Alpha Flight (1st series) #78

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 

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

Brief Description: 

Dr Strange monitors strange happenings across various parts of the world, all of which have or will have, some importance to Canada. In Brazil, Zeitgeist murders Captain Forsa, boasting that eventually all the worlds heroes and villains will fall until there is only he left. In Edmonton, Vindicator and Talisman visit what Talisman knows will be Alpha Flight’s new headquarters, and argue over the importance of time and getting settled here - Heather isn’t sure, but Talisman already knows they will, and tries to get across to Heather the enormity of the upcoming war. Sasquatch visits his ex-wife, who has just found out that there has been a hold put on all the money she was supposed to receive from Walter’s estate. Veronica is shocked to learn Sasquatch is a male again and even more so when he tells her that he knows he will be getting all of his money back. Diamond Lil and Jeffries visit Shaman and Puck in hospital, and while Shaman is recovering, the doctors still do not know what is wrong with Judd. When asked why she isn’t with Gamma Flight, Diamond Lil reveals that she will be hanging around with Alpha Flight. Later, Lil asks Jeffries why he didn’t mention anything about his and Heather’s problems, and the two of them kiss passionately. Elsewhere, Llan the Sorcerer resurrects the long-dead Master of the World, and reveals to him that Marrina sleeps a false death, and that she will prove useful to him in the future, as well as that she had some children. The Master wants to plan his revenge on Alpha Flight, but Llan assures him that Alpha Flight have enough surprises coming their way. Dr. Strange tries to make sense of all these strange goings-ons, and is about to leave for Canada, when he is told that the Avengers wish to see him, as super villains everywhere are attacking heroes they have never fought for no reason at all. Going to tend to this, Strange hopes that Talisman can handle things on her own for a while longer.

Full Summary: 

Alone in his chamber, Dr. Stephen Strange reaches a deep state of meditation. His psychic channels are open to receive transmissions from beyond, and they take the form of visions and symbols. He is the world’s Sorcerer Supreme, and knows that Earth is in constant danger of necromantic overthrow. It is his eternal struggle that maintains the mystic balance of good and evil, but the last few months have weighed heavily on him, for he cannot be everywhere at the same time, and some problems happen when he is not available - such as those in Canada.

Dr. Strange furrows his brow as he realizes something is very wrong in Canada, something that he has been unable to uncover. However, the omens that follow should answer his questions and prepare him for the coming battle. It begins, the first omen comes to him, it is South America, and a skeleton with a cape. Strange wonders if it is Death, or if it is dead people who wear capes.

In Brazil, reporters and photographers approach Captain Forsa, asking him what he thinks of the killings, and whether or not he is afraid that he will be next. Forsa exclaims that he has never known fear and boasts that he is the greatest hero in the world, before declaring that the serial killer is doomed and that none may assassinate the heroes of South America without facing his wrath.

An attractive female reporter asks Captain Forsa and asks him what he thinks his chances of finding the killer are, pointing out that no one even knows what he looks like, nor do they have any idea what his capabilities are, nor his motives.

After the press conference, Captain Forsa and the reporter are alone, and Forsa boasts that he is a master of his craft, and when he decides he wants someone, they never get away. They move closer to each other, and the reporter replies that she guesses they don’t.

Later, Forsa enters his hotel room, and upon turning on the light, sees the female reporter in his room. She supposes that he is used to fancy hotel rooms with anxious women hiding in the closet, but Forsa just asks her how she beat him up to the room, before informing her that he would love to dally with her but that he has just married a wonderful lady - the woman interrupts Forsa, telling him that she thinks he might be interested in seeing some photos she took of him this evening.

Forsa takes the envelope of photos from the woman, exclaiming that he never tires of seeing himself, when suddenly, shocked, he looks up at her and asks where she took them. Suddenly, the woman changes form, exclaiming that the photos were taken a few minutes from now - ‘After I’ve killed you!’ remarks the white clad man with a black cape.

The photos of the dead Captain Forsa fall to the ground as he lunges at his enemy, only for the mysterious man’s sword to plunge into his chest. Forsa lies dead on the floor, the mysterious man telling him that he was very powerful, but that power means nothing if it is not backed with wisdom.

The mysterious being plucks a camera from thin air, boasting that one should know their enemy if they are to defeat him. He explains that time, space and even form mean nothing to him, as he is a Zeitgeist, spirit of the times. Zeitgeist declares that all the heroes and villains in this world will share Forsa’s fate - until he is the only one left, and with that, Zeitgeist takes photographs of Forsa’s dead body.

Back at Strange’s Inner Sanctum, the Sorcerer Supreme decides that the first omen made little sense, and wonders what the connection is between South America, caped skeletons and Canada. He continues to meditate further, and another omen flashes into being - he first sees an old building that will have some future significance, then a Canadian flag encircled by what seems to be some ring or coronet. He knows that there is something familiar about the ring, he feels it is a great source of power, and wonders if it is a power defending Canada, for it certainly has something to do with Canada.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton, two members of the outlawed Alpha Flight - the phenomenally powerful Elizabeth “Talisman” Twoyoungmen and the team’s leader, Heather McNeil Hudson, a.k.a. Vindicator stand in front of the large house that was in Dr. Strange’s omen. Heather remarks that she thinks this will do, before asking Talisman what she thinks. Elizabeth claims that she knew this would be their base months ago, that the Talisman never lies.

The real estate agent tells the foster sisters that he thinks Alpha Flight will be right at home here, adding that it used to be the site of Edmonton’s utilities department, but they moved to a new complex some months ago, and all this time the building has been waiting for some new tenants. Vindicator asks if they can take a look around, and the real estate agent shows them in.

Inside, the agent explains that the first floor is mostly office space but that they could probably change it into something more interesting. Heather replies that she can see a lot of potential here, before the agent informs them that upstairs there are some lab facilities where they used to test - Talisman interrupts, and exclaims that she has to speak to Vindicator alone.
Talisman closes the door behind her, and sitting on a desk, Heather asks her what the matter is. Elizabeth exclaims that they are running out of time so she will make this quick: ‘We have to move in here as soon as possible! Tell them you want it and accept their conditions whatever they may be!’ Elizabeth exclaims. ‘What?’ asks Heather, reminding Talisman that they have not even seen the first floor yet.

Talisman exclaims that this is the base she foretold several months ago and that it is perfect for the needs of this team. Heather replies that she will be the judge of that, and turns away from Elizabeth as Talisman points out that she knows she doesn’t like it when she tells her what to do, as she knows leadership can make one insecure. Talisman explains to Heather that she is not interested leading this team, nor is she even going to be a member. Heather asks Elizabeth why she is here then.

Talisman states that she has to stop Llan the Sorcerer from opening the Gateway of Night, that if Llan succeeds, Canada will be the first to experience the horror known as the Sweeping Dark. Talisman claims that only she has the knowledge to stop him but that she needs the power of Alpha Flight to succeed. ‘Knowledge without power isn’t enough’.

Talisman tells Heather that this place will be instrumental in gaining their victory, to which Heather asks ‘how?’ pointing out that it is just an old building. Talisman reveals that it was built over an intense well of Earth magic and she can feel the energy pulsing below them. Elizabeth explains that she will need this power to draw their forces together, as Alpha Flight alone is not enough to stop the enemy. She declares that she has to summon the armies from beyond, by opening the Gateway of Day. ‘There’s a war coming. We’re going to need all the help we can get!’

The circlet haunts Dr. Strange, it is like a talisman of power, a primal force of nature - but suddenly it fades and is replaced by another omen. He sees a black rectangle approaching, coming out of the light. It is a piece of paper and seems to be important, perhaps of legal significance. Suddenly it bleeds, and appears with bleeding money.

Back in Canada, a large mansion, Veronica Langkowski is on the phone to her lawyer, demanding that she wants her money, and asking what he means that the estate has not transferred the money over. When her lawyer explains that they have been challenged, she asks him why, reminding him that they won the case, proving that her ex-husband was dead, so the money should revert to her. Veronica asks her lawyer what he means by someone has managed to get a retrial, and asks him who it is.

Shocked, Veronica exclaims that Walter is dead, so it cannot be him, and although there was a woman claiming to be him, she had since disappeared, and she hasn’t heard from her since the trial. Someone knocks at the door, so Veronica tells her lawyer that she will call him back, adding that it is the maid’s day off so she has to answer it herself.

Walking towards the door, the high-maintenance Veronica notices a run in her stockings. ‘What a day!’ she exclaims. Suddenly, as she opens the door, ‘Hello, Ronnie - how’s tricks?’ Veronica is stunned at seeing her handsome ex-husband, Walter Langkowski at the door. Veronica declares that he cannot be Walter, as Walter was a woman! ‘Not anymore, care to check under the hood?’ exclaims Walt.

Walt laughs, before exclaiming that he shouldn’t be laughing as he hasn’t given her the punch line yet, adding that it spoils the joke when you laugh before the punch line. Arms folded, Veronica asks Walter what it is that he wants, muttering that she thought their business was concluded. Walt tells Veronica that she thought wrong and pulling a piece of paper from his pocket he shoves it at Veronica and informs her that it is a summons, that they are going to tango in court again.

Veronica screws the summons up as she asks Walt what makes him think he is going to win this time, reminding him that she beat him before and can do it again. As Walt begins to transform into Sasquatch, he informs Veronica that he has had a talk with the judge who gave the last decision in her favor. Walt reveals that the judge saw he is a man again and Walt informed her that he would be seeking an appeal.

Halfway through his transformation, Walt informs Veronica that when the judge realized how intent he was on getting his money back, she told him that she was going to award the judgment in his favor, but that a government agent talked her out of it. Sasquatch stands tall in the foyer of Veronica’s mansion as Walt admits that that really upset him and he was ready to go looking for someone to squash - but then the judge delivered the punch line.

Walt informs Veronica that now the judge knows he is alive she is going to use her legal power to reopen the case. Veronica looks up angrily at Walt as he tells her that in other words, he is getting his money back.

Back in his inner sanctum, the omens keep coming, and Strange wonders how many there will be. He feels that the last one has some implications for the future of Canada even though it made little sense to him. He hopes that the next one will be clearer, and first comes a burning heart, indicating love and passion - but this heart is breaking - meaning it is love being destroyed. As the heart shatters, Strange sees that something is destroying it - a diamond. Love destroyed by a diamond?

‘You two look awful!’ exclaims Lillian Crawley a.k.a. Diamond Lil as she enters the hospital room of Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen and Eugene “Puck” Judd. The former Alphan Puck tells Alpha Flight’s new ally that she has quite a bedside manner and suggests she should have been a nurse. Lil declares that she was only making a comment and tells Madison Jeffries a.k.a. Box, her ex boyfriend that he should do the talking.

The long-serving Alphan tells his friends that they just came over to see how they were doing, adding that he heard they are both off the critical list now. Twoyoungmen reveals that the managed to stop his internal bleeding and repair some of the damage, luckily he didn’t need any organ transplants. Judd reveals that the doctors still do not know what is wrong with him, but comments that he feels awful, every inch of his body is in pain as if he is being squeezed.

Shaman asks where Heather is and why she didn’t come with them. Madison looks nervous and turns away as he reveals that Heather is in Edmonton with Shaman’s daughter, looking into the city’s offer to give Alpha Flight a home. Reminding him that ever since they saved the city from the Dreamqueen, Edmonton has been keen on having Alpha Flight live here. Madison informs Shaman that Heather wanted him to know that the Canadian government has suspended Alpha Flight’s super hero clearance, but that they have decided to stay together anyway, even though they risk arrest, as there is too much at stake with the Sorcerer running around.

Shaman asks if his daughter has had any luck finding the Sorcerer, exclaiming that the day of reckoning is drawing closer every second. Madison replies that there has been no sign of him since the slaughter in Montreal, and informs them that Heather got caught up in a political conspiracy the other day and that he and Lil have been waiting for Talisman to get back. They knows the Sorcerer must be up to something, but they don’t know what it is.

Judd asks what Diamond Lil is doing here, and Shaman informs him that she was let out of jail to join Canada’s new official super team. Judd asks why she isn’t with Gamma Flight, as he thought they wanted her. Lil declares that Gamma Flight said they didn’t need her anymore, so she is going to hang around with Alpha Flight unless anyone has any objections. But before anyone can object, a nurse enters the ward and tells Lil and Madison that they will have to leave, as visiting time is over.

Walking through the hospital corridor, Lil points out to Madison that he didn’t tell Shaman and Judd about them. Jeffries asks what there is to tell, and reminds Lil that she is staying at his house until the Flight gets resettled. Lil points out that he didn’t say anything about how he and Heather might not be - Madison cuts her off before she can say anything else, telling Lil that Heather has been under a lot of pressure and they haven’t had a chance to talk about their relationship yet.

Madison adds that Heather hasn’t really been herself over the last couple of months and thinks that if he told her about he and Lil the knowledge might send her over the edge. Lil points out to Madison that everyone thinks he and Heather are getting married, before reminding him that he told her he wasn’t sure now that she has returned.

Jeffries tries to take Lil’s hands off him, informing her that he and Heather have been together for a long time, but he still cares about her. Lil looks Jeffries in the eye and tells him to prove it. She kisses him on the cheek, and although he resists at first, he then puts his arms around her, Lil’s diamond earrings sparkling as he kisses her back.

In his inner sanctum, Dr. Strange feels resistance as gets closer to the source of the problem - whatever is plaguing Canada is about to be revealed to him. The light burns him and he feels pain - a dark and powerful omen is coming. He first sees a helmet that belongs to someone evil, and it has been underwater for some time now. Then someone - something picks the helmet up. Eggs begin to break, eggs that may have something to do with the helmet. Strange senses that the eggs have been waiting for the helmet.

Somewhere else… a slightly deformed man puts the long submerged helmet on and smiles. Suddenly, a voice booms, addressing him as Master of the World, the voice tells him that it is time to awaken, as his grandchildren await him in the depths. Looking around his ship, the Master calls out, asking who is there. The voice declares ‘You’ve been sleeping a long time, oh Master of the World‘ and informs him that he found him in a capsule buried deep in the muck at the bottom of Lake Ontario and that the helmet which allowed him to control his great ship was a great distance away, yet the damaged vessel still kept him alive.

‘Who are you? Show yourself!’ bellows the Master. The voice tells the Master that now his ship has been prepared there is nothing to stop him from achieving his goals, and the Sorcerer’s face appears on a large screen before the Master, reminding him that Alpha Flight halted his plans of conquest once, that their unity in power nearly destroyed him. Llan informs the Master that many things have changed since he has been asleep, and reveals that his ship’s child, Marrina, gave birth to a batch of children, but they await his call and his direction.

The Master declares that it is impossible, ‘The alien cow didn’t have time to -’ he is cut off, and Llan informs him that Marrina mated with another, the Prince of Atlantis, Namor, and that the union was sufficient to activate her genetic codes. And in a startling revelation, Llan informs the Master that Marrina sleeps a false death under the waves, but that she will be useful to him later.

Llan fades from the screen, but the Master pleads with him not to go, declaring that he needs more information. ‘What happened to Alpha Flight? I want my revenge!’ Llan tells the Master not to worry about Alpha Flight, as he is going to introduce them to someone from South America, and that with a few other surprises coming their way, they will be distracted for sometime. With that, Llan bids the Master farewell.

Dr. Strange cries out in pain and falls to the ground, his concentration broken. The pain is like nothing he has ever felt before and he realizes that something knew he was getting close to the source, so something powerful attacked him and broke is concentration. Strange knows that Canada is in deep trouble, if the omens are correct, but wishes that he could get a clearer picture as the visions were hazy.

Strange decides that he is going to have to journey to Canada in person, for he must have more knowledge if he is going to - suddenly, Strange’s servant, Wong, rushes up to him, informing him that the Avengers are here to see him. Strange asks if the Avengers said what they want, and Wong informs him that they have come to warn him about the possibility of attacks from unknown forces. Wong explains that it seems various super villains are randomly attacking heroes they have never fought before, and that the Avengers have come to discuss it with him.

Strange decides that this trouble, and what has happened to his brother, Vic, may make it impossible for him to get to Canada anytime sooner, and hopes that the wielder of the Talisman is able to contain the danger until he can get there. ‘Canada, sir?’ asks Wong. Strange replies ‘yes’ and that it looks like Talisman might be on her own for a while longer.

Characters Involved: 

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

Puck (Former member of Alpha Flight)

Diamond Lil

Veronica Langkowski

Dr. Strange


Llan the Sorcerer

Master of the World

Captain Forsa


Reporters in Portugal

Real Estate Agent

Hospital Staff

Story Notes: 

This issue is narrated by Dr. Strange.

First and only appearance of Captain Forsa.

Zeitgeist was a member of a little-known German super team who came to South America, sometime later, in Captain America #442 to investigate the deaths of many South American super heroes. As it turned out, Zeitgeist was the killer, and in fact he was a criminal known as Every-Man. Zeitgeist believed that super beings degraded the common man with their extravagant actions and saw it as his responsibility to be an equalizer and take them down. He started in South America as a training ground before planning to move to the States and begin the massacre there, however he was taken down by Captain America and Vormund.

Talisman knew that Alpha Flight would settle in Edmonton back in Alpha Flight (1st series) #71, after the Mayor of Edmonton offered the team gracious thanks after saving Edmonton from the Dreamqueen. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #67-70]

Veronica Langkowski, Sasquatch’s ex-wife, won Sasquatch’s entire fortune following Walt’s death. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #29 / Incredible Hulk #313]. However, Walt was resurrected - but as a woman. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #45]. The trial took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #64, and despite Wanda’s best efforts to prove that she is Walter, she lost - by giving in and deciding to start over. As pointed out by Sasquatch this issue, the judge was going to award Walt in favor, but a government agent talked her out of it, as the government did not want Alpha Flight to reform.

Alpha Flight learned that they were no longer Canada’s official super hero team and that they had been replaced by a new Gamma Flight, who had the power to arrest them, in Alpha Flight (1st series) #76.

The slaughter in Montreal was conducted by Llan the Sorcerer and took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #76.

Vindicator was caught up in a political conspiracy involving the Kingpin in Alpha Flight (1st series) #77.

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