Call them the legends of tomorrow, call them the heroes of today, call them Alpha Flight! Every story needs to start somewhere….
Six unique individuals stand gathered together, all prepared for battle, before some menacing threat. The ebony and scarlet clad woman known as Nemesis turns to the furry orange monster Sasquatch – or when he is in his human form, known as Doctor Walter Langkowski – and tells him that she has been to Hell – twice – and that even that did not look as bad as the situation they are in. The young Asian-Canadian woman towards the back of the group supposes that it is too late to turn back now, and the loincloth wearing man in front of her admits that he was pondering the same question. The strikingly handsome blond man at the front of the group tries to rally the spirits of the others and gives them a quote his father once said; “When you feel most like a sap – that’s the time to make syrup”. The elderly black man near the back of the group declares that all things considered he would rather be back in the day room watching “The View”.
Okay. Well. Maybe this isn't the best place to start this particular story….
(Flashback, sometime earlier)
The Wilds of Western Canada, a country where ninety percent of the population lives on only ten percent of the land. A deer jumps through some bushes followed by a gunshot and a loud ‘Yaaeeehaaa!’ from someone nearby. Two men, one old, one young, emerge from the bushes as the older man holds his gun towards the deer and jokes “Who’s your Bambi?”. The younger man laughs at this ‘Lol! You’re such a maroon’ he says to the older man, who makes a remark about the younger using “Lol” in a sentence.
The two men stand over the wounded deer and suddenly freeze when they hear a “snap” nearby. They look upwards where they see a handsome Native American man wearing nothing but a loincloth, some boots and wristcuffs and who is holding a large spear-shaped bone. The older hunter asks the mysterious man who he is, and calling the men “mortals” the reply is that it is unlikely they could pronounce his name even if they were sober. The handsome man suggests that the hunters leave this place unless they want their entrails to adorn the leaves tomorrow. Unable to understand the Shakespearean-like way of the stranger’s speech, the young hunter asks the elder what he means, and the older suggests they run – which they do.
The “jungle man” sighs before proclaiming ‘What fools these mortals be’ and tending to the deer. He apologizes to his antlered brother and informs it that it will go to a better place. Suddenly, someone declares that there is another way. ‘By the twin gods of sun and moon’ cries the handsome man before turning around and asking the lab-coat wearing man who approaches him what manner of mortal he is that he could “sneak up” on him. The lab-coat wearing man is none other than Dr. Walter Langkowski, founding and senior member of Canada’s Premiere Super Hero team – Alpha Flight!
The scientist addresses the “jungle man” as Yukotujakzurjimozoata and introduces himself while Yukotujakzurjimozoata stands shocked that Walter could pronounce his name and that he did it almost perfectly. Yukotujakzurjimozoata asks Walter what he would know of his world, and Walter replies that he cannot tell him a lot, but what he can tell him is that there is a whole world beyond the woods that needs his help, even though they will fear and hate him for being a being they cannot even begin to understand. Yukotujakzurjimozoata folds his arms across his chest and asks Walter why he would want to forsake his kingdom and people who adore him to help a world who would fear and hate him. Walter glances sideways stuck for words, he cannot offer a reason, and as Yukotujakzurjimozoata leaves, the deer looks up at Walter bewildered.
Sometime later, Montreal, in the shadow of McGill University, is a tavern which serves both the college campus and the locals. Often, tensions arise between the two peoples. A young college student points to an older man and declares that he is in his seat. An older man sticks up for his friend, and the college student is backed up be a friend of his own, calling the older man a plebeian. The older man announces that he is going to look up “plebeian” tomorrow, but that right now he intends to ‘kick your –’ before the first kick can be made a baseball bat comes between the two sparring groups by a young woman who says ‘Not in my bar, eh?’. Her name is Zuzha Yu and aside from being a college dropout turned barkeeper, she is one tough cookie.
Zuzha takes the men one at a time, displaying an amazing acrobatic skill, she reveals that when she was kicked out of school she had to fend for herself and that she did not start a bar so that it could be wrecked. ‘Eh?’ Zuzha also happens to have a knack for espousing expository dialogue in the midst of battle. Zuzha looks to the right when she hears clapping and someone telling her she is very impressive. Dr. Walter Langkowski – still wearing his lab coat – sits at a dimly lit table and informs Zuzha that her government needs her and her special talents, adding that he must warn her there are time she will be asked to defend a world that hates and fears her.
‘What? And give all this up?’ asks Zuzha before dragging two of the brawlers away and telling Walt ‘Thanks, but no’. Walter watches Zuzha leave before looking down to his notepad and below the names “Yukon Jack” and “Puck” are his prompts for getting these people to join his cause. “Save world”, “World that hates and fears you” and “Full benefits package. Medical, dental, reincarnation”. Walt crosses out the “World that hates and fears you line”.
Somewhere at an undisclosed location… well if we tell you…who would buy issue two? The deadly woman known as Nemesis, a name she has earned as an anarchist, wakes up. She looks up from the cold table she lays on and sees Walter – still wearing that lab coat – who reveals that he used the last of his official government favors to have her brought to this old Department H lab. He did so, so that he could inject her with the nano-technology he needs to control her and her dark sword and make her part of a new Alpha Flight. ‘I am certain you believe that is true’ says Nemesis defiantly before grabbing her molecule-width sword and jumping up from the table.
Walt grits his teeth and tells Nemesis – otherwise known only as Jane – that he realizes she is a nihilist politically, but that she cannot rebel against a world if it ceases to exist. Walt knows Nemesis is about to lunge at him an informs her that if she intends on attacking him or any other member of Alpha Flight she should remove her hood first or she will end up hurling all over the inside of her mask. Nemesis leans against a table for support and reeling after what just happens she asks Walt if by “team members” he means their secret identities too, or just in their super-hero form. Walt transforms into Sasquatch and grabbing Nemesis by the next he swings her around, telling her she has a good point, he knocks her against a wall and as she falls to the ground he informs her he will get back to her on that one.
Later still, at an elementary school in Vancouver, where Sergeant Commander Lou Sadler, better known as Major Mapleleaf sits upon his horse and talks to the school children, asking them what every safe citizen knows about crossing the street. The school children simultaneously reply “Cross at the Green! Not in between!” Major Mapleleaf asks the kids who would like to ride his horse, Thunder, and they all exclaim that they do.
Watching from the sidelines, Walt – who is still dressed in his lab coat – thinks to himself that he cannot do it, no matter how much he needs the help, he cannot get around the fact that this guy proudly calls himself “Major Mapleleaf ”.
Umm, this from a guy who calls himself Sasquatch? A case of the kettle calling the pot orange, if there ever was one.
Two police officers walk up to Walt and ask if they can help him. Walt replies that he is just ‘observing’ and they ask what he is observing.
Several hours later, that same day, Walt – still wearing the same lab coat – is at the Eden Rock nursing home and grumbles ‘Body cavity search was so unnecessary …was a time an Alpha Flight priority card meant something in this country’ while standing over a man who is in a coma. Two nurses stand and gawk at Walt, one declaring that he is a hottie, while the other announces that she prefers her men to look more rugged and outdoorsy, however gives Walter points for dedication.
Walter looks over a clipboard containing details on Rutherford Princeton, who at ninety-six years old, Walt thinks, must have lots of stories to tell. As insight comes with age, the wisdom that comes with life experience. Walt declares that it is such a “civilized” world they live in where they are so quick to retire their most valued natural resources instead of … ‘Boola! Boola!’ cries Walt transforming into Sasquatch and trying to scare life back into the aged comatose man – and it certainly works for Rutherford biffs Sasquatch through the roof of his room and sends him flying into a water tower, cracking the top of it and sending water flowing downwards on top of the founding Alphan.
Rutherford Princeton flies out of his room and asks Walter what that was all about. Sasquatch apologizes and informs the old man that time is of the essence. Walt reveals that he had become aware of Rutherford’s unique bio-rhythmic dissident years ago while he was doing some government research on Veterans of the Canadian military. Walt is about to reveal who requested this research when Rutherford cuts him off, declaring that when one gets to his age, they do not care much for the details. Sasquatch transforms back into Walt and agrees, before saying that he surmised that with the proper shock he could trigger Rutherford’s long dormant super powers. Rutherford tells Walt that he lucked out, for after almost ten decades it takes a lot to shock him. Rutherford smiles and tells Walt that he will tell him all about it over a beer or two.
Later, at Pant Pant Pant, a strip club, Walt frowns as show girls pawn over the patrons and Rutherford looks up at one of the girls very impressed. Walt asks if he is making any sense, and Rutherford declares that he has does, saying that he has been in a coma for fifteen years almost and that in that time there have been things called “super heroes”, “mutants” and “artificial intelligence” to name but some of these ‘fancy things’ some good, some not so. Rutherford repeats what Walt must have told him – that now, things are in their darkest for Mother Canada and Walt is in such desperate need he actually triggered Rutherford’s own super powers with the hopes that he would help him out.
Slumped over, Walt says ‘MmmYes’ before Rutherford asks of there is no way Walt can tell how long the whole “super powers” thing is going to last. ‘MmmNo’ replies Walt as Rutherford exclaims that he could be dead tomorrow from the shock to his system alone, let alone making a misstep as a super hero. ‘MmmYes’ mumbles Walt before Rutherford puts his hand out and Walt informs him that he is out of “singles”. Rutherford gets up from his seat and tells the doctor that it is not a problem as he is just leaving. Walt looks over at the old man, who is walking out of the bar with his two nurses from the rest home. Rutherford smiles at Walt and jokes that laying his life on the line for God and Country is a noble goal, but that the truth is that he is “on the clock” and admits to Walter that he is grateful for the new lease on life. ‘Us too’ says one of the nurses while the other laughs. Walt frowns before slumping down onto the table face-forward he bangs his head.
Major Mapleleaf walks over to Walter and wakes him, declaring that it is an honor to meet him. The handsome young man reveals that “Major Mapleleaf ” is just his public persona out of respect for his father, and saluting Walter, Lou tells him that when the two officers explained what he was doing skulking around the schoolyard – Walt interrupts and snaps that he was not skulking – that he tracked him down as soon as he heard he may have need of his super-powered services. Walt looks at Lou and asks if he would consider a ‘much needed name change’ and puzzled, Lou replies that he doesn’t understand.
‘Best not to look a gift horse in its mouth, physician’ comes the remark from Yukotujakzurjimozoata as he enters the club and informs Walt that he has considered the request. Major Mapleleaf introduces himself and telling the jungle man that he is pleased to meet him. Yukotujakzurjimozoata ignores Lou and boasts that Walt could benefit from a leader with his natural abilities. ‘Uh, excuse me, sir. Talking here’ says Lou.
Walt rubs his chin and says that as loathe to admit it as he would be to turn the role of leadership to an inexperienced novice with ‘a massive royal chip on his shoulder’ because there are only two other members, himself and ‘the big red boy scout’. Walt doesn’t think he has many choices but to - Walt is cut off by Zuzha Yu and Nemesis, who dressed rather revealingly – though Nemesis still has her mask on – lay on the stage and Zuzha asks since when did they become chopped liver. Nemesis tells Walt to just try and start an All-New All-Different Alpha Flight without them ‘if you dare’.
‘Oh my’ says Walt, Yukotujakzurjimozoata says ‘Verily’ while Major Mapleleaf gasps and rushes over to Zuzha with his vest in hand he tries to cover her, asking her to have ‘a little decorum’. As Zuzha protests he calls her ‘young lady’ and insists. Zuzha shakes a fist at Lou and after quoting him says ‘Man, we’re the same age’. Yukotujakzurjimozoata tells Walter that he needs an answer and asks again if he is to be leader. Walt proclaims that he must be dreaming and Nemesis leans into him, grabbing his tie as he pulls away and she says ‘You think?’
Walter leans up – he wakes up – looking around the deserted strip club he sees no one but a cleaner. He closes his eyes shaking off the dream and leaves the club. Walking over to his aircraft he finds that he has been given a ticket. He opens the door ands sees the deer that was shot earlier while in the forest. He smiles and sits down by it, letting it lick his hand.