Alpha Flight (1st series) #59

Issue Date: 
June 1988
Story Title: 
Comes a Dragon

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: 

In a border province between China, India and the Soviet Union, former Alphan Puck finds himself caught up in a battle between Chinese soldiers, intent on destroying the priests who do not follow the way of the State. But the peaceful priests have their own way to stop the soldiers, until one of the soldiers is revealed to be a super human, the Jade Dragon, and even though he knows what he is doing is wrong the Jade Dragon participates in the slaughter of the priests. Judd makes his way to the temple, where he had learned that within it lies the Doorway Between Worlds, as he wishes to leave Earth, seeking adventure on new worlds. The High Lama does not permit Judd to have access to the Doorway, and they enter a debate until the Jade Dragon interrupts. Judd attacks the Dragon, but is then himself attacked and nearly killed by the Jade Dragon, until the High Lama intervenes and sacrifices his own life. The High Lama’s spirit comes to Judd and offers him access to the Doorway Between Worlds, and Judd enters a world where his former teammates, Alpha Flight are under attack by the Dreamqueen, who with the Doorway still open believes she has found her way to “Deadworld”, but the Chinese army see the battle through the Doorway as a foreign invasion. Meanwhile, on Alpha’s former headquarters, Tamarind Island is visited by a woman and her lawyer. When they are confronted by government officials for trespassing, the lawyer informs the government officials that it is they who are trespassing, as the woman introduces herself as Veronica Langkowski - Sasquatch’s widow.

Full Summary: 

His name is Eugene Milton Judd, he first came into this world 74 years ago, and has now come to this North-eastern Chinese province of Danwei to find a way out of it. For the man once as Puck has grown very weary of this world. Abseiling down the side of a cliff, Judd sees Chinese soldiers marching along the narrow cliff side road and wonders if they are after him. However, further down the road, the former Alphan spies some priests and realizes the soldiers are after them, but he knows there is nothing he can do about it. Solemnly, Judd frowns as he tells himself that Puck might have been able to do something - but Puck is “dead”, for he died when the Dark Fire Fountain released the demon Raazer imprisoned with him.

Judd remembers that it was because of the release of Raazer from within him, he was returned to his regular size and the soldier-of-fortune was deposited amidst the border countries of high in the mountains between India, China and the Soviet Union. Judd closes his eyes as remembers how he was returned to himself, freed of pain - except for the pain of having abandoned his beloved Alpha Flight. Judd recalls that it was his relative powerlessness that made him expendable, and Vindicator choosing to love Jeffries over him made Judd irrelevant.

Judd looks up at a giant temple as he admits he had grown tired of a team, a woman, a world that had no need of him, but while in Tibet he learned of a lamasery in a far flung border province, wherein lay the secret to the Doorway Between Worlds. Judd realizes that with the appearance of the Chinese soldiers, it would appear that others threaten to seize that secret before it is revealed to him. Being fluent in Chinese among several other languages, Judd is able to understand the conversation between the Chinese soldiers.

The Commanding soldier tells his comrades that this province straddles the strategic border between their country and the Russian bear to the North. He declares that the Central Committee has for a long time sought to secure this province against subversion and infiltration. Judd wonders if the Commander is referring to him, but when the Commander declares that the refusal of Danwei’s ethnic minority to avoid their religion and embrace Marxism invites such dangers, Judd realizes that the Commander is talking about the priests.

The Commanders faces the Priests and tells them that such sedition must cease. A priest steps forward and tells the Commander that the High Lama that rules here practices no politics, adding that they pray for peace, not for power. The Commander exclaims that the peasants whose time would be better spent on their communes heed a foolish old mans words instead of Chairmen Mao’s. Amongst the group of soldiers, young Dei Guan recalls that his parents heeded Mao’s words, yet died for it at the hands of Mao’s widow. However he keeps such thoughts to himself, but as the Commander vents his fury on the unresisting priest by whacking his fist into the priests face and calling him a fool, Dei Guan’s fingers tighten on the butt of his rifle.

Judd clambers down the cliff, seeing that the troops are advancing and knowing the priests are massing to resist them, however, he knows of no mantra capable of stopping modern military technology, and decides he has got to help them - but he is no longer the hero he once was, remembering his days as the diminutive Alphan Puck.

The Chinese Commander orders his troops to fire on his command, and as they do so, the priests link hands and a blinding white light is produced. As he shields his eyes, Judd likens the light to that of the one emitted by his former teammates, Northstar and Aurora. However, the twin’s illumination never transformed itself into flowers. One of the soldiers calls to the Commander as the flowers continue to float around them all and declares that they cannot see to shoot. The Commander declares that he commands them to fire, so the soldiers do so, but the priests glow, and as Judd witnesses the battle below he sees the force field thrown up by the priests and watches as the priests retreat to their lamasery.

However, the soldiers are not so easily deterred, as the Commander radios an air strike against the priests. Suddenly, helicopters appear above the priests and begin firing at them, for their force field was no a dome and cannot protect them all the way to the lamasery. Dei Guan is shocked, ‘No!’ he thinks to himself as the Commander cries ‘Yes!’ Watching from behind the safety of a large rock, Judd is also shocked at what is taking place and wished that Sasquatch or Box were here, as their great strengths would take the guns on the choppers out.

But Judd knows that they are not here, meaning it is up to him - and the plastique explosive he obtained from Tibetan bandits in case things got interesting. He sets the explosive and races away from it. Seconds later, a large explosion comes from the cliff side, and as the Commander stands over the body of a priest he announces that it is not a priestly trick, but the armament of choice for subversives. He declares that their suspicions prove true and orders his comrades to execute everyone.

Seeing a priest look in his direction, Judd wonders if he senses his presence, and if so why he appears to be staring at him accusingly. He wonders if it is because while the priests passive resistance claimed no enemy lives, while his avalanche took out over a dozen attackers. Judd reminds himself that he did it to save them, but realizes that they may not want to be saved if it costs any lives except the lives of their own. The priests have learned from their first foray at resistance the priests now extend their force field so that the canons of the Chinese gun ships cannot penetrate it.

Judd walks up to the force filed where no one can see him, ‘A wall against the unworthy’ he thinks to himself, and reminds himself that he witnessed this mystical analogue of Vindicator’s force-shield on a much smaller level when he studied tantric yoga decades ago in India. Judd also learned that it could be penetrated by one whose mind bore no malice. Judd’s eyes glaze over as he stands completely still, before being able to walk through the force field. ‘Entrancing, eh?’ As he runs up the narrow path towards the temple, he thinks to himself that he is sure that whoever could conjure forth such a marvel could also unlock the doorway between worlds.

Meanwhile, the Commander orders the soldiers to charge, but they are knocked back by the force field. The furious Commander calls to Dei Guan and informs the young man that the running dog intellectuals who have curried favor with the Central Committee since the overthrow of the Gang of Four had him assigned to his unit over his objections and declares that he has never seen their claims that Dei Guan possesses special abilities tested.

Dei Guan asks his commanding officer if he would like him to demonstrate those abilities now, to which the Commander calls him a fool and asks what else he would want from him. Dei Guan’s body begins to transform, as the young man’s body become replaced with green scales and increases in size. Dei Guan declares that it shall be as his Commander, country, party and the revolution desires. ‘For the Jade Dragon is nothing save a humble servant of the State!’ cries the giant dragon standing in Dei Guan’s place.

The Commander smiles as he looks upon the secret that his party had kept hidden from him. He declares that the Jade Dragon is a super being cut from the same cloth as the Radioactive Man and the Collective Man, to which the Jade Dragon boasts that he is far mightier than his powerful predecessors. He tells everyone to witness, as he unleashes a huge beam of flame from his mouth, directed at the force field.

When the smokes clears, the Jade Dragon announces that the force field is broken and tells the Commander that he may give the word to advance. The Jade Dragon takes to the air as he thinks that because of his aid, the troops can continue in their slaughter. ‘As my parents were slaughtered’ he thinks to himself, and their “crime” was being intellectuals during a Mao’s so-called “cultural revolution” before thinking back to the rest of his origin.


Dei Guan’s parents were dead, but their orphan rose to manhood in a re-education camp, his political correctness being measured in the bushels of ore that he extracted from China’s iron mines. Exhausted by labor and exposed to incessant propaganda, Dei Guan no longer knew what to believe - until an impossible voice made him believe himself be mad.

A short man appeared before Dei Guan and informed him that their ancestors believed that Dragons of jade lay beneath the earth, lending their great powers to great warriors, their wisdom to priests and power to heal to physicians. Dei Guan informed the man that he has neither power nor wisdom and that he would wager he is an illusion wrought out of being sick unto exhaustion.

But the geomancer, such as he must have been, was real, Dei Guan learned that when he imparted the dragon power to him, allowing Dei Guan to free himself from the abyss. Guan’s rebirth coincided with his country’s, as the Gang of Four was deposed, the cultural revolution ended, and full of reformist fervor, Guan enlisted in the service of the new China.


The Jade Dragon flies towards the temple as he tells himself he now participates in the extermination of a pacifistic priesthood whose only crime lies in worshipping a power other than the States. He wonders if others must suffer for their beliefs like his family suffered, or if China’s ancestors bestowed power upon him to oppress others - ‘I think not’ he realizes.

Meanwhile, Tamarind Island, off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. A speedboat races towards the former home of Canada’s former premier super heroes - Alpha Flight. ‘It’s beautiful!’ exclaims a woman when she sees the island from the boat, and as she steps onto the dock with her lawyer, who tells her that it is prime real estate. The woman asks if it can really be hers, to which her lawyer informs her it can, and legally too, pointing out that her husband died intestate without a will. The woman mutters that if her husband had lived to write a will, then she is sure he would have written her out of it. Her lawyer tells her she should be glad he died then.

The woman walks towards the mansion that stands on the island as she tells Mr. Childs that he said a callous thing before adding that they were about to divorce, when she suddenly gets a closer look at the mansion - broken, nearly destroyed. Childs tells her that all it needs is a few coats of paint, when suddenly they find themselves aimed at by guns and surrounded by armed men, as someone tells them to stand and identify themselves. ‘Soldiers!’ ‘Trespassers!’

A man in a tan trench coat tells Childs that it is he who is trespassing on property claimed by the government of Canada as a base for Alpha Flight. He asks the duo again - who are they and what do they know about the destruction of Mansion Alpha and the disappearance of its occupants. Childs tells the government official that the only questions he will answer will be in court and declares that this is private property. The government official starts to say something, but Childs cuts him off, telling him what he has said and what the law says are two different things.

Mr. Childs declares that the State can only take private property by exercising its right of eminent domain, and informs the official that there were no condemnation proceedings regarding Tamarind Island, or his office, executors of the Langkowski Estate would have known about them. The government agent asks Childs if he is a lawyer and asks if he was hired by Walter Langkowski. Suddenly, the woman takes off her hat and steps forward, declaring that Childs was hired by her - Veronica Langkowski -Walter’s widow!

Back in Asia, Judd abseils down the side of the temple, and smashes through one of the windows to get inside. He makes his way through a corridor, when someone cries ‘Greetings!’ Judd turns to see the High Lama floating behind him. The elderly man tells Judd that others call him the High Lama, while he would prefer to think of himself merely a humble seeker of alternatives to the wheel of life on which all mortals move.

The High Lama asks Judd if that is not what he also seeks - a way out of this life and its past associations. He touches Judd’s head and sees images of Judd, in his younger days as an adventurer, and as a member of Alpha Flight. In the High Lama’s native tongue, Judd replies ‘Yes!’ but the High Lama turns, and floats away from Judd, who runs after him as he is told he is unworthy, as he seeks not to shed the substance of his life, that all he wants is new adventures. ‘Is that too much to ask?’ exclaims Judd, still following the High Lama.

Judd informs the High Lama that he feels as though he has worn out his welcome on this world and that he desires new worlds to explore and new experiences. The High Lama interprets this as Judd wanting a new life, in which he may repeat old mistakes. The high Lama creates an illusion before Judd and informs him that he preaches the transcending the wheel of life, exclaiming that only when one leaves life can they truly be free.

Judd exclaims that without life there is only death, but the High Lama tells him that terms without meaning once morality has been transcended. Motioning to everything around them in the temple, Judd points out to the old man that he chooses to live, and to defend himself against the soldiers who now advance upon his sanctuary. The High Lama turns his back on Judd as he tells him that one must live life to learn universal truths before they can move on to other planes of existence, and declares that he has reached that point.

‘Then prepare for your journey, enemy of the State!’ declares the Jade Dragon as he bursts into the temple. Judd sees the dragon and races across the room to pick a vase up as the High Lama floats, unmoving before the Dragon, who declares that he doubted his Commanders accusation, but since finding him in collusion with a foreign spy, he believes him to be right. Judd realizes that this is not a dragon but some kind of Chinese super hero who is finding the high Lama guilty of treason by association - simply with him.

Judd boasts that he cannot let the harmless old man pay for his presence and heaves the vase at the Jade Dragon, but s the Dragon is whacked, the High Lama tells Judd his intercession is unnecessary, and as Judd is knocked back by the Dragon as he flicks his tail, the High Lama adds that his intercession is also unavailing. Judd stands up and picking up a metal pole, he is glad he has diverted the Dragon’s attention away from the High Lama, but exclaims that it is bad now that the Dragon is coming after him.

As Judd throws the pole at the Jade Dragon, Guan asks Judd if this is the best he can do, adding that it makes him wonder what his foreign masters hoped to accomplish by sending him here. Caught up in a wind caused by the Jade Dragon flapping his wings, Judd tells himself that if he still owed allegiance to his “foreign masters” then he bets that Ottawa would be horrified to find him here, risking an international incident.

As Judd is caught in the Dragon’s tail, he declares that he will die as he lived most of his years - as a free agent. The High Lama flies towards Judd, power ready, telling the former Alphan that he knows it is not what he desires. Judd calls to the High Lama, telling him not to intervene - but it is too late, as the Jade Dragon lets lose a mighty burst of flame from his mouth, incinerating the High Lama, who was protecting Judd.

‘What have I done?’ shrieks the Jade Dragon as the High Lama’s body drops to the ground, the Dragon flings Judd against a wall before pounding his fists on the ground and bursting out of the temple, announcing to his Commander that the High Lama is dead. The Commander motions to the other priests, lined up near a firing squad of soldiers as the Commander declares that the High Lama’s disciples are about to join him, but the Jade Dragon begins to attack the soldiers as he declares ‘NO!’

Inside the temple, Judd leans over the High Lama’s body, muttering ‘my fault, my fault!, but the High Lama’s spirit then appears before Judd, calling him ‘Seeker’ he tells Judd that it was his choice, and that by it, death has released him from the wheel of life, freeing him to pass through the Doorway Between Worlds, someday to reach the final goal. Motioning to the various worlds through the Doorway, the High Lama asks Judd if he will join him, to which Judd asks him if he means die.

The High Lama informs Judd however that he does not have to die, for just as they use the same doorway, they would travel entirely different paths, he would journey the spiritual realm while Judd walked the material paths. The High Lama tells Judd that he grants him release from his world in his present state, and tells him to chose any world he wishes to walk and he will then be transported to it.

Judd sees a certain world, where his former teammates, Alpha Flight, are currently fighting for their lives. The High Lama informs Judd he offered him this world first because it does host his friends, but Judd thinks the High Lama doesn’t understand, as Alpha Flight are in trouble - again. Judd thinks that if he ignores Alpha Flight he can chose another world and escape his past, but by doing so, he may dooms his friends. The High Lama smiles and tells Judd to chose - which he does, walking into a doorway, and ending up on…

…Liveworld! Alpha Flight are shocked as Judd is thrown towards them as they continue to battle the Dreamqueen’s warriors. The Dreamqueen sees the doorway and declares that at last, the dimensions are bridged, and their dimension is hers. She commands her Dream Warriors to slay Alpha Flight. ‘Uh, Proto’ says the Purple Girl to her boyfriends past self, ‘I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore’, and Box, holding the injured Vindicator, Sasquatch and Manikin all watch along with Judd, as the Jade Dragon, and the Chinese Commander and soldiers can be seen on the other side of the doorway. The Commander asks the Jade Dragon if he sees where treason leads, to which the Jade Dragon asks if this is what is meant by a foreign invasion.

Characters Involved: 

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

Puck (Former member of Alpha Flight)

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

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


Dream Warriors

Veronica Langkowski

Mr. Childs (Lawyer)

Government Official

Canadian Soldiers

Jade Dragon / Dei Guan

Chinese Soldiers


The High Lama

In Puck’s Thoughts

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

Black Raazer

In Flashback

Dei Guan

Dei Guan’s parents


Story Notes: 

Puck was freed of the Black Raazer and returned to his original tall size in Alpha Flight (first series) #50.

First appearance of Veronica Langkowski (though not the first indication Sasquatch had a wife, she had been mentioned from the very beginning).

First appearance of the Jade Dragon.

Mansion Alpha was destroyed by Bedlam in Alpha Flight (first series) #53. Alpha Flight were then kidnapped by him and were in the Arctic Circle, and later in Space, which accounts for their lack of presence in Canada.

The Purple Girl’s comment to Proto ‘I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore’ is a line taken from the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, based on the novels by L. Frank Baum in which Dorothy (Judy Garland) finds herself no longer in Kansas, but the land of Oz and says the line to her dog, Toto.

Issue Information: 
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