Alpha Flight (2nd series) #4

Issue Date: 
November 1997
Story Title: 
Mesmerized, part 1

Steve T. Seagle (Writer), Scott Clarke & Martin Egeland (Pencilers), Chris Carlson &b Howard M. Shum (Inkers), Lee Ann Garner (Colorist), Richard Starkings & Albert Deschesne (Letterers), Dan Hosek (Assistant Editor), Jaye Gardner (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Radius, Flex, Murmur and Sunfire discuss the strange man who keeps looking at them in the diner. The man then reveals himself as Mesmero and puts the heroes under his control. After arriving back at Department H, Heather, Guardian, Judd, Sasquatch and Manbot are then sent to track down the rookies once the Department has located the signal from the vehicle they took. While this is going on, Mesmero reveals why he isn’t dead after his incident with the Dark Riders in which he used his powers to make his killer, Gauntlet, believe he had killed him. He also informs the new members of Alpha Flight and Sunfire of his previous encounter with Alpha Flight from long ago. Mac and Heather arrive at the diner while the other three wait outside, and the leading Alphans soon discover that the rookies are under some sort of mind control. They call Puck, Manbot and Sasquatch in for help when the rookies start fighting them. However, Mesmero reveals himself and after Vindicator forces Murmur to free herself from Mesmero’s control, he then uses his powers on Vindicator. Murmur goes around freeing her teammates, while Mesmero takes control of Guardian, Sasquatch and Puck. Meanwhile, Lilli leaves Hull House, believing that she is being placed with a family. She is confused when she learns she is going to one day be part of Alpha Flight, and is taken to Department H, where she undergoes various tests, and after learning she cannot call her friend back at Hull House, resigns herself to her new fate, for now. In Department H’s Beta Flight wing, two Epsilons discuss their new uniforms, only to be startled by a movement in one of the tanks. Elsewhere in Department H, in the mysterious Prometheus Division, Myra Haddock is thrilled when her Prometheus Pit is completed, believing it will usher in a new era of greatness.

Full Summary: 

What are you thinking right now?

Mesmero is thinking about choosing his moment. He has always been a second-rate villain, and even worse - he has always known it. It’s not that he doesn’t have the power, or the right opportunities, he did. He just never had the right plan, and that is why he has always failed. But this night, in this small restaurant just outside of Montreal, fate has smiled upon him and given him a new opportunity. So he sits, waiting, planning, listening and thinking….

‘…more…water…?’ asks a mesmerized waitress asks the four colorfully dressed people sitting at one table, however she pours the water, going relatively ignored. The handsome Jared Corbo a.k.a. Radius, one of Canada’s newest members of Alpha Flight, asks the Japanese mutant Sunfire otherwise known as Shiro Yashida, if he is from Japan. Shiro replies that he is, to which Jared asks him why he left there to come to Department H, ‘Trouble with the law? Or was there some angry geisha girl back home you had to get away from?’

Jared’s younger half-brother Adrian a.k.a. Flex tells his brother that he cannot ask questions like that, ‘You don’t even know him yet!’ he points out. Jared flicks one of his French fries across the table at his brother, telling him to shut up and pointing out that asking his how you get to known somebody. ‘Cut it out!’ Adrian whines. The attractive Arlette Truffaut, also known as Murmur, informs Jared that she wants to know something of him, and asks why he always calls his brother by his codename, even when they are not in a combat situation.

Jared reveals that “Flex” was his name even before those “Frankenstein Doctors” at Hull House found out that he could flex. He announces that his brother was the scrawniest kid at the orphanage and one day during physical training, Jared told him to flex for everyone and show off his muscles, and that night at dinner, Ethan called him “Flex” and that’s who he has been known as ever since. Jared points out that Arlette lived at Hull House and remarks that he is surprised she didn’t know.

Diva-like, Arlette reminds Jared that he is younger than her so she never spoke to him then, before motioning to his dinner and remarking that he has barely touched it. Jared explains that he can’t eat it because he left his stupid eating filter back at the Department, and there is no way he can shove the burger through his force field without the filter. ‘I’d like to see you try,’ remarks Adrian. Sunfire remarks that blood is the only bond there is, yet the two of them defy it, and warns them that they may one day regret their words.

Flex complains that Jared started it, before informing everyone that the “weird guy” is staring at them again. Everyone turns to the counter where the green-skinned Mesmero is seated, ‘Right here…right on the front page…’ he mutters, before Arlette remarks that he is staring at them, and suggests that perhaps they should have not worn their costumes out in public. Jared asks them what they are so worried about, and points out that the “weird guy” is wearing clothing more outrageous than their own, before telling Arlette that she is so self-conscious.

Sunfire however agrees with Arlette and remarks that there is something about the green-skinned stranger that is dangerous. Flex exclaims that they should just leave already, as they are already going to get in trouble for stealing that car they used to get here. ‘You’re all a bunch of panic cases! That guy’s a total freak!’ Jared exclaims, before suggesting that this guy is probably one of those lame club kids that dress up like idiots so people will notice them at discos. ‘The oldest one on Earth at that!’ Radius then reminds everyone that they are Alpha Flight and are government operatives. ‘I say we exercise a little authority and just ask him what his problem is!’

Murmur smiles and excuses herself, before asking the “weird guy” if there is a reason he is looking at them. ‘Nnnooo…but now that you have looked at me…let me welcome you once more to my restaurant, and state what an “honor” it is to be noticed by the children of Alpha Flight’ Mesmero exclaims as he gets up and walks over to their table. ‘You know who we are?’ asks Arlette, surprised. Mesmero replies of course, and points out that the costumes were a little clue, and adds that they were in the papers. ‘Don’t you read?’

‘Fine, you know us, so who are you? You said you own this dump!’ Radius exclaims, to which Mesmero reaches across the table and grabs Jared by the collar, pulling him towards him, ‘I do if I say I do!’ he exclaims, before revealing that he is called Mesmero. ‘Pleasure to make your head-butt, butt-head!’ Jared exclaims as he smacks his head into Mesmero’s, causing the villain to fall to the ground. Jared looms over Mesmero and asks him what his problem is, ‘You some kind of super-villain?’

‘I am the only kind’ Mesmero replies, before revealing that he has been sitting in this restaurant for weeks and thinking, ‘and…well, eating’, and it suddenly came clear to him what he must do - ‘As simple as one, two - ‘ ‘THREE!’ declares Radius as he punches Mesmero across the face, announcing that once Mesmero identified himself as a villain, that gave him the jurisdiction he needed to mop the floor with him.

Before Radius can do anything else to Mesmero, Sunfire grabs him and tells him to stop and think for a minute. Radius is thinking though - thinking perhaps that a hero is someone who can take down someone else. Or perhaps that he only feels like he has worth when he battles someone else and imposes his will. Or, maybe he is thinking that since his force field always keeps him at least a millimeter away from the world, that he will show the world he can still affect it. Why? Perhaps because he is frightened by people who get close to him.

‘Leave me alone!’ Radius tells Sunfire, as Mesmero exclaims ’Boy! Look into my eyes!’ ’Sorry, I don’t go that way, greenie. I know I am cute, but you’ll have to get over…over…’. Radius says, before going silent and motionless. Mesmero remarks that Radius is not so bold and brazen now, before revealing that he has learned some interesting things about his powers lately, namely that he can ‘Sleep!’ exclaims Murmur as she comes up behind Mesmero and places a hand on his face.

‘Who -? Oh! Two!’ Mesmero exclaims as he turns to look at Murmur, telling her that he did enjoy her charming presence in his mind, but that before she tries her little parlor tricks on a fellow mental manipulator again, she should make sure hers is the stronger mind. Flex rushes over, calling to his teammates, and asking Mesmero what he did to them. Sunfire urges Flex to stay away from him, before announcing that everyone in this diner is unaware of what is happening, all the patrons are just continuing with their meals. Shiro exclaims that they must all be under Mesmero’s control, as if they have been… ‘Mesmerized? Three!’ exclaims Mesmero as he takes command of Flex.

In a burst of flame, Sunfire flies towards Mesmero and tells him to release them, remarking that he may have been able to easily ensnare children who have been pushed into the role of savior for their country, but that he will find Sunfire has many more years of experience, adding that he is not afraid to demonstrate that experience to those deserving of his might. Sunfire forces Mesmero over to a mirror and holding him in front of it, asks him if these people are under his control. ‘Of course! It’s all part of my master plan!’ Mesmero exclaims, to which Sunfire orders him to release them, when suddenly, ‘Made you look!’ Mesmero exclaims as he takes control of the fourth super being. Grinning, Mesmero mutters that he supposes their can be four, although it is not quite as punchy as one-two-three, but he is nothing, if not flexible.

A little over an hour away, in a conference room sequestered within Department H headquarters. ‘Don’t tell me to be flexible!’ shouts James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian, telling General Jeremy Clarke that Alpha Flight is his responsibility, that they left the rookies behind to go and investigate some strange goings-on in Orloo because the Department feared they might not be ready for more assignments, and the Department doesn’t even watch over them. James Hudson is currently thinking about the fact that since his rejuvenation, his regression to the youthful age of nineteen and subsequent reinstatement as team leader of Alpha Flight, he has had little to define himself as a person, save his responsibilities. Responsibilities that only now are beginning to seem impractical.

Mac stands alongside Eugene “Puck” Judd, and his estranged wife Heather McNeil Hudson, a.k.a. Vindicator and long-time leader of Alpha Flight until its demise several months ago, who after Clarke claims that he has no idea when the rookies left or where they went, says ‘I doubt that,’ and declares that this building is bugged and monitored like the Watergate hotel, before saying that assuming the kids did sneak away, then what?

Elsewhere in Department H, in the monitoring station, one of the staff watching the conversation asks a colleague if they think Vindicator knows about them. ‘Nah, it’s just sarcasm. She’s been uppity ever since she came back,’ he replies.

Arms folded across her chest, Heather asks Clarke if it has occurred to him that the rookies are too young for Alpha Flight and points out that she and the others are all of age and seasoned veterans - ‘Well, all of us except Mac’. This annoys Mac, who exclaims that he is as trained as she is and that his memories of all of Alpha Flight’s past missions were recreated - ‘That is classified information, Mr. Hudson!’ Clarke shouts as he walks away, informing the heroes that as for the novices, he will contact them when they have been located.

What do you think lies beyond these doors labeled Beta Flight Wing: Restricted Access Government Priority Only. At one time, Beta Flight was the program one step below Alpha - the training ground for heroes on the cusp. Do you think that’s still the case - and if so, why do you think the guards who stand just inside this lab look as if they are here to keep someone out? Or worse, keep someone…in? ‘You know you aren’t allowed to smoke in here, Anthony,’ one of the red-clad Department H Epsilons tells his colleague. ‘Yeah’ Anthony replies, pointing out that he also knows nobody else on the graveyard shift has got the clearance to come in here and check up on him.

The first Epsilon asks Anthony if he ever wonders why out of all the Epsilons, the two of them were picked. Anthony replies that he never tries to figure it out the Department, he just does his job, take his check home and that’s that. ‘Yeah…’ begins the first, until Anthony exclaims that with all the liberals that got in the last election, they will be lucky if there is a Department H to work for much longer. ‘Aw, don’t go bumming me out with that kind of talk. Me and Lucy just made an offer on a house!’ the first Epsilon exclaims.

Cigarette still hanging out of his mouth, Anthony apologizes, before pointing out that if it ain’t one thing, it’s another. ‘Tell me about it!’ the first exclaims, before asking Anthony if he also hates the new uniforms, as the padding they added to the crotch is always riding up and - ‘I never complain about crotch padding, I figure -’ before Anthony can continue, there is a loud “slosh” sound, and both Epsilons turn to the large tanks in the lab, ‘What was that?’ Anthony replies that he doesn’t know, but that they better go have a look. As they approach the consoles and tanks, Anthony announces that it is no big deal, one of them just moved again. He adds that he hates it when they do that, for it makes him think they’re alive, that the might be dreaming or something. Now that’s some food for thought.

Back in Montreal, Mesmero stands in front of his four “subjects” and tells them that he knows what they are all thinking - ‘Whatever I tell you to,’ he jokes, before exclaiming ‘And right now, that would be “How oh how did you, Mesmero, ever manage to escape your last encounter with our beloved Alpha Flight - let alone your death plunge at the hands of the fearsome Dark Riders?” Well, let me tell you how…’ he begins.

(Told with flashback images)

Mesmero claims that he was minding his own business running a small plan in Vancouver, when suddenly he was besieged by Sentinels. ‘Your better known brethren - Guardian, Northstar, Vindicator, Puck and the charming Purple Girl, arrived, I thought, to help’. ‘Imagine my horror when, after defeating the Sentinels single-handedly and rescuing Alpha Flight, they turned on me and allowed the authorities to cart me away like a common criminal! I am far from common!’

Mesmero continues, exclaiming that no sooner did he free himself from that deleterious position and try to establish a clean start in Seattle - ‘love the city, hate the rain’ - than those overbearing Dark Riders showed up and - ‘And…chocolate mint milk shake!’ he remarks to the waitress, getting side tracked from his story for a moment as she brings him the wrong drink. ‘Who were the Dark Riders?’ Mesmero asks rhetorically, ‘Frankly, a bunch of dreadful cretins with silly names’. He admits that “Mesmero” is a bit florid, but nevertheless it still has a certain devilish flare, adding that he was christened back when being a villain was more than just a job.

‘Anyhow, there I was, banging my fingertips over the edge of my apartment’s balcony, when this Gauntlet character - clearly having taken his name from too many viewings of that middling Clint Eastwood film - proclaimed that I, as the most powerful mutant on Earth, was a threat that had to be eliminated’. A moment later, Mesmero was shot, sent plummeting to his death - or so Gauntlet thought, because in the moment before he fired, Mesmero reached out and took his mind, took it and told him to fire past him, that he had killed him and told him to take his dreary little friends and leave, which is what Gauntlet did.


Mesmero boasts that he kept concentrating and was able to hold on to the mind of that stupid man, keeping him for months, making him step in front of oncoming traffic, buy shoes he didn’t need and making him eat until he gained fifty pounds. ‘I only let him go when I got bored’. Mesmero declares that the point of this story is that he has realized he is like a virus - once he is in a mind, he can just stay there until he cures himself, which has changed his whole outlook on life. ‘But more of that later. For now, let’s get started with you, my darling new children - there is much to do before morning!’

Elsewhere…what do you think of this house? If you think it looks like a normal residence, then you are wrong. Because it isn’t. It is Hull House, an orphanage dead in the center of the often troubled city of Orloo. It is a long-standing residence for wayward children with unclear ties to Department H and home to something called “The Legacy Program”. There is some sort of celebration going on at Hull House today, a goodbye party to one of the soon to be former residents. A man informs the orphanage headmistress Beatrice de la Salle that they should collect Lilli’s things and get on the road.

‘Of course,’ replies Beatrice, mentioning to Lilli that she has a long drive ahead and a new family to settle in to, asking her if she is excited. ‘I guess so’ Lilli replies. ‘Yes, well…’ remarks Miss de la Salle, before informing Lilli that she wants to make an announcement first and then she can be off to her new life. The large woman takes the podium and addresses the other orphanage children, telling them that the time has come to say farewell to Lilli, who has had the wonderful fortune of finding loving parents to adopt her.

Beatrice tells the children that she thinks of each of them as a precious seed and that they day has come for one of the sprouted seeds to be harvested. Beatrice declares that they should not be sad to bid Lilli adieu, as here is the good fortune that awaits most of them someday. Lilli and her friend Claire, hug, with Claire exclaiming that she cannot believe Lilli is leaving, and asking her not to forget her, Lilli replies that she won’t and that she will write letters and even call if she is allowed. Claire points out that her new mother and father look nice, and that she is sure she will be happy. ‘Maybe I can convince them I need a sister?’ Lilli exclaims.

Claire sniffles as she exclaims that would be nice, before bidding Lilli goodbye. ‘Only for now, Claire, I promise’ Lilli assures her friend, before Beatrice de la Salle leads her over to where a black car is waiting. Beatrice tells Lilli to remember that there are things in life they must do to make the world better, and informs her that she can come back here if things don’t work out, but that they wouldn’t want that to happen because it would mean she has failed. ‘Do you understand?’ Lilli replies that she does. ‘Good, now do as your told and you shouldn’t have any problems’ Beatrice tells her as the door to the car opens.

‘Ah, Lilli, please…hop in!’ exclaims someone from inside the car. ‘Who…who are you?’ Lilli asks slightly confused. As the door closes behind her, Lilli asks where is Mr. And Mrs. Smith - ‘I mean my parents?’ The gangly man sitting in the back seat of the car beside Lilli informs her that she wasn’t adopted by “the Smiths”, but that she was adopted by her country. Lilli asks him who he is, and he introduces himself as Mr. Proctor. ‘But you can call me “Coordinator”, that’s what I do, I coordinate’ he informs her.
Proctor informs Lilli that they know what she can do and that they are very excited about. ‘What…what about my parents? I thought…’ Lilli begins, until Proctor cuts her off, informing her that her abilities are about to allow her to become part of Alpha Flight, Canada’s highest most special honor. ‘That means you will soon be a national celebrity, like Wayne Gretzky, or Elvis Stojuko, what do you think about that?’

As Lilli arrives sometime later at the Department H building, she comes to realize that what she thinks doesn’t really matter. This is what will be, and she’d better just accept it. That is one of the core teachings of Hull House, after all. And so she accepts the strangely hypnotic films she is shown, and the “energy building” drinks she is fed - even being measured for a costume tailor-made to her specifications. She even accepts the slight pain of having an identification code tattooed on her lower back.

However, Lilli says nothing about her memories of her grandfather branding cattle, years before she was taken to the orphanage after his death. But that is what she is thinking about when Coordinator Proctor returns to her at the end of the day. ‘You see? Not so bad at all, was it?’ he asks, to which Lilli mumbles that it was okay she supposes, before asking if she can call her friend Claire at Hull House. But Proctor informs her that Hull House is her past and that she should start settling into her future. Don’t you think?

Shortly, Heather, Guardian, Judd, Sasquatch and Manbot have set down at the location where Department H triangulated the stolen vehicle. Guardian tells Judd to wait at the Alpha Jet with Manbot and keep Sasquatch under control, and they will radio back if they need help. Judd remarks that this is probably just kids blowing off steam, so they will be ready, but not expecting. Heather and Mac are wearing long overcoats to hide their costumes and Heather motions to a restaurant up head, wondering why the kids would come all the way to Montreal in the middle of the night and just stay here.

Mac replies that all they know is that the car is here, and that the kids may be long gone. He tells Heather that they are probably just showing their independence, reminding Heather that she was young once. ‘Excuse me?’ Heather exclaims. ‘Uh…I didn’t mean it like that,’ Mac replies, before suggesting they go into the diner and take a look.

As they enter the diner, Heather and Guardian are greeted by Murmur. ‘Allo and welcome to Food for Thought. Two for lunch?’ she asks with her thick French-Canadian accent. ‘Sure, by the window if we could,’ Heather replies. Murmur leads them to a seat, ‘A lovely seat for a mother and her son, no?’ she asks. ‘He’s my husband you -’ Heather begins to say, when Mac cuts her off, telling Murmur that the seat is fine. Murmur notices that the table is messy and tells them that she will go and get someone to clean it.

Heather watches Murmur leave as Mac leans over the table and tells her that he is sorry to cut her off like that, but since they have no idea what is going on he thinks they should keep a low profile until they have figured out what the situation is. Heather tells Mac that he is right, but that she thought Arlette was trying to provoke her. Mac replies that she might have been, but points out that Arlette is obviously not herself, as she acted like she had no idea who they were.

Heather agrees that something strange is going on, but points out that Arlette might just be playing at something, for other than her, this place is normal enough, there are customers eating and no one seems out of place. Suddenly, Radius appears at their table, ‘She said your table’s dirty?’ he asks, to which Heather replies that it is. Jared places a hand on the table, and exclaims that he can handle it. He then uses his force field to push all the crumbs away. ‘As good as new,’ he remarks, smiling at Heather, and calling her pretty, he asks if she would like to start with a salad. Wide-eyed, Heather replies that it will be fine.

‘Pip-squeak! Salad! And make it a good one!’ Jared shouts into the kitchen, where Adrian is using his own metal limbs to cut up some vegetables and declaring that he is working as fast as he can. Mac points out that three of them are accounted for, but getting up, Heather replies that only physically, not mentally, and whispers that she is going to feign a bathroom visit and see if she can find the Japanese man that Clarke showed them photos of.

What is Heather Hudson thinking right now? ‘What in the world is this?’ is what she thinks to herself as she glances into the kitchen. But is she still mulling over her spellbound teammates reference to Mac as her son? Or has she finally been pushed past that by the sight of her fourth quarry in a role completely beyond anything that she can understand. ‘Two burgers! Pick up,’ shouts Sunfire from the kitchen where he is using his powers to heat up some meat.

Heather rushes back to Mac, ditching her jacket on the way as she tells him to signal the others as something is very wrong here, though she doesn’t notice the man come up behind her, ‘Well…who do we have here?’ he thinks to himself. Guardian radios to Puck and Manbot, telling them that they have confirmed their targets, but that something is up - they aren’t themselves. Silently, James Hudson thinks to himself ‘I know how they feel’. ‘Oh, no you don’t! exclaims Mesmero as he orders Radius to go and take care of Guardian. Mac tells Heather they should try and get the kids out of here and see if the effect wears off, but Radius throws a table at him, telling him that they aren’t going anywhere.

You would think Alphans fighting Alphans would have Department H buzzing, wouldn’t you? But in fact, here in one of the most remote corridors, things look calm…resolute. It is the one lab in Department H where the lights never go out, where work on the world’s most interesting “appropriated technologies never ceases. This is the Prometheus Division…would you like to see inside?

Several staff are sitting around a table having a meeting in which they are discussing recent acquisitions. Someone reveals that they have purchased a sound-hammer wrist attachment that once belonged to the super-villain known as Klaw. Another announces that a recent model LMD of Nick Fury was covertly appropriated during S.H.I.E.L.D field operation, and that a sample of Spider-Man’s webbing was bought, but unfortunately proved to be fake.

A short-haired woman sitting at the head of the table tells someone to have Dr. Su take a look at the LMD immediately, and is about to say something else when someone else comes running over to her, announcing that they finally got “it” running. Dr. Myra Haddock excuses herself and walks into the lab area, telling Larry that he better not be exaggerating again, for he is beginning to sound like the boy who cried wolf about this project. Larry exclaims that it is no exaggeration and motions to the gaping device in the floor, telling her that she can see for herself. Myra exclaims that it is beautiful and congratulates Larry for making her a happy project director.

Myra smirks as she reveals this piece was her first acquisition for the division, and a fitting one given their name, actually. And after so many years, it will finally be hers to control - the Prometheus Pit will breathe fire once more! She declares that it will mean new life and new power for the division, that this is a breakthrough day, and suddenly, the world looks very real to the eyes of Myra Haddock.

But have you ever thought how the world must look though the eyes of a crazed man like Mesmero? Do you think he sees it as you see it? Or do you think it appears more as a cartoon to him. A madcap caricature of the world everyone else knows to be real. As the four brainwashed super beings rush towards Heather and Mac, Heather is surprised that they are attacking, while Mac tells Radius to stop, that he must know who they are. ‘Sure do - you’re the enemy!’ Radius exclaims as he punches Mac into the cash register.

Heather moves out of the way just as Flex lunges at her with his hand transformed into a knife. ‘What are you doing?’ Heather exclaims, to which the mesmerized Adrian replies ‘I have to cut you,’ but Adrian finds his body stuck into the table, as he cannot pull the knife out. ‘More…soup…’ says one of the patrons sitting at the table. Heather unleashes a blast of geothermal steam and tells Flex that he has to stop what he is doing before he hurts someone.

Suddenly, a whir and a click sounds the arrival of Manbot as he announces ‘Battle is enjoined’. ‘You got a flair for the obvious’ Judd tells the red robot-man before he asks Mac what is going on. Mac replies that the novices are not acting like themselves, to which Judd asks if that is a bad thing. Mac exclaims that they must subdue them before they hurt themselves, when Sasquatch growls and lunges forward, smacking Radius across the room and into a wall. ‘…more…coffee?’ asks a mesmerized waitress as Mac exclaims ‘Subdue, Sasquatch! Not kill!’

Unbeknownst to everyone present, Manbot is keeping a very close eye on the scenario that is set before him. Suddenly Sunfire unleashes a burst of flame at Judd, who remarks that they haven’t met yet. Judd supposes that he is Shiro, the one that General Clarke told them to keep an eye out for. Heather informs her coherent teammates that the civilians in the room don’t even seem to notice them, like they are in a trance. She thinks to herself that this reminds her of something but that she cannot quite remember what, before telling her teammates to keep the civilians out of harms way at all cost.

Mac agrees, and as he lets loose a mighty blast of electromagnetic energy, he tells Sunfire to get a grip of himself, as Alpha Flight isn’t in the business of harming innocent bystanders. Suddenly, Sasquatch whacks Mac in the face, sending him to the ground, so Judd climbs up on his friend, and addressing him as Walter tells him that he has to stop beating up on the good guys. As Sasquatch moves his uber-sharp teeth towards a frightened Radius, Judd remarks that someone should try to get Murmur out from under the spell she is in so she can control their friendly “Bigfoot”.

Heather declares that she will handle it, and as Arlette lunges at Heather screaming ‘Die!’ Heather grabs her and holds her from behind, brining Murmur’s hand up to her own face and telling her that she doesn’t know what they taught her in Department H, but that she can never use her power that way. Heather points out that if Murmur wasn’t so obviously under some kind of control she would…her voice trails off, ‘Forget it’ she exclaims, before remarking that it is time to see how Murmur’s power works on herself. ‘N-no!’ exclaims Arlette, but tells Arlette to say “Remember” right now, or else she will get a load of lava in her pretty face that she worries about so much. Wide-eyed, Arlette exclaims ‘R…remember!’

Murmur grabs her head and wearily, asks what happened. Heather apologizes for being so cruel, and explains that someone was controlling her. Heather tells Murmur that she is free now and that she wants her to go around and free the other novices using the same word suggestion on them. Heather declares that she is going to scout around as she thinks she remembers who has this kind of ability. ‘You mean…ME?!’ exclaims Mesmero as he reveals himself to Heather. ‘Mesmero!’ Heather exclaims, as he welcomes her to his world, ‘Five!’

Judd is taking hold of Adrian and telling him that he isn’t going to flex those hands at him and suggests he stop struggling. ‘I have to hurt you!’ Adrian exclaims when suddenly Arlette asks Judd to spin around, and touching the young Alphan on the cheek, Arlette tells him to “remember”. As Flex begins to relax, Judd congratulates Murmur.

Nearby, Heather unleashes a blast of lava at Guardian, ‘You must die…again!’ she exclaims as Mac dodges the flow of lava, asking Heather what has come over her. Mesmero leans down over Guardian, ;Oh, she’s suffering from a slight case of me!’ he exclaims, before welcoming Mac to the plague as his number six victim.

Suddenly, Judd rushes towards Mesmero, exclaiming that he remembers him, while the still-controlled Sunfire unleashes a solar blast at Murmur, realizing that she has change. Mesmero smiles as he remarks that he remembers Judd and takes control of him as number seven. Murmur tells Sunfire that she has changed and so must he, touching him on the cheek as she tells him to remember. ‘Hey, ugly!’ Mesmero shouts at Sasquatch, who, slightly confused, looks at Mesmero and suddenly becomes victim number eight.

‘Kill you, you little pest!’ Radius shouts to his brother, while Flex calls to Murmur for help. ‘Nine!’ Mesmero shouts as he tries to take control of Manbot, but it doesn’t work, as Manbot orders Mesmero to surrender. Mesmero is surprised at Manbot and wonders how he can resist him, while Murmur comes up behind Radius and tells him to remember. Manbot declares that his surrender order has been ignored and initiates the compliance phase by blasting Mesmero with some weapons.

Mesmero narrows his eyes as he remarks that he might not be able to take over the robot-man, and perhaps he has lost control over some of his new Mesmero youth, but that it hardly matters given the better recruits he has gathered! ‘Alpha Flight! Eliminate those pretenders!’ Mesmero orders Guardian, Heather, Judd and Sasquatch. ‘Yes…Lord…Mesmero’ comes the reply from the trance-like Alphans.

Characters Involved: 

Flex II, Guardian IV, Manbot, Murmur III, Puck, Radius, Sasquatch II, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)



General Clarke

Coordinator Proctor

Miss Beatrice de la Salle

Dr. Myra Haddock


Anthony, Larry and other Department H staff

Unknown persons in Beta Flight wing

Claire and other Hull House Orphans

Diner Staff and patrons

In Flashback images:

Aurora, Northstar, Puck, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Purple Girl (member of Beta Flight)


The Dark Riders

Story Notes: 

Radius, Murmur, Flex and Sunfire left Department H by means of a stolen vehicle in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #3.

The senior members of Alpha Flight were called back from their mission in Orloo after being informed that the rookies were missing. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #3]

Alpha Flight have had issues with being bugged by the Department in the past too, for when the government agreed to fund Alpha Flight again way back in Alpha Flight (1st series) #29 and set them up in their new headquarters on Tamarind Island, the mansion was fitted with many devices that Gary Cody could watch and listen to Alpha Flight from, until Heather severed their ties soon after. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #39]

This current Department H headquarters made its spectacular debut following the Canadian government and Alpha Flight agreeing to work with each other once more in Alpha Flight (1st series) #90. However there was never any indication that Alpha Flight were being monitored during that time.

A Brief History of Beta Flight: The original Beta Flight was the second stage in a three-tier training system within Department H and consisted of Puck, Flashback, Marrina and Box I before it was disbanded off-panel in Alpha Flight (1st series) #1. Beta Flight II came to be when Alpha Flight began looking after the Purple Girl in Alpha Flight (1st series) #42, and was later joined by Manikin, Laura Dean and Goblyn. When Department H was started up once more following the Sorcerer Affair, Beta Flight III was put in place as an official training team [Alpha Flight (1st series) #90], with Purple Girl (now Persuasion), Manikin, Laura Dean (now Pathway), Goblyn, and Witchfire. Talisman II was placed in the team after sustaining serious injuries, and towards the end of the original Alpha Flight series, Feedback hung out with them, though not as an official member. Both Shaman and Windshear served as mentors. Windshear at one time grounded the Betans and addressed them as Gamma Flight (IV) making them a reserve team. The Beta Flight Wing seen in this issue (Beta Flight IV) is rather mysterious, but three young people are involved in it, Ghost Girl II, Ouija and Flinch, the latter two were only seen in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #14. The final installation of Beta Flight (V) was put in place when the originals returned to the team at the end of this series and consisted of Guardian IV (the clone), Radius, Murmur III, Flex II, Ghost Girl II and Manbot. [Wolverine (2nd series) #142]. The group is now disbanded.

Mesmero first appeared way back in X-Men (1st series) #49. He later goes on to be a member of the third Weapon X program, alongside Alphans Aurora, Wild Child and Madison Jeffries.

Mesmero first fought Alpha Flight in Alpha Flight (1st series) #43. However, his story about defeating the Sentinels single-handedly is nothing more than an ego-booster for himself, as he did not defeat the Sentinels. Nor was Guardian present, as he was dead, however Aurora and Madison Jeffries were. It is unclear whether this error is just part of Mesmero’s story, or writer Steve T. Seagle was unaware of who was present.

The Dark Riders are some loser mutants who followed Apocalypse around testing other mutants to see if they are fit enough for survival. Mesmero’s test came in X-Men (2nd series) #21, where he was shot, but survived as seen in the Flashback sequence this issue.

One of the unresolved plots from Alpha Flight (2nd series) is Hull House and its mysterious connection to Department H. It is unknown exactly what the Legacy Program is, however at least four people - Radius, Flex, Murmur and Ghost Girl - are all referred to as “Legacies”. This may or may not have something to do with their powers, though they are considered mutants.

Lilli, who will go on to be known Ghost Girl (II), first appeared in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #2. Her last name is unknown.

The costume which can be sort-of seen on Ghost Girl this issue appears to be some basic red and white outfit. She doesn’t wear it again, but later in the series gets a funky white and pink costume complete with a cape.

First appearance of Dr. Myra Haddock, who has been previously mentioned in the series, but not yet shown, until this issue.

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