Alpha Flight (1st series) #84

Issue Date: 
May 1990
Story Title: 
Earth War, part one: The Big Picture

James D. Hudnall (Writer), John Calimee (Penciler), Mike Manley (Inker), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Eric Fein (Assistant Editor), Danny Fingeroth (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Vindicator, Sasquatch, Box and Diamond Lil battle agents of the Sorcerer, and in the process kill them. The agents take on human form upon their death, and the police believe Alpha Flight has killed General Winslow, whom one of the demons was actually posing as. They make their way to Maison Alpha, where Talisman informs Shaman she is going to face the Sorcerer alone, despite her father’s protest, Elizabeth renders him unconscious so she can leave, warning Aurora to gather everyone together as she may need help. Gamma Flight are given orders to take down Alpha Flight, and Nemesis believes the government wants the Alphans dead. Back at Maison Alpha Heather and company return, reunited with Northstar and Aurora, only for Gamma Flight to crash the party. A fight ensures between Alpha and Gamma Flights, Vindicator eventually convincing Nemesis that they have a mutual enemy. Talisman arrives at the Eye of the World, only to discover that the battle between Alpha and Gamma Flights was enough for Llan to fully open the Gateway of Night - and billowing from it are demons and horrors from a myriad of nether realms. Elizabeth sends a psychic plea to Alpha and Gamma Flights, before descending into the darkness…alone.

Full Summary: 

Winnipeg prison, where Alpha Flight was sent for operating against Canadian orders. Heather “Vindicator” McNeil Hudson, Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski and Madison “Box” Jeffries, along with Alpha Flight ally Lillian Crawley a.k.a. Diamond Lil must now battle agents of Llan the Sorcerer, who have just revealed their true form. The demon who was in disguise as General Brian Winslow welcomes Alpha Flight to the end of the world, telling them they will be the first to experience the horror and pain.

Madison Jeffries realizes he is in it now, as his Box armor has been taken away, and they are now up against some serious heavy weights. Jeffries sees that the concussive energy blasts fired from Heather’s suit, powerful as they are, are not enough to keep the demons down. Jeffries turns to Sasquatch, who despite using all his strength, a creature has him hog-tied. Jeffries sees his ex-girlfriend Diamond Lil fighting like mad, but knows that her invulnerability wont prevent her from getting hurt in some other way.

Madison knows that it is all up to him now, and using his mutant powers, he calls out to the metal rods in the walls and as a demon creeps up behind him, ‘Come to me, my tasty one,’ it says, Jeffries rips the rods from their settings, and sends them careening into the enemy’s flesh.

Everyone manages to break free from their captors, and using his transmutative powers, Jeffries connects all the electrical lines in the walls to the steel rods - then zaps them, sending powerful electric currents racing through the demons. Vindicator points out that the demons look human again. Confused, Jeffries declares that he wasn’t trying to kill them, that he just wanted to subdue them, so he doesn’t know what happened.

Sasquatch points out that the guards will be coming soon, so this situation will not look good for Alpha Flight. Vindicator exclaims that this is beginning to smell like a set-up and wonders why else the guards would have let her keep her costume. Lil suggests that they get out of here, as Jeffries declares that whether this is a set-up or not they should be prepared, and motions to his Box robot down below in the yard. Wishing he could get to it, Sasquatch asks him if he would like a helping hand, and picks him up and tosses him out of a hole in the wall, enabling Jeffries to drop down to the Box armor and phase in.

Suddenly, several guards rush into the room, ‘Nobody move!’ one of them yells. One of the soldiers motions to the body of “Winslow” on the ground and alerts his lieutenant, claiming that Alpha Flight killed him. Diamond Lil tries to explain that it isn’t Winslow, and Heather backs her up, telling the lieutenant that this doesn’t look like the way it really happened, as “Winslow” and his men were really monsters who were trying to kill them. The soldier tells Heather to ‘Tell it to the judge, murderers’.

Heather tells the lieutenant that he has to believe them, that these things weren’t human, when Box flies back into the room, telling Heather that these other people cannot see the truth, so Alpha Flight has to defeat the Sorcerer and clear their name. Vindicator points out that if they run, then it will look even worse. Realizing the heroes are preparing to escape, the lieutenant orders his men to be ready to fire.

Sasquatch tells his friends that there is no point in arguing with the soldiers, as they have fallen into a trap anyway. As Box grabs Sasquatch and Lil, Heather tells her team to go, and as they fly out the opening in the wall, with the soldiers firing behind them.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton, at Maison Alpha, Alpha Flight’s new headquarters, Alpha Flight’s resident physician, Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, aptly codenamed Shaman, tends to former Alphan Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier. Jean-Paul’s twin sister and former Alphan Jeanne-Marie a.k.a. Aurora asks Shaman what the matter with Northstar is and why he hasn’t woken.

Shaman replies that this is very strange, as it seems Northstar is in a coma, but one that is magical in nature, sort of like a “Sleeping Beauty” state. Shaman suggests that this spell must have been placed on Jean-Paul by the Dark Elves Aurora encountered in Svartalfheim, and reveals that he is going to have to try a drastic remedy, something magical in nature, warning Jeanne-Marie that there is no guarantee it will work, but it is the best he can do.

Twoyoungmen reaches into his ancient medicine pouch, and feels the chill of the nether dimension inside, for the pouch is a gateway to a plane where thousands of mystical items are stored, he feels something and begins to draw it out, casting it over Northstar, when suddenly, his daughter Elizabeth, who is the Talisman - one of the most powerful beings in existence, rushes into the room, demanding to speak with her father.

Shaman tells Elizabeth that she is disrupting a very important ceremony, to which Elizabeth merely replies by telling her father she is going to face the Sorcerer alone, and that she wanted him to know in case anything went wrong. Shaman is shocked and tells Elizabeth that she cant be serious, reminding her that Llan defeated them all with ease previously and that they need to face him again with the whole team united.

Shaman begs Elizabeth not to do this, but Talisman reminds her father that he sent her on a vision quest that would provide her with the answers to defeat their ancient enemy. She reveals that she learned that her predecessor defeated Llan alone, with wisdom, so if they are to survive, she must stop him from fully opening the Gateway of Night.

Talisman points out that time is running out, but her father points out that in light of Talisman’s recent failures, he cannot accept this decision, so declares that they have to alert the others and face him as a team. Talisman exclaims that she doesn’t have time to argue about this, and telling her father that he cannot stop her, she blasts him with some magical energy.

Aurora checks if Shaman is all right, as Elizabeth informs her that she must try and get everyone together, and that they may have to battle Llan’s army which is waiting beyond the Gateway of night - an army of evil from every dimension. Talisman apologizes for doing it like this, but explains that her reasoning is if she fails, then Alpha Flight will be the first ones on Llan’s death list.

Heading North, Vindicator leads the way, with Box carrying Sasquatch and Lil still. Madison asks Sasquatch if he would mind changing back to Walter, as it will make him easier to carry. Sasquatch apologizes, and admits he should have been paying attention, but he was thinking about their problems. Heather turns to Madison and asks him if he has picked anything up on the radio, any military or police broadcasts.

Box replies that he hasn’t, and points out that it is really strange, as you would expect the air force to come after them. Lil suggests that the government has probably made a phone call to Gamma Flight, after all, Gamma Flight are Canada’s official super team now. ‘I mean don’t they usually send super heroes after super criminals?’

Vindicator declares that their enemy has made them super criminals, so they have to get to Talisman - if she is still alive - as she is the only one who will know where to start looking for the Sorcerer. ‘We have to clear our names and end this thing once and for all!’

Meanwhile, at Gamma Flight’s headquarters in Winnipeg. The teams leader, Nemesis, is on the phone, ‘Yes, right away,’ she tells the person she is speaking to, before hanging up. Witchfire asks Nemesis what that was all about, and the ebon and blood clad woman reveals to her teammates that Alpha Flight has escaped custody, and killed several people. She explains that they have orders to take them dead or alive, but she thinks the government wants them dead!

Back at Maison Alpha, Vindicator, Walt, Jeffries and Lil have returned, and Shaman informs them that Talisman has left for the Eye of the World, that she has gone to fight the Sorcerer alone, and against his will. Heather asks if Elizabeth has gone crazy, to which Shaman declares that he hopes his daughter is beyond such concepts as “crazy”, so long as she is one with the Talisman, and that he hopes she knows what she is doing.

Its reunion time when Aurora and Northstar enter the foyer, Jeanne-Marie pointing out that Talisman has a greater knowledge of this problem than anyone else, and that only she can see the big picture. Aurora informs everyone that Elizabeth told her they need to all get together, as she thinks she may need their help. ‘And naturally, when Alpha Flight’s in trouble, they have to call me!’ boasts Jean-Paul, seemingly back to his usual self.

Vindicator is stunned, ‘Northstar! Aurora! I don’t believe it!’ she says as she hugs Northstar, who jokes that it is too good to be true, but that he is back. As Aurora hugs Sasquatch, her ex-lover, she replies that she is back also…for now. Shaman points out that Jean-Paul is lucky to be standing, as the Dark Elves, who had him put in a spell, which he was barely able to overcome. He adds that he hopes Elizabeth’s interruption didn’t cause any residual effects.

Jeanne-Marie explains that there would be more of them here, but that Kara Kilgrave, Laura Dean and Goblyn had to go home, though they will be back later. Madison Jeffries smiles, exclaiming that this is just like the old days, when the next
thing you know, some menace would come knocking on the door - SHAKOOM!!!!

On cue, Gamma Flight arrive, with Witchfire blasting Alpha Flight’s door down. Nemesis holds her sword out and tells Alpha Flight to surrender themselves. Vindicator calls to Gamma Flight, asking them to listen, as they have been set up and it is all a mistake. ‘You wanna fight, suckers? Come and get it!’ jibes Lil, as Shaman declares that the enemy has fooled everyone. ‘Now I see why I quit, it’s so boring around you people!’ mutters Jean-Paul.

Jeffries makes his way to a open window, as he left his Box armor outside, he hopes he might be able to get into it before any trouble starts - until Silver and Auric come crashing through the window, blocking his exit. Hands on her hips, Lil mutters that the whole gang is here now and asks Nemesis what is next. Nemesis tells the Alphans that they have one chance to give up, otherwise Gamma Flight has authorization to use deadly force.

Lil grabs Nemesis by the throat and tells her that she doesn’t take orders from her - causing the fight to start. Witchfire retaliates with mystical force, knocking Lil away from Nemesis, while Wildchild attacks Shaman with all of his ferocity. Silver blasts Sasquatch with beams of freezing energy, while Auric attacks Northstar and Aurora with rays of intense heat. All this while, the team leaders battle it out. Vindicator tells Nemesis to stop, as they can explain everything, but Nemesis tells her it is too late, as they had their chance.

Nemesis knees Heather in the stomach, knocking her backwards. Heather tries to get her force field up, and sparks fly when Nemesis’ sword comes into contact with Heather’s force field, and Heather wonders what the sword is made of. Heather realizes that the sword is powerful enough to effect her force field, but that it is time to end this farce. As Nemesis is about to strike Heather again, Heather lets loose a powerful blast of electromagnetic energy.

Wildchild rushes towards Shaman again, boasting that he has been waiting for this day, reminding him that Alpha Flight put him away last time, and now it is his turn to play “stomp the bad guy”. ‘Oh really?’ is all Shaman replies, as he pulls some dust from his medicine pouch and scatters it over Kyle Gibney, who then falls to the ground, asleep.

Witchfire points out that Diamond Lil is invulnerable to damage, but not to pain - especially pain, and her magic can provide plenty of that! Casting some spell on Lil, she causes Alpha Flight’s ally to fall to the ground, begging her to make it stop. Witchfire declares that she doesn’t like torture, but it is obvious Diamond Lil is too dangerous to be allowed on the streets, so she hopes her mystic powers finish Lil off quickly to put her out of her misery. Resisting, Lil gets to her feet, exclaiming that she has a better idea, she turns around and smacks Witchfire right in the face, knocking her back.

Jimon “Silver” Kwan has encased Sasquatch in a prison of ice, and apologizes for doing this, as she wishes there was another way. ‘There is’ replies Sasquatch, smashing his way out of his ice prison. Meanwhile, Solver’s brother, Auric, attacks the Beaubier twins, firing blasts of heat at them still. Northstar uses his super speed to protect his sister from the heat, as Aurora was once as powerful as he, only she sacrificed her power to save him. Aurora is a woman who does not like being so helpless. Zhao “Auric” Kwan tells the twins that they cannot dodge him forever, to which Northstar stops running, and putting Aurora down, he turns to Auric and declares that this is way too boring. Running circles around Auric and punching him repeatedly, Jean-Paul declares that this is fun.

As Nemesis regains consciousness, Vindicator asks her if she is willing to stop and talk now. Nemesis isn’t convinced and reminds Vindicator that Diamond Lil sucker punched her. Heather points out that Lil wasn’t acting on her orders and asks her to listen to what she has to say. Nemesis laughs and asks Heather what it is she can say after murdering people and breaking out of prison. She tells her that Alpha Flight may have been something once, but that now they are just outlaws and a disgrace to this country.

Vindicator tells Nemesis to look around her, as Gamma Flight has lost, and that Alpha hasn’t tried to kill them. She asks her to try and understand the big picture for once. Heather explains that complex problems don’t have black and white answers, as this situation was arranged by the Sorcerer for his own purposes, and that they have all been victims of a clever enemy. As Alpha and Gamma Flights all gather themselves, Nemesis asks where this enemy is. ‘North’ replies Heather.

Heading towards the Eye of the World, the Gateway of Night, Talisman flies against the pouring rain. She can feel that Llan knows she is coming, and all this while he manipulates them with tricks and subterfuge, while they have played into his hands again and again. She remembers how one week ago, the Sorcerer arranged for a group of American super villains to enter Canada and Alpha Flight went to fight them. However, the energy of their battle allowed Llan to unlock the Gateway of Night.

Talisman knows that if Llan arranges another battle between super-humans, then he will have the power to open the Gateway of Night completely - then his armies will be able to enter Earth. Talisman flies faster to her destination - and finally reaches the Eye of the World - where the worst thing has happened. She sees something wrong - it doesn’t look like a crater anymore. Shocked, Elizabeth realizes that she is too late - the Gateway of Night is now open!

The armies of every nether world are coming through and it cannot be closed without opening the Gateway of Day - something Talisman can do, at the risk of unleashing even greater peril on Earth. Elizabeth sends a psychic image of what she has just seen to Maison Alpha, and whoever is there will know what they are up against.

At Maison Alpha, the Alphans, Lil, Northstar, Aurora and Gamma Flight are shocked, some of them sweat in fear - the image they see - hundreds upon hundreds of demons and hideous creatures, pouring from the Gateway of Night, fire all around, and the Sorcerer laughing, ‘Go my armies! Go and reap the whirlwind!’ he bellows.

When the image fades, Vindicator tells everyone that they have now seen the big picture, this is what she has been trying to tell them all along - and that the energies generated by the two team’s fighting just made it possible for the Sorcerer to open the Gateway, and only Talisman knows how to close it again. Nemesis asks where Talisman is, to which Heather explains that Talisman is the one who sent them the vision, so she must be at the Eye of the World now. ‘And she’s all alone…heaven help her’.

At the Eye of the World, Elizabeth Twoyoungmen descends into the darkness.

Characters Involved: 

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

Aurora, Northstar (Former Members of Alpha Flight)

Diamond Lil

Auric, Nemesis III, Silver, Wildchild, Witchfire (all Gamma Flight)

Llan the Sorcerer

Llan’s army of demons and warriors

General Brian Winslow / a demon

Soldiers / demons

Other soldiers

In Flashback / Illustrative Image:

Vindicator II

Diamond Lil




Story Notes: 

Vindicator, Sasquatch, Box and Diamond Lil were sent to prison in Alpha Flight (1st series) #80.

Northstar and Aurora were drawn back into Alpha Flight over the course of Alpha Flight (1st series) #81-82.

Aurora returns to her classic black and white costume as of this issue. She wore her skimpy yellow and white costume from Alpha Flight (1st series) #17-83.

Alpha Flight were defeated easily by Llan in Alpha Flight (1st series) #72.

Talisman went on her quest into the past in Alpha Flight (1st series) #83, where she encountered the last wearer of the Circlet of Power.

Diamond Lil and Nemesis’ animosity towards each other stems from Diamond Lil supposed to have been a member of Gamma Flight, instead she ditched Gamma Flight before even joining them to hook up with Alpha Flight [off-panel, Alpha Flight (1st series) #71, 76].

Wildchild was sent to prison following the events of Alpha Flight (1st series) #25-28, before being released [off panel, immediately prior to Alpha Flight (1st series) #71] to join Gamma Flight.

Aurora gave up her power to save Northstar in Alpha Flight (1st series) #50.

American villains Scorpion, Nekra, Asp and Owl entered Canada and fought Alpha Flight during the “Acts of Vengeance” [Alpha Flight (1st series) #79-80].

Issue Information: 
Written By: