Alpha Flight (1st series) #55

Issue Date: 
February 1988
Story Title: 
Identity Crisis!

Bill Mantlo (Writer), Jim Lee (Penciler), Tony DeZuniga (Inker), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Marc McLaurin (Assistant Editor), Carl Potts (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Sasquatch reveals to Vindicator how confused she is over all the physical changes that have happened to her and storms off into the blizzard outside when Heather can offer no help. Vindicator finds Jeffries and Manikin cleaning up the complex where they have been residing, and they still discuss whether or not they are to remain there permanently. Purple Girl tries to build a rapport with Laura Dean, who allows Kara to enter her mind, so she can show her the Liveworld, but inside Laura’s mind, Goblyn blocks Kara from entering.
In the blizzard, Sasquatch finds herself creating some weird sculptures, which turn out to be a gateway from the Realm of the Great Beasts which enables them to return to Earth. Four of the Beasts try to convince Sasquatch that she is still one of them and a battle ensues, in which Alpha joins in. Heather easily disposes of Kariooq and Tolomaq, while Beta Flight are forced to defend themselves against Somon the Artificer, in which Manikin is apparently killed, before Sasquatch breaks Somon’s neck. Laura Dean and the Purple Girl disappear and are replaced by Goblyn, while Jeffries increases the size of the Box armor to match that of Tundra. Though every time he chips away at Tundra, the Beast just grows bigger, leaving him with only one choice, even though Heather points out it could destroy all of them in the process. Nevertheless, Box begins to destroy matter, unleashing enough heat to melt Tundra who is made up of ice and snow, but when an explosion occurs, a crater is all that remains of the ground Alpha Flight stood on, with the heroes nowhere in sight.

Full Summary: 

The Arctic Circle, where the person who was born Walter Langkowski, who became Sasquatch and was reborn Wanda Langkowski holds herself and stares out into the snowy terrain. Wanda is a member of Alpha Flight, Canada’s premiere super hero team, and her leader and friend, Heather „Vindicator“ Hudson enters the room of the complex they have been residing at for some time and asks her if anything is wrong.

Wanda reveals to Heather that she is feeling a bit strange, and that she doesn’t know why. Heather declares that with all that has happened to Alpha Flight lately she is surprised they haven’t all flipped out, and reminds Wanda that firstly their headquarters was destroyed and Alpha captured by Bedlam the Brain Blast. Thinking back to the recent battle, Heather recalls that they learned the true horror of the situation when it was revealed to them their own government unleashed Bedlam in an attempt to create a more controllable coterie of super champions, should Alpha ever turn against mankind.

Heather points out that Alpha Flight defeated Bedlam with the help of the now-deceased Derangers, whose only surviving member, the savage and unpredictable Goblyn almost had to be slain by Alpha Flight, before being inducted into Beta Flight. Wanda asks Heather if she has officially decided to make Goblyn a member of Beta Flight. Heather asks if she really has a choice, reminding Wanda that the Purple Girl is able to reach out to Goblyn’s alter-ego, and so long as she is here they are able to keep an eye on her. Heather declares that being stuck in Bedlam’s complex has been hard on them all, but supposes it has been toughest on Wanda who has been through enough changes to last a lifetime.

‘Several lifetimes,’ says Wanda before asking Heather who she is - Walter Langkowski, handsome hunk and brilliant scientist, or Sasquatch one of the ancient Great Beasts who occupied Earth before mankind arose from the ooze? Wanda declares that her cast of characters does not end there, for after she - as Walter - was slain by Snowbird, Walt’s mind occupied firstly the Box robot, then briefly the body of the Hulk, before drifting in the void before returning to Earth as Smart Alec, long enough to become Box again in order to seize the now dead Snowbird’s Sasquatch body from Pestilence. Eyes downcast, Wanda points out that since Snowbird was a woman, upon taking over her body, Walt became one too!

‘Some identity crisis, huh?’ mumbles Wanda, declaring that most people have to wonder whether they are good, bad, competent, incompetent, successful or failures. ‘I have to worry whether I’m man…or woman…or beast’. Wanda transforms into Sasquatch and starts to walk away. Heather calls to her, telling Wanda that she cannot answer the question of who she is, or what she is, but that she can offer…’sisterly comfort?’ suggests Wanda, before exclaiming that there was a time when she had hoped for far more from a woman.

Heather makes her way back to the main part of the complex while telling herself that bitterness is not like Sasquatch and hopes that it is just their forced exile here that is causing her to brood. Heather curses the storm that has trapped them here, and curses Gary Cody, their ‘trusted’ government liaison whose betrayal brought them to the complex. Heather thinks to herself that she cannot understand how her fellow Alphans could actually want to stay here, for the place reeks of evil of its creator, Bedlam. Staring out the window, Heather thinks that she is even starting to sense an evil outside in the wailing winds. ‘any home or no home would be better than this!’

Heather returns to where the other Alphans and Betans are and as Manikin and his past and future selves are cleaning up some mess, she tells everyone that she doesn’t mind them making the place more comfortable for the short term, but sternly tells them they are not staying. Heather’s lover Madison Jeffries, from within his Box armor asks Heather where it is that they are going to go, surely not back to the bureaucrats that betrayed them. ‘There are other countries…’ Heather begins to say, but Jeffries is quick to tell her that Canada is theirs, whether Ottawa likes them or not, they have a right to live in Canada.

The young Betan, Manikin a.k.a. Whitman Knapp jokes that there may not be much nightlife outside, but that between Box’s transmutative powers and Sasquatch’s designs, the complex could become quite comfortable. Whit adds that with his other selves pitching in, they could have a new headquarters ready in no time. ‘One where the government couldn’t get at us!’ exclaims Jeffries as the handsome mutant emerges from the Box armor. Jeffries and Heather embrace as Jeffries points out that there are acres to this place, as it extends way down below the ice cap into the frozen sea below.

Jeffries points to a map on a computer screen and reveals that he and Whit are starting to map it out, but there is so much, all unknown - and all created by Bedlam. ‘And he’s dead!’ points out Manikin. Jeffries declares that Manikin is right and tells Heather that if she is worried about ghosts, then he can remake the complex so antiseptic that ‘no self-respecting spook would even care to haunt it!’ As Jeffries uses his transmutative mutant power, Manikin’s future self, Highbrow, remarks that it is an amazing power, even for a being of his evolutionary advancement.

Heather tells Jeffries that he would make quite a salesman before asking how he proposes that they eat. Jeffries opens a computer panel, and out of it comes some food. He reveals that Manikin figured it all out. Manikin smiles and adds that Highbrow helped him, before motioning to a computer panel and informing Heather that the North Sea below the complex is full of fish, and that all Jeffries had to do was sink a shaft down through the ice to suck some fish up, and that Sasquatch designed a processing system which turns their catch into TV dinners.

Heather smells the fish and exclaims that it smells good, before declaring that she is still reserving the decision about whether or not to stay until after the storm lifts, before asking if anyone has seen the Purple Girl and Goblyn. Manikin informs his superior that the girls are in the infirmary.

Well one of them is, Kara “the Purple Girl“ Kilgrave, who kneels near the young girl known as Laura Dean, who is sitting and hugging herself as Kara asks her where it is that she goes to when Goblyn emerges. Laura replies that she hides, that Goblyn hides her. Kara remembers how she recently learned of Laura and Goblyn’s origin and asks Laura if Goblyn hides just like she hid Goblyn inside her when their parents tried to destroy one of a pair of twins…the mutant one…while they were both inside their mother’s womb.

Kara realizes that Laura protected Goblyn, so Goblyn emerges whenever Laura feels threatened. She thinks it is sort of like Sasquatch emerging from Wanda whenever danger strikes. Laura declares that both she and Goblyn hate the Deadworld. Kara realizes that Earth is the Deadworld and asks Laura if there is another world that they go to. ‘Liveworld!’ the young girl replies with some enthusiasm. Kara asks Laura if she can tell her about Liveworld, but Laura declares she can only show her. The Purple Girl tells herself that she thought she could only control minds, not get inside them, but knows that this is the only effect her power has on Goblyn and now Laura. Laura turns purple as Kara asks her to let her in.

The Purple Girl goes wide-eyed as she enters Laura’s mind and finds herself falling, only to land on some small floating rock. Kara is startled when Goblyn leaps over from a nearby rock. Although looking like she is going to attack, Goblyn just sits and stares up at Kara. Kara withdraws from Laura’s mind, exclaiming that there are worlds inside her, before declaring that she ran into Goblyn who wouldn’t let her go any further. Laura informs Kara that Goblyn isn’t sure about her yet, and although she likes her, she is not sure she should trust her enough to be allowed to see Liveworld. Purple Girl asks if it is a special place, and as she points out the window to the snowy surroundings, she remarks that it is probably a lot better than that.

Some, however, prefer the frozen wastes - or are at least drawn to them, despite their preferences. Sasquatch makes her way across the stormy terrain, protected against the freezing temperatures by her thick fur. She smashes her way through mounds of snow, while, knowing that something called her out into the cold, and made her sculpt the nightmarish stage setting she just did by smashing through the snow and ice. She looks at the odd sculptures and wonders why, when suddenly a voice is heard saying, in reply to her question: ‘In order to recreate the world as we knew it, before the Gods drove us hence!’ ‘That voice!’ cries Wanda, somewhat scared.

‘You knew it well once, brother - or should I call you sister - when you took your place among us in the Shattered Lands!’ There is a dull light emerging from the snow, where a large hand reaches up through it, and Sasquatch cries ‘I know you now!’ ‘Of course you do’ the emerging being declares ‘For who could ever forget…Tundra! Greatest of the Great Beasts!’ Sasquatch turns and runs to make some distance between herself and the gigantic Great Beast standing before her. ‘Braggart!’ cries another voice, telling Tundra that among the Great Beasts they were all created equal in evil, even she who strayed from the fold.

Sasquatch turns to see the leader of the Great Beasts, Somon the Artificer standing behind her. Wanda exclaims that she is not a Great Beast anymore, not in this body she inherited from Snowbird. Tundra asks Wanda if she is sure, to which the Alphan shouts ‘Yes!’ before declaring ‘No!’ that she is not sure of anything, as she has been feeling so confused. Somon tells Sasquatch that it is the body she inhabits which creates her crisis of identity, as it belonged to Narya - Snowbird - one of Alpha Flight’s mightiest heroes.

Somon tries to tell Wanda that the body she wears holds memories of the Beasts’ enemies, the Gods of the North who drove them from the Earth, but adds that there are more ancient allegiances inbred inside the body. ‘For you were one of us at the dawn of time, and you are one of us still!’ grins Somon. ‘No!’ exclaims Sasquatch before Somon asks her if she requires more proof, reminding her it was her presence on Earth that enabled them to emerge, adding that she felt their call to sculpt the doorway for them to re-enter this world.

‘For which we are most grateful, sister!’ shouts Kariooq the Corruptor who breaks into the Earth realm. As fire surrounds the area, Somon points out that Tolomaq the Fire Beast is here also, before informing Sasquatch that they need her help to reclaim this world from the undeserving mankind. Sasquatch bares her teeth, ‘Me?’ Join you? Against mankind?’ she asks, before asking also if they forgot she is an Alphan and a mortal with the blood of an immortal pulsing through her veins. Wanda declares that she remembers now why Somon is called the Artificer, because he played on her confusion to awaken the evil inside. ‘But I am who I am, and I’m not yours! The answer is no!

Suddenly Sasquatch is thrown into the complex, careening past the heads of her teammates. As Jeffries and Whit help her up, the girls listen to a loud thudding sound coming closer to the complex. ‘The evil I sensed in the storm!’ exclaims Heather just as the Great Beasts tear open the complex.

Heather flies towards the Fire Beast, while betting that because Sasquatch was sort of one of them, her current identity crisis was exacerbated by their presence on Earth. Heather is also betting that Wanda rejected the Beasts, hence their attempt to destroy her. Heather recalls that from one of Alpha’s previous missions against the Great Beasts, that they cannot allow what they regard as their power to be turned against them. Heather traps Tolomaq in electromagnetic bonds and forces the Beast towards Kariooq.

Kariooq points out to Heather that she missed, but Heather replies that she would only agree with him if her attempt had been to hit him directly, and not the ice behind him. Kariooq turns quickly to see ice, the preserver, falling towards him. Heather points out that Shaman told her ice was the Corrupter’s greatest enemy, while Jeffries climbs into his Box amour and thinks to himself that Heather is amazing, defeating Tolomaq by dispersing him, and defeating Kariooq by sealing him in a tomb of ice. Jeffries doesn’t suppose Heather will mind him helping against Tundra, who at that very moment cries ‘Troublesome mortal!’ and swats Heather to the ground.

Box rushes to his lover’s side and blasts at Tundra with an energy beam from his Box armor, declaring that if he has hurt Heather then he will chisel him down to the size of a foothill. Tundra boasts that he is neither man nor mortal and declares that if time could not erode his power, ‘what hope have you?’

Sasquatch tells Somon that it must be him who is calling the shots, to which Somon points out that he controls all the Great Beasts, save her. Sasquatch tells Somon again that she is not on of them, to which Somon asks her why she denies her destiny, reminding her that she stood with them for eons when they were trapped by the Artic Gods, and remained with them until a misguided mortal bombarded himself with gamma rays, thus inadvertently releasing her. Somon boasts that just as Walter Langkowski set free Tanaraq’s physical self, he will unleash the spirit of evil lying dormant within.

Standing back from the battle are the three Betans, and Kara points out that Somon is trying to turn Sasquatch against them. Manikin asks why they should give him the chance, and unleashes his past and future selves, who rush towards Somon, taking him by surprise, but Somon is the leader of the Great Beasts and is prepared, whereby he delivers psychic death to Manikin and his other three selves by creating a large illusion of himself digging his claw-like fingers into Whit and the others.

Whit falls to the ground and Kara kneels beside him, trying to get some response from him, Somon boasts that she will be able to carry on eternal conversations with him in the afterlife. Kara calls to the shivering Laura and asks her to summon Goblyn, but it is not Laura who is threatened, only her friend.

Heather rouses and sees that Beta Flight is in trouble, while Tundra has a hold of Box. She doesn’t think she will be able to reach them in time and calls to Sasquatch, asking her what side she is on. ‘I’m an Alphan to the core!’ Wanda exclaims as she comes up behind Somon, grabs the Beast and breaks his neck.

That just leaves Tundra, and Heather frees Jeffries by firing a plasma blast at Tundra’s arm, causing him to drop Box. ‘Just like us to leave the biggest for last!’ Jeffries jokes. Tundra looms over the powerful Alphans, declaring that they may chip away at him and cause him temporary pain, but asks them how the plan to overcome an enemy who merely needs the frozen earth beneath him to adds to his mass, until he makes all that he can see part of him. ‘Absorb mass?’ thinks Jeffries, before declaring that two can play at that game and flies off, leaving Heather to wonder where he is going.

Purple Girl wonders if Jeffries is abandoning Alpha, before telling herself she could never believe that, as Jeffries has been like a father to her, the only one she ever knew. Kara declares that no matter what happens, she is not going to abandon Laura and picks the younger girl up in her arms, just as Tundra steps on the two girls. But instead of crushing the two mutants, a howling Goblyn emerges from under Tundra’s weight.

Box arrives back at the complex, thinking that he has to match Tundra in terms of mass. Jeffries phases out of the armor, thinking that what Tundra can do with ice and snow, he can do with metal. Using his transmutative powers, Jeffries sends all of the complex into the Box armor, making the armor huge - he only reaches as high as its foot.

Tundra tells Heather to prepare to meet her maker, when suddenly the enormous Box taps him on the shoulder, telling him to ‘can the threats’ and prepare to meet his match, before smashing him back. Jeffries tells Heather that this was in part her idea, ‘mine?’ wonders Heather before Sasquatch reminds her that she once suggested Jeffries absorb the mass of the complex into the Box robot and create a new headquarters for them. As Sasquatch carries Manikin into the robot through a panel at its foot, Heather asks Goblyn to come inside, telling her that she can trust them.

Once inside, Sasquatch asks Heather if she is actually welcoming the creature to join them, reminding her that she distrusted her. Heather informs Sasquatch that she thinks Goblyn can bring the Purple Girl and Laura Dean back from somewhere. ‘Back from where?’ asks Sasquatch, to which Heather declares ‘inside her!’ ‘Glad I asked!’ mumbles Wanda.

Heather declares that they need to get up to Box’s head so they can see what is happening, and while she flies up his body, the others are lifted on a platform. Jeffries tells his team that they are just in time for round two, ‘Where I take the heavy-weight championship of the world!’ he exclaims as he shoves the robot’s armor through the middle of Tundra. Tundra howls and pushes Box back, ‘well, maybe in round three…’ Jeffries mumbles.

Tundra calls Jeffries a ‘foolish mortal; and increases his mass even further. Inside, Wanda points out that while Tundra may be big, most of his mass is made up of ice and snow, and suggests that a blast of incredible heat could melt him. Heather asks how Jeffries is supposed to unleash such a blast, to which Sasquatch explains that the destruction of matter unleashes energy in the form of heat, so if Box could destroy some of his mass, ‘He could quite possibly destroy Tundra’ exclaims Heather as she realizes what Wanda is on about.

But, Heather points out that Jeffries could also destroy not only Tundra, but a large portion of the earth he is standing on, himself, and the rest of Alpha Flight. Jeffries tells Heather that he heard both her and Sasquatch’s points, but as Tundra is getting bigger by the minute, he doesn’t think they have any other choice. ‘Brace yourselves Alpha!’

With that, Jeffries begins to unleash heat, destroying Tundra, before a huge explosion is set off. Ice falls to the snow, and a huge crater is all that is left of the ground Alpha Flight were standing on, with no Alphan in sight.

Characters Involved: 

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

Laura Dean, Goblyn Manikin, Purple Girl (all Beta Flight)

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

Kariooq, Somon, Tolomaq, Tundra (all Great Beasts)

In Flashbacks

Sasquatch, Vindicator II (both Alpha Flight)

Manikin, Purple Girl (both Beta Flight)

Bedlam the Brain Blast

Breakdown, Laura Dean, Freakout, Goblyn, Janus (all Derangers)

In Flashback / Illustrative Image

Sasquatch / Dr. Walter Langkowski / Wanda Langkowski / Box III
Madison Jeffries, Northstar, Puck, Snowbird as Albino Sasquatch (all Alpha Flight)
Smart Alec
Incredible Hulk

Darby & Susan Dean

Laura Dean

Story Notes: 

The battle with Bedlam took place in Alpha Flight (first series) #53. His origin can be seen in Alpha Flight (first series) #52, and the problems with and origin of Goblyn are told in Alpha Flight (first series) #54.

Walter Langkowski became Sasquatch in the back story of Alpha Flight (first series) #11. He was killed by Snowbird in Alpha Flight (first series) #23, and was active in the Box armor from Alpha Flight (first series) #24-28, while briefly occupying the Hulk’s mind in Incredible Hulk #313. Walt’s mind wandered the void from Alpha Flight (first series) #29-44. In Alpha Flight (first series) #45, Walt had taken over the mindless body of Smart Alec from within the void and returned to Alpha, before taking over firstly the Box armor, then Snowbird’s Albino Sasquatch form.

Goblyn and Laura Dean’s origin was revealed in Alpha Flight (first series) #54.

Snowbird first created the Albino Sasquatch form in Alpha Flight (first series) #23, and used it to slay Walter, who by now had been completely taken over by Tanaraq, the Great Beast whom possessed him. Snowbird assumed the form of the Albino Sasquatch on occasion, but, like any creature she assumed the form of, she could not risk remaining in its form for too long for fear she would be consumed with it. The Albino Sasquatch form came with an extra risk, essentially because it was in the shape of a Great Beast, who was pure evil.

Absent from the line-up of Great Beasts this issue are Ranaq the Devourer and Kolomaq the Ice-Beast. While Kolomaq’s absence is unexplained, Ranaq’s at least makes sense as he only exists in host forms.

Issue Information: 
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