Alpha Flight (2nd series) #9

Issue Date: 
April 1998
Story Title: 
North & South

Steve T. Seagle (Writer), Roger Cruz (Penciler), Chris Carlson (Inker), Lee Ann Garner (Colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft‘s ST (Letterers), Don Hosek (Assistant Editor), Jaye Gardner (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

After dealing with Lilli who once more exclaims that she wants to leave Department H and go back to Hull House, General Clarke settles into watching Alpha Flight, via Manbot’s recording which is transmitted back to Department H, as they track down Wolverine for his stolen adamantium and murder of Madison Jeffries. Alpha Flight discover Wolverine riding a motorcycle, with someone wrapped in a sack on the back. The heroes confront him without force, suggesting that he come with them. The unfanciful method causes friction within Alpha Flight, particularly Guardian and Radius who have opposing views on how to deal with Wolverine. After Wolverine thanks his former teammates for letting him know in person that they are back in business, he leaves. Guardian follows him by air, while the others take the Alpha Jet. A tussle follows between Wolverine and Guardian until Alpha Flight catch up and out number Wolverine. While Murmur and Sasquatch deal with the “runaway sack”, the others take on Wolverine, until Rogue shows up, only to disappear a moment later leaving to go get help. As the battle continues, Heather realizes that Wolverine’s claws are no longer adamantium, which is supposedly how they were tracking him, therefore Department H was lying to them. Rogue soon returns with Storm, Cannonball and Maggott, and the two teams battle each other, with Storm pointing out that it is if their old friends have been brainwashed. Flex and Cannonball however do not battle, instead they talk, and discuss the situation, which leads to the revelation that Wolverine couldn’t have murdered Madison Jeffries because Logan was imprisoned with the X-Men in Boston’s jail at that time. The battle ends, Heather apologizes to Wolverine, who offers to come and help if she finds something she cannot handle alone at Department H. Alpha Flight take off, returning to Department H, leaving a furious Clarke very unimpressed. Meanwhile, Sunfire phones his native Japan to inform them that he is dying of radiation poisoning.

Full Summary: 

How much farther can this really go?

That’s the question hanging over General Clarke’s head at the moment as he stands in the Communications Center of Department H after having sent his elite national super heroes, Alpha Flight, on a fool’s errand - to capture and return the super hero formerly known as Weapon X, now Wolverine of the X-Men, to the Canadian agency that created him. And Clarke wonders to himself “When will the other shoe drop?” because he knows it must.

A blonde woman approaches Clarke and asks him if he would like his messages now, but Clarke tells her to hold them, before calling out to a man named Warwick and telling him to patch through to Manbot’s main ocular cameras. Warwick informs Clarke that what Manbot is seeing is on screen now.

‘Anything more Vindicator?’ is what Clarke first hears from Canada’s premiere super heroes as they fly towards their target in a state-of-the-art aircraft. Vindicator a.k.a. Heather McNeil Hudson replies to her estranged husband’s question by informing him that her monitor still only has the residual trace, so she figures they should stay on the same course. ‘And what would that be, eh?’ asks Eugene “Puck” Judd. ‘A big fat collision course with the U.S. government for violating their airspace!’ he exclaims.

Rookie Alphan, handsome Jared “Radius” Corbo, remarks that the big question is how they are even going to find Weapon X, as it’s like a needle in a haystack. Heather tells Judd that there is no need to worry about U.S. reconnaissance, as the Alpha Jet brought them in well below radar detection. Judd mutters that all they have to do now is make sure no one sees of hears their teeny little jet craft. Heather’s estranged husband, James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian pilots the jet and tells Judd that they will manage, and in reply to Radius’ question, he explains that the radar Heather is monitoring was created by Department H to scan specifically for the presence of adamantium, the metal that laces Wolverine’s skeleton.

Mac tries to make a joke by exclaiming that it is going to be more like finding a needle in a pin cushion. Heather turns to Mac and informs him that they have a hard-target twenty eight degrees South-Southwest, adding that it has to be Wolverine. Heather announces that Wolverine is moving at a high velocity, meaning he is in some kind of vehicle, however he is not on a main thoroughfare. Guardian declares that it is good, as it means they should be able to keep this covert. He tells everyone to strap in, as he is laying in an intercept course.

As the Alpha Jet descends towards its target, Guardian tells his team to get themselves mentally ready for anything, because their real concern is Weapon X himself. Mac points out that Logan may be an old friend, and a former teammate, his transformation into a hardened criminal means all bets are off. Mac reminds his teammates that Logan murdered Madison Jeffries in cold blood, and suggests that he won’t hesitate to do the same to any of them. Peering out of the windscreen, Mac announces that he has established a visual link and informs everyone that Weapon X is on a motorcycle, before taking the Alpha Jet down for a closer look.

Sensing the approaching jet, Wolverine turns his head and sees the Alpha Jet descend nearby. Mac declares that it is Wolverine all right, and informs everyone that there is someone else on the bike with him, wrapped in a sack and chains, it is perhaps a prisoner, or maybe a body he is trying to dispose of. Guardian begins to set the jet down, and orders everyone to be ready for immediate extrusion.

As he watches the events transpire through Manbot’s cameras, one cannot quite tell if General Clarke is excited or scared. Is there even a difference between the two sensations? The blonde woman from earlier approaches Clarke once more and is about to inform him of a security matter, but Clarke, without moving his head from the monitor, tells her that he doesn’t want any further disturbances. The woman interrupts him, explaining that it is an urgent security matter involving his new harvest, Lilli. ‘Oh for the love of…’ Clarke mutters as he begins to leave the communications room, telling the staff that he wants meticulous documentation of all Alpha / Weapon X events that occur in his absence.

That seemed like quite an easy feet to get Clarke away from all of the drama that he has so carefully orchestrated…the mere mention of something called a harvest. Clarke enters another area of Department H where he sees Lilli screaming ‘Let me go! Let me go! I wanna go home!’ and phasing herself through two Epsilons who are trying to restrain her. The Epsilons seem confused that Lilli can pass through them, but Clarke orders them to release her. Lilli must be a very valuable to Clarke to warrant such personal attention.

Clarke opens the door to the room where Lilli was and tells her to calm herself, before asking why she wants to leave. Lilli declares that she doesn’t like it here and that she would rather go back the orphanage than stay here. Clarke leads Lilli away, telling her that it is her choice to make and claiming he is sorry that her stay here hasn’t been to her liking. After informing her that he will arrange for her transfer back to Hull House, he explains that they need to remove her security identification mark and - Lilli interrupts, upon seeing the doctor before her with a large needle, she asks what the needle is for, exclaiming that she doesn’t want anymore shots. The doctor tells her that there is nothing to worry about and explains that it is something to dampen the pain of removing the mark. Lilli holds herself close as she prepares for the injection, and Clarke tells her to relax and soon she shouldn’t feel anything at all.

South: Guardian leads the way out of the Alpha Jet, beginning to give out his orders, until Judd cuts in, suggesting to everyone that they spread and out so Wolverine can see what he is up against. ‘I’m in charge of this mission, Puck, I’ll call the shots if you don’t mind’ Guardian exclaims, before announcing that he wants an impenetrable wall, that Alpha Flight need to make it clear Weapon X isn’t going another foot forward without going through them. Guardian adds that any attack is on his orders only, and that despite what they have learned about Weapon X, he is still a Canadian citizen and deserves a chance to come along peacefully before being confronted by force.

‘Like there’s any chance of that!’ exclaims Radius, reminding everyone that they fought the synthetic Weapon X’s in Combat Central. ‘He’s an animal!’ ‘We fought robots, this is a man’ Judd points out. A frightened young Adrian “Flex” Corbo suddenly exclaims ‘Omigosh! Here he comes!’ and points in the direction of Wolverine. Sasquatch growls, but is kept in check but the manipulative powers of the sultry Arlette “Murmur” Truffaut, who orders him to “stay”.

Wolverine’s motorcycle comes to a screeching halt as Alpha Flight - Guardian, Vindicator, Puck, Radius, Manbot, Murmur, Flex and the real Sasquatch stand before him. ‘Hello…Weapon X!’ Guardian exclaims. Suddenly, whoever is tied up in the sack asks what is going on. He remarks that he cannot see who is there, but he can smell their power. ‘They’re Alpha Flight. And something smells all right’ Wolverine replies.

Guardian informs Wolverine that under edict of the Canadian Ministry of Defence, he is hereby ordered to remand himself into their custody for immediate extradition. Mac suggests that they don’t make this any harder than they have to. Wolverine gets off his motorcycle and lights a cigarette as he approaches the heroes of the North. Nervously, Flex asks his brother why Wolverine isn’t saying anything. Radius tells his younger brother to shut up and explains that Weapon X is trying to psych them out. Adrian tells Jared that just because he is his brother, it doesn’t mean he can tell him to shut up. ‘Shut up!’ Jared exclaims.

Radius mutters that Wolverine better not be coming up here to make a quick surrender, because he wants a chance to mess him up first. ‘Shhh! He might come over here if he hears you saying that!’ Flex whispers. ‘Yeah? And?’ replies Jared.

North: Is this what Clarke’s country has come to? Holding teenage girls hostage? Or is it merely a convenience so he can turn his attention back to his international kidnapping plot? Lilli looks annoyed as she stands with the blonde woman behind Clarke, back in the communications room. Clarke asks for a status report, to which someone informs him that Weapon X is smelling Guardian. ‘What?’ ‘I said -’ ‘I heard what you said!’ Clarke snaps. Clarke narrows his eyes as he watches the screen - the simple fact that Wolverine is smelling Guardian makes him very nervous. But why? What could Guardian possibly have to hide from his old friend?

Clarke watches as Heather asks Logan to just come with them. She tells him that she doesn’t know how it happened, to which Wolverine interrupts, asking what this “it” is. Heather informs him that Department H has showed them footage of him murdering Madison Jeffries. Some of Heather’s words were cut out, causing Clarke to ask what is wrong with the audio feed, when suddenly, the screen goes blank. ‘Picture! Where is the picture!’ Clarke screams. Someone informs Clarke that Manbot is on the edge of a cell area for the satellite uplink transmitting his camera feed, and that he must have moved out.

The elderly man is about to offer a suggestion as to what could be done when Clarke furiously tells him that he doesn’t care if he has to fly down there and push Manbot back in the range himself. ‘I want that image restored! NOW!’ he shouts. Suddenly the screen is lit up again, some of what has transpired Clarke will never know, but he can easily make a guess, as Radius declares ‘I’ll give you a reason!’ Wolverine unsheathes one of his deadly claws and puts it up to Jared’s face. ‘Oh, yeah? You wanna fight me?’ Logan asks.

Clarke mutters that this should be interesting, before ordering someone called Walton to get ready to run some load stress interpolations on Radius’ force field pressure. ‘I think we’re about to finally see how impenetrable it really is’. But does General Clarke really believe that? Even Radius knows he is being toyed with…and he is just a novice. ‘Hey gorgeous,’ Logan exclaims as he turns to Arlette. ‘Moi?’ asks Arlette. ‘Vouz. Nice to see Alpha’s still recruiting lookers. And I always notice a pretty face,’ Logan tells her.

Murmur thanks Logan for the compliment, to which he replies ‘Don’t mention it’. Getting back onto his motorcycle, Wolverine thanks the heroes for letting him know Alpha Flight is back in business in such a personal way. One of the Department H workers points out to Clarke that Weapon X is attempting to leave and asks him if he wants to initiate the Manbot counter-plan. But Clarke tells him ‘No…no. Let’s see how it plays out in their hands first,‘ and smiles wickedly.

South: As Wolverine rides away on his motorcycle, he warns Alpha Flight not to come knocking on his door again withy threats unless they are willing to follow them through. Radius turns to Guardian and asks him if that is it. ‘You’re just gonna let him mouth off and then drive off? What kind of leadership is that?’ he exclaims, before reminding Mac that they have orders to follow here. Mac looks at Radius square in the face and tells reminds him that Weapon X was a member of the Department, a member of this team and a friend, therefore he deserved a chance to come with honor.

‘Yeah? Well he didn’t come at all’ Jared points out, before remarking that Weapon X is getting away. ‘So give the order or I’ll give it!’ Mac asks Jared if he is questioning his authority, and reminds him that he makes the calls in the field. Puck suddenly interrupts and tells them to cut it out, as they sound like bickering teenagers. Judd realizes that they technically are, before pointing out that they are supposed to be teammates. However Radius isn’t interested in listening, and uses his force field to push the diminutive Alphan away.

‘Don’t you push me, you punk!’ Judd exclaims, before marching back in between the men and holding them apart. ‘Wha’d you call me?’ Jared exclaims. Annoyed, Heather tells them to stop this nonsense and suggests to Mac that if he is the team leader then he start acting the part, or else this highly sensitive operation is going to blow up in all their faces. In a burst of electromagnetic energy, Mac takes to the air, declaring that he will fly ahead and cut Weapon X off and that he wants the rest of them to follow in the Alpha Jet, to follow up and follow through with any force necessary. ‘Now that’s what I like to hear!’ Jared exclaims.

North: Do you think this is true blackness? Or is it merely a creeping shadow that will eventually come to pass? In his native Japanese, Shiro Yashida a.k.a. Sunfire informs someone over the phone that he is coming home. He tells whoever he is speaking to that he understands he may be returned to prison, but something has happened to him here and he wishes to return. Black is the color of death and mourning for many Christian religions - though most practitioners of such faiths have forgotten that black is also the color symbolic of future resurrection after death.

Suddenly, someone bangs hard on the door to Shiro’s quarters, demanding to come in as he needs to speak to him. Sunfire realizes that it is Doctor Huxley, and putting the phone to one side, Shiro yells back to Huxley that he has already told him enough, there is nothing more to say. Chinese Taoism and Confucianism observe the yin-yang circle - half-black (negative, passive power), half-white (positive, active power) - eternally balancing the two conflicting forces of the universe.

Sunfire turns back to the telephone and informs whoever he is speaking to that he did seek help here in Canada, but that a cruel fate has visited him instead, therefore he feels he should return to his home now. However, while the yin-yang balances its halves, Shiro feels his dark half consuming his light. ‘Because I am dying of radiation poisoning,’ he informs the person he is speaking to. A pity Sunfire isn’t Christian or Chinese, he might have found some comfort in faith to pull him from this darkness.

South: As Guardian flies towards Wolverine, one must wonder if his darkening mood will drive him away as well. The handsome hero thinks to himself that his actions before were so stupid, because he talks about respect then acts like he doesn’t deserve even a drop of it. Mac wonders how that blow-up will reflect on his record of performance if Puck files a report. Mac realizes that he and Radius are the same age - so you would think that they would be buddies, hand out together and talk about - talk about what? Girls?

Mac stopped short in his thought because he suddenly remembered that he is technically married to Heather - that some part of him still loves her - or was it simply because something else caught his attention - like Weapon X, directly below him. Mac tells himself to clear his head, that he mustn’t blow this chance. Unleashing an electromagnetic blast, Mac fires at Wolverine, who swerves on his motorcycle, and glancing back, asks Mac what he thinks he is doing. ‘Following through!’ Guardian replies, before Wolverine is knocked from his motorcycle.

As Wolverine and his wrapped-up passenger are flung to the ground, Mac tells his former teammate that he hopes he understands that fleeing from Alpha Flight doesn’t help strengthen his case. Mac walks over to Wolverine, and addressing him as Weapon X still, points out that this will be a lot easier if he cooperates. Wolverine tells Guardian that his friends call him Logan, that he should know that, before suggesting, as he unsheathes his claws, that he call him Wolverine.

As Wolverine lunges towards Guardian, Mac’s muscles tense for everything he has been conditioned to expect from this wild man before him. But what will he do about a sudden feeling that he doesn’t expect? How do you cope with the sensation of a memory you don’t remember having until this very instant? Mac’s memory is of himself - only older - the first time he saw Logan springing for him in the woods. But something is wrong with the memory. But in saying that, something is also more right with it then the litany of information Department H coached him to remember after his age was regressed to 19 years.

This memory gives Mac pause to hesitate - but it is a pause he cannot afford, as Wolverine smashes into him. Logan asks Mac if he is daydreaming and points out that it is a good way to get killed. ‘Course, that’d only be true if I was a cold-blooded killer, which you know I’m not!’ he adds.

Aboard the Alpha Jet, Heather is also feeling something in her mind at the moment. A devilish little flicker of memory telling her that she is also in the wrong here. But is she listening to her instincts? Judd announces that he has a visual on Mac, to which Heather orders him to set the Alpha Jet down nearby. Noticing Heather seems rather strange, Judd asks her if she is okay. ‘I’ll…let you know,’ Heather replies.

Someone announces that there is an unidentified hopping potato sack off the aft near that abandoned gas station. As everyone rushes out of the Alpha Jet, Heather takes to the air and orders everyone to get to Weapon X before he hurts Mac, though she tells Murmur to take Sasquatch and see what is in the bag. ‘Always it is me who is sent away! Always!’ complains Arlette as she leads Sasquatch in the direction of the sack, with Heather telling her not to pout as that is where she is needed right now.

Murmur and Sasquatch get in front of the sack, and using her manipulative powers on Sasquatch, Murmur tells him to stay. The sack bounces right into Sasquatch. ‘You were going somewhere monsieur?’ asks Arlette. ‘Uh-oh’ mumbles the sack, as Sasquatch growls and Murmur orders him to hit the sack. He does as he is commanded, and the sack and its contents are smashes across to the other side of the gas station.

As Heather descends near Mac, Puck tells Manbot, Radius and Flex that no matter what Guardian ordered, they are not to use lethal force. Manbot whirs and clicks as he informs Wolverine that he is ordered to surrender. Wolverine overheard Judd’s comment and remarks ‘No lethal force? Gee, that’s mighty swell of ya’ before lashing out at Manbot, and slashing into his systems as he exclaims that it is too bad for Alpha Flight that he doesn’t play by the same rules. ‘General protection fault’ announces Manbot.

Radius jumps over towards Wolverine and addressing him as Weapon X tells him that he is now officially way out of line. ‘So lets see how good you are against a guy you can’t even touch!’ ‘Bring it on!’ Wolverine replies as Judd calls to Radius, telling him to stick to the plan. As Radius and Wolverine begin to pummel each other, Heather asks Guardian if he is all right. Mac replies that he doesn’t know, and remarks that there is something in his head, before motioning to the sky as he sees something streaking towards them.

Not something, but someone - Rogue of the X-Men! ‘Wolvy! What’s going on?’ the Southern belle asks. ‘X-Men?!’ exclaims Heather surprised. As he is being pulled in several directions by Judd and Radius, while Flex hides under Manbot, Wolverine tells Rogue that there has been attitude adjustments to their “quiet” neighbors to the North. Rogue turns around mid-flight and informs Wolverine that she will go get the troops.

Wolverine replies that she needn’t bother, for as he kicks Radius to the ground he exclaims that it doesn’t look like he will need any help. Puck jumps onto Wolverine’s shoulders and clocks him on the head. But to no avail, for Wolverine is able to toss Judd into the air, then punch him hard to the ground. They are Alpha Flight, and what they lack in training they hope to make up for in experience. But what good is experience - if you can’t even be certain of your own thoughts?

Adrian goes over to Jared and asks him if he is okay. Adrian points out that he shouldn’t have just tries to capture Wolverine alone like that, to which Radius tells his brother that he is right. ‘I…I am?’ Flex asks, surprised. Jared begins pushing his brother along the ground exclaiming that he should have had back-up. ‘That back up should have been you, you big coward!’ Flex is slightly confused, until Radius throws him right towards Wolverine. Flex screams. He is scared. And with very good reason.

‘Flex? What’s a “flex,”’ Wolverine asks as he unsheathes his claws. As far as Adrian knows, it is no ordinary man that his brother has thrown him towards - but an animalistic killing machine who could gut him if he chose. But for some reason, even as Flex’s body lands just at the tip of Wolverine’s deadly claws, he doesn’t. ‘Ow! Major painage!’ jokes Radius. Heather tells Jared to get a hold of himself and get in the fight to pull his brother out of there, while Mac asks Flex what he thinks he is doing.

Wolverine begins to run away past the gas station, with Heather and Mac flying behind him firing bolts of geothermal and electromagnetic energies, respectively, at him. Mac exclaims that Wolverine was always an honorable man, and asks him why he is running away from his actions now. As he sloshes through the snow, Wolverine replies that it maybe because it is Alpha Flight who are way off their mark in their accusations. He points out that although he maybe running, he never runs away. ‘I’m just trying to get some leverage so you can clear your screwed up heads’.

Murmur watches the chase and orders Sasquatch once more to stay, but Sasquatch seems quite content with poking the frightened sack and hearing it go ‘Ow!’

Wolverine comes to a halt next to a petrol pump and unsheathing his claws, he warns Heather and Guardian that if they use their powers now and they will blow them all to kingdom come if there is any gas left in the tanks. Heather is shocked when she gets a closer look at Wolverine’s claws and exclaims that they aren’t adamantium. Puzzled, Heather points out that the adamantium is supposedly how they traced him, and Department H said…Heather’s voice trails off. Department H said lots of things to her - whatever she needed to hear to agree to knock Weapon X down a peg or two and drag him back home - even if that something was that Wolverine had killed her former fiancée.

But now, everything is starting to seem like little more than manipulation. Everyone’s attention is turned towards Sasquatch as he rushes towards Wolverine and smashes him across the petrol station. Murmur rubs a finger across Sasquatch’s mouth as she stands beside him and asks her teammates why Sasquatch always gets the credit when it is clearly the touch of Murmur which makes him so powerful? Arlette is about to say something else when Wolverine rushes towards Sasquatch and lunges him, ‘What? No!’ exclaims Murmur, to which Wolverine apologizes and tells her that battles go how they will, not how one wants them to.

‘Hey! Incoming spandex!’ shouts Radius as Wolverine’s X-Men teammates approach them. Storm! Cannonball! Rogue! Maggott! Unexpected players called in to help their friends…or exactly what Department H expected? What does Guardian think? Fate? Or manipulation? Mac grits his teeth at the X-Men’s arrival and tells Alpha Flight to remember their objective.

Taking to the air to confront Storm, Heather wonders why the X-Men would come to Logan’s aid if he is the killer they’ve been told. Heather tells Storm to stand her ground, as this doesn’t concern her. ‘Or did I just answer my own question?’ Heather wonders, when suddenly a powerful lightening bolt courses through her body, courtesy of Storm who declares that what concerns one X-Man concerns them all. Storm adds that a wilful, blindside attack by the X-Men’s allies concerns them greatly.

Storm exclaims that the lightening blast will leave Heather in a paralyzed shell from which she can ponder that fact. Heather does indeed have a lot to think about. She will have plenty of time to do it as she plummets to the snow and lands near Murmur. Even if Murmur wanted to help she couldn’t, because Maggott sends his “pets” Eany and Meany after her, telling them to get her, but not to snack on her. Murmur is a very strong woman - or so she always lets on. But the matter-eating maggotts under her adversary’s control stops her cold in her tracks. To Arlette’s surprise, the creatures inexplicably pass her by, though she is nevertheless paralyzed with fear. ‘Non! Au secours!’ she exclaims in her native tongue.

‘Can I have this dance, Sugar?’ asks Rogue as she swoops down to where Radius and Wolverine are still having a testosterone filled punch-up. ‘”Sugar?”’ asks Radius. Jared is used to girls being sweet on him, but he is also painfully aware that no matter how sweet they are, his inability to touch might mean that he will get dumped in the end. Which is exactly what happens as Rogue lifts him into the air, telling him not to get excited, as it is just a saying with her - then she hurls him back into the snow.

As a result, Radius cuts off relationships before they can ever really start. Pity for him though, Rogue might have been the ideal woman for him as her mutant power to absorb other’s life forces through skin-on-skin contact and Jared’s own impenetrable force field could have been the perfect match. But as Rogue smacks him back down to the ground with a hard punch, he will apparently never get to know.

Flex rubs his head and wonders why he is here. Though he could never know it, it is for the element of surprise. And a surprise indeed Adrian gets when Cannonball blasts his way towards him exclaiming that the last he heard, Alpha Flight were good guys. Flex braces himself for impact and exclaims ‘We are! Don’t hit me! I didn’t want to do this, I - don’t!’ For all the experience of Alpha Flight combined, Flex alone, through accident more than skill, is the first to rediscover that there are always more answers to a question than just the one laid out for you. ‘You serious?’ Cannonball asks Flex as he lands beside him.

Wolverine mocks Mac as he calls him “Guardian” telling him that he knew he wouldn’t have needed back up to take him down. As Heather recovers from her paralysis and flies towards Storm, the esteemed X-Man remarks that Vindicator acts as though she has been brainwashed. ‘Stop! Put me down!’ cries whoever is in the sack as Sasquatch bases the sack into Maggott. Arlette puts her fingers on Maggott’s head and uses her powers to order him to sleep, only to start screaming as she sees some sort of vision of herself trapped in a room full of bugs and other unsavory creatures.

No matter what pressure one may feel crushing down around them - blinding orders from his superiors, escalating tensions between old friends, mindless chaos calling out his name, the random hand of fate or even the darkest of personal secrets unexpectedly called back by something as simple as a delicate touch - there are always other paths waiting to be discovered - or vice versa. Funny how those other paths are often opposites - black in place of white, a “yes” in place of a “no”, a conversation…in place of a confrontation.

‘Subject sighted’ announces Manbot, as his teammates continue to battle the X-Men. ‘There’s a world of hurt between sighted and stopped giant robot!’ Wolverine shouts to Manbot. ‘Hey everybody! HEY!’ shouts Cannonball, exclaiming that he thinks there has been a big screw up here. Turning to Flex he says ‘This guy, uh - what was your name again?’ ‘Adrian. Wait! Flex, my codename’s Flex’. Cannonball turns back to the battle and exclaims that Flex told him Wolverine is wanted for murdering a guy a couple of days ago, but that the X-Men were in Boston’s jail then, so it couldn’t have been him.

That means General Clarke willfully lied to Alpha Flight. Guardian is surprised when he hears this. ‘That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them!’ exclaims Wolverine with his hands around Guardian’s head. Heather is embarrassed, and dropping to the ground between Radius and Rogue she declares that Flex is right, that something is wrong here - and that something is Alpha Flight. Heather reminds her teammates that General Clarke said they were tracking Wolverine by his adamantium, and reveals to them that he no longer has it. ‘So what are we doing here?’

Is there actually any difference between the two sensations of surprise and embarrassment? Heather approaches Wolverine and declares that she is starting to remember things about her own history with Logan, and that it doesn’t fit with anything they were told by Department H. ‘We’re being used - and by our own bosses’. Heather suggests to her teammates that it is time they returned home and had some serious words with the Department.

North: General Clarke watches and listens via Manbot’s recordings as Wolverine tells Heather that the second she gets back up North and finds something there that she cannot handle alone, to let him know and he will come and help. That al depends on how you look at it…and vice versa. ‘Thanks…I don’t know what to say’ Heather replies. As the screen begins to go blurry, Wolverine can be made out saying ‘Don’t say nothing, just -’ someone approaches Clarke and informs him that there is cell interference again, and asks him if he wants Manbot repositioned.

How much further can this go, General Clarke? Alpha Flight has uncovered his deception, but surely a man as smart as he must have realized that they would eventually. How much further can this go? ‘General?’ asks the man when he gets no response. How much farther. ‘General?’ he asks again. How much - ‘Stop asking me questions!’ Clarke shouts. ‘Yes, sir’ the man replies. General Clarke gets out of his chair and declares that he is going to his office and doesn’t want to be disturbed. As Alpha Flight can be seen getting into the Alpha Jet on the view screen, Clarke adds that he does want to be notified when Alpha Flight get in…’I’ll want to have a word with them’.

Characters Involved: 

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

Wolverine (Former member of Alpha Flight, current member of the X-Men)



General Clarke

Dr. Horatio Huxley

Warwick, Walton, blonde woman and other Department H personnel

Cannonball II, Maggot, Rogue, Storm (all X-Men)

Sauron (hidden in the sack)

In Guardian’s memory:



In Murmur’s mind:

Murmur III

Story Notes: 

This issue is a sort-of-crossover with Uncanny X-Men #355, also written by Steve T. Seagle, though the issue is from the X-Men’s perspective.

Alpha Flight were shown a false recording of Wolverine’s history and his transgression into a fugitive that killed Madison Jeffries in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #8.

Of course Wolverine didn’t kill Madison Jeffries, but Jeffries was abducted by the Zodiac in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1.

Lilli was “harvested” from Hull House Orphanage in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #2, falsely led to believe she was going to live with a family. Since arriving at Department H she has made several attempts to find help in leaving.

Alpha Flight fought the Wolverine Synthoids in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #8.

Clarke’s nervousness of Wolverine smelling Guardian is because Wolverine would no doubt be able to detect that it is not the real Guardian.

Wolverine’s comment about Alpha Flight still recruiting lookers is a reference to former Alpha Flight babes: the dismissive Snowbird, the flirtatious Aurora and the sultry Diamond Lil.

Indeed, Wolverine’s claws at this point are not laced with adamantium, but they are natural bone, as his adamantium was ripped from his body by Magneto during the “Fatal Attractions” crossover. [X-Men (2nd series) #25]

Heather and Madison Jeffries were engaged during Guardian’s supposed death. They began dating officially circa Alpha Flight (1st series) #50, but their relationship and engagement took a turn for the worse when Diamond Lil re-entered Jeffries’ life, and Guardian was resurrected soon after. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #71, 87-90]

Storm’s comment about Heather acting as though she has been brainwashed is not too far from the truth, as General Clarke has been stripping certain memories from Heather’s mind as seen in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1, 8]

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