Alpha Flight (1st series) #54

Issue Date: 
January 1988
Story Title: 

Bill Mantlo (Writer), Hugh Haynes (Penciler), Whilce Portacio (Inker), Gregory Wright (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Marc McLaurin (Assistant Editor), Carl Potts (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

After the battle between Alpha Flight, Bedlam and the Derangers, Goblyn escaped the complex, and huddles outside in the snow storm. Alpha Flight make decisions about what to do next, and after Heather decides they will leave, the Purple Girl asks them to search for Goblyn and give her a chance. Heather agrees, and after Box and Sasquatch transform Bedlam’s complex into something more hospitable, the three Alphans enter the storm in search of Goblyn. However, Goblyn attacks and injures Vindicator and Sasquatch before Box finds her and brings her back to the complex, only for her to strike him down. After Goblyn attacks Manikin, Kara is all alone against the mutant she wanted to help, and after being chased around the complex, Kara uses her powers on her, only to discover that instead of controlling Goblyn’s mind, she shares it, and learns Goblyn and Laura Dean’s origin. When she was in her mother’s womb, the doctors learned that one of the twins was mutant. The father, a prominent anti-mutant activist accepted the offer for an experiment to bombard the mutated fetes with radiation, much to his wife’s disdain. However, something went wrong in the experiment, and the non-mutated fetus moved into protect the mutant one. However, only one twin was born - Laura, who was autistic. Kara vows to help Goblyn. Alpha Flight regroup and prepare to attack Goblyn some more, until the Purple Girl is prepared to die for Goblyn by jumping in front of one of Heather’s plasma blasts. Both girls survive, and Goblyn finally calms down.

Full Summary: 

She sits huddled in the freezing snow, the icy wind whips all around - its cold outside - very cold. It is warmer inside, but that is where they are. Her name is Goblyn, and she had been inside, fighting alongside Alpha Flight, and the Derangers against the horror known as Bedlam. What was it that drew her out into this Dead-World? Goblyn remembers it was her twin, her terrified trembling twin had caught the attention of one of the Alphans - the Purple Girl. The Purple Girl had gone to Laura as Bedlam made the two teams of super beings fight, and the Purple Girl hoped that whatever the kid’s powers were that they wouldn’t have to fight, if she took over her mind - but the Purple Girl couldn’t, for Laura fled to Live-World, calling Goblyn back to Dead-World. Goblyn fought in the battle and survived.

But she fled outside and now she freezes. This is how Goblyn remembers Dead-World - pain, unending pain. She would go back to Live-World if she could, but she cannot, for Laura would die were Goblyn to trade places with her now - and Laura must live, for Goblyn owes her that much - therefore, Goblyn must take Laura inside.

Inside the complex created by Bedlam the Brain Blast, Alpha Flight are the only survivors of a battle of super beings. Madison Jeffries a.k.a. Box uses his incredible robot-like strength to block up a breach in the complex before phasing out of the armor, and then using his mutant power to transmute the metal so that it is fused. He wishes he could transmute metal while inside the Box armor, but Alpha Flight’s leader, and his lover Heather “Vindicator” McNeil Hudson compliments him and tells Madison that if he keeps doing his part then they will have the place sealed in no time.

As Heather uses her electromagnetic powers to seal part of the complex, she also thanks Beta Flight member Whitman “Manikin” Knapp for the assist of his other selves, Apeman, Highbrow and Proto. ‘Yeah, lets hear it for the blob’ Jeffries thinks to himself. Manikin uses his medical training to check for life signs on Bedlam or the Derangers and informs Heather that they are already cold, no sign of life from any of them. Wanda “Sasquatch” Langkowski points out that Alpha Flight are all going to get cold soon, for with Bedlam gone the temperature is dropping fast. Manikin’s future self, Highbrow, points out that moving all the debris would have been nothing for Bedlam, as his mental abilities surpassed his, and guesses that he must have been mentally controlling the temperature.

Jeffries phases back into the Box armor and suggests that they could mimic mechanically what Bedlam did mentally, but Heather tells him to forget it, as they are not going to be here long enough to worry about the cold, for as soon as the storm lets up outside they are going to head home. Box reminds Heather that Bedlam destroyed their Tamarind Island home, so they have no home to return to! Sasquatch points out that after the mansion was refitted by the Canadian government, who used it to spy upon them, and asks if they really want to rely on Ottawa’s handouts anymore.

Heather agrees, and declares that it was government treachery that unleashed Bedlam, for Canada hoped he would prove to be a malleable super being, since he was created by her late husband, rather than born with super powers. Jeffries reminds everyone that Bedlam tried to use Alpha to rule mankind, and Heather decides that this complex reeks of his evil. Jeffries tells Heather that while he cannot deodorize the place, he can change it into whatever she wants as most of it is metal. Transforming back to her human form, Wanda announces that as a scientist she is sure to be able to devise some climate control and life support systems.

Heather doesn’t agree, and tells her team that if Box can absorb the complex’s mass, then he can fly it and them out of here and reconstruct it in a more hospitable environment. Whit announces again that the Derangers are all dead, to which Jeffries thinks it is a shame, as his brother Scramble unleashed their powers, before Bedlam manipulated them, and they are now dead, which means they never got the chance to use their powers for good. ‘Maybe they were the lucky ones,’ Kara “the Purple Girl” Kilgrave thinks to herself, and recalls the disorder the emergence of her mutant powers caused.

(Flashbacks, from Alpha Flight (1st series) #41-42)

No sooner than Kara got over acne, did she turn purple! With the dose of permanent purple skin color Kara inherited the ability from the father she never knew - the Purple Man - the ability to control people’s minds. She started with the man she had a crush on - Northstar of Alpha Flight, but when he rejected her, she threw a teenage temper tantrum, and took over Alpha Flight before kidnapping Jeffries.

Kara figured that if she was going to be a freak, then she should at least have some fun, but just as she was manipulating Jeffries into taking her all over the place, the Auctioneer was waiting to manipulate her. While Alpha Flight could have left Kara to the mercy of the Auctioneer, they rescued her, and made her the first member of the new Beta Flight.


Kara wonders why she is having this reverie, before realizing that just as Alpha took her in - ‘We’ve got to take a risk and rescue Goblyn!’ she shouts to Alpha Flight. Heather reminds Kara that the creature was the deadliest of all the Derangers, which, Kara points out, is why she survived, and helped save Alpha. She exclaims that they cannot leave without her, because that would be like … murder. Heather thinks to herself that her first responsibility must be to the safety of her team and not to worry about some savage stranger, but seeing the look in Kara’s eyes … she tells Kara that if Box and Sasquatch can make the complex temporarily hospitable then they will go look for Goblyn.

Suddenly, a loud howling sound, causes Vindicator, Sasquatch and Box to leave the complex in search of Goblyn. Heather tells Wanda and Jeffries to spread out, search and be careful, but Jeffries thinks she is going a bit far, as Goblyn is just a kid, but Wanda points out that she is a kid with claws capable of slicing the Box armor thinner than salami. Sasquatch knows her form will be suited to the environment, but it is still freezing and reminds the others that they find Goblyn before the freeze, but wonders how. Seeing Jeffries’ armor transform, Wanda realizes that it was foolish of her to not recall that his armor can transmute sensors.

Vindicator asks Jeffries if the beeps they hear mean he is registering a life sign, and Wanda asks if it is Goblyn’s. Box replies that it could be, before producing some bracelets and telling his teammates to put them on, as that way they can triangulate and converge on Goblyn from three sides. As Alpha prepare to split up, Vindicators what happens if while they are looking for her, she too is looking for them. Too right, as Goblyn is indeed watching Alpha Flight, and the hunters become the hunted.

Back inside the complex, Whit and Kara are in a makeshift morgue, where the bodies of the Derangers and Bedlam are covered on tables. Whit compliments Sasquatch and Box on being a good team and making a portion of the complex habitable. ‘If you’re into morgues,’ Kara replies sarcastically. Marking something on a chart, Whit says ‘there but for our powers go we,’ and with tears in her eyes, Kara asks Whit if he thinks it was their powers that spared them from the fate of the Derangers. She thinks it was just luck. A tear lands on Whit’s hand as he writes something, but he drops the chart and takes Kara in his arms, seeing that she is really shook up. ‘Too much death,’ Kara replies.

Outside, Sasquatch looks at the bracelet and sees that she is close, but she knows she doesn’t need a fancy wristwatch to tell her that, as Goblyn’s scent is strong, almost as if she is on top of her - but where? Suddenly, Goblyn leaps up in front of Sasquatch from where she was hiding in a snowdrift, and scratches at Sasquatch’s eyes. Goblyn leaps away, while the blinded Sasquatch screams that she cannot see, alerting Vindicator to her plight. Heather wonders where Sasquatch is, as she cannot see more than a few yards in front, as the snow is so blinding. Suddenly, she sees Laura Dean, lying in the snow.

Heather swoops down and supposes that she is either freezing or frozen, and remembering Kara’s words about not leaving without her, as it would be murder, Heather kneels down beside Laura, thinking that out of the mouths of babes comes nothing but trouble. Heather tells the child that she is going to let her inside her force field to share her battle suit’s warmth, when suddenly Laura is gone, and Goblyn screams before attacking Heather, who blasts Goblyn back with a burst of electromagnetic energy. Vindicator sees that her circuits are shorting out and she is also bleeding.

In his transformed armor, Jeffries drives his tank across the snow, detecting the power surge that was let off by Vindicator’s power, and sitting right in front of him in the snow is Goblyn. Box scoops her up and places her in a globe, for her own protection before sending a homing signal to Vindicator and Sasquatch as he heads back to the complex with her.

Upon entering the complex Kara is pleased that Jeffries found her as Whit asks where Vindicator and Sasquatch are. Jeffries replies that he thought they would meet him here, when Goblyn suddenly bursts from the globe, causing Jeffries to phase out in pain. He falls to the ground as Manikin asks him what happened. Jeffries declares that one cannot tear apart a living robot without causing the operator pain. Manikin is about to tend to Jeffries as he is a doctor, when Kara suddenly orders him to stop, as he is moving right beside Goblyn.

Suddenly, Kara realizes her error, as by commanding Whit to stop, she has frozen him in his tracks, and Goblyn is about to attack him. The beast strikes him hard at the back of his head, and though he is alive, he is unconscious and bleeding. Goblyn glares at Kara and bares her teeth - Kara is the only one left, and she already knows too much about the worlds within.

‘I’M BLIND!’ screams Sasquatch out in the snow storm. Heather, clutching her own wounds locates the stumbling Sasquatch and using incredible will power, flies over to where Wanda is, but she crashes into the snow. Sasquatch feels for Vindicator and picks her up as Heather asks Wanda what happened. With one hand covering her eyes, Sasquatch uses the other to put Heather on her shoulders revealing that Goblyn caught her by surprise and clawed all around her eyes. She explains that she cannot see, and doesn’t know if it is just blood running into them from her brown or not. When Heather explains that her battle suit is crippled, Sasquatch tells her to be her eyes, while she be the legs. Heather declares that they have to get back to the complex before…she trails off. ‘Before?’ asks Sasquatch. ‘Just before!’ says Heather.

Back in the complex, Goblyn growls as she approaches Kara, who calls her a ‘good kitty’ and asks if they are friends, trying to keep her calm. Goblyn leaps up and slices through Kara’s jacket. Frightened, Kara tells Goblyn that if she wants to pick her own friends then that is okay, while wondering what she should do next, as she is all alone with Goblyn, and while her power is to control minds, Goblyn doesn’t seem to have one. Kara remembers the last time she tried, she bamfed Laura Dean away into some kind of psychedelic never land and brought Goblyn out in her place. She doesn’t know what will happen this time, if anything, but she has to try - what choice does she have? ‘Goblyn! I want Laura back, now!’ Kara screams, when something very unusual happens. Whereas other minds, the Purple Girl controls, these minds, the minds of Laura Dean and Goblyn, she shares!


A man and a woman loved each other - and married. Soon though, the woman fell pregnant, and the sonogram revealed twins. But the doctor is concerned, and in private has a few words with the husband. The doctor informs Darby Dean that the prenatal screenings reveals one of his daughters to be a mutant. Darby asks the doctor if he understands what he is saying and who he is - what would happen should his organization discover that one of its foremost anti-mutant advocates is father to…’a monster?’ asks Susan Dean, asking her husband if one of her babies is going to be a monster. Darby tries to calm her by reinforcing that it is just one baby, as they will still have one perfectly normal child…’after the operation,’ the doctor informs the couple.

Susan is annoyed, as the operation is one that the doctor has never attempted in utero, but Darby asks her what choice they have. ‘What choice do I have you mean. It is my body,’ Susan tells her husband as she is prepared for the operation. When Darby tells his wife that he will be right outside, Susan replies that it is not very comforting, as she will be inside. The experiment is underway, the idea was to bombard the mutated twin with radiation, destroying it in utero, while sparing the “healthy” fetus.

However, there is a gap between theory and practice. ‘Stop, you’re killing both my babies!’ screams Susan Dean from within the chamber, but the doctor assures her that they are concentrating the radiation on the nonhuman twin. However, a nurse points out that the computer indicates movement in the womb - the normal fetus is somehow moving to intercept the rays aimed at her sister.

The doctor orders the operation stopped, and six months later, one child is born to the Deans - autistic, withdrawn from the world. There was no indication of what happened to the other twin, until first Scramble and then Bedlam succeeded in bringing her here.


Kara is shocked at the barrage of information she received, that Laura sensed the attack on her sister in the womb, sensed that Goblyn was sacrificing herself to save Laura when the operation went awry - and somehow Goblyn was hid away inside her. Kara thinks it is no wonder that Laura withdrew completely from a world that had dealt both sisters intolerable pain before they were even born, and it is no wonder that Goblyn responds hostilely when she is brought out. Kara runs when Goblyn tries to strike her again. Getting behind the tables with the bodies of the Derangers on them, Kara tells herself to stop daydreaming or she will end up as dead as the Derangers.

Goblyn leaps over the tables, ’Maybe deader!’ thinks Kara as she runs from Goblyn, tears streaming down her face, she knows it was her desire to save Goblyn that may have doomed Alpha, and also send her to a teenage grave. ’I’m too young to die! And too cute too!’ she thinks to herself as Goblyn chases her still. But then Kara remembers that the Dean twins were even cuter, and look at what their “loving” parents did to them. Kara turns to face Goblyn, knowing she can empathize, as she had a screwed up life, maybe not as screwed up ’but who’s keeping score?’ Kara tells herself that the question for today’s quiz is: can one freak reach out to another…and live?

She tells herself that she has to try, and tells Goblyn that she is not running anymore, and that if she wants her then to come and get her. Goblyn is confused, for in all its short existence, it has never seen another creature cry. She goes up to Kara and wipes her tears away, when suddenly, Alpha Flight burst through a wall, and tells Kara to back away while the deal with the creature. ’No!’ cries Kara as Goblyn growls at them.

Sasquatch announces that she can see again, and what she has seen makes her made, but Goblyn dodges the fist that Sasquatch tries to bring down on her. Kara asks Wanda to listen, but Box tells her that the time for talk is past, as the creature almost slaughtered Alpha Flight single handedly. ‘It’s like a mad dog!’ Box shoots Goblyn with his armory, but she dodges it, as Vindicator declares that mad dogs must be destroyed. Kara pleads with her seniors, but knows that they will not listen, as Goblyn hurt them, and reinforced Vindicator’s fears. But Kara has been inside Goblyn‘s mind, and seen the pain she and her sister suffered, and can understand their fears.

But is Kara understanding enough to stand by and do nothing while Goblyn slices away at friends? ‘No!’ Kara scream, as Goblyn prepares to attack Manikin, and the creature suddenly feels the paralysis of the Purple Girl’s powers again, realizing that paralysis at this juncture could be fatal - and she flees, into the climate control systems that Box and Sasquatch devised. Sasquatch points out that if Goblyn destroys the systems then they will freeze - and Goblyn does rip through part of the system.

Sasquatch and Manikin approach Goblyn, Wanda muttering that the beast will be the death of them all, but Manikin suggests they neutralize her first. Kara interprets this as “Not if we kill her”, and tells them not to be polite about murder. Vindicator tells Purple Girl that is enough, as it was her bleeding heart that caused them to spare the creature in the first place, and Goblyn had her chance. Crying, Kara declares she needs another one, and tells Heather that Goblyn may not be willing to trust a race that tried to waste her before she was even born. Kara tells Heather to take some risks and try again, but as Kara leaps at Goblyn, Heather tells her to get out of the line of fire.
The Purple Girl shouts ‘No!’ and as Heather releases her electromagnetic pulse meant for Goblyn, Kara tells her that if she wants to kill Goblyn then she is going to have to kill her first. Kara is struck by the plasma burst, even though Heather drew most of it back. Holding onto Goblyn, Kara tells her she will be okay and vows to protect her no matter what happens. She asks Goblyn if she understands, and seeing her cry, Kara realizes that she does. Alpha Flight gather around as the Purple Girl hugs Goblyn.

Characters Involved: 

Box IV, Sasquatch, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Manikin, Purple Girl (both Beta Flight)

Apeman, Highbrow, Proto (Manikin's past and future selves)


In Flashbacks / Illustrative Images

Box IV, Sasquatch, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Manikin, Purple Girl (both Beta Flight)

Apeman, Highbrow, Proto (Manikin's past and future selves)

Bedlam the Brain Blast
Breakdown, Laura Dean, Freakout, Goblyn, Janus (all Derangers)

Gilded Lily

Aurora, Box, Madison Jeffries, Northstar, Puck, Snowbird, Talisman III, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)
Kara Kilgrave

Melanie Kilgrave

The Auctioneer

Laura Dean & Goblyn

Darby & Susan Dean

Doctor & Nurse

Story Notes: 

Mansion Alpha, Alpha Flight’s home on Tamarind Island was destroyed in Alpha Flight (first series) #53.
The timeline in that issue is way off, as it seems unlikely that at a time when the original X-Men probably had barely been formed, there were already advanced forms of mutant detection available to your average general practitioner.

Issue Information: 
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