Alpha Flight (1st series) #76

Issue Date: 
November 1989
Story Title: 
Bad News

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: 

Canada’s premiere super hero team, Gamma Flight, arrive to deal with a situation in Montreal, while Alpha Flight learn that they have been dimension-hopping for three months. Shaman collapses and is rushed to hospital, when Puck begins to feel odd also, realizing that it is because both of them used the malleable substances of the Dreamqueen’s world to alter their bodies. Alpha Flight are alerted to the situation in Montreal, and with Diamond Lil they go there, only to be informed that Canada doesn’t seem to want them anymore. Gamma Flight are struggling against the mysterious enemy, hundreds of zombies attacking them. Alpha Flight defies the military’s orders and enter the restricted area, where they quickly go to Gamma Flight’s aide. Diamond Lil also mentions that Flashback went missing in prison, which is why he isn’t among the new Gamma Flight. A small girl is possessed by a demon agent of the Sorcerer’s, and goes head to head with Talisman, warning her that in the coming weeks Llan’s true plan will find her, and that he is no longer playing, that it is serious. Talisman manages to purge the demon from the girl, only for the girl to die in her arms, after Nemesis informs Vindicator that Gamma Flight have the power to arrest Alpha Flight if they operate in Canada.

Full Summary: 

Montreal, dozens of civilians lie scattered over the road and footpath. Several members of the Canadian military walk over to the civilians, and one of them begins to hurl. He is told by his superior officer to get a hold of himself, as they have not seen the worst of it yet. Suddenly, another soldier calls to the commander, ‘Sir, they’re here!’ he announces. ‘Who?’ replies the commanding officer. ‘Canada’s super team, sir. GAMMA FLIGHT!’ Nemesis! Wildchild! Silver! Auric! Witchfire! Five super powered begins walk past the crowds of onlookers and police barricades, and as the leader approaches the soldiers, they rustle like leaves.

The ebon and blood dressed woman introduces herself as Nemesis, and asks what happened here. The commander hesitates before informing Nemesis that at 1300 hours the local police received a call stating that an unknown force was killing the people in this neighborhood. He explains that police were dispatched to the area and failed to report back, before helicopters were used for surveillance, but that something caused them to crash into the houses where the fire currently rages.

The commander declares that they do not know how many are dead, but reveals that they have blocked the whole area off. He informs Nemesis that the area encompasses a six block radius, and that everyone inside it has been terminated. Nemesis exclaims that this is the work of a great evil, and boasts that it will feel the fire of her wrath and the cold bite of her blade.

Nemesis turns to her team, and asks Witchfire to use her sorcerous abilities to see if she can sense what is within the area. Witchfire concentrates, before declaring that it feels like black magic, a demonic possession, and that a person did this, someone filled with darkness. Nemesis turns to Silver and Auric, and informs them that she wants them to handle the reconnaissance, to go ahead of the rest of them and check things out from the air. The siblings reply that they will. Turning to Kyle “Wildchild” Gibney, Nemesis tells him that he will go with she and Witchfire. Wildchild just replies that he wants some bodies to slash. Unsheathing her sword, Nemesis orders her team to move out.

Elsewhere, at Heather “Vindicator” McNeil’s home, the leader of Alpha Flight - formerly Canada’s premiere super hero team - rings her mother. Heather tells Claire McNeil that she wouldn’t begin to believe where they have been if she told her, but Claire seems concerned, so Heather explains her absence, informing her mother that she has been with Alpha Flight, crossing several dimensions, and that they just got back a few minutes ago.

Heather tells her mother that they were wondering what the date was, as they have no idea how long they have been gone for. Claire informs her daughter of the date, and Heather shouts that they have been gone three months. Heather admits that she is surprised the power or phone hasn’t been cut off, and decides she better find out how much she owes them. Claire asks her daughter when she can come and see her, but Heather replies that she can’t yet, as they have to find the entity that did this to them.

Lillian Crawley a.k.a. Diamond Lil listens to Heather’s conversation as Madison “Box” Jeffries has a chat with his long-missing teammate Eugene “Puck” Judd. Elizabeth Twoyoungmen a.k.a. the Talisman chats with the handsome Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski, as her elderly father, Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen sits beside her, and suddenly has a coughing fit. Elizabeth turns to her father, addressing him by his codename first, before asking him if he is all right. Shaman replies that he thinks so, before coughing up blood and falling to the floor.

Later, at the Ottawa General Hospital, everyone sits in a waiting room, when a doctor enters the room, calling to Elizabeth. Elizabeth tells him to call her Talisman, and the doctor asks her if she is the next of kin. Elizabeth asks the doctor what is wrong with her father and whether or not he will be all right. The doctor informs Elizabeth that her father has suffered some severe internal injuries and is in critical condition at the moment.

The doctor informs Elizabeth that they brought her father in just in time, and so he thinks Shaman will pull through. The doctor explains that there are a few things they are having troubles with, like they cannot figure out why he shows no sign of external damage, and asks them if they can enlighten him.

Suddenly, Puck exclaims ‘Oh no!’ Walt asks him what the matter is, and Judd reveals that he is hurting all over, that it is the substance. Walt tells Judd that he doesn’t quite follow, so Judd explains that it has to do with the Dreamqueen’s world from which they just escaped from, reminding everyone that both he and Shaman altered their bodies with the matter of that world, and that as soon as they returned to their reality, Shaman’s injuries reappeared. As he begins to sweat, Judd informs everyone that while he was a prisoner of the Dreamqueen she tortured him, and now he feels like he is going to die!

Suddenly, a woman sitting in the corner of the waiting room watching television sits up and says ‘Are you folks supposed to be super heroes?’ Vindicator turns to the woman and asks her what the matter is. The woman points to the screen and reveals that there has been some kind of disaster in Montreal and that a lot of people have been killed. Walt helps Judd who has just collapsed and exclaims that he may be dying. As everyone gathers around Judd, the woman asks ‘what about the people in Montreal? What are you going to do about them?’

Heather is concerned for Judd, especially after everything he has been through, but Talisman points out that this disaster in Montreal could be the Sorcerer’s doing, and suggests they better get going. Heather asks about Puck, and the doctor promises to see to him. Heather mutters that this is too much too soon, and asks why bad news has to come all at once. But as Alpha Flight and Diamond Lil leave the room, Heather turns to the motionless Judd and tells him they will be back for him, before telling the Alphans that they have got work to do.

Back in Montreal, Silver and Auric fly towards a burning house. Zhao exclaims that the destruction is incredible, but his sister tells him not to worry, as they can set it right again. Jimon exclaims that she shall put out this blaze so it doesn’t spread to any further houses. A beam of silver force bursts from her eyes and it covers the house, filling it with cold, and the fire dims. All of the heat vanishes in a blaze of unearthly light. The siblings land and Jimon declares that she hopes no one was inside - no one alive that is. Zhao tells his sister not to worry, sure that the only living souls around here are the two of them. But neither Auric nor Silver see the people walking behind them, stalking them.

On the roads, Witchfire announces that everything around here is dead, that she cannot feel any life. Wildchild declares that that may be the case, but he can feel something bad - and they are getting closer to it. Nemesis wonders where Silver and Auric are, as they should have reported back by now, when Witchfire alerts her to a house that she believes to be the force controlling this disaster. ‘It’s time for some slashing!’ exclaims Wildchild as he rushes towards the house, despite Nemesis telling him not to go in along.
‘He’s impossible, that little beast!’ exclaims Witchfire, but Nemesis points out that Wildchild’s savagery is his power, and tells Witchfire to follow him. As Wildchild leaps over the fence, he boasts that it is time to party - until he stops in his tracks, stunned.

Meanwhile, Silver sees several people walking out of the house she just froze, and Auric asks how they can possibly live. Noticing the zombies behind them as well, Jimon suggests to her brother that they go and tell Nemesis, and both take flight, Jimon glad that the creatures cannot follow them, while Zhao exclaims that whatever is doing this is beyond belief. Suddenly, the zombies also take flight, and begin attacking Auric.

‘What…what are you?’ asks Wildchild, gaping at the sight before him. Nemesis and Witchfire leap over the fence, and they too stand in shock. ‘I’m a messenger and I have some bad news. The killing I’ve done today is part of mu master’s statement’ announces the being that stands before them - a young girl. Dead dogs lie at her feet and dismembered dolls float around her, as dripping with blood and a large knife in her hand, she announces that her master calls it “Death Graffiti” and asks them how they like it, before beginning to cackle.

Nemesis holds her sword out at the girl and asks her who she serves and what is his message. The girl informs Nemesis that the message is not for her, but for another, who will be here shortly. Nemesis and the others rush towards the girl, ordering her to answer the question, or they will force her to talk. The girl laughs, and exclaims ‘As the showgirl once said…”let me entertain you”’ and she somehow manages to rip away the fence, revealing behind it hundreds of zombies - all the people that she has killed.

Nemesis asks if they are alive, but Witchfire reveals that there is nothing that can bring them back, and only the will of that ‘that thing’ behind them keeps them animated. Wildchild tells his teammates to get the kid, and jumping in the midst of the zombies tries to hold them off. But Witchfire exclaims that there are too many of them, so they have to fight too. Nemesis declares that they will finish them, as the creature has to pay. But even as Nemesis destroys dozens of the zombies, the possessed girl sarcastically tells her not to worry, as there are plenty more where they came from.

Meanwhile, above Montreal, Box has transformed himself into a jet so he can transport himself, Sasquatch and Diamond Lil, while Talisman and Vindicator fly. Talisman sees the city and asks where the disaster is, to which Box reveals that he is picking up some military broadcasts, that there are some soldiers in the suburbs Northeast of the city. Suddenly, Box exclaims that the reports are saying something about Gamma Flight! Heather wonders what that means, as Gamma Flight was disbanded years ago, and turns to Diamond Lil.

Lil reminds Heather that she already told her that the government was forming a new team, which is why they let she and Wildchild out, so they could join, as they are the only ones left from the old Gamma Flight, revealing that Flashback is missing reminding everyone that Smart Alec died. Lil supposes that the government formed the new team while they were dimension-hopping. ‘More bad news!’ mutters Heather, wondering when it is going to end.

In the suburbs, a soldier calls to his commanding officer, informing him that they have just received a call from the radar station that three bogies are coming in from the Southwest. The commander mutters that this better be good, but as he looks through his binoculars at the approaching “bogies”, he shouts ‘I don’t believe it! That looks like Alpha Flight! I heard they were dead!’ As the heroes land, the commander sees that it is indeed Alpha Flight.

Walt and Lil climb out of the Box-jet, so he can then transmutate himself into his regular form, and so Walt can transform into Sasquatch. Vindicator approaches the commander and informs him that they have come to help. The commander tells Vindicator that battle suit or no battle suit, she cannot go beyond the barricades. Heather asks the commander what he means, pointing out that they have always handled Canadian problems before. The commander informs Alpha Flight that he has got some bad news for them: ‘We don’t need you anymore!’

Meanwhile, Auric and Silver continue to fend off the flying zombies, deciding that as they are dead, they must somehow be possessed. Auric tells his sister that they must go and warn Nemesis before it is too late, and like his sister did earlier, Zhao now displays his powers, but where Silver is the mistress of the cold, Zhao is the master of heat, and a powerful beam of heat comes from his eyes and burns the enemy.

Jimon uses her powers to freeze her opponents and asks her brother how they are faring. Zhao replies that he doesn’t know, and tells his sister to keep fighting, as more and more zombies fly up to attack them. On the ground nearby, Witchfire exclaims that there are too many of them, as Nemesis tells her not to give up, that they cannot let them win. ’This is a nightmare!’ exclaims Wildchild.

Back at the barricade, Elizabeth declares that she knows the Sorcerer is behind this, as she can feel his power at work. Heather tells the commander that whether he likes it or not, Alpha Flight is going in.

In the sky, Jimon is overwhelmed by the enemy, and calls to her brother, telling him that she loves him. Zhao tells his sister that they cannot die yet, that they have to be strong. Nemesis holds her sword high, exclaiming that they are not going to lose, that she refuses to let the enemy win. Wildchild says goodbye to his teammates, joking that it was fun while it lasted, but Witchfire motions to the sky and declares that someone is coming, that help is on the way. The little girl looks to the sky also, ‘At last, she comes!’

The zombies begin to get blasted off the ground, destroyed by Heather’s plasma blasts and Talisman’s magicks. Nemesis declares that she doesn’t believe it, and box cries ‘Bombs away!’ as he drops Sasquatch and Diamond Lil to the ground. As Alpha Flight engage battle with the demons, Wildchild tells Sasquatch that he never thought he would be glad to see him, Walt just replies ‘Shut up and keep fighting!’

As Diamond Lil punches out several demons, she greets Nemesis, calling her Jane, and asking her what is happening. Nemesis asks Lil where she has been, informing her that they have been looking all over for her. Lil just replies that she will tell her later. Talisman approaches the little girl, who greets her, ‘Welcome Talisman! I’ve been charged to deliver some bad news!’

Up above, Auric wonders when they will get through this, as Silver exclaims that it doesn’t seem to end. Suddenly, all the zombies are blown away, and Box flies over to the siblings, with one of his arms transmuted into a giant turbine, he asks if they mind him joining in.

Down below, Sasquatch asks if it is just his imagination, or if they are actually starting to win. ‘They seem to be running out of zombies!’ jokes Wildchild. Vindicator declares that this battle is nearly over, and Nemesis agrees, before pointing out that the real battle is behind them - where Talisman is.

Powers charged, Talisman tells the demon to give her the message before she sends her back to the void. The demons laughs at how much confidence Elizabeth has, considering she is so inexperienced. The little girl possessed by the demon declares that the first part of her masters message is all around them, that the dead live, and that the dead are yet to come.

The little girl declares that her master has been very busy over the past three months, and today’s trifle was his way of relaxing. Talisman listens as the demons declares that her master’s true labors will find her in the coming weeks, and that if she is clever enough she may defeat his moves. The demon warns Elizabeth that Llan is no longer simply playing with her, that this is where he gets serious.

Talisman walks closer to the girl, informing her to tell Llan this when she sees him in the pit: that he will never gain a foothold in this world so long as she is here to fight him. With that, Talisman grabs the girl and sends power rippling through her while shouting ‘Demon, be gone!’

A huge mantis-like demon is purged from the girl, telling Talisman that in the pit fires they will feast on her soul, that they will bake her spirit and those of her friends. With that, the demon vanishes, and the zombies with it. Talisman holds the girl in her arms, as Alpha and Gamma Flight’s look around at the death beneath them. ‘We won!’ shouts Sasquatch.

Nemesis approaches Vindicator and thanks her for the help, and adds that she has to give her some bad news. ‘Oh, great, now what?’ mutters Heather. Everyone gathers around as Nemesis declares that the government is no longer sanctioning Alpha Flight, and that Gamma Flight has ordered to arrest any member of Alpha Flight if they ever find them operating in Canada. Heather exclaims that this is ridiculous, that the government has no right to do this, when suddenly, the little girl wakes, calling for her mother.

Staring at Talisman, who is holding the girl in her arms, the girl asks if she is her mother. Talisman tells the little girl that her mother isn’t here right. The girl exclaims that she cannot see, and asks if the lights are out. Talisman replies ‘Yes…it’s dark now’. Suddenly, the little girl exclaims ‘Oh, there you are, mommy! It’s so bright!’ and with that, she goes limp in Talisman’s arms. Alpha and Gamma Flight’s gather around Elizabeth, as she tells the child not to worry, that they will make everything all right again, and bring back the light. No one sees Talisman shed a tear.

Characters Involved: 

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

Puck (Former member of Alpha Flight)

Diamond Lil

Auric / Zhao Kwan / Zhao “Tang” , Nemesis III / “Jane” / Amelia Weatherly / St. Ives, Silver / Jimon Kwan / “Jimon Tang“, Wildchild / Kyle Gibney, Witchfire / Ananym (all Gamma Flight II)

Girl possessed by agent of Llan

Citizens of Canada

Canadian Military

Hospital Staff

Women in waiting room

Over the phone

Claire McNeil

Story Notes: 

This is the second team to hold the name Gamma Flight. The first team was the bottom-tier training team within the original Department H. Other than having the same name and one member serving in both incarnations (Wildchild) the two teams have nothing to do with each other.

The first mention that the Canadian government was creating a new super team was made by Diamond Lil in Alpha Flight (1st series) #73.

Wildchild a.k.a. Kyle Gibney first appeared in Alpha Flight (1st series) #11. One of the disgruntled members of the original Gamma Flight, he was among those who served as part of Omega Flight. Following Omega Flight’s capture, he was sent to prison, along with Diamond Lil [Alpha Flight (1st series) #28.

The mysterious Nemesis first appeared in Alpha Flight (1st series) #7, the daughter of Deadly Earnest, she has gone by the aliases Jane and Amelia Weatherly.

Chinese mutant twins, Auric and Silver first appeared in The Agent Graphic Novel.

First appearance of Witchfire.

When the government became afraid of Alpha Flight, they set up their kidnapping, and Alpha Flight no longer held the title of Canada’s premiere super hero team as they were branded enemies of the State. [ca. Alpha Flight (1st series) #52]

Alpha Flight have been dimension hopping over the last few issues, not by choice, but as they were transported away by Llan the Sorcerer. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #72-75]

Using the malleable matter of the Dreamqueen’s world, Shaman was able to heal the serious wounds he received in battle. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #75]

Smart Alec lost his mind in Alpha Flight (1st series) #12, and his body was crushed in Alpha Flight (1st series) #45.

Flashback was sent to prison with the rest of Omega Flight in Alpha Flight (1st series) #12. For years, readers took Diamond Lil’s comment that ‘he disappeared’ to mean that he was pulled back in time and killed - that his past caught up with him. However, it seems that Flashback was released from prison early and intended to prevent his death by never wearing his costume again (as his future self was wearing it while he was killed). All was going fine until he woke up one morning and discovered his old costume in the bathroom. He sought Alpha Flight’s help, which led them to go back in time, resulting in a contrived series of events. [Alpha Flight (3rd series) #9-12]

This is the only time Nemesis has been called Jane. Her real name, as revealed in Alpha Flight (3rd series) is Amelia Weatherly. St. Ives is the name of her father, Deadly Earnest.

Issue Information: 
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