Alpha Flight (1st series) #98

Issue Date: 
July 1991
Story Title: 
The Final Option, part 2: Decisions of Strength

Fabian Nicieza (Writer), Michael Bair (Penciler), Chris Ivy (Inker), Jackson Guice (Cover Artist), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Chris Cooper (Assistant Editor), Bobbie Chase (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

As Guardian, Vindicator, Northstar and Box are joined in battle against the Consortium by Her, the alien they are protecting, the Consortium launch more and more spaceships to attack. Box sends a distress call to Department H, requesting that all available Alphans and Betans assist. Sasquatch, Puck and Windshear prepare themselves, and alert Shaman, who along with Diamond Lil and Aurora are examining Laura Dean. Shaman informs Witchfire and Persuasion that they also will be needed on this mission, when suddenly Laura wakes up and screams about saving Goblyn, before she, Shaman, Aurora, Persuasion, Witchfire and her parents vanish, leaving a confused Diamond Lil to explain what happened to the others. The four Alphans arrive at the battle scene and quickly go to their teammates aid. During the battle, Diamond Lil encounters a small alien who shoots her with a laser that actually pierces her skin. Knowing the laser may be the only thing that can cut through her skin so she can have a biopsy, Lil flees the battle to chase the alien. Northstar’s arm gets broken in battle but he is able to keep fighting by wearing one of his opponents forearm guards. Windshear manages to do serious damage to the Consortium, but when he protects Guardian, he winds up unconscious. Her considers surrendering to the Consortium so that she can end the destruction, but Vindicator reminds her that they have sworn to defend her, however when hundreds more of the Consortium’s fleet arrives, he seems regretful. The other Alphans, including Lil who has caught up with the alien who has the laser, are all just as astonished when they see the new fleets arriving. However, the tides are about to be turned by the arrival of the Mighty Avengers! Meanwhile, deep in space, the Qwrlln are still concerned by the arrival of Frankie Raye, the Herald of Galactus. Believing they have a plan, the Qwrlln teleport themselves, their planet and Frankie Raye with the hopes that Galactus will not be able to follow.

Full Summary: 

Department H: Status report. Entry Update. Heather Hudson - Guardian - recording. We’re not ready for this. The day began with a walk-through tour of out new headquarters here in Toronto. Other than Diamond Lil’s uncertainty over the possibility of a malignant tumor in her chest, things seemed more hopeful than they had in quite a while. Then we received word of an unidentified life form crashing into the Eaton Centre shopping mall. I assembled a strike force consisting of myself, Vindicator, Box and Northstar. We found a woman called Her. She was being chased by an alien business enterprise called the Consortium. We promised to protect Her. I think we might have made a mistake. End entry.

Downtown Toronto, Madison “Box” Jeffries asks if anyone would mind telling him who dropped a city over their city. James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator explains that it appears the alien fleet they were battling has called in some reinforcements. ‘I knew that, Vindicator, I was making a joke’ mutters Madison. Guardian tells Madison, her former lover, that they need more help here, and Jeffries reveals that he has already sent a signal out to Department H, a priority one red alert, to get everyone’s butts over here quick. ‘Is that official enough?’

Vindicator motions upwards, pointing out that the mother ship is launching a second wave of attack craft, admitting that he fears even the remainder of Alpha Flight might not be sufficient for their needs. As hundreds of space craft are launched from the mother ship, Box sarcastically asks Mac whatever gave him that idea. Suddenly, there is a large surge of power and the flying Alphans are tossed about slightly. Box exclaims that it came from behind them. ‘HER!’

The golden woman flies towards Alpha Flight, ‘I am prepared to join the battle!’ she exclaims. J’Ridia Starduster as she is also known as explains to Alpha Flight that she has regenerated sufficient amounts of cosmic energy to adequately defend herself. J’Ridia declares that it is her own freedom that it at stake, and she wishes no ill will towards others, so will fight on her own behalf. Vindicator reminds Her that they have pledged to support her cause, and explains that even against such overwhelming odds, Alpha Flight remains dedicated to the principle of assisting any innocents in need.

‘Let’s do it up right, then!’ declares Box as he engages the Consortium in battle. Vindicator points out that Box’s sheer strength, combined with the electromagnetic abilities he and Guardian possess should keep them safe until more help arrives. ‘What about me?’ asks the handsome Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier. As she engages the consortium, Heather tells Jean-Paul to use his speed and maneuverability to draw the ships closer to the rest of them.

Box tells his teammates to cover their ears, as he has just popped some cannons, so it is going to get nasty. Heather exclaims that they have civilian causalities below. Mac tells Northstar that as his powers are least efficient in this kind of fighting, to alert the authorities and tell them there are incoming wounded. Her realizes that innocent sentients are being harmed because of her, and wonders what would happen if she surrendered. But she decides that it unthinkable. Then she wonders what would happen if the earthlings decided that she was not worth fighting for if it means the destruction of their city….

Meanwhile, at Department H, the headquarters of Alpha Flight, Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski tells everyone to get a move on, as they are on a priority alert. ‘Where is everyone?’ Walt asks as he arrives in the hanger bay. Colin “Windshear” Hume and Eugene “Puck” Judd arrive soon after, but Sasquatch asks where everyone else is, as there is big trouble in little Toronto. ‘Aliens from another dimension?’ asks Windshear. ‘Yup’ replies Walt.

‘You’re joking! An alien invasion? In Toronto?’ asks Judd, before muttering that he really hates when this happens, before informing Walt that everyone else was in the diagnostic labs with Diamond Lil and Laura Dean. Walt tells Judd to use the intercom to get everyone over here. Judd pushes some buttons on a console, and asks Shaman to reply, informing him that they have a priority alert and that they need everyone - Alpha and Beta Flight - scrambled on the Flight Deck ASAP.

In Laura Dean’s ward, Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen replies that he copies and they are on their way. The inactive Alphan turns to the others in the room - Beta Flight members Kara “Persuasion” Kilgrave and Witchfire, and inactive Alphan Jeanne-Marie “Aurora” Beaubier - and informs them that there is an emergency, so as of now everyone is on active duty, including Beta Flight. ‘All right!’ exclaims the eager Kara.

Twoyoungmen turns to the parents of the unconscious Laura Dean, Darby and Susan, and points out that though their daughter has just regained consciousness from her catatonic state, she will remain slightly incoherent for the time being. Shaman explains that they should talk to Laura, soothe her, and she will regain coherent action in small increments. Darby replies that they understand and will stay with their daughter.

Lillian Crawley a.k.a. the sultry Diamond Lil points out that the alert is for everyone and asks if she is cleared for action too. Twoyoungmen reminds Lil that they will not know if the lump in her breast is cancerous until they can find a way to cut through her diamond hard skin, so yes, she is cleared for action. ‘That’s what I wanted to hear! Let’s kick butt!’ Lil exclaims. Suddenly, Laura Dean sits up in bed and screams ‘Nooooo! Goblyn! Have to save her!’ Kara, Laura’s best friend leaps to her feet, announcing the obvious, that Laura is awake, and suddenly, everyone except Diamond Lil disappears. ‘Uh-oh,’ mumbles Lil.

Meanwhile, far, far away, on the planet Quwrll. The alien beings known as the Qwrlln are monitoring a certain organism and tracking the target - until the target breaches their atmospheric scanners. Their target is Frankie Raye a.k.a. Nova, the Herald of Galactus. The destination of their target is confirmed, and acknowledged. The Qwrlln wonder if because Nova has arrived, the World-Devourer can be far behind.

Suddenly, the Qwrlln realize that Nova has discovered their probes, and Frankie Raye flies towards them. The Qwrlln decide that choice has been abdicated, so the final solution must be implemented. One of the Qwrlln wonder if strategy is wise at current juncture. Another of the Qwrlln reminds the others that their course has been prepared for millennia, their course is clear. The planetary safeguard is activated. Nova wonders what is going on, as a noise is heard, then pink light surrounds the planet, the Qwrlln and Nova - and as Frankie Raye mutters ‘Oh come on now - they’ve got to be joking!’ there is a blink, and everyone, including the planet, vanishes.

Back in Toronto, Sasquatch, Judd, Lillian and Windshear are traveling towards the battle, and Walt asks Lil if she is saying that they all disappeared. Lil replies that the little kid screamed out, then everyone disappeared. Judd suggests that it sounds like Laura Dean activated her mutant teleportation powers. Sasquatch wonders where Laura could have teleported them all to, to which Judd points out that they don’t know and right now cannot worry about it.

Looking down at the destruction, Windshear remarks that Judd isn’t joking, as downtown Toronto looks like a scene from a George Lucas movie. Windshear points out that his powers can do more in the battle than on the ground and flies off to do his part. Sasquatch boasts that he and Lil can take one or two ships down with them as they make a big jump out of the hovercraft. Judd asks his friend if he is sure about this, and leaping from the craft Walt replies that of course he is, as it makes it more fun. ‘See you on the ground, short stuff!’

Lil mumbles that she is an idiot for trying this stunt as she falls through the air with Sasquatch, who remarks that it is no problem - ‘cake walk time!’ he jokes as the super strong duo land on the top of one of the Consortium’s spaceships. Mac tells his teammates to be careful and suggests they try to ride the craft downwards. On the streets below, civilians start to panic and rush about for safety, and as the craft smashes to the ground, Lil and Sasquatch are tossed off it, and Walt mutters that this may not be as much fun as he thought it would be.

Windshear approaches Vindicator and asks him what he should do. Mac tells Colin to create a hard-air screen and use his turbos to angle it at 45 degrees to create a down-draft. Colin does as he is asked, admitting that he has never did anything on this scale before…but as dozens of the Consortium’s fleet crash into the wall of air and fall to the ground. As Windshear sees the destruction he caused, he realizes he killed all of the aliens in the crash, and thinks he is going to be sick.

Puck exclaims that this is like a Dali version of the Running of the Bulls and suggests that Northstar gets the injured into the metro. Jean-Paul replies that he will rescue the children first, while pointing out that he can only carry so many at a time. Judd calls to the crowds of civilians and urges them inside one of the buildings, telling them not to panic.

Jean-Paul motions to aliens who are now appearing on the ground and points out that these ground forces must be here to continue the carnage, before wondering how effective they are at hand to hand combat, and as he races over to them, he uses his super speed to punch them over and over again so that it feels like they are being punched by someone super strong.

Suddenly one of the Consortium aliens utters something in its own language and leaps at Northstar, and as Jean-Paul tosses the alien off, he realizes that it broke his arm. He sees that his hand is bloodied and decides that he deserves the same rights to protection as his opponents, so takes a forearm guard off one of the aliens. It fits well and he hopes that it will protect his arm during the remainder of this madness, wondering if it also contains some offensive capabilities.

Sasquatch has also engaged the Consortium ground force in combat and exclaims that this is getting way out of hand, that he hasn’t seen this many bodies beaten up since he played in the Raiders in 1977. Walt turns to Lillian and asks her how she is doing. As Lil tosses about some reptilian-like aliens she replies that she has been in worse barroom brawls and tells Sasquatch that as long as they keep an eye on each other’s backs they will be fine.

‘In that case - watch out behind you!’ exclaims Walt as he informs Lil that ‘Some alien midget has a laser!’ Diamond Lil replies that it is no problem and reminds Walt that nothing can get through her diamond-hard skin. But after the laser has been fired, Lillian Crawley knows better - and she runs away. Sasquatch doesn’t see Lil run and informs her that there are new troops coming in so it is time to kick into overdrive.

It is now that Walt sees Lil running away, and shouts after her, asking her where she is going. Overwhelmed by the various aliens of the Consortium, Sasquatch goes full force, smashing his way through them, when suddenly Northstar comes to his aid: ‘It would appear some assistance was required’ the handsome speedster remarks.

‘We’ll, I’m not complaining’ replies Walt as he kicks one of the aliens away. ‘Indeed’ replies Jean-Paul as he pounds another of the reptilian-like aliens. Walt asks his fellow founding Alphan if he has any idea as to what is going on here. Jean-Paul explains that these aliens are pursuing a woman Alpha Flight has sworn to protect, but he doesn’t know why the aliens want Her, nor why Alpha Flight are protecting Her. ‘Wonderful’ mutters Walt, before asking how long it is until they all get killed as he snaps the neck of one of the aliens. Jean-Paul replies that he prefers to think of it as “How long before we kill all of them”.

Meanwhile, in the air above, J’Ridia Starduster is doing her part in the battle, using her powers against the Consortium as Box throws his powerful robot body at various spacecraft. Suddenly, Guardian goes careening past Windshear, who sees that she was hit by laser fire. Hume manages to push his body past Heather’s so that he can catch her, as Vindicator also flies to his wife’s aid - only to be struck in mid-flight by a blast from the Consortium.

J’Ridia understands that Alpha Flight are sacrificing themselves to save her, and knows that it has to stop. Vindicator suddenly tears up one of the craft with a powerful blast, informing Her that he is okay, shaken up, but still able to fight. J’Ridia asks him how much longer it will be before they all fall, to which Mac replies that the point is moot, as the only recourse is to fight until one side is defeated.

Her suggests that she could surrender herself to the Consortium, but Mac replies that it is a consideration she should make for herself, and that he would not presume to make that decision for her. Dodging blasts from the Consortium, J’Ridia replies that she would not want to take such course of action, that she would prefer to fall in battle, to which Mac declares that her preference will soon be granted. J’Ridia begins to ask Vindicator what he means, when she looks upwards, and understands.

Down below, Jean-Paul announces that the ground troops are all taken care of, when Sasquatch tells him and Puck to get ready to start all over again. Nearby, a bruised Guardian realizes that Windshear took the brunt of her fall, and wonders what the strange noise is - until she looks up and sees for herself. ‘Geez’ mumbles Jeffries as he drags some alien behind him. Diamond Lil grabs the alien that shot her and exclaims ‘Finally!’ before she too sees what everyone else is looking at - hundreds more of the Consortium fleet hovering above, ready for attack.

Suddenly, one of the Consortium ships is struck by a mace, and a powerful voice remarks that a helping hand is sorely needed by his Northern comrades in arms. ‘Since that’s the case, Hercules, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!’ exclaims Quasar as he, Hercules, Captain America, Sersi, She-Hulk, Vision and Black Widow arrive to help Alpha Flight!

Characters Involved: 

Box IV, Diamond Lil, Guardian III, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Vindicator, Windshear (all Alpha Flight)

Aurora & Shaman (both Gamma Flight Support Staff)
Persuasion & Witchfire (both members of Beta Flight)
Laura Dean

Black Widow, Captain America, Hercules, Quasar, Sersi, She-Hulk, Vision II (all Avengers)

Darby & Susan Dean

Her / J’Ridia Starduster

Nova II / Frankie Raye

The Qwrlln

The Consortium including various aliens

Citizens of Toronto

Story Notes: 

Her crash landed in Toronto, believing it was New York, in Alpha Flight (1st series) #97.

Former Beta Flight member Laura Dean was injured in Alpha Flight (1st series) #87, and went into a coma. She regained consciousness in Alpha Flight (1st series) #97.

Laura’s comment about having to save Goblyn refers to Goblyn being attacked by Wildchild in Alpha Flight (1st series) #87, before Laura teleported her to safety, where she has been ever since.

Diamond Lil dons her fourth costume this issue, a less revealing outfit than the last.

George Lucas is of course the author and director of the Star Wars films.

This storyline is reprinted as the Alpha Flight Special (1st series) #1-4. This being the second issue.

This issue comes with a pin-up of Witchfire by Michael Bair.

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: