namor asks the Alphans back to his kingdom. Jeffries is somewhat surprised by this and tells Namor that he thought Atlantis gave him ‘the boot’. Heather asks Jeffries to have a little diplomacy. Namor declares that it was an understandable mistake and informs everyone that he was referring to his new kingdom, centered around his undersea villa which he had built decades ago.

As the heroes approach the new kingdom, they sea a crowd of Atlanteans and Heather tells Namor that it would appear his homecoming has been anticipated. Judd asks if it is Attuma, to which Box mentions that it is the logical interference. ‘But not necessarily the right one’ says Namor. Jeffries is convinced that ‘those dudes’ are armed, Aurora is resigned to the fact that they must fight again, to which Marrina asks if there will ever be peace. Namor tells her that he will forge a safe haven beneath the sea or her, or die trying! Vindicator tells Namor that he has Alpha Flight’s help.

However as the heroes come closer to the approaching Atlanteans, an elder Atlantean cries ‘Long live Namor, sovereign of the sea’. Another rejoices that their prince has returned to them, and Byrrah asks ‘where are the doubters who thought him dead?’ Vindicator acknowledges the man who summoned Alpha Flight to Namor’s aid, and Byrrah declares that he also led these fellow disaffected Atlanteans to Namor’s villa, whilst he was fighting Attuma.

Namor tells them that they will all be welcome as his subjects in the new kingdom, called Deluvia which his beloved Marrina and himself shall build at the bottom of the sea. He asks Marrina if that is not so, to which the green-skinned woman replies ‘If your subjects will accept me!’ The unanimous cry is ‘Namor! Marrina! Deluvia!’ Namor tells Marrina that she has her answer.

Although these refugees from tyranny are all-too aware that Attuma’s Atlantis will spare no effort to challenge their right to exist beneath the sea, they nevertheless set their fears for the future aside long enough to rejoice in an event that seems to promise that their will be a long and lasting civilization, for it is founded not in tyranny, but in love.

Namor and Marrina are married in a formal ceremony attended by Alpha Flight, where they are pronounced husband and wife.

Characters Involved: 

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

Marrina (Former Member of Alpha Flight)

Madison Jeffries (Ally of Alpha Flight)

Namor the Sub-Mariner (Marrina’s lover)

Marrina’s Plodex Mate



In Flashbacks

Aurora, Box, Northstar, Puck, Talisman III, Vindicator II (All Alpha Flight)

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




Gladys & Dan Smallwood

The Master of the World

In Illustrative Images

Dr. Walter Langkowski

Roger Box

Story Notes: 

This story continues from Avengers (first series) #272 and Alpha Flight (first series) #39.

Namor learned of the capture of Marrina and take-over of Atlantis in Alpha Flight (first series) #36. Namor was previously forced to abdicate his throne in the Sub-Mariner mini-series.

A discretion appears in the flashback sequence, when it shows the Avengers all asking Namor if he will return with them, in fact he only told Captain Marvel that he would not be returning when the two of them were following Marrina. [Avengers (first series) #272]

Roger getting the bends was not shown in Avengers (first series) #272, only that he was suffering some pain. His retelling of it here occurs in a flashback.

Northstar’s comment that he was once a slave for love is somewhat ambiguous in who it is he is referring to. It could be his sister (in a fraternal way), his unofficial foster feather Raymonde Belmonde or his secret love for Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski.
Marrina’s origin can be seen in Alpha Flight (first series) #2-4, 14-16 and (third series) #3.

Namor’s undersea villa was built in Fantastic Four (first series) #9.

The future is not as peaceful for Marrina as she was promised. For Namor rejoined the Avengers, and she went with him, becoming an honorary Avenger. However her alien instincts eventually took over, and turning into a leviathan, Marrina gave birth, setting some eggs at the bottom of the ocean. However during the great battle, Marrina was slain. [Avengers (first series) #291-293] Long thought dead, it was eventually revealed to the Master of the World by Llan the Sorcerer, that Marrina sleeps a false death beneath the waves. [Alpha Flight (first series) #78] The Master apparently found Marrina, no longer in her leviathan form, but her normal form, and she was last seen in a tank at his Arctic base, which has since been destroyed. [Avengers (third series) #47] Her fate to this day remains unknown.

Issue Information: 
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