Alpha Flight (1st series) #57

Issue Date: 
April 1988
Story Title: 

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: 

Alpha Flight, in the Boxship, land on a strange planet, where the bickering amongst the team begins, Manikin wants his missing girlfriend, the Purple Girl to be found and Vindicator does not hide her contempt of Goblyn. On Liveworld, Laura Dean explains to the Purple Girl how whenever there is danger on either Deadworld (Earth) or Liveworld, then Goblyn switches places with her, and as the Purple Girl feels she is being watched, Laura reveals that there are plenty of scary things on Liveworld and they are teleported away as Goblyn takes their place - and a mysterious woman comes up to Goblyn. Calling her, her pet she asks Goblyn where she disappears to and if she can take her there someday. The Purple Girl and Laura Dean are reunited with Alpha Flight, who are resting as the Boxship refuels from minerals on the planet. Alpha contemplate going home to Canada and Heather offers many reasons as to why Ottawa has reason to fear them, after all, they do seem to create lots of potential Earth-threatening situations. They find they cannot leave the planet, as some crystal form has covered the ship. Alpha go to destroy the crystal, unaware that it is alive. When the Purple Girl is in danger, Goblyn appears to rescue her, and the mute mutant also solves the problem of the crystal, By purring up against it, she matches the crystals vibration and they withdraw. Heather realizes that Goblyn is not mindless after all, and after taking off into space promises to try and understand her more, as Kara suggests everyone try and understand forms of life that are different to their own. However, with the danger over, everyone wonders why Goblyn is still with them, and why Laura has not returned. Back on Liveworld, the mysterious woman who was previously talking to Goblyn vows that she will not let anyone leave Liveworld unless she can too, meaning Laura Dean is trapped.

Full Summary: 

The Boxship explodes through the skyline, as Madison Jeffries a.k.a. Box tells his teammates to get set for a touchdown. Wanda “Sasquatch“ Langkowski examines the computer equipment on Alpha Flight’s makeshift home and announces that the Boxship’s instruments indicate there is world submerged somewhere inside the gas ball they have entered. In his current state as team leader Heather “Vindicator“ McNeil Hudson’s chair, Box confirms what Wanda announced. Young Whitman Knapp, codenamed “Manikin“ of Beta Flight asks what kind of world it is. Heather declares it is no doubt a lifeless one, one that cannot support Alpha Flight, and orders Jeffries to revert thrust on the Boxship.

Box informs his lover that he is unable to, and reminds her that he absorbed the mass complex of Bedlam’s base, and since destroying Tundra and blasting off into space, he has since shed most of that mass. He tells Heather that he either has to land and suck up some of the planets mineral resources for fuel, or the living quarters inside him are going to get rather cramped. Suddenly everyone is thrown about in the Boxship, and Sasquatch reveals that hull lionization has occurred, as they are hitting turbulence as they penetrate the chemical cloud surrounding the planet.

Sasquatch warns in everyone to hang on as she points out parts of the Boxship are coming lose. ‘Now she tells us,’ mutters Whit as he and fellow Betan Goblyn are knocked back in the ship. Sasquatch grips onto a beam above her head, only for it to collapse on her as she and the others discover that „hanging on“ in a living spaceship diving down through a rolling chemical cloud is a lot like going over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. This forces Alpha to call on their unique powers and abilities, thus Manikin summons his past and future selves - Highbrow, Proto and Apeman. Apeman protects Whit from the falling debris, while Proto uses his plasma body to destroy debris and highbrow teleports falling pieces of the Boxship away.

Whit tells Apeman that he is glad to see him, and that he is more secure with him than in a bucket seat and harness. Highbrow tells the “Prime Unit“ that he wishes he could say the feeling was mutual, and asks him if he couldn’t for once just summon his past and future selves for something less apocalyptic - like a picnic? Highbrow exclaims that teleporting the pieces of shrapnel away is not as bad as what Proto has to do - eat and digest it.

Still in the form of a chair, Jeffries puts a harness around Heather and tells her that it should keep her safe, to which Heather fires a plasma blast at some debris while telling her lover that it is a cheap way of sneaking in a hug. Sasquatch asks Box if he cannot control himself as he is coming apart at the seems. Whit jokingly tells Jeffries to take a cue from him as he hangs on for dear life and pulls his other selves together. Jeffries announces that he is trying, but that it is taking all of his concentration just to bring them in for a landing.

The team settle as they are finally on safe, albeit unfamiliar ground, and looking out the window, Whit declares that the planet is as dead as Winnipeg on a Wednesday night. Sasquatch reminds him that so was their own Earth before something sent a shock through the primordial soup of creation and spawned life. Whit points out that it took billions of years and declares that he cannot wait that long for a good time. Jeffries transmutates his body from the chair into the Box armor’s default form and declares that they are not here for good, just to refuel.

Sasquatch stares at Jeffries as he transmutates and asks about the Boxship, pointing out that she thought he could not transmutate metals while he was merged with the robot. Madison tells Wanda that she is right, but that the Boxship is already transmutated. Jeffries begins to emerge from the Box armor as he reveals that the Boxship will not disappear just because he is separated from it, anymore than the Box robot does, but that it simply cannot undertake new functions unless he is joined to it, but right now he would rather be joined to something else.

The handsome Alphan is completely out of the armor and takes Heather in his arms, they kiss, Heather exclaiming that it is not easy being in love with a robot, or a spaceship. ‘Hey! What do you call this?’ asks Whit as Sasquatch asks them if they are having a situation break. Whit scowls and complains that they are lost in space, while Heather and Jeffries are lost in each others arms, and his own girlfriend is lost…where? The angry Betan looks at Goblyn and calling her a freak he declares that she knows where Kara is, because she appeared when Kara and Laura Dean disappeared.

Whit begins to ask where the missing girls are when Goblyn lashes out at him, causing Whit to set his other selves on her, and tell her that although they may both be Betans, it is time somebody taught her some basic rules of interspecies etiquette. As the Betans squabble, Heather unleashes a plasma blast on Goblyn, declaring that there has been enough internecine warfare among Alphans, to which Jeffries agrees, and jumping back into the Box armor exclaims that he agrees and steps between Heather and Goblyn, declaring that it stops right now. Heather tells Box not to interfere, to which Jeffries tells her he has to, as she is not acting impartial.

This annoys Heather, who scowls as Jeffries tells her that she doesn’t want Alphans fighting among themselves, but that the only one she aimed her plasma burst at was Goblyn. He adds that it has been clear from the start that she does not like having Goblyn here. ‘She’s an animal!’ exclaims Heather. Jeffries tells Heather Goblyn may be uncontrollable and savage, but reminds her that the young mutant has saved their lives at least twice. He tells Heather that since they did induct her into Beta Flight, they have a duty to make her understand how to behave, and to try and understand her in return. Heather tells Jeffries he made his point and looks down at Goblyn, reminding her Manikin asked her a question - ‘Where are Kara and Laura?’

Liveworld is where the two missing girls are, and sprawled out on the yellow grass, Kara Kilgrave a.k.a. the Purple Girl tells Laura Dean ‘This place is just too neat!’ Laura much younger than Kara tells her that it is where her twin sister Goblyn fled when their mother and father tried to destroy her. Kara remembers that Darby and Susan Dean did this while Laura and Goblyn were still in the womb, because they thought Goblyn was a mutant. Kara remembers also that the story became more complicated, when Laura, still inside the womb, and the supposed non-mutant twin, tried to save Goblyn.

Laura supposes that she did save Goblyn, long enough for her to make her escape here to Liveworld. The Purple Girl understands Liveworld as another dimension, where nothing can hurt her, but Laura informs the purple-skinned mutant that there are scary things in Liveworld, and while she has never exactly seen them, she can feel them, sometimes all around her. Kara glances nervously out of the corner of her eye and asks Laura if there are scary things here now. Laura reveals that they are real near, but that they do not seem to bother Goblyn, as she always changes places with her before they get to close.

The Purple Girl is about to ask Laura how Goblyn knows when she is, but Laura is already ahead of her, and simply tells Kara that Goblyn always knows. A purple glow forms around them and Laura tells Kara that it is already starting. ‘Huh?’ asks Kara, when suddenly they vanish, the purple glow fades, as Goblyn stands in their place. Goblyn growls but as a mysterious woman approaches her and calling her her pet asks her if she has come back to her. Goblyn begins to purr as the white-skinned woman asks her where it is that she goes when the other takes her place, and asks if she can take her with her one day, ‘I do so desire new worlds to conquer!’

Back inside the Boxship, Whit calls to his girlfriend as she and Laura emerge through a purple glow. Kara announces their return as Laura greets everyone. Box thinks to himself that Goblyn is gone once more as Whit picks Kara up in his arms and asks her where she has been. Kara smiles and tells Whit that she is not sure he would believe her if she told him. Glancing over at Laura, who is by Heather, Kara thinks that the young mutant would not want her to tell anyone. Heather welcomes Laura back and tells her she is glad to see her all right, while wondering to herself if Laura really is all right, and when she gets no response, she realizes the young girl has withdrawn into herself again.

Motioning out the window of the Boxship, Wanda tells Jeffries that it looks like a storm is brewing. Jeffries agrees, and adds that it seems like a big one. With that, he exit’s the Box armor and begins transmutating the Boxship so that it drills into the ground and begins to tap the planets resources, regenerating itself. Jeffries tells everyone to relax while the minerals are being sucked up, however, for some reason, be it the lightening, the chemical rain, the Boxship’s borer, or perhaps all three, below the surface of the planet, the very clay of this lifeless planet begins to reform, refuse and…live?

Shortly, Heather asks Madison if it is time to go home, but Jeffries tells her whenever she gives the word they are ready, but asks where “home“ is. Heather understands what Madison is talking about and reminds everyone how Canada betrayed them, Gary Cody set Bedlam free to control them, and as a result their headquarters was destroyed. Heather declares that it is only natural for them to resent humanity’s fear of them simply because they are super-humans, and admits that she has been thinking - ‘Is that fear so irrational?’

Heather tells her teammates to look at it from Ottawa’s side of things, Alpha may have saved mankind from Tundra, but in the process, Box risked destroying the planet to do it. Heather reminds everyone that the horror of Bedlam was conceived by her late husband as Canada’s champion, and the Great Beasts could never have returned to threaten the Earth if Sasquatch hadn’t provided a portal for them. Heather looks at Laura Dean as she thinks to herself that Canada may have created Alpha Flight, but that Alpha has in turn given them reason to fear the super heroes - just as Alpha may have good reason to fear a creature they have decided to nurture.

Jeffries returns to the Box armor as he tells Heather he doesn’t agree, but nevertheless knows they have to go back and face the music. He turns himself into a seat again for Heather as well as creating seats for the others. He tells everyone to prepare for blast off and begins the countdown. Sitting in the seats, Highbrow and Apeman seem amused by the contraptions that are foreign to them, while Laura Dean hugs Proto, Sasquatch ponders the teams return to Canada, Manikin smiles as Kara blows him a kiss, and Heather remains stern-faced as usual.

‘Away we go!’ shouts Box as the Boxship makes a loud roar as it begins to take off, but it doesn’t make it off the ground. ‘Uh, what went wrong?’ asks Box, to which Sasquatch points out the window at the now crystallized surroundings that the Boxship has become stuck to and declares ‘That!’ ‘That?’ asks Heather, before Wanda tells everyone to bear with her as she tries to explain, reminding them she is a biophysicist and is trained in the study of carbon-based organic life-forms. She tells everyone that humans are carbon-based, but that there are other forms of life. ‘Based on what?’ asks Heather, and Wanda points out the obvious - crystal.

Sasquatch informs everyone that the planet seems primarily composed of crystal and asks them all if they remember the “rock gardens“ they would have no doubt grown in science class. Still not convinced, Heather reminds Wanda that the world was dead, to which Wanda points out that that was before their arrival, and asks everyone if they remember the hull ionization that occurred when they penetrated the atmosphere. Wanda continues, explaining that the Boxship shed energy in the form of lightening into the primordial soup surrounding the planet, setting off a chemical reaction similar to the “spark“ that some scientists believe gave rise to life on Earth.

Whit asks if they provided the spark on this planet, to which Kara exclaims that there could be no way that the stuff outside is alive, when suddenly everyone’s seats disappear, causing them to fall all over the place. Sasquatch tells everyone that it may not be life as they know it, but it is capable of growth. Jeffries yells for help as the crystal grows all over him - the Boxship, as Heather thinks to herself that again Alpha Flight has created the very danger that threatens to destroy them, but thinks that the “things“ attacking cannot be intelligent life and supposes that some chemical reaction to Box’s landing must have sparked the growth, but she knows that either way, Alpha caused it so they have to stop it, so she orders them to battle stations.

Jeffries quickly tells everyone that they cannot set foot outside of the Boxship without protection and from the walls of the ship he creates what Highbrow calls “atmosphere suits“. Whit asks Highbrow why he didn’t think of those as Kara declares hers is too tight and asks Jeffries if he does alterations. Jeffries tells everyone it is time to go as he re-enters the Box armor everyone exit’s the trapped Boxship and begins attacking the crystal. Laura Dean remains in the ship and calls to everyone, asking them what if the planet is alive and points out that if they have created life here, then they have some sort of responsibility to try and understand it, rather than destroy it. However, either no one hears the young mutant, or no one cares.

Heather blasts the crystal with plasma energy and reminds everyone that it is their ticket home. Box adds that it happens to be very near and dear to him as Highbrow uses his teleportation abilities and tells Jeffries that they will have all the crystal cleared off him in no time. Sasquatch and Apeman tear at the crystal using their physical strength as the Purple Girl asks everyone if they hear something. Vindicator declares that she hears - or rather feels - something, like and inner vibration when the crystal is destroyed.

Sasquatch tells Heather that all matter vibrates when it is struck, but that this is the first time she has seen a “chemical reaction“ bleed. Everyone stops and looks at the blood around them, as Highbrow declares that crystals don’t bleed. ‘Unless they really are…alive’ say Whit and the Purple Girl. The Purple Girl thinks that this is impossible, but has an idea, and runs towards a large mass of the crystal, and asserts that whatever lives possesses a mind, however rudimentary it might be. Kara jokes that the only advantage she has of being purple is that she can control minds, and uses her mutant power on the crystal.

However, another aspect of the Purple Girl’s power was recently revealed - the ability to merge her mind with those she seeks to control, and as Kara’s mind merges with the crystal, the experience of partaking in the thought process of such a totally alien life form can be overwhelming, and Kara passes out. Whit rushes over to his girlfriend, as Laura watches from the ship, and cries out that her friend has been hurt. With that, Laura disappears, and Goblyn rushes towards Kara, attacking the crystals around her.

Manikin holds onto Kara as she sees Goblyn attacking the crystals with the intention of saving her, but declares that she cant let her, and shouts ‘Goblyn, stop!’, however the crystal „thoughts“ are still in the dazed Purple Girl’s mind, and imparted with the command to Goblyn. The two mind merges in such a short time frame prove to be too much for the Purple Girl, and she passes out. Manikin tells Goblyn to get her furry paws off Kara as she picks her up, when suddenly Goblyn leaps away with Kara in her arms.

Vindicator swoops down and picks Manikin up and points out that Goblyn leapt away only minutes before that crystal column she saved him from would have come crashing down on all three of them. Whit asks if Goblyn saved Kara, to which Heather tells Whit that she did, adding that Kara seems to be the only Alphan that Goblyn cares about, while she may just be the death of the rest of them. Heather flies towards Goblyn, plasma charged and ready to strike the young mutant, as Kara calls out and tells Heather that she doesn’t understand, as Goblyn is trying to save them.

Sasquatch asks how it is that Goblyn is trying to save them, and as Kara tells everyone to watch, they do, and are astonished to see Goblyn rub up against the oncoming crystal like a cat, her purring matches the crystal’s vibrations. Someone announces that the crystal is withdrawing, when Kara corrects them, and reveals that the crystal is not an “it“, but a “they“, and explains that once Goblyn understood the crystal was alive, she interceded to prevent both Alpha Flight’s destruction and the destruction of the crystals.

Heather bluntly remarks that Goblyn is nothing but an unthinking animal, and Kara asks ‘just like the crystals were nothing by unthinking rocks?’ As everyone, including Goblyn, makes their way back into the Boxship Jeffries asks Kara if Goblyn would have known how to communicate with the crystals without her mind merge, to which Kara asks if it matters, pointing out that none of them could communicate with the crystals. As the Boxship takes off back into space, the Purple Girl reminds everyone of what Sasquatch said - that there are different kinds of life forms, and we cannot expect them to be like us or act like us. Kara continues, adding that especially when they were responsible for creating something, they have a responsibility to try and understand it.

Heather looks down at Goblyn, and touches the young mutant on the shoulder, telling Goblyn that she will try. Everyone looks at Heather and the surprised Goblyn, causing Heather to ask them what they are all looking at. Sasquatch points out that they are all looking at Goblyn- Box declares that if the danger that called her back from wherever she disappears to is over… ‘Why hasn’t she switched places with Laura Dean?’ shouts Kara.

Liveworld…where a pale-skinned green-haired woman wearing a red and green outfit grins, and looking into her looking globe, where Laura Dean is playing with a butterfly, declares that she shall not let anyone leave Liveworld unless she can also.

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)

Dreamqueen (unnamed)

In Flashback

James MacDonald Hudson


Gary Cody


Story Notes: 

Jeffries absorbed Bedlam’s complex into the Box armor, destroyed Tundra and blasted off into space all in Alpha Flight (first series) #55.

Goblyn and Laura Dean’s origin can be seen in Alpha Flight (first series) #54.

Gary Cody set Bedlam free in Alpha Flight (first series) #52 and paid for it with his life, before Mansion Alpha was destroyed in Alpha Flight (first series) #53.

The Purple Girl first displayed the ability to merge minds when she tried to control Goblyn, and instead merged into her mind, learning her origin. [Alpha Flight (first series) #54]

First full appearance of the Dreamqueen.

Issue Information: 
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