Alpha Flight (1st series) #83

Issue Date: 
April 1990
Story Title: 
Talisman (The Second)

James D. Hudnall (Writer), James Sherman (Guest Artist), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Eric Fein (Assistant Editor), Danny Fingeroth (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

In prison, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Jeffries and Diamond Lil are witness to General Brian Winslow seemingly transforming into a demon along with his soldiers, and then attacking them. At Maison Alpha, Shaman and Persuasion prepare Talisman for a spiritual journey. Elizabeth travels to the past, to find out how her predecessor, the last Talisman, defeated Llan the Sorcerer 10,000 years ago. Along the way, she battles with Llan in the Astral Plane, where neither of them can hurt each other. Talisman learns that Llan wanted to usher the earth into pollution and devastation, witnesses her predecessor become the Talisman and join with the Tribe of the Moon, before seeing her go up against Llan the Sorcerer solo, and trapping him in a small totem, which he remained for ten thousand years…until now. Back in the present, Talisman decides that she must leave Maison Alpha and go to the Gateway of Night to face Llan alone.

Full Summary: 

Winnipeg jail, where the Alphans Heather “Vindicator” McNeil Hudson, Doctor Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski, Madison “Box” Jeffries and their ally Lillian Crawley a.k.a. Diamond Lil, are currently being help prisoner. General Brian Winslow reminds the heroes that he has already told them why the Canadian government decided to imprison them, that they have been blamed for the plague of evil that has spread across the country recently, adding that it was this pretense that allowed them to brand Alpha Flight as criminals.

Winslow points at Alpha and declares that this suits his superior’s wishes greatly, and that he wanted Alpha Flight to know this before they die. ‘Die?’ remarks Alpha Flight’s leader, before asking Winslow if he has gone mad. Heather reminds Winslow that they are here voluntarily to straighten this mess out, and tells Winslow that she thought he was going to give them choices, not threats.

Suddenly, horror spreads across Alpha Flight’s faces as Winslow and the soldiers around him change into demons, as “Winslow” tells Heather that they have come to send them into the eternal darkness, as the night crushes all who stands in its way. The demons move closer to the Alphans, declaring that only Talisman can save them, but that she is beyond all help herself.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton, the new headquarters of Alpha Flight known as “Maison Alpha”. The Alphan Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen and former member of Beta Flight Kara “Persuasion” Kilgrave stand over the body of Shaman’s daughter, Elizabeth a.k.a. the Binder of Spirits - Talisman. Kara asks the senior Alphan what he did to his daughter.
Turning to exit the room, Shaman tells Kara not to worry, as all he did was give Talisman a potion from his medicine pouch which will send her consciousness to another plane. Kara follows Shaman as he leaves the room, explaining that he has to attend to Northstar and that there is much to be done. ‘Let’s leave Elizabeth to her dreams’.

(Talisman’s dream sequence)

The barrier of time and space can only be breached by the soul, that is why Talisman is sending herself back into the distant past, through astral space…ten thousand years, because somewhere beyond history…is herself. Elizabeth floats through the strange objects, shapes and colors, knowing that in a past life she was another woman, wore the Circlet of Power and defeated the Sorcerer. She has come to find out what happened so that she might learn how to defeat him in her own time.

By merging with her past self, Elizabeth hopes she can discover the truths that have been eluding her. Suddenly, there is laughter all around her - and she knows that the Sorcerer has found her. Llan appears before Elizabeth as a hideous creature with a long purple tongue poking out at her, he tells Talisman that even by retreating into the past there is no escape…no escape! Talisman begins to descend into the past with greater speed, and eventually finds where it all begins for her.

(10,000 years in the past)

The young woman’s name is Nahita, she is of the Elk Tribe, and was only seventeen when he life took its strange turn down the path of destiny. While out collecting berries, a skeleton suddenly fell on Nahita. Shocked, she was even more surprised when more skeletons and bones began to fall on her. Nahita ran for cover, but the rain of skeletons lasted about ten minutes. Almost every kind of animal was represented in the fall, and eventually she was knocked out by a large bear skull.

Nahita didn’t see the rain end - instead, she dreamed… dreamed of a world filled with metal beasts that exhaled sickening fumes and made unpleasant noises. A world of strange buildings which belched an evil smoke into a darkening dun-colored sky. The seas of this world were polluted with horrible chemicals that killed the fish and wildlife. Death was everywhere, but the people tried not to notice - they seemed to think it would go away if they ignored it.

Between each scene of horror, Nahita would see a statuette - an idol. She could feel great evil radiating from it, and felt a great sense of menace. However, the idol did seen strangely familiar somehow.

When Nahita awoke, wide-eyed, she realized what had made the dream so frightening. The world in her vision was this world - sometime in the future, and the idol had something to do with its fate.

Gathering herself, and still covered in bones, Nahita soon heard the sounds of battle, and stunned with recognition, she saw four people before her fighting some monsters. Not four ordinary people, but the legendary Tribe of the Moon - the heroes of this age. Firehand was known as the slayer of monsters. Talks-to-Spirits was a shaman who could communicate with dwellers of the astral world and wore the sacred medicine pouch of their people, which held infinite worlds. Willow-Dancer could command plants and animals and she had a gentle nature, and always sought peaceful solutions. Bear Brother was considered to be the strongest man alive, and always fought against those who would harm or oppress him.

The Tribe of the Moon defeat the group of monsters that were attacking them, and Bear Brother claims that they have saved Nahita from the dwellers of the twisted realms, adding that the rain of bones foretold their coming. Nahita asks the heroes how they know her, adding that she doesn’t understand all this insanity. Talks-to-Spirits informs Nahita that it is written in the stars that one shall wear the Talisman again and that it is she. He reveals that this event was designed by fate to bring them together, and now they must begin a new phase in their lives.

Opening his pouch, Talks-to-Spirits asks Nahita if she understands what he is telling her. Nahita asks if they want her to join their tribe, and points out that she is just a normal person, that the Great Spirit has not blessed her with any gifts such as theirs. The aged hero holds out his medicine pouch and claims it to be an ancient and powerful cornucopia of magic. He tells Nahita to reach inside and to take what she finds.

Wide-eyed, Nahita reaches into the pouch, and grabbing the strange band of metal which sends power coursing up her arm, she knew what she had to do. She placed the Circlet on her head and was transformed. From that moment, her name was Talisman and the world would never be the same.

(In Astral Plane)

Elizabeth is swimming along the Time Stream - when suddenly she is hooked and pulled out of the water by Llan. ‘Ha ha! Looks like I caught a big one, should be tasty!’ laughs Llan. He claims that there is no escape in the past, as the present will always bring you back. ‘No!’ cries Talisman as she blasts Llan with her powers, enabling her to jump free. Back in the water, she swims along - as Llan, now disguised as a giant fish - comes up behind her, his sharp teeth barred, he tells Talisman that she should have known there was no way to defeat him, ‘Now it’s dinner time!’ Elizabeth knows she cannot let Llan take control - she has to flee and escape back into…herself!

(The distant past)

As the years passed by, Nahita joined the Tribe of the Moon in battles against mysterious threats - like the Creatures of the Caves, the Sharks from Beyond Time, rogue deviants from the lost continent of Lemuria and the Dimension Giants.

But Nahita’s real challenge began one summers eve, five years after donning the Circlet of Power. The Tribe of the Moon was nestled in their cave, resting from their last adventure - when trouble started. Sitting around a fire, Firehand declares that he still feels the cold from that fight with the Ice-Devils. Bear-Brother tells him that he will get over it, and points out that the Ice-Devils weren’t as bad as the Dimension Giants. Talks-to-Spirits tells his teammates that he fears these last few events were a sign that their true enemy will soon be coming. Willow-Dancer is confused and asks what the enemies they just fought were then. Nahita replies that they were trials - to prepare the team for what comes next.

Bear-Brother asks Nahita what she is talking about, and Nahita reveals that the Talisman has told her she was chosen to play a role in history, that everything she has done up till now was a lesson, to prepare her for the coming battle. She explains that they are about to face their greatest challenge - a being of power beyond all their abilities combined. She reveals that the threat has been gone from their dimension, but she fears he will be returning soon.

Nahita reveals that the enemy’s name is Llan the Sorcerer, and that he came to their world ten thousand years ago and was involved in the Great Devastation. She explains that Llan wants to usher mankind down the dark roads into an eternal night of madness and despair - into the fires of self-destruction. Bear-Brother jumps up from his seat, and unconvinced, he reminds everyone that they are the Tribe of the Moon - the greatest heroes in this land.

Suddenly, someone appears at the entrance of their cave, asking for help. Bear Brother asks the tribesman what happened, and as he reveals that all the village was killed, the old man collapses. Bear-Brother asks the old man who he is and where he is from, when Nahita recognizes him and reveals that he is from the village she was raised in.

The old man tells Nahita that she must avenge them, before explaining what happened to them, that last night, a star fell from the heavens, lighting the sky over their village. He continues, revealing that something happened the next day, that people began to change and became hideous - monsters. The old man reveals that he ran into the woods, but one of the monsters came for him and slashed him, before telling him he was its messenger, that he had to come and tell Nahita he was back.

The old man cries out in pain, and Nahita points out that their village is over 1,000 miles from here, so she doesn’t know how he could have made it here in one night. Talks-to-Spirits tells the old man to lay down and he will see what he can do for him. Suddenly, some tentacled beast emerges from the villager’s body and grabs Bear-Brother, before attacking the others. It declares that this is the face of the new humanity, the shape he will make them all. Nahita blasts the demon with her powers, ‘Not if I can help it’ she declares.

Soon, Talks-to-Spirits used his magic to transport the Tribe of the Moon to the village, even so, it took them several hours, and there were no signs of life. As they drew nearer, the picture didn’t improve - devastation all around - this was nothing like the Tribe of the Moon’s other adventures, never had they seen such carnage, such waste of life. Nahita is in shock, reminding her friends that she grew up here, and now all her friends and family are gone. She curses her enemy for the way he stabbed her deeply and twisted the blade. She falls to the ground, as Bear-Brother tells her not to worry, as they will avenge them. Nahita believes that Llan did this just to get at her, to show them that he means business.

Suddenly, there is a large rumbling, and an earthquake follows, causing the Tribe of the Moon to nearly fall down into a large gully. Suddenly, Llan the Sorcerer, rises as steam from the ground, claiming that this village was fortunate to have died swiftly, as the rest of mankind will suffer unending pain. Llan boasts that he will seed man’s thoughts with the uses of fossil fuels, will lead him to a machine that breathes smoke, a fire that kills everything, and for a while, man with think himself prosperous, a master of his world.

However, Llan points out that the accumulated filth and poisons of his waste will make the land barren, the air will become corrupt and the rain will become acid - man will shuffle through this landscape as a broken figure…into the twilight. Nahita tells Llan that they wont let him trick man into using these evil things he described, as the Tribe of the Moon will stop him. Llan laughs and reveals that the Gateway of Night will open, and that they should try and stop that, before he vanishes.

The Tribe of the Moon wonders what he meant by all of that, to which Talisman explains that the Gateway of Night is a portal to the twisted realms, dimensions where evil reigns supreme, where the most horrible things imaginable are common place. Nahita reveals that if Llan opens the Gateway, he can send upon the world that which dwells beyond, and declares that they have to stop him at all costs. Talk-to-Spirits suggests that there is not time to waste, that they need to find this Gateway of Night and seal it forever.

(The Astral Plane)

Elizabeth finds herself in a test tube, with a giant Llan hovering over her like a mad scientist. He tells Elizabeth that she will not find any truth in the past, only the lies he has spun to trap her with, as this reality is his to make - or unmake. Llan pours some liquid into the test tube, and it splashes all over Talisman - it is acid and burns her flesh off - she sees what he is trying to do now. But the truth is not just what you see or feel - the truth is greater than that. Elizabeth lets this reality die so that she can return to her own.

(The past)

The journey North proved to be a hard one for the Tribe of the Moon, as the Sorcerer sent all sorts of trouble their way - even the weather conspired against them as they encountered a blizzard in the middle of summer. Eventually, the Tribe of the Moon came upon the rocky plain surrounding their destination - the Gateway of Night is a giant crater, staring up into the dark sky like the Eye of the World.

Huddled in their blankets, the others listen as Nahita exclaims something is coming, but she cannot tell what they are - though there are several of them and they are flying. Several dragon approach the Eye of the World, and Nahita reaches into Talks-to-Spirit’s pouch. When he asks Nahita what she is doing, she replies that she has to fight the Sorcerer alone, and that the Talisman says she will find the one true weapon in his pouch.

Nahita holds up a small totem, and Talks-to-Spirits asks her what kind of weapon that is. Nahita replies that it is an idol of the Sorcerer from ancient times and that she has seen it before. Nahita leaves the scene as the dragons approach, breathing fire on the Tribe of the Moon. Nahita knew that the Sorcerer’s minions wouldn’t attack her, as the Sorcerer wanted to save Nahita for himself. Unfortunately, the others were on their own for now.

Suddenly, Willow-Dancer’s death scream echoed behind Nahita, but she ran on, knowing that all her friends - and the entire world - would die if she didn’t. As Nahita reached the top of the crater, she could see the enemy waiting alone. Llan has taken the form of a dragon, but she knows that he was capable of many other forms.

‘Welcome to the end of the world, Talisman’ snarls Llan. He tells Nahita that this battle will be over swiftly, and informs her that her friends are already losing. He boasts that he will soon be free to unleash the swarming shadows that lurk beyond, that he will teach man to sully his world with filth and chemicals. Man’s food will be full of poisons, his children will be born as deformed nightmares - this world will become one of the twisted realms.

Nahita points out to Llan that he hasn’t won yet and that she has spent years preparing to fight him. She reminds him that in the last cycle, he had people worship him, which broke the rules of engagement, and her predecessor won because of his folly, she placed a curse on him that is binding.

Nahita holds out the idol in front of Llan, reminding him that he made people worship it, and that the first Talisman’s curse is that he must take this form to battle her. ‘So be it’ Nahita declares as she goads Llan into taking the idol’s form. Llan boasts that he is mighty in any form, and transforms into the idol. Suddenly, a green circle appears around a area of snow which Llan is in, and Nahita tells him he is now trapped.

Nahita reveals that while Llan bragged of his plans, she walked a circle around him, concentrating on a binding spell. She tells Llan that this is no mere idol, but a powerful totem designed to lock him in that form. Looming over the small totem Llan is trapped in, Nahita tells him he has lost until the next cycle - ten thousand years away, and that he may never win.

(The Astral Plane)

Holding the test tube up to his face, Llan mutters that it was too easy and wonders where Elizabeth went. Suddenly, Elizabeth appears behind him, much taller than he and telling him that she knows his weakness - vanity and arrogance prevent him from seeing the truth. Talisman tells Llan that they cannot really hurt each other in this realm, and she knows that he just wanted her to think that to make her fail in her quest.

Talisman admits that Llan almost made her fail, almost made her despair and give into the fears, forsake her quest. Talisman tells Llan that he failed, as she fought the despair, found what she had to, found the knowledge. She reminds him that ten thousand years ago, he wanted to teach man to pollute his world, and points out that man discovered fossil fuels on his own. She informs him that humanity has already started polluting the Earth and they did it without his influence, but they can stop it from continuing.

Llan matches Talisman in size now, and tells her that man is capable of evil on his own and has enough greed and arrogance to choose the dark roads over the light. He boasts that he will win in the end, but Talisman tells him not to count on it, as the Circlet of Power was made to stop him. ‘I’m coming for you! Prepare for battle!’ Elizabeth warns him.

(Reality, present time)

Elizabeth opens her eyes, realizing that she has made so many mistakes, as Llan has already partially opened the Gateway of Night, everything she has done so far has only helped him. She gets up and leaves the room, declaring that it is time she made a stand - Elizabeth Twoyoungmen is going to the Gateway of Night to face Llan as her predecessor did - alone.

Meanwhile, in Winnipeg, the demons attack Heather, Walt, Jeffries and Lil, telling them it is now time for them to die. ‘If it’s death you want, we’ll deliver!’ Lil shouts back, Alpha Flight are ready for battle!

Characters Involved: 

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

Diamond Lil

Persuasion (Former Member of Beta Flight)

General Brian Winslow


Llan the Sorcerer

In Talisman II’s Dream / Flashback

Nahita / Talisman IV

Bear-Brother, Firehand, Talks-To-Spirits, Willow-Dancer (the Tribe of the Moon)


Llan the Sorcerer

Various Demons and creatures

Story Notes: 

Vindicator, Sasquatch, Box and Diamond Lil were arrested by Gamma Flight in Alpha Flight (1st series) #80.

Shaman’s comment about having to tend to Northstar is because Jean-Paul had only recently returned to Earth, after suffering a near-death experience on Asgard [Alpha Flight (1st series) #81-82].

The scene where Nahita draws the Circlet of Power from the medicine pouch is similar to the scene where Elizabeth drew the same headpiece from her father’s pouch in Alpha Flight (1st series) #19.

Nahita is Talisman IV, even though she came before the others. Talisman I is an Aboriginal Australian from the Contest of Champions, Elizabeth is Talisman II and Shaman was Talisman III from Alpha Flight (1st series) #38-68.

Issue Information: 
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