Alpha Flight (1st series) #86

Issue Date: 
July 1990
Story Title: 
The End of all Things

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

Brief Description: 

Alpha Flight, Gamma Flight and the other heroes battle Llan’s minions, as Talisman struggles with the Sorcerer solo. Several heroes are taken out of the battle, while Llan boasts of the coming doom to mankind. Talisman thinks back to her recent dream quest where she saw her predecessor battle him, and realizes his ego is his biggest downfall. Northstar and Aurora arrive at Dr. Strange’s home, where the Sorcerer Supreme has been waiting for them, and the three embark on a quest to open the Gateway of Day from the inside. Shaman and Witchfire regain consciousness and as Sasquatch leads the remaining heroes against the enemies, the magicians join Vindicator and Box in aiding Talisman against Llan himself. Dr. Strange manages to get the Gateway of Day open from the inside, and Northstar and Aurora gather the armies of Day. With the Gateway open, the beings of light pour out to the battlefield, where upon reaching the beings of the Twisted Realms, they all cancel each other out as they cannot co-exist in the same plane of existence. General Winslow is revealed to be alive, and Llan, now defeated, begins to fade from existence, cursing Alpha Flight by revealing that they will lie to see their world become a polluted hell. With the heroes regrouped. Talisman suggests that it is time Alpha Flight reassessed their purpose after all that has happened to them, and for the first time in a long time, Vindicator agrees.

Full Summary: 

The Eye of the World…where the End of the World is about to take place. The armies of Llan the Sorcerer have come through the Gateway of Night to usher an eternal darkness into the world. While Alpha Flight’s magical member, Talisman, battles it out nearby with the Sorcerer, the Canadian Army, Alpha Flight, Gamma Flight, and several former members and associates of Alpha Flight have come to stop the onslaught, battling the minions of Llan. But things have gone wrong, horribly wrong. The army of the Sorcerer is too large for the heroes to contain - and the battle has already downed several of them.

Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator is the leader of Alpha Flight, and as blasts of electromagnetic plasma pour from her battle suit, she wonders how long her battle suit’s power will last. Heather’s lover and teammate, Madison “Box” Jeffries has the power to convert his robot-suit into any machine or weapon he needs to, but he keeps seeing loved ones die in his head as he thinks about becoming a nuclear bomb as a last resort…but the thoughts won’t go away.

Nemesis is the mysterious leader of Canada’s official super team Gamma Flight, and uses her sword to cut through anything. Sasquatch is the transformed alter-ego of scientist Doctor Walter Langkowski of Alpha Flight - but his massive bulk is starting to wear down. Lillian Crawley a.k.a. Diamond Lil, Alpha Flight’s ally is impervious to harm, but can - and today does - feel pain.

Kara “Persuasion” Killgrave is a former member of the disbanded Beta Flight and has the power to control the minds of those she is near - so she uses part of the Sorcerer’s army against itself. She tries to stay behind them, out of harms way, but she knows her voice will fail after shouting orders for house without respite. Silver and Auric are mutant siblings, each who radiates unique energies through their eyes. Silver creates beams of cold, Auric rays of heat. As members of Gamma Flight they have fought many battles, though they feel this may be their last.

Other members of Gamma flight have already fallen - the savage Wildchild a.k.a. Kyle Gibney and the mystic known as Witchfire. Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen of Alpha Flight has fallen too, as have the young former Betans Laura Dean and Goblyn. Shaman’s magic pouch couldn’t summon enough powerful weapons, while Laura Dean couldn’t teleport her enemies fast enough, and Goblyn’s ferocity was no match for the enemy.

This leaves just Northstar and Aurora, mutant twins who are founding members of Alpha Flight, recently brought back to aid the team in the troubles with the Sorcerer. High in the sky, Jeanne-Marie tells Jean-Paul that they are losing, as there are too many of the enemy and not enough heroes. Jean-Paul agrees that they have to do something to help and wonders where Talisman is.

Two miles away, Elizabeth “Talisman” Twoyoungmen is captive of the Sorcerer, and knows she only has one chance. Using her powers, she appears before the twins and informs them that she is captured by the Sorcerer who is preventing her from opening the Gateway of Day, their only hope of defeating Llan’s army. She informs the twins that she needs them to find Dr. Strange in New York, as they need his mystical power, and that she cannot reach him herself as something is blocking her.

Elizabeth tells the twins that the two of them are the only ones fast enough to get there in time, and pleads with them to use all the speed they possess. She informs them that Strange lives in Greenwich Village on Bleeker Street, and asks them to hurry. ‘We won’t fail you, Talisman!’ exclaim the twins as they soar off.

Llan the Sorcerer looms over the imprisoned Talisman, telling her that although her friends are fast, they will never be able to return in time with help, as they will be dead by then - just like she will. ‘Don’t be so sure of that!’ boasts Talisman as she charges with power, ready to dowse Llan in it - but she is unsuccessful. Llan asks Elizabeth if she is surprised her magics didn’t free her, and tells her not to be. Llan reminds Elizabeth that her power grows when she is close to wells of Earth magic, but points out that this place is no well, but a dimensional rift. He reveals that the energy Elizabeth expends is drawn out of her and into the mountain - meaning she is trapped - and her friends will all die.

Back on the battle field, Vindicator calls out to Nemesis as the ebon and blood-clad woman is struck down by the enemy. Dropping to the ground, Heather checks the mysterious Gamma Flight leader and decides that she will be okay, as Box tells Heather to forget about her, as they have to focus on helping Talisman against the Sorcerer. Sasquatch joins them and points out that there is a whole army standing between them and Talisman and asks how they are going to get there.

Box suggests that those who can fly will have to make the journey. ‘And leave me and the others against this mess?’ Walt asks, before pointing out that they cannot fight alone, even with the Canadian army helping. Silver and Auric arrive on scene, Jimon telling Sasquatch that he will not be alone, as they will help him. Persuasion comes over too, and remarks that her captive purple army will help too.

Box streaks off, with Heather flying behind him, asking him to wait. Diamond Lil fights the good fight on the ground below as Heather tells Jeffries that before they do this she wants him to know that she is aware of him and Lil, but she still loves him and wants to be with him. Jeffries tries to tell Heather something, but she exclaims that she had to tell him as they don’t know what will happen next. Madison informs Heather that he was confused about his feelings, but now knows more than ever who the girl for him is.

Jeffries tells Heather that they will survive this, that they have to, because when it is over he is going to make it all up to her. He partially phases out of his armor and they kiss - before seeing the approaching army of flying nasties and telling Heather that they have to get back to business.

Back at the Gateway of Day, Llan asks Talisman if she knows what the end of the world will look like, and reveals that it will resemble filth and poison. It will be made of all man’s folly of his spilled greed and pollution. He claims that man is doing most of his work for him, as before he returned, most of this planet was already being laid to waste.

Llan admits that man’s greed and carelessness outstrips even his own evil, as man has filled the oceans with toxins, killing millions of sea creatures, and hunts down what he doesn’t poison. Llan adds that man has managed to destroy most of the rain forests in half a century - exterminating over one hundred species of wildlife a day. ‘I’m impressed’ laughs Llan.

Llan tells Elizabeth that man already teeters on the edge of oblivion, that this world is becoming a Twisted Realm even without his aid. He declares that his armies have come to push man over the brink and boasts that he is going to keep Elizabeth alive long enough to watch it happen.

Talisman silently tells Llan to keep talking, as she remembers how the previous wearers of the Circlet of Power defeated Llan by using his vanity against him, and each time his ego blinded him to his shortcomings - each time, he lost. Elizabeth’s recent dream quest to the past taught her this lesson well. Elizabeth hopes Llan will keep talking, and he does, remarking that it will be an ugly fall for mankind - very ugly.

Suddenly, Llan grins wickedly, deciding that it is time he ended this conversation, for if he lets Elizabeth live any longer, then she might figure out some way to thwart his plans - and that wouldn’t do at all.

Meanwhile, in New York, Aurora and Jean-Paul drop down at the door way of a lavish looking mansion. Aurora knocks on the door, to which her handsome brother finds strange, reminding her that they don’t have time, he suggests they kick the door in. ‘What if this is not the place?’ suggests Jeanne-Marie.

Suddenly, the man called Wong appears at the door, ‘Northstar and Aurora I presume. Doctor Strange will see you now,’ he says to the twins. Wong leads the twins to Doctor Stephen Strange, who tells the twins that he has sensed the troubles in Canada, but only just realized now how serious the situation is. He explains that recent problems of his own have kept him from lending aid, and admits that now it may be too late. Dr. Strange informs Jean-Paul and Aurora that they have to take drastic measures if they are going to defeat the Sorcerer, adding that their time is running out.

Back at the Eye of the World, Vindicator and Box are hounded by enemies in the air, and Heather asks Jeffries if he can create some king of weapon that will help them break through to Talisman. Box uses his transmutating powers to create a weapon, declaring that he just thought of something. As the weapon is completed, Jeffries tells Heather not to look as it is going to be intense - and a blinding light plows through the enemies.

On the ground below, Sasquatch looks up to the sky and wonders what happened. Shaman regains consciousness following the glow, and realizing the battle has moved away from him, he supposes he has been knocked out for quite a while. He wonders where his daughter is, as he thinks she will need his help and his magic if she is going to win.

Twoyoungmen notices Witchfire nearby, strewn across a rock and checks her vitals, relieved that she is alive. Shaman realizes that if he can bring her around, then her magic will be a great help to everyone. He pulls some enchanted dust from his medicine pouch and sprinkles it over her, resulting in her regaining consciousness. Witchfire rubs her head and asks if they have won, but the reply is that they are losing. Shaman tells Witchfire that they need to help his daughter as it is going to take a lot of magical power to open the Gateway of Day, Elizabeth will need both of them. Shaman hands Witchfire her staff, and the Gamma Flight member declares ‘Count me in!’

Back in New York, Northstar tells Strange that they have to get back to Canada and asks him if he has a faster way of getting there. The Sorcerer Supreme replies that he does, but it is rather unconventional. Aurora stands back as Strange’s amulet springs forth, Strange exclaiming that the forces of darkness have been unleashed from all the Twisted Realms, so they have to summon the forces of light from the Dimensions of Beauty.

A portal forms from his amulet as he exclaims that the Gateway of Day must be opened in order to do this, adding that Talisman is being prevented from opening it from the outside. Ominously, Dr. Strange informs the twins that using the enchantment of his amulet it is up to the three of them to cross to the other dimensions - and open the gate from the inside!

Stepping through the portal, reality takes on a whole new meaning. Aurora and Northstar feel their heads spin for a moment as they try to adjust there reference points. Jean-Paul asks what kind of place this is, to which Strange explains that it is a dimension between dimensions, where their quest to open the Gateway begins. Dr. Strange tells the twins that the Gateway of Day is a portal to the place where all the warriors of the Shining Realms will gather, adding that the warriors must be summoned to the meeting place so they can ride forth together to fight the armies of the Sorcerer.

Strange casts a spell on the twins, a spell which will show them what they have to do to bring the armies of light forth. The twins fly off in one direction while Strange makes his way to the meeting place and try to open the Gateway. He urges them to hurry as time is running out. Jean-Paul declares that they will not fail, Jeanne-Marie exclaiming that their friends’ lives depend on them. ‘As does the fate of the world…’ Strange thinks to himself.

Meanwhile, Talisman is still bound, and Llan hovers over her, boasting that once she is dead, the ancient rules of engagement that limit his power will no longer bind him. Llan boasts that he will be free to impose his design on everything without fear of retribution from Eternity and the other cosmic law makers. Elizabeth thinks to herself that Llan always threatens before he does something - he has to keep boasting of his power as if he has something to prove.

Elizabeth remembers that this is like the last Talisman, Nahita, fought Llan - his ego was so vast he couldn’t believe someone could outsmart him. Nahita defeated Llan by using this against him, as she knew he had broken the rules of engagement that determines how his side and their’s must contend for the world. Nahita tricked Llan into assuming the form of a stone idol and bound him in that form for ten thousand years.

Talisman recalls how when Llan got free, he tricked her into attacking him, thus freeing him to act. She hopes to use her recent lessons from her past and figure out some way to trip him up…except her time is running out.

Llan bids Talisman farewell, his hands charged with fire, he tells Talisman to know that her death brings the ruin of all she cherish. Suddenly, a blinding light causes Llan to turn his attention towards the sky, before telling Talisman that her friend Box has created some kind of living-light weapon to confuse his troops, realizing that Box has discerned light is the demon’s weakness.

Llan begins to remark that it will not make any difference in the long run, when suddenly, Talisman yells ‘Thanks for the advice!’ as she breaks free from her restraints. Blasting Llan with a glowing light, she tells him that she always knew he would reveal his weakness, and it is time for him to feel her strength - the living light her magic can generate. Llan claims that the weakness of his subjects is not also his weakness, telling Talisman that as always, her impetuous nature betrays her.

Talisman tells Llan that he is forgetting about something - ‘My friends!’ she yells, as Vindicator and Box attack Llan on cue. Llan is knocked backwards, cowering from the three forces attacking him. Heather points out that Llan is still taking all they have got and that they cannot keep this up forever. Elizabeth declares that they have to weaken him so she can open the Gateway of Day, and asks her teammates to keep hitting him. Box asks what happens if he gets free, to which Elizabeth replies ‘Just pray that help gets here in time!’

On the battle field, Sasquatch tells the others that the flash of light has seemed to weaken their opponents. Covering her enemies in ice, Jimon points out that there are still so many, and asks how they can win. Her brother replies that the answer is easy - they keep fighting till it is over. Suddenly, Goblyn and Wildchild rejoin the battle after regaining consciousness. Kyle asks if they thought the two of them had bought the farm - no way!

As Sasquatch asks where Laura Dean is, the answer lies one mile away, where Twoyoungmen and Witchfire are tending to her. Shaman supposes that she has been the victim of some kind of toxic gas, but believes that she will be okay. Holding a cloth over her nose, he hopes the medicine in it will awaken her and clear her lungs. Indeed, Laura Dean wakes, coughing she asks what happened. Shaman explains that they found her this way, before asking if she can make a gateway that will take them across the battle field. Laura replies that she doesn’t know…as she is so weak.

At the Gateway of Day, Llan boasts that the puny blasts of energy are not enough, and vows that Elizabeth, Heather and Jeffries will see the full extent of his wrath. Suddenly, a portal appears nearby, and Shaman, Witchfire and Laura run out of it. Witchfire congratulates Laura, as Talisman tells her father and Witchfire to hit the Sorcerer fast. The combined energies of the magicians strike Llan, as Twoyoungmen tells his daughter to start the ceremony to open the Gateway.

Llan is tossed around by the magicks, but nevertheless tells the heroes to give it up, declaring that their resistance is useless, he boasts that he has woven spells over the past few days that make it impossible for one person to open the gate, adding that his armies will crush them. ‘This day is mine!’

Elsewhere, Dr. Strange stands before the Gateway of Day from the inside. He understands that if he works the right spell, he should be able to open it - suddenly, spell-leeches attack him, binding him, Strange realizes that the Sorcerer must have laid this trap ahead of time. Strange feels the leeches draining his energies, so summons the one spell that they fear - ‘By the power of the Great Vishanti, may the flames of the faltine consume thee!’

With that, the leeches vanish, Strange’s spell worked, but he feels so drained, and prays that he has the strength to complete his task. Northstar and Aurora streak towards Strange, an enormous army follows them, Jean-Paul alerts his sister to Dr. Strange waiting for the army they gathered, but Aurora wonders why the Gateway is still closed.

Dr. Strange is puzzled, his magicks circle around the gigantic Gateway, while he wonders why it isn’t working, as the gate should open - he can feel a dark necromancy at work against him. He is frustrated, their army is approaching, only to be trapped on this side. He hopes that Talisman is having better luck on her side, while he keeps trying to open the Gateway of Day from his side.

As her friends and teammates battle the Sorcerer, Talisman attempts to open the Gateway of Day from her side. The air is tense with the crackle of mystical energies, and Elizabeth realizes that the Sorcerer was right - there is a great resistance to her spells, the gate still remains closed. She fears that if she cannot open the gate then there is no way they can defeat his army - Llan’s power will continue to grow. Elizabeth Twoyoungmen unleashes every ounce of energy from within her - and suddenly - the mighty Gateway of Day opens. ‘I did it!’ Talisman exclaims in relief.

Llan is stunned. ‘No!’ he screams. ‘Yes!’ cries Northstar on the other side of the gateway. Talisman smiles, ‘Armies of the light, come forth!’ she exclaims. ‘For the Shining Realms!’ Elizabeth cries as she leads the army from the Gateway. ‘May the darkness fall!’ cries Dr. Strange. The army from the Shining Realm pour onto the battle field to fight the armies of the Twisted Realms.

‘No! Not like this!’ cries the Sorcerer. Talisman tells Llan that it is too late for him as the tide has turned. ‘The forces of light have arrived’ announces Dr. Strange. Talisman informs Llan that when the army of light meets the army of darkness, all his plans will end for the next ten thousand years, as the light will win. The Sorcerer seems somewhat frightened as he calls Talisman a fool and tells her that two such forces cannot exist on the same plane at once, as they will cancel each other out and everything will revert back to normal.

On the battle field, Sasquatch tells his teammates that the forces of darkness are afraid of them, all of a sudden something has happened. Persuasion announces that there is some kind of light nearby, behind the enemy’s army. In the air, Silver tells her brother that she can see something happening in the distance, and Zhao replies that it is a new army, an army who seem to be shining, before pointing out that something weird is happening.

Indeed, something weird is happening - where the two armies meet, they start to fade away as they are unable to co-exist in the same plane. Talisman announces that Llan is beginning to fade also, as the Sorcerer declares that although Talisman has triumphed, eventually he will, as ten thousand years is nothing for him to wait. He boasts that defeating him will not solve their problems, as there are much worse things in store for them - much worse.

Suddenly, Llan is gone, and General Brian Winslow and his soldiers appear in his place. ‘What in Sam Hill’s going on?’ asks Winslow. Vindicator informs the General that Alpha Flight battled some creatures that disguised themselves as him and his men and were accused of killing him. Winslow replies that the last thing he remembers is being in a meeting, then this light hit him and his was standing on this plane of ashes. He supposes that they were in some kind of limbo, but they couldn’t move or speak, and now they find themselves back in the world again.

Above everyone, Llan’s face appears, ‘Heed my parting words, enemies - my magic may be undone, but not my plans! Some of you will live to see your world become a polluted hell! But most of you will die horrible deaths beforehand! This is my curse to you! ‘We’ll see about that!’ replies Talisman, before Llan is gone for good.

Everyone gathers around Heather, Box asking her what they are going to do now. Talisman declares that it is time for Alpha Flight to reassess their purpose in the wake of this battle of all that has happened to them. For the first time in a long time, Vindicator agrees, ‘It’s time for a new beginning!’ she exclaims.

Characters Involved: 

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

Aurora, Northstar, Puck (Former member of Alpha Flight)

Diamond Lil

Goblyn, Laura Dean, Persuasion (Former Members of Beta Flight)

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

Dr. Strange


General Brian Winslow

Canadian Soldiers

Llan the Sorcerer

Llan’s army of various creatures

Army of the Shining Realms

In Flashback:

Nahita / Talisman IV

Llan the Sorcerer

Story Notes: 

Final issue for writer James D. Hudnall.

An error occurs when Talisman contacts Northstar and Aurora to go get Dr. Strange, as she already contacted them in Alpha Flight (1st series) #85 to ask for Strange’s help.

Vindicator and Jeffries have been having relationship problems since Diamond Lil re-entered Madison’s life in Alpha Flight (1st series) #71.

Talisman took a dream quest into the past in Alpha Flight (1st series) #83, to learn how a previous wearer of the Circlet of Power defeated the Sorcerer.

Dr. Strange become aware of the troubles in Canada in Alpha Flight (1st series) #78, but was caught up in the Acts of Vengeance so could not act to help Alpha Flight.

Nahita / Talisman IV’s battle with Llan took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #83.
Alpha Flight were accused of killing General Winslow and his men in Alpha Flight (1st series) #84.

All throughout the Sorcerer Affair [Alpha Flight (1st series) #71-86] there has been an underlying theme of the self-destructiveness of mankind and the foul way that the planet is treated by means of pollution and industrialism. Indeed Llan’s work is being done for him.

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