Alpha Flight (2nd series) Annual 1998

Issue Date: 
May 1998
Story Title: 

Joe Casey (Plot), Steve T. Seagle & Mark Bernardo (Script), Tom Raney (Penciler), John Beatty (Inker), Gina Going (Colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (Letterers), Lysa Kraiger (Assistant Editor), Jaye Gardner (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Alpha Flight, including Murmur who is on her first team outing since her injuries, journey to Newfoundland once more where tidal waves have been pouring across the village of Battle Harbor. The usual banter ensues between Alpha Flight, except for Heather who flies out over the ocean as she tries to discover the source of the disturbance. Alpha Flight take all the people they have rescued to a nearby hospital, but haven’t heard back from Heather which begins to worry Judd and Guardian. They venture out over the ocean to try and find her, and Guardian uses his powers to search for her, as the Alpha Jet cannot pick up her signal. However, the extreme usage of his powers damages the Alpha Jet, and is begins to nose dive to the ocean - only to be rescued by four strange women. The women guide the jet towards some fog and once through it, they arrive in Attilan, home of the Uncanny Inhumans. Introductions are made all round, before it is revealed that the Inhumans know much about Alpha Flight - for they have Heather! A very cold acting Heather is reunited with her teammates, and Heather begins to tell them what happened to her - she discovered the strange fog, only to be overcome by it and fall into the ocean, where she was rescued by the Inhuman Triton. Heather reveals that she cannot leave here until she finds out what is wrong with her. Guardian visits Black Bolt and Medusa who inform him of the ritual of Terrigen mutation. They inform him of one such ritual which did not go as planned, and which set about the strange tremors which they have been experiencing. Guardian supposes that the tremors could have caused the tidal waves in Newfoundland also. Alpha Flight and the Inhumans converse, while elsewhere in Attilan, the baby whose Terrigen ritual did not go to plan causes somehow animates a giant statue of Randac. The two groups of heroes join together to try and stop the statue from destroying the city and harming innocents, while Black Bolt goes to the parents of the baby, for he has realized that this baby was exposed to the Terrigen Mist twice, once while in the womb, like he was, so it is incredibly powerful. Black Bolt “speaks” to the child, calming it, and the statue is destroyed. In the aftermath, Heather still finds herself connected to the child who had the ability of psionic possession over Earth, which linked her to him through her geothermal battle suit. Heather thinks she should stay in Attilan, but Guardian points out that she has a home, with him, and they are about to kiss when they are interrupted by Medusa, who takes Heather to see Black Bolt while the others are all having a feast. Black Bolt uses his powers to remove the link between Heather and the child, and Heather is returned to normal. Shortly after, the two teams part as friends.

Full Summary: 

How would you react in the wake of a disaster?

If you lived here in the village of Battle Harbor on the Labrador Peninsula of Newfoundland, you might exhibit shock, like a man called Josh is right now. An elderly man walks in thigh-high water which covers the town’s streets and asks Josh if he is all right. ‘Water…too much water,’ Josh replies. The old man tells Josh to relax, and although the flooding is bad, they are livyeres, their family will weather it somehow.

Your shock would be a combination of seeing all you lived and worked for swept away in an instant by an unexpected and indifferent tidal wave. ‘This never happens here! It can’t!’ a man in a boat remarks. ‘Tell that to the water’ says his companion. The other part of your shock would be the incontestable fact that there was something strange about the wave that rushed though this quaint little town. Motioning to the air, the man’s companion remarks ‘And speaking of stuff that never happens here…take a look at that, eh? There’s a big fat slice of impossible coming right down the middle of the street!’

‘The first of many such waves of the unfamiliar roaring through Battle Harbor it would seem…Alpha Flight! Flying outside the Alpha Jet are Canada’s most iconic heroes - Heather Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator (perhaps Canada’s greatest super hero ever) and her estranged husband, James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian, now nineteen years old. Heather calls back to the Alpha Jet and informs her teammates inside it that they have found their destination, she tells Puck to see if he can find a dry spot to land the jet.

Eugene Judd a.k.a. Puck replies by joking that the driest place he sees is the Atlantic. Guardian tells Alpha Flight that they need to run a tight operation here, for Mr. Gentry is looking for clean investigation and rescue reports to turn in to Department H. ‘So no one go off half-cocked, okay?’

‘Is he talking to me?’ Jared “Radius” Corbo asks from inside the Alpha Jet. Sitting at the console of the craft, Judd remarks that the comment was about a size eleven, and that Radius’ foot is about a size eleven - ‘Looks like you’re wearing that shoe all right,’ he jokes. ‘Uh-huh’ Jared mutters unimpressed, before remarking ‘See who’s wearing my foot at the end of this’. Jared’s younger brother Adrian, codenamed Flex, turns to Arlette Truffaut a.k.a. Murmur and asks her if she is okay. Murmur replies that she is fine, but she has a headache. But perhaps that is not all - perhaps, for the first time in her young life, Murmur is actually worried. Worried that this first trip back in the field after her near-fatal shooting, might be more than she is ready for right now.

Mac announces that he is seeing a lot of people stranded on roofs and informs everyone that they will be doing a full team rescue, except for Heather, as he wants her to take a reconnaissance out over the ocean, and to call in if she meets more than she can handle. Heather replies that she will be fine, but points out that she does see some kind of disturbance at 54.46 West, and tells Mac that she will notify him once she has scouted it, before she heads off over the ocean.

Inside the Alpha Jet, Judd calls to his fellow senior Alphans and informs them that something has just popped up on the radar at those same coordinates Heather gave. Heather replies that she sees it, and announces that it is bad news - another huge wave which is moving at an extremely high velocity with more swells behind it. She tells her teammates that whatever she is doing for the town’s residents they need to do it faster, for they only have about two minutes till impact. Heather then announces that she is going out further to try and find the source.

Guardian acknowledges her before informing his team, who are busy helping civilians into the Alpha Jet that they have another wave cresting, so they need to collect the final people and get to that hospital they spotted. An elderly man is helped into the aircraft and exclaims ‘Alpha? As in Alpha Flight? Since when do Canada’s heroes make it all the way out here to Newfoundland?’ Standing knee-high in water, the handsome Radius exclaims ‘Are you kidding? With all the goofy junk going on in Newfie lately, they could film the “X-Files” here with no script!’

Guardian flies over Radius carrying someone in his hands and asks Jared if he didn’t hear him - they have got more water coming in! Radius smirks that he has a got a force field. Guardian asks what they will do against a tidal wave, to which Jared asks him who said he was against it?

Hovering over the ocean, Heather wonders to herself why being a hero leaves her feeling like the whole world is set against her these days. She thinks that she normally loves the ocean, but now it just seems ominous and threatening. ‘Leave it to Department H to put me in yet another position where the very things I know and love are suddenly, indelibly changed for the worse right before my eyes’. Heather tells herself that now she is done with this mornings self-pity session, she should get on with the job - after all, how much worse can it get?

Back in the town, Radius is using his force field to surf on the large wave. ‘Radius! Are you crazy? We’re not here to surf!’ Mac exclaims. ‘Try telling that to this wave!’ Jared replies. Is Jared Corbo crazy? Is using his force field as a makeshift surfboard a sign that he is cracking under the pressure? Or is he fully aware of his recent leanings towards foolishness…recklessness…and the dangerous risks he is taking. Inside the Alpha Jet, one of the civilians asks if Radius is ‘Touched in the head, or something’. ‘He’s my brother, and yeah, I think he might be’ Adrian exclaims. Judd tells Adrian that he isn’t alone in that thought, and thinks to himself that when they get back to Department H, he isn’t going to be alone in it either.

Murmur suddenly alerts Judd to some more people stranded on the rooftop below them. Judd thanks the sultry Alphan and admits that he would have missed them. While the people on the rooftop cry for help, there is a strange rattling noise coming from the Alpha Jet. ‘Why does it feel as if we are about to crash?’ asks Arlette, to which Judd exclaims that it is because they are going to crash! He explains that they have got low-level choppy air as if it is being pushed right out from under them - but he doesn’t know how.

Back out over the ocean, Heather informs her teammates via their communicators that she has reached the epicenter of the disturbance, adding that she has sixty-foot swells and apparent underwater volcanic activity - though her powers have no effect, which means she is reading the situation wrong, or it is time for Gentry to force a better explanation for how her geothermal suit actually works out of Chief Engineer Su. Back to the situation at hand, Heather announces that she is going in for a closer look.

Heather gets no response from her teammates. ‘Did you copy any of that? Guardian? Anyone?’ Anxious, a part of Heather wants to go back - a scared part that she never really lets show to anyone outside her skin. But then the part of her that once led Alpha Flight tells her to plow ahead and forget the consequences. This part of her tells her that she is ready for anything that lies beyond this monstrous tide swelling against her - proof that she shouldn’t always trust her instincts. But, she will have ample time to ponder that fact….

Later. ‘So I caught a wave, so what?’ remarks Jared inside the hospital where he and his teammates have gathered. Mac tells Jared that they are here on a Department mission, not to “hang ten”. Judd points out that Radius has been showing him a better side lately, and suggests he doesn’t go relapsing. Arms folded across his chest and sitting slumped in a chair, Jared points out that they were done saving the civilians, so he was just screwing around a little. ‘Get off my back!’

Mac tells Radius that it is not going to be that easy, and that one more slip like that on this mission and he is going to send him back to Department H. ‘I wish you would send me back. My outfit is soaking wet, and my hair!’ complains Arlette. Flex asks his seniors if they can all go and yell at Jared outside, as the smell of hospitals makes him sick to his stomach.

‘Send me back? Who do you think you are?’ Radius exclaims, leaping up in his chair. ‘I don’t think, I know. I’m the leader of this team and you’re out of line!’ Mac exclaims. ‘I pull my own weight!’ Jared replies, to which Mac tells him that he pulls a lot of things - until Judd tells them to stop it, as they have got more search and rescue to do and they have not heard a word from Heather yet either. Making his way down the corridor, Judd tells them to make a final round here while he goes to the rooftop to try and raise her, then they can meet him up there. ‘I’m not -’, ‘I’m the one who -’, ‘Just do it!’

Walking towards the Alpha Jet which is sitting on the hospital roof, Judd thinks that sometimes he should be the one leading this team. He’d never say so though - but he thinks it - loud and clear. Judd wonders how long Radius is going to be causing trouble, before telling him to listen to himself - for everyone on this team is a kid except for him. ‘You’re the only fossil in the bunch’. Entering the Alpha Jet and going over to the console, Judd tells himself that the new recruits are all in their teens, Mac has had time turned around on him so he is barely nineteen years old - leaving Heather as the only one close to him in age, but that’s a “close but no cigar” kind of close.

He thinks that begs the question - what exactly is he doing here. Though he realizes that it isn’t so much of a mystery, for Alpha Flight is the only family he has ever had. Judd knows that he is okay without Alpha Flight, but he is much happier with it - which is pretty much the same way he feels about…Heather. He remembers Heather is the reason why he is here and tells himself to stop wallowing and start searching, for he cannot bust Jared’s chops for not focusing and then doing the same himself. Checking the radar, Judd is shocked when Heather’s signal does not come up on it. Searching for and not finding Heather makes Judd feel frightened - but is he afraid for her…or for himself? That’s the important question. But where is he willing to go to answer it?

Soon, Alpha Flight are back inside the Alpha Jet and have come to a stand still over the coordinates which Vindicator issued. Flex motions out the window and tells everyone to look at it - for it is totally calm, like nothing was ever going on here - like everything they just went through never happened. Radius tells his little brother that it happened all right: ‘Don’t you remember the part where you almost hurled in the hospital because of the alcohol smell? That was hysterical!’

Mac tells Judd that there is still nothing on the radar and asks if he is sure they have the right coordinates. Smiling as she looks up at Guardian, Arlette tells him that Puck said this was her final reporting location, and exclaims ‘Maybe like Sasquatch she too has been lost to the cause, no? Perhaps we must admit that we have done all we can and -’ Judd suddenly interrupts Murmur and declares that he doesn’t want anyone talking like that, for Heather is missing, but not dead. He tells Murmur to think about how long she would want them to look for her if she was missing and tells her that is how long she better be willing to stay out here looking for Heather.

Judd begins to tell everyone to pipe down so he can concentrate, when Guardian tells him that there might be another route to take here, for the tremors are some sort of seismic anomalies and therefore they must be causing disruptions in the Earth’s electromagnetic flied, he adds that his battle suit is attuned to that field, so he can detect whatever is causing the anomalies and it just might lead them to Heather. Judd admits that he is no science whiz, but he thinks that the odds seem pretty long on that one, before remarking that it is those kind of odds that sometimes pay off big.

Mac tells Judd to hold the jet steady and everyone else to stay alert - be ready to move out at a moments notice. With that, Mac leaps out of the hatch into open air. Barking out orders has become easier for him in recent months, putting on the confident face while deep inside, his emotions are churning. Certainly easier than dwelling on the fact that he may never see Heather again. Mac doesn’t dwell, he doesn’t think, doesn’t hesitate - he simply acts, cybernetically willing his battle suit to reach out, sending waves of energy along the Earth’s natural electromagnetic field…rippling out in an expanding aura, searching for anything unusual…and then a telltale signal - a familiar energy pattern - at the periphery of the field. It tells him that hope endures.

Inside the Alpha Jet, the craft is rocking from all the shockwaves that Mac is pushing out. Jared asks if Guardian is nuts or suicidal, ‘This bright idea is going to land us all in the drink!’ Judd tells Radius to shut up, as it is hard enough to keep this ship steady without him yapping in his ear. Judd thinks to himself that he hopes Mac is in control out there, but can understand how he feels, for Judd would also walk through Hell for Heather, though he was just hopping not to make the trip so soon.

There is a slam, and the younger Alphans are all knocked to the ground. As Murmur lands on Radius, Judd asks if everyone is okay. Jared smiles and glancing at Arlette declares that he could get to like this position. ‘You are a pig!’ Arlette exclaims, ‘But right now I’m a happy pig!’ Radius replies. Mac flies back in the jet and tells his team to pull themselves together, before informing Judd that they have to move out further. Judd tells Mac that the field of his almost killed the ship’s electrical systems and they almost landed in the water. Mac announces that he has a faint fix on Heather’s uniform right on the edge of his range - so they can find her if they heard further out over the Atlantic. ‘Now let’s move it!’ he exclaims with urgency. ‘God only knows what kind of trouble Heather may have found at the source of those tremors!’

Trouble? Heather? Yes. The powerful Alphan plummets into the ocean, and unconscious, she sinks to the sea bed. However, some mysterious figure swims by and grabs her, taking her away with him.

The safety of Vindicator is foremost on Judd’s mind as well - perhaps that is why he doesn’t put up a stronger argument when Guardian suggests his dangerous plan again. Leaning over the console, Guardian tells Judd that he is ready to go out there again, for he is sure he can get an exact fix on Heather’s location now. Judd tells Mac that his stunt could totally disable the Alpha Jet this time, but Mac declares that it is the only way, before ordering Judd to put the jet on hover and open the hatch door. Albeit anxiously, Judd complies, and wishes Mac luck.

As Mac flies out of the hatch, an uncharacteristic solemnity settles over Murmur - is it concern that Mac’s desperate attempt to find his wife - her teammate - won’t prove fruitful…or perhaps it is concern that it will. Hovering some feet away from the Alpha Jet, Mac wonders if this is how Heather felt all that time she thought he was dead - all this dread and emptiness. Mac knows that they have both changed so much since then and that they may never be the same people again, though he knows that in Heather’s heart, she never gave up on him - so he is sure as not going to give up on her, so he once more goes about expanding his electromagnetic powers.

Inside the Alpha Jet, Judd shields his eyes and exclaims that he was afraid of this - the guidance systems and the stabilizers cannot take much more of this buffeting. But it is all Judd can do to keep the jet steady, much less keep it airborne. Judd mutters that Mac had better make this work fast, or this poor abused aircraft is going to make like the Titanic! ‘He chews me out for a little surfing, then pulls an asinine stunt like this?’ mumbles Jared, while Murmur is thrust around in the back of the jet, exclaiming that she can feel them losing altitude.

Judd announces that he is getting them clear, for if they stay here, they will break apart - the systems are already overloading! Judd tells everyone to hold on tight, for he is kicking in what is left of the craft’s thrusters. Mac tells himself that he can still feel Heather, all he has to do is push further and further. Mac lets loose one massive push, generating a full-fledged electromagnetic pulse so strong that it strikes the Alpha Jet and knocks out the ships systems - and the engine. Radius points out that Puck is the Alphan with all the experience - the veteran who has got to teach the young punks to tow the line - ‘So how are we gonna get out of this one, huh?’

Judd snaps that he cannot fly a ship with no power, and tells Radius that since he was nice enough to ask, one thing his experience has taught him is that panic and insults won’t help the situation one bit, before pointing out that with his force field, Radius would probably be the only one with a prayer of walking away from a crash landing anyway. Radius bites his lip and mutters ‘Well…yeah…I guess’. As the Alpha Jet nose-dives towards the deep ocean, Judd exclaims that the only chance is to tug on the wheel - hope for an updraft or a miracle. ‘Who knows? Maybe some guardian angels will finally show some mercy on this poor old sinner…’.

Suddenly, ‘What the -?’ Judd exclaims, as the jet suddenly stabilizes. Radius is knocked off balance and falls to the ground, as Arlette asks how this could happen. Mac flies back in the hatch and tells his team that they aren’t going to believe this - but they need to look out the window. ‘Mon Dieu, Judd…you were right…they are guardian angels!’ exclaims Murmur as she sees four serene looking woman hovering alongside the craft.

Back inside the Alpha Jet, Puck tells Mac to not even try and tell him that this was part of his plan. ‘Not a chance’ replies Mac, explaining to Puck that he just caught a glimpse of them on his way back to the ship when he was returning to help them. Judd remarks that they don’t know what these creatures are, where they are from or where they are taking them to - not to mention what their intentions are. ‘That would be accurate, yes’ Mac says. Judd points out that Guardian seems rather calm about this, to which Mac exclaims that they are in better shape now than they were a few minutes ago. ‘Wow!’ exclaims Flex as he looks at one of the women.

Judd agrees with Mac, but remarks that they are still no closer to finding Heather, before motioning to the fog bank ahead of them and pointing out that it appears they are headed straight towards it. He asks Mac if the radar screen is up and running from that electromagnetic pulse, so they can get a clue as to what is inside the fog. Mac examines the radar and replies that it is online, but damaged - according it its readings, there is absolutely nothing inside that fog. With urgency in his voice, Radius tells his fearless leader to take a look out the window at that great big “nothing”.

Puck’s breath is taken away - not an easy thing to do for someone who has lived such a long and storied life as his - even before he joined Alpha Flight. He has experienced so much of the world and its wonders that even many of his exploits with Canada’s premiere super heroes have been relegated to the common place. Super-villains, sorcerers, shape-shifters, demons, Great Beasts - Eugene Judd has consorted with or battled against them all. Still, his view of the world is one of jaded acceptance, and it takes a lot to leave him gape-jawed and wide-eyed.

The sight of the proud city-state of Attilan - its spires jutting majestically from this raised island that was once part of the sunken continent of Atlantis - is one of those all too infrequent rarities. ‘Wow, if this is Euro-Disney I take back all the jokes I’ve ever made about it!’ exclaims Jared, until Judd tells him that they are a bit far a field for even that. Guardian remarks that it look like they are coming in for a landing - the smoothest one in recent memory he adds, before asking Puck what he is doing. Judd declares that he is opening the hatch, for it is time they met their hosts. Motioning to the “flight attendants”, Jared exclaims that if they look like them he is all for it.

The five Alphans peer out o the hatch, with Mac telling Radius that this isn’t a joke, as they have no idea what to expect out here. Mac tells everyone to be on their guard and to be ready for absolutely anything. Suddenly, four strange people are standing on some steps nearby. The purple-clad woman with extremely long hair addresses Guardian by his real name and remarks that he is a born leader, as they were told. ’But you have nothing to fear from us’ she assures him. Medusa of the Uncanny Inhumans introduces herself and welcomes the heroes to Attilan, home to the race known to Earthlings as the Inhumans.

Medusa motions to the muscular man standing behind her and reveals she is his translator and wife, for he is Black Bolt, King of Attilan. She introduces the large man in front of her as the royal administrator, Gorgon, and the man in green as Karnak, the priest-philosopher. ‘We are the Royal Family of Attilan, and on behalf of our King, I extend to you the hand of friendship’. Medusa walks closer to her guests, exclaiming that they are champions from the land called Canada, and addresses them all by name, before revealing that she knows they are Alpha Flight and are here seeking answers and the fate of a friend. Smiling, Medusa informs Alpha Flight that it is her hope she may help them in attaining both.

Guardian is shocked, and asks Medusa how is it that she knows so much about them. Medusa motions to Black Bolt and tells Alpha Flight that they may like her husband to show them the answer to that. Mac bites his lip, Judd smiles, and Murmur looks somewhat disappointed -for standing in front of them, is Heather! Looking ever so glamorous and wearing an elegant green dress, Heather looks at her teammates rather strangely, before saying ‘Hello, Mac…everyone’.

It was not quite the reaction Mac was expecting. And several hours later, the passage of time has not changed Heather’s perplexing behavior. Heather is seated on a chair while Mac and Judd stand beside her, and Radius, Murmur and Flex look on from the other side of the room. Mac tells Heather that he thinks she owes them an explanation, to which Mac tells her that they were worried that she was a goner, before asking her how she managed to make her way from Newfoundland to the “Magic Kingdom” here.

‘Heather, do you even hear us?’ exclaims Mac. Holding something in her hands, Heather turns to her estranged husband and tells him that she feels different - that she feels like she might belong here now - with the Inhumans. ‘WHAT? You can’t be serious!’ exclaims a shocked Guardian. Everyone else is just as shocked, but after a moment, Mac asks Heather to tell him what happened after they lost her in Newfoundland.

Heather replies that she will try, before pointing out that her memories are so hazy. Heather reveals that she flew out further over the Atlantic hoping to use the geothermal sensors in her battle suit to home in on the source of the tremors below the sea floor. However, in the distance, she saw a he fog bank just hanging on the air, so curious as to what the fog could be concealing, she flew over it and tried to look into it - only to start suddenly choking on something that was filtering up through the fog.

Heather exclaims that she didn’t know if it was some pollutant or something else, so she quickly held her breath and started flying away from there, but for some reason she cannot explain, she just paused mid-flight. Heather tells her teammates that she knows it sounds ridiculous, but it was as if a voice in her head suddenly spoke to her - beckoned her back. Unfortunately, it also caused Heather to lose her concentration and control over her battle suit, so she then blacked out and fell into the sea.

Heather continues to gaze at the object in her hands and reveals that the next thing she knew, she was waking up in the Inhumans’ royal palace. Heather adds that Medusa told her that another of the Royal Family - her cousin Triton, a water breather - had been tracking the cloud when he found her in the ocean and brought her to Attilan. Heather reveals that she still hears the voice in the back of her mind, telling her that it needs her, that she cannot leave it alone. Heather informs Mac that she cannot leave here until she finds the answers that she needs, and asks him if he understands. Turning away and frowning, Mac replies that he understands, and flying out of the room he declares that he is going to get to the bottom of this, and is going to start with some pointed questions to this so-called “Royal Family”.

Soon, Guardian has spotted several of the Inhuman and descends upon them, ‘Medusa! I want words with you!’ he shouts angrily. Karnak tells Guardian to have a care, as none may address the Queen in such an insolent manner. ‘Stow it, Karnak!’ Mac replies, demanding to know what they have done to Heather - what happened to her after they found her? Karnak understands that Guardian is distressed, for he is concerned about the woman he loves, so for that, he will forgive his impertinence.

Karnak motions to the temple behind he and the other Inhumans and tells Guardian to mark his words well, for the answers he seeks begins here, where they perform one of their most sacred rites…the ritual of Terrigen Mutation! Karnak explains to Guardian that all of the Inhumans gained their special attributes through exposure to a mutagenic substance called Terrigen Mists - a compound created by Black Bolt’s father Randac many years ago. Karnak explains that at a predetermined age, Inhuman children are subjected to the Mists and the Mists bring out the children’s hidden genetic potential.

Karnak reveals that days ago, a private ceremony was conducted here in the temple, and the subject was a child whose parents - pioneering scientists - voluntarily exposed their offspring to the Mists while it was still in the womb - however, the child was born with no apparent attributes, so the parents opted for another exposure to the Mists to correct this defect. Medusa takes over the story telling now and informs Guardian that the ceremony did not go as planned, for even as the assembled crowds watched, the ground began to rumble beneath their feet.

At the time, Medusa simply thought it to be another tremor like they many they had been having for weeks, but this one was the worst. Then the tower’s foundations were torn asunder by the devastating quake. The Terrigen Mists that were to be used in the ceremony were dispersed into the atmosphere and the ritual was left incomplete. Karnak informs Guardian that they fortunately managed to contain most of the escaped Mists, for otherwise they would have caused widespread uncontrolled mutation in the Inhuman race, and the tower has been safely rebuilt and resealed.

Guardian remarks that it is an interesting story, but that it doesn’t explain what happened to Heather. Mac is getting really angry, when his teammates appear beside him. Judd tells Mac to simmer down and to think about it - could the fall out from that accident with the Mists be what Heather caught a whiff of when she flew over the fog? Judd remarks that he is also guessing the quakes the Inhumans have been experiencing are the same ones causing the flooding in Newfoundland, once the seismic waves have traveled across the ocean floor.

Medusa smiles and tells Guardian that his diminutive comrade is wise - as is Vindicator - for guarding against the Mists. Medusa explains that a prolonged exposure would have brought painful death, for the Mists are not safe for normal humans. Radius remarks that it still doesn’t answer everything, and turning to Black Bolt exclaims that he will bet he can fill them in on the rest. ‘What’s up with you, pal? You haven’t said a word since we met you?’ Black Bolt offers no response, which angers Jared. ‘What are you, too good to talk to us “mere humans?” Come on, say something!’

‘That will be quite enough!’ states Medusa as she grabs Radius with her hair, then holds him up in the air. ‘You’re tying me up in your hair?! I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or turned on!’ Jared exclaims. Karnak tells Judd to be thankful that Black Bolt ignores Radius’ badgering, for his slightest whisper could reduce this city to rubble. Judd remarks that is all well and good, before pointing out that there seems to be a piece missing from the puzzle still - the baby from the ceremony - what happened to it?
Black Bolt motions to a large statue of his father, Randac, and Karnak informs Judd that beneath the statue lies a sprawling living complex, and it is there that the child resides with his parents - it is there that those parents must now decide the child’s fate…for an Inhuman couple to raise a child that bears no genetic gift is rarely heard of in this society.

Thera and Phadros are watching their child, and Thera remarks to her husband that their son has cried for hours. She believes that they must have displeased their ancestors to have this fate befallen on their firstborn son. Thera reminds her husband that she underwent in utero exposure to the Terrigen Mists in the hope of producing an offspring even greater than average Inhuman genes - bit so far he has exhibited nothing save chronic illness and bad temperament.

Thera exclaims that their second attempt to expose their son to the sacred Mists ended in disaster. She fears that angry gods are sending the accursed tremors - determined to rob their son of his heritage - to render him an outcast for all time! Phadros tells his wife to not give into despair. Phadros explains that the tremors are simply a phenomenon of nature and assure Thera that they will pass, and then, when the time is right, they shall once again take their son to the ceremonial chamber. Suddenly, the baby’s eyes begin to glow, and a bright light fills the room. ‘By the soul of Randac!’ exclaims Phadros, while Thera wonders what is wrong with her son.

Outside, the eyes in the statue of Randac suddenly light up too. Nearby the statue, Alpha Flight and the Inhumans are still conversing, and Guardian asks Medusa is her people are also unaware of the cause of these tremors. Medusa replies that all they know is that they have been occurring sporadically for weeks. The amphibious Triton approaches the group of heroes and Guardian asks him how Heather is. Medusa’s cousin replies that Vindicator is resting comfortably now, though he is as confused as the rest of them about the psychic “messages” that have been plaguing her.

Guardian mutters that they still know nothing and declares that he cannot take this, he needs answers. Medusa reminds Guardian that she has already assured him that they will to their best to remedy the matter, adding that Inhumans also value the special bond between man and wife. Radius and Murmur are talking with Karnak, and Jared asks him if he think he can take him out with one shot. ‘Rash one, I can take anyone out with one shot’ Karnak boasts. Flex is admiring the architecture of Attilan and exclaims that he cannot believe his brother is over there playing tough guy when there is so much to see.

Flex motions to the statue and is about to remark on it, when he exclaims that it is moving. ‘Guys, I think you’ll wanna see this!’ he shouts. Everyone watches in horror as the statue of Randac swipes its arms across the rooftops of several buildings. ‘Genes of Agon! The statue of Randac - it has somehow come to life!’ Medusa exclaims. Someone else exclaims that it is moving through the city and points out that hundreds could be killed, before asking what manner of foul sorcery this is. Still looking at the statue in shock, Adrian asks what they can do about it.

As Black Bolt takes to the air, one must wonder if it has ever crossed his mind how frustrating his self-imposed silence is to others. He is beginning to grasp at the answer to this unnatural disaster, as the energy-sensitive antennae on his brow notice a distinct energy pattern around the animated monument of his father. Yes, the answer is starting to become apparent - but to make the others understand would only waste precious time, which is why he soars to the source of the disturbance, leaving his wife, fellows and new friends to deal with the more immediate threat.

Down on the streets below, Gorgon declares that by all he holds holy, he shall not permit some shambling, sentient monolith, even one bearing the image of sainted Randac, lay waste to Attilan. Gorgon exclaims that several well-placed stomps of his thunderous hooves should serve to set up a small tremor of his own, causing the behemoth to lose its footing and stagger into the uninhabited tower nearby, and Agon willing, it will shatter upon impact.

But after Gorgon has finished stomping his hooves, the giant statue of Randac gets back up practically unscathed. Gorgon sees an bolt of electricity hit the statue and wonders who is coming to his aid. From the air, Guardian declares that he thought Alpha Flight and the Royal Family could put aside their differences long enough to deal with this, to which Gorgon tells him that his words make sense - for the first time today! Suddenly, Mac sees the statue sweep its hand up towards him and he tries to move - but is too late. ‘Pretty impressive reflexes for something made of rock’ Mac mumbles once the statue moves its hand away from the wall which Mac was squashed into.

Black Bolt has realized that the child is the key. He knew of the experiment - Thera subjecting her still-gestating embryo to the Terrigen Mists in the hopes of advancing the genetic potential of her child. It was the same unorthodox procedure that Black Bolt’s own mother had undergone…and that which made him the most powerful of his race. Entering the complex where Phadros and Thera are with their child, Black Bolt understands that this attempt again proved to be a success - sort of.

For whereas Black Bolt’s powers manifested themselves suddenly and violently, this child’s have been doing so in more subtle, nearly indecipherable ways. Black Bolt pauses beside the bay’s crib, just for a moment, remembering a moment of his own tortured childhood…and then he takes the frightened boy’s head in his hands. Black Bolt’s powers do not allow him to control thoughts or emotions, but they do enable him to manipulate energy - including the electrical impulses flowing from the child’s powerful mind…and the mammoth plaything with which the child is venting its fear and confusion.

Guardian thinks to himself that they have hit the statue with everything they have, and nothing is working - as if it is being held together through sheer willpower. He knows that he cannot give up, and attempts to gather up all of his suit’s electromagnetic power for one big blast, before calling to Heather and telling her that they could use her help up here, but when he gets no response, he asks what is going on.

Heather is elsewhere in the city, and she can hear the voice again - scared and crying - begging her not to interfere.

‘Okay, King Kong, get ready to take the big fall!’ Guardian jokes as he circles around the statue, only to see it pause - then Mac sees cracks and fissures beginning to open up on the body of the statue and steam starts to pour out. ‘It’s starting to come apart!’ Mac exclaims. Karnak urges everyone to follow him and not panic as he leads them to safety. Guardian exclaims that the statue is on its last legs, and tells his team to “pour it on” by opening up the cracks and cutting this walking nightmare down to size. Puck points out that the statue has already stopped moving, and has started to fall, so he suggests they all get clear! ‘Excellent suggestion!’ Mac agrees as everyone takes cover.

A tear runs down Heather’s cheek - it seems that the destruction of a statue is symbolic of a greater loss - and it is still haunting her hours later, even as the sun shines down on Attilan. Heather turns around on the balcony she stands on and sees Mac, so she asks him why he isn’t at the banquet with everyone else. ‘I could ask you the same thing’ Mac replies, before asking Heather what is wrong, and urging her to talk him.

Heather reveals that she spoke with Medusa who has informed her of what is going on, and reveals that the baby from the ceremony possesses some sort of psionic power over earth and stone. She explains that the tremors and the statue coming to life were products of his fear and frustration, manifested by these elemental powers. Heather reveals that somehow, the child reached out to her mind through her cybernetic link with her geothermal battle suit - he was calling out to her, as a kindred spirit, as someone else linked to the Earth - and even as a scared child needing a surrogate mother.

Heather declares that the bond is still there though - that the child still needs her. Mac suddenly takes Heather in his arms and exclaims ‘I need you, Heather,’ before pointing out that the child has a mother and that Heather has a home - with Alpha Flight - and with him. ‘Oh, Mac…!’ declares Heather as they are about to kiss passionately, when Medusa interrupts them, informing them that Black Bolt is ready to see Heather.

Meanwhile, in the dinning hall, Flex exclaims that this is quite a feast, and asks if there is any chance they could get some of these recipes to take back to Canada. Judd jokes that he has just got to introduce back bacon and Molson Brador to this culture, then they will be set! Karnak watches Flex and exclaims that his appetite rivals that of Ben Grimm.

Radius is sitting by an unimpressed Gorgon and asks him where he buys his shoes. ‘Is there a Payless out here that sells twenty wide, or do you just go to a blacksmith?’ ‘Boy, you are about to find my foot planted firmly in your -’ Gorgon remarks, until Judd pulls Jared back, telling him to cease and desist! Jared asks Puck what he thinks he is doing, as he can take Gorgon, but Judd asks Jared to trust him. ‘He’d kill ya!’ Arlette turns and sees Mac enter the room, and addressing him as James like she always does, she asks him if something is the matter. ‘It’s Heather. I’m not sure she’s coming home’ he replies solemnly.

Heather, Black Bolt and Medusa stand in a darkened room. It is a tempting notion for Heather to remain here in this fairytale kingdom - a place like the ones she used to read about when she was a little girl, in those books that she so enjoyed. There would be no more Department H, no more deceit and manipulations, no more painful memories - no more loved ones dying. There would be no more James MacDonald Hudson and all the emotional turmoil that his presence brings to her, for even though Heather is a young woman, her husband - once her elder - is even younger.

Perhaps that is why these maternal feelings are so prominent now - is that why the Inhuman child grabbed her subconscious? Heather dismisses that thought and faces Black Bolt and Medusa - and in this wordless exchange, there is an understanding: While you will always be welcome in Attilan…you will never truly belong. Medusa turns and leaves the room, and a peaceful look sweep across Heather’s face as the unfathomable energies crackle around Black Bolt’s antennae reaching out to break the child’s psychic link so that Heather may return to where she does belong, with people who love her - and probably more than she or they realize, need her as well.

Alpha Flight stands with the Royal Family as they prepare to say their solemn goodbyes, when suddenly, ‘Hey, everyone! Why the long faces?’ exclaims Heather. Once more clad in her green and white uniform, she tells her teammates that they did their job, and she is ready to go home - back to Canada! Mac remains calm and suggests they get going then. Judd remarks that he bets no one has accused Mac of being an old softie.

Heather looks back at Medusa and Black Bolt, and the Queen farewells Alpha Flight, hoping that that may meet again under less tense circumstances, and that Alpha Flight should know that Attilan owes them a great debt. ‘Always we shall be proud to call you…friends’.

Characters Involved: 

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

Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, Medusa, Triton (all Inhuman Royal Family)

Other Inhumans

Josh and other citizens of Battle Harbor, Newfoundland

In Flashback Images:

Black Bolt & Medusa

Phadros, Thera and other Inhumans

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place between Alpha Flight (2nd series) #16 and #17. And in terms of continuity for the Inhumans, takes place just prior to their Marvel Knights series Inhumans (2nd series) #1.

An error takes place between this issue and Alpha Flight (2nd series) #16, for Murmur still has long hair and is wearing her original costume, when in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #16, she cut her hair and donned a new costume.

Murmur was shot by the Zodiac in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #12 and has been recuperating ever since.

Radius’s comment about all the weirdness happening in Newfoundland recently refers to Alpha Flight’s last adventure, which also took place in Newfoundland in which they battled the Brass Bishop. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #15-16]

“The X-Files” is a long running (1993-2002) series which explored the paranormal and unknown. It starred David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, and in the later seasons featured Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish. It also spawned one film in 1998.

Heather led Alpha Flight from Alpha Flight (1st series) #17 until the teams official disbanding in Alpha Flight (1st series) #130. She was firstly an un-costumed and un-powered leader, before donning her original Vindicator suit in Alpha Flight (1st series) #32. She was, in this summarizers opinion, by far the best leader of Alpha Flight, and is right up there with other leaders like Captain America and Cyclops.

Indeed, compared to Puck everyone on the team is a kid for he is nearly 100 years old, being born close to the turn of the 20th Century.

Sasquatch II was killed in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #12, though Alpha Flight believe it was Walter Langkowski who was killed.

Guardian was believed dead from Alpha Flight (1st series) #12-87 and #100-129.

For some info on Puck’s background see Alpha Flight (1st series) #32.

Luna, the daughter of the mutant Quicksilver and Inhuman Crystal, has displayed no genetic traits, either mutant or Inhuman.

Ben Grimm is of course the Thing of the Fantastic Four, whom the Inhumans, particularly Medusa and Crystal, often affiliate themselves with.

Issue Information: 
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