Alpha Flight (1st series) #73

Issue Date: 
August 1989
Story Title: 
Homeward Bound

James D. Hudnall (Writer), John Calimee (Penciler), Mike Manley (Inker), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Marc McLaurin (Associate Editor), Carl Potts (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Alpha Flight cross through several different strange worlds, each with a gateway that Talisman believes will take them closer to their own world. On the journey, Vindicator and Diamond Lil argue a lot, and Lil reveals that she was pardoned for her crimes as a member of Omega Flight and that she was let out of prison because the government wants to form a new team to replace Alpha Flight. The Alphans and Diamond Lil fight many menaces as well as fighting their own hunger and thirst pains and frustrations with each other, particularly Talisman who is still being cryptic. Eventually, Alpha come to what Talisman believes to be the final portal which will take them home. Indeed, it takes them to somewhere resembling home, and a message from Llan the Sorcerer awaits them, telling them that the party is just beginning. Picking up a newspaper, Talisman discovers that the President is Reed Richards and that as he has disbanded the senate and congress, war is soon to follow.

Full Summary: 

They only want to go home. But there are so many worlds to cross. So many realities. Somewhere in the distance, Earth beckons. Getting there could be a real problem though. They are six super beings, five of them are known collectively as Alpha Flight, and were once upon a time Canada’s premiere super hero team. The sixth is a former associate-turned enemy-turned associate again. Canada turned its back on its heroes, but now its heroes are lost. Vindicator, Sasquatch, Shaman, Talisman, Box and Diamond Lil are trapped on a strange world, and are fighting for their survival, running headfirst into a horde of strange creatures who want to kill them.


It all started with the smiling man, he is Llan the Sorcerer and there was something he wanted to do. Something that involved Alpha Flight. It was he who brought them to this strange dimension, plucking them from their reality like fish from an aquarium, to leave them stranded in this desolate place. Next, the Sorcerer proceeded to humiliate them, he wanted to provoke Talisman into fighting him, this would give them the freedom to attack the Earth. His final insult was to abandon them here, leaving them to die without food or water. But things can always get worse.

First comes the disquiet nails scratching the chalkboards of their minds. Madison “Box” Jeffries complains first. Jeffries declares that he wishes he knew what Llan did to his Box suit, as the metal wouldn’t obey him anymore, if it did, he could have made them some wheels. ‘Them’s the breaks, hon’ Lillian Crawley, a.k.a. Diamond Lil tells her ex boyfriend as the band of heroes marches on across the barren land. Alpha Flight’s leader, Heather “Vindicator” McNeil Hudson is next, asking Talisman the question on everyone’s mind. And like the others, Heather’s patience is running out.

Heather fastens her pace to catch up with Elizabeth “Talisman” Twoyoungmen, who is walking at the front of the group. Heather points out that they have been walking for ages, and tells Elizabeth that everyone is getting tired and hungry. Heather reminds Elizabeth that she keeps telling them there is an exit from this dimension, and asks what they are going to find it. The beautiful and powerful Talisman motions to the horizon, asking Heather if she sees the strange shapes in the distance, informing her that there is a dimensional rift amongst them. Talisman adds that she hopes that answers Heather’s question.

‘Not quite’ mutters Heather, before asking Elizabeth what the dimensional rift has to do with getting home, reminding her she said something about a Crossroads. Elizabeth explains that there is an inter-dimensional nexus, leading to a vast array of realities. Talisman reveals that unfortunately, none of them happens to be their reality. Doctor Walter Langkowski, in his alter-ego Sasquatch form, steps forward and asks if none of the realities happen to be theirs, how is the nexus going to help them get home.

Talisman declares that she is sick of repeating herself, and explains again that one of the realities is closer to Earth than this place is, so if they get to that reality, it is a step in the right direction. With that, Talisman turns from her teammates and keeps on walking.

Hungry, thirsty and irritable, the heroes contemplate their means of escape. They walk up to an area with three giant skeletons, all with a hand pointing towards a grouping of stones. ‘What the heck are these things?’ asks the ever-blunt Diamond Lil. Talisman informs Lil that this place is all that is left of the Angled Gods, their bones set up a resonance that maintains the dimensional rift. Pointing to the circle of stones, Elizabeth reveals that the way out of this dimension lies amongst them.

Looking into the grouping of stones, Jeffries declares that he doesn’t see anything and asks Talisman if she is sure about this. Sasquatch agrees, and declares that it looks like nothing but a bunch of old rocks. ‘The Talisman does not lie!’ snaps Elizabeth, before telling everyone to follow her or stay where they are. Everyone stays where they are and watch as Talisman enters the circle, then vanishes. Heather is surprised and turning to the others, tells them it seems Talisman was right, so urges them to follow her.

‘Welcome to the Crossroads!’ announces Elizabeth as everyone enters what can only be described as endless black space filled with various silver paths, all leading to different dimensions. Looking around, Sasquatch declares that this place is crazy, Diamond Lil agrees, admitting that it is making her head spin. Heather asks Elizabeth how they can get out of the Crossroads, as it is really disorientating.

Talisman motions to the portals surrounding them, and explains that they lead to other realities, and that one of them is closer to their reality than any of the others, that is the one they have to choose. Motioning to one doorway, Sasquatch grins and tells his friends that he can see some kind of Mother Goose World down there. Jeffries points to a world where there is walking trees, as Diamond Lil motions to one full of giant robots. Talisman calls to everyone and informs them that she has found the one they want, but upon seeing it through the gateway Sasquatch groans: ‘This one? You gotta be kidding me!’ With that, the six walk through the gateway.

‘What a dump!’ mutters the sultry Diamond Lil, arms folded across her chest as she asks why the dimension they had to go to couldn’t have been one of the nice looking dimensions. Vindicator tells Lil that in case she has forgotten, this is not a sightseeing tour. Angry, Lil turns to Heather and shouts ‘Watch your step, sister! I don’t take lip from anybody!’ Heather retaliates by telling Diamond Lil to get used to it, as she is the leader of this team.

Heather tells Lillian that when they get back to Earth, she is going back to jail, as she is not going to get away with her husbands murder! Diamond Lil reveals that she has been pardoned and that the Canadian government is forming a new team to replace Alpha Flight, and that they want her to join it. Lil tells Heather that she is really stupid and cannot imagine Madison wanting to - Heather slaps Lil before she can continue, but it is Heather who is rubbing a sore hand, as Lil snaps ‘Ha! I’m invulnerable, you cow!’ before punching Heather and knocking her backwards.

Sasquatch grabs Diamond Lil by the wrists before she can continue and tells her that she cannot hit Heather. As Madison picks up the fallen Vindicator, Lil calls Sasquatch a ‘hairy freak’ and tells him to let go of her. Talisman calls to everyone and tells them to stop fighting and come and look at what she has found.

Everyone gathers around Elizabeth and read what Llan the Sorcerer has carved into a large rock. Alpha Flight: If you think I’m going to let you make it home easy, you’re in for a nasty surprise! Vindicator is surprised that Llan knew they would come here and asks Talisman what they are to do now. Elizabeth replies that they have to keep going, and that Llan must have laid some traps for them along the way so they will all have to be on guard.

Shaman mumbles that this is disturbing, as Sasquatch declares he wants to know when they are going to find some food and water, as he is dying of thirst and his stomach is rumbling. Jeffries mutters that the same goes for him, as Shaman points out that food may be a problem but that they can find water along the way.

Heather turns to Lil and tells her that they have a score to settle, that she is not going to take her actions lying down. Lillian smirks and replies that talk is cheap and she isn’t impressed with threats. Madison steps between the two women and asks them to calm down, but Heather points out that Lil just hit her, and that her teammates killed Guardian. ‘Do you expect me to be nice to her?’ she asks.

Diamond Lil asks Madison why he is hanging out with this ice queen, as she is not his style. Madison reminds Lil that he has already told her that he and Heather are engaged, and that they would have been married by now if all of this stuff hadn’t come down on them. ‘But she’s a cold hearted…’ begins Lil, before telling Jeffries to forget, and that he had his chance years ago. With that, she turns and walks away.

Twoyoungmen turns to Sasquatch and points out that as he grabbed Lil a few moments ago, his bones must have healed. Walt comments that his arms do feel normal now and asks Shaman if he can take the bandages off. Shaman begins to remove Walt’s bandages as Talisman shouts ‘Everybody! Listen up!’ and as they gather around her, she informs them that they have a problem - ‘I can’t find the next rift!’

Elizabeth tells her teammates that all the tension, anger and impatience is making her head spin, so suggests to them that they relax. She knows they ands tired and hungry and worried about what the Sorcerer might be doing to their world right now, but the last thing she needs now is…’trouble!’ shouts Vindicator as she fires a plasma blast at the serpent creature that comes up from the ground behind Talisman.

Alpha Flight begin engaging the serpents in combat, while Heather asks Talisman where the next exit is. Elizabeth replies that she doesn’t know and asks them to keep fighting as she has to concentrate. Jeffries begins running from a snake that chases him with ease. Jeffries declares that he needs metal, that he is dead without it, when just as the serpent is about to get him, Diamond Lil jumps on the scene, kicking the snake aside before it eats Jeffries. ‘Where would you be without me?’ asks Lil, smiling. ‘In a wooden box’ replies Madison, thanking Lil.

Sasquatch bashes a snake, announcing that it is the last one, and asking Heather what they should do now. Heather doesn’t reply, she is too busy looking at Jeffries and Lil. Elizabeth asks Heather not to be jealous as it is making it hard for her to concentrate. But suddenly, Elizabeth points to a large rock and declares that the rift is beneath it, that they just need to move it - ‘Fine!’ mutters Heather as she blasts the rock into thousands of small pieces, some of them hitting Diamond Lil, but breaking into smaller stones as they come into contact with her diamond-hard body. ‘How’s that?’ asks Heather. ‘…Uh, great. Let’s go…’ replies Elizabeth as she enters the rift.

Minutes later, Alpha Flight and Diamond Lil enter world number three: A cloying scent of cinnamon and oranges fills the air, and a stillness can be felt, like great invisible hands pressing down. The six look up at giant weird creatures, standing tall over the orange-colored grass. Sasquatch mutters that these places get weirder every time, as Elizabeth informs everyone that they have to move quickly, as this world is extremely hostile. Motioning to a hill, she reveals that that is where they will find the next rift.

As everyone begins to run towards the hill, Heather asks Elizabeth what is so deadly about this place, as it seems rather tranquil. Elizabeth replies that there is something about the natives and those statues that they can see around the place, but that the Talisman is not sharing any details. Looking up at another statue, Jeffries declares that they are ugly, but it seems that they are made of metal, and wonders if he should use his transmutating powers to make a new Box robot.

Vindicator tells Jeffries, still calling him “honey”, that he better not, as it may alert the natives that they are here. ‘What natives?’ asks Jeffries, declaring he doesn’t see any. But the native beings of this Earth see the Alphans, and swiftly follow them in the long orange grass.

The Alphans and Lil find a road and get out of the grass, as Elizabeth informs them that it is going their way. Elizabeth tells everyone to hurry, before they are spotted. Diamond Lil proclaims that she wants to know what the statues are for. Motioning to the group of statues that are in the middle of the road, Madison tells Lil that she is about to get her wish. Lil asks what they are doing in the middle of the road, and Shaman tells everyone to just walk around them.

In the orange grass, the natives whisper something in their own language, and suddenly, the large statues come to life and slam their fists to the ground, nearly knocking out the Alphans. Vindicator begins firing them with electromagnetic blasts and tells her teammates to ‘fun for it!’ Sasquatch lifts one of the giant statues up and tips it over, as Lillian looks back and sees that Madison is not running with them, so she asks him what he is doing. ‘Getting a new suit’ he replies as he begins to use his mutant powers over metal, glass and plastics to transmutate the statue.

With a new Box armor built, Jeffries phases in, as Talisman uses her magicks on one of the statues. Vindicator is suddenly tossed aside, but Jeffries attacks the statue that threw her, ‘That was for my lady, you piece of junk!’ he exclaims. Sasquatch and Box begin tearing apart the last statue as Elizabeth tells everyone to get to the waterfall.

As everyone enters the lake, Diamond Lil turns back and informs everyone that there are at least twenty more statues following them. Elizabeth tells everyone to enter the waterfalls, to which Sasquatch asks what would happen if the statues follow them. Talisman reveals that they will not be able to, as rifts are not open to native dwellers. Talisman enters the rift first, and Box last, turning to the statues and shouting ‘Thanks for the metal, suckers!’

Another new world, this time, with sponge-like black ground and angry yellow skies. The heroes try to dry themselves off as Shaman tells them to look off in the distance, there seems to be some kind of archway. Elizabeth reveals that that is where they have to go, that the rift is inside it. Heather asks her how many more of them they have to find. Elizabeth exclaims that this may be the final one, which means that the Sorcerer has probably laid a trap for them. Heather declares that they should get it over with, as she wants to go home, and urges everyone on.

Half an hour later, the six arrive some meters away from the archway, and seeing several beings before them, Vindicator declares that it looks like they have found their trap. Talisman informs everyone that they have no choice but to fight their opponents, as it is the only way home. Heather asks the Alphans if they heard what Elizabeth said: ‘This is the only way home!’ She declares that those creatures stand between here and Canada, and asks if they are going to let them continue standing in the way.

The answer as one, thoughts of home flash in their minds, driving them forth - they are a team now, all argument lost in their passion. The heroes run towards the enemy, and like two storm fronts, the armies clash - and the maelstrom begins. Diamond Lil engages her opponent in physical combat, her indestructible form proving to be a match. Vindicator fires a plasma blast at her opponent, until another one flies towards her and knocks her back, causing her to fall towards the ground. Box calls to Heather as he fights his opponent, but Diamond Lil manages to catch Heather before she hit’s the ground.

Talisman urges everyone to keep fighting, as they are winning, and melts her opponent with her powers. Sasquatch continues to bash his opponent, not noticing the creature coming up behind him. Shaman calls to him, but the creature attacks first. Shaman rushes over to the creature after pulling something from his medicine pouch. He says a chant, and suddenly, Sasquatch’s attacker is frozen in ice.

Heather thanks Lil for saving her, but tells her that she didn’t have to. Lil tells Heather not to mention it, adding that until they get out of here, they need each other. Lil bashes another of the enemy with ease, before saying ‘This was the Sorcerer’s trap, huh? What a wimp!’ Elizabeth tells Lil not to underestimate Llan, as he may have only been testing their strength. Elizabeth announces that Llan tried to weaken them and break them apart, but they have proven that they are a team, having the strength of unity.

Entering the archway, Elizabeth declares that there may be more dangers ahead and that these challenges could have been tricks. Before fully entering the rift, Talisman declares that there is no knowing what is waiting for them on the other side. ‘After you’ Heather says to Lil, motioning to the archway. ‘That’s right, you are’ replies Lil.

One by one, the Alphans enter the archway following Talisman, and one by one, they arrive on the other side. Looking around at the asphalt, skyscrapers and alleyways, Box declares that they are home. ‘Let’s get a dozen pizzas!’ suggests Sasquatch, as Lil motions to a wall and tells them to check it out, for scrawled on the wall is: Well, well, well, you made it home. But don’t think it’s over yet! The party is just beginning! Heather wonders what that is supposed to mean, as Talisman picks up a newspaper off the ground and tells everyone that they better take a look at it. Everyone gasps as Elizabeth holds up a copy of The Daily Bugle, with the headline “President Richards disbands senate, congress, is war soon to follow?”

Characters Involved: 

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

Diamond Lil

Llan the Sorcerer

Various creatures on alternate worlds

In Flashbacks / Illustrative Images

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

Diamond Lil

Llan the Sorcerer

Story Notes: 

Alpha Flight were transported to the battle ground planet and tricked by Llan the Sorcerer in Alpha Flight (1st series) #72.

Llan destroyed Jeffries’ Box suit in Alpha Flight (1st series) #72.

Diamond Lil is often held partially accountable for the original death of Guardian, as she and other disgruntled Beta and Gamma Flight members, as Omega Flight, were battling Guardian in New York before he died. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #12]

Diamond Lil was sent to prison behind the scenes following the events of Alpha Flight (1st series) #28. She was pardoned, behind the scenes, immediately prior to her showing up at Jeffries’ apartment in Alpha Flight (1st series) #71.

Vindicator and Jeffries have been engaged since Alpha Flight (1st series) #61. They began dating officially in Alpha Flight (1st series) #51, but have had feelings for each other some time before that. Wedding plans were being made in Alpha Flight (1st series) #66.

Diamond Lil and Jeffries had a relationship as members of the Department H training team Gamma Flight. Their time as members of Gamma Flight has never been shown in any detail, and their relationship was only revealed when they were reunited in Alpha Flight (1st series) #28. Presumably, they went their separate ways following Gamma Flight’s demise. According to her entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #9, Diamond Lil is also divorced from a previous husband prior to her affiliation with Department H, though this information has yet to be confirmed by an actual comic book.

Sasquatch had his arms broken by Llan the Sorcerer in Alpha Flight (1st series) #72.

Issue Information: 
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