The story so far…Oh, Cheeze Whiz – where to start? Lets see, there is Walter Langkowski…and we know that before becoming a Nobel Prize winning scientist…he had gotten to college on a football scholarship and went on to play professionally before ultimately retiring to become a doctor who divided his time equally between cosmic and gamma ray research…which ultimately led to him experimenting on himself in the isolation of the North Pole…which resulted in the quasi-mutation of his cellular structure that gave birth to the hero known as Sasquatch.
Then there is Zuzha Yu, the long abandoned daughter of the original Puck who has no knowledge that her father was forced to – oh, wait. This is going back to far isn't it? You don’t want to read all this stuff about the individual characters’ origins. You’re reading this page to find out what you missed from the beginning of this particular series right? Sorry.
In that case, the original members of The Uncanny Alpha Flight were investigating something to do with the long dead star-spanning Plodex race of planet-dominators when they disappeared, forcing lone team member Sasquatch to “recruit” a handful of newbies for the purpose of rescuing the first team.
Guess this means we wont be learning anything about the smiling woman in the tattered black and white photograph, or why Yukon Jack is bleeding and has a huge blade sticking out of his chest. And then there is the image of a young Rutherford Princeton, decked out in old-school police gear and holding a machine gun. And what’s with the white flying horse, who some hot dude is climbing on to? Oh well.
Riding his flying horse Thunder over the Arctic, Lou Sadler, the handsome young man who also goes by the name “Major Mapleleaf” is telling a story to his fellow “All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight” member, Yukotujakzurjimozoata, or for short “Yukon Jack”… and says ‘He was a hero. Pure and simple. He was the greatest living legend of World War II…Major Mapleleaf…or as we called him around the old homestead, Dad’.
(Flashback, sometime after Major Mapleleaf I retired, but before Alpha Flight (first series) #106)
Two young blond boys are rummaging through the attic of their home, and have come across some of their father’s old gear. The older boy opens a suitcase and declares that their father was the most amazing super hero ever and bets that he could have kicked Captain America’s wings right off his head without even trying. ‘Not that he’d want to,’ says the younger boy who is reading an old paper, with the headline “Invaders, eh!” and a picture of Major Mapleleaf with three of the Invaders, Captain America, the original Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. The younger boy reads the paper and points out that their father helped out the Invaders more times than people know.
The younger boy starts to wonder why their father stopped being a super hero, when Michael pulls out of the suitcase Major Mapleleaf’s hat. The younger boy smiles and Michael puts the hat on his brother’s head, declaring ‘Look out, Hitler – here he comes, Major Mapleleaf!’ The younger brother plays along and standing staunchly with his hands on his hips and says ‘God bless America – all of America’. There is no way two boys could have been prouder of their father.
At that moment, someone else enters the attack – and smacks the younger brother from behind, knocking him to the ground. The boys’ father was a humble and quiet man. Michael looks at his brother before apologizing to their father, and declaring that it was his fault. The younger brother wearily calling his father “Sir” informs him that they were just looking for their baseball gear.
Once the original Major Mapleleaf had retired he dedicated his life to his family, and raising his boys. He was not the type of man to live in the past and bask in the sunlight of his former glory. The unkempt Louis Sadler stands ominously in the doorway as he asks his sons ‘How many times have I told you not to come up here, not to rifle through my personal belongings?’
Sadler tells Michael to wait downstairs. Michael starts to protest and tugs at his fathers’ vest, but Sadler declares that he wants to talk to Edmond about having respect for other people’s privacy. Michael continues to protest, but Sadler tells him to leave. Louis Sadler had decided many years ago that he was going to be there for his sons – he was a role model. Imagine what it must have been like to grow up with an actual icon. Sadler picks up his hat and asks his youngest son – Edmond – if he thinks the hat is a toy. The young boy begins to cry, as he meekly replies ‘No, Sir’.
Living with Louis Sadler was like living with the divine – a compassionate stalwart who had guided and entire nation through the darkest of decades. Sadler closes his eyes and tells his son that the hat is a symbol and it should be honored. Still crying, the frightened boy sobs that he does honor it, before his father begins to beat him.
The young Major Mapleleaf, after finishing his story, asks his companion ‘how can you not love a man like that?’ Yukon Jack cuts the handsome RCMP officer off by asking him if he ever shuts up. “Lou” smiles and tells Yukon Jack not to be such a ‘grumpy puss’, as they have been flying for nearly two hours now and he has run out of campfire songs. Lou reminds Yukon Jack that he has told him his origin, so it is only fair if he tells him his.
Yukotujakzurjimozoata glances sideways and frowns, while remembering some recent event, and he sees himself covered in blood – but informs Lou that he has no origin, for he was born into royalty and beloved by a nation, ‘Alas, I have nothing to share with thee. Sorry’. Lou glances at his companion out of the corner of his eye and gives a somewhat unconvinced ‘Hmp, okay’.
Yukon Jack says ‘Mayhap we shouldst focus’ on the matter at hand, and concentrate on the task of using the Plodex nation-spanning ship to locate and liberate any surviving members of Alpha Flight. Lou smiles and tells Yukotujakzurjimozoata that it is so cool the way he can use “Mayhap” in a sentence.
Thunder the flying horse begins to descend and Yukon Jack asks why. Lou tells him that Thunder is responding to the coordinates of the Plodex entry portal that he whispered to him earlier, and as they approach a small shack, Lou declares that this is the place. ‘Serious?’ Yukon Jack asks, somewhat doubtful.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, specifically Calgary, which some scholars insist is Canadian for “Strip Mall”. Walking out of a public bathroom, the young bartender-cum-super heroine, Zuzha “Puck” Yu…umm…concludes her business…. She wonders why she is so nervous about her debut as a super hero, for it is not as if she hasn’t known since before she was born that she has “powers” she is not supposed to. ‘I mean, how many other little girls spoke from the womb?’
Zuzha walks through a mall, reminding herself that if Sasquatch hadn’t promised to tell her his theory as to how she got her special powers – her train of thought is stopped when she approaches a crowd in an arcade, who are cheering on someone playing one of the games. ‘Go, Tig!’, ‘Wild!’, ‘Busta`move!’ ‘Dance, dude, dance!’ ‘Wha`s that called, the “Orange Crush”?’ ‘Why ain’t he a mutant? Because mutants are blue…duh!’
Zuzha starts to make her way through the crowd: ‘Excuse me – but not by much’ and the comments continue to pass – ‘Alpha Flight rocks!’ ‘Talk about cutting a rug’. Someone calls Zuzha a “Jerk” as she pushes past him, and she reaches the front of the crowd – where Doctor Walter Langkowski, a.k.a. Sasquatch, founding member of Alpha Flight, is playing on a dance machine. ‘Hm, intriguing’ he remarks, as the surprised Zuzha tells Walt that she agreed to help him locate the original members of Alpha Flight, ‘not Beta test some new video game’. Sasquatch sees Zuzha and grabs her by the wrist, telling her she has perfect timing, and he pulls her behind him as he races from the arcade, leaving the crowd staring at the game.
Way up at the top of the country – Actually, more like the top of the world, The ninety-six year old Rutherford Princeton carries in his arms, the anarchist herself – Nemesis – and is suggesting some codenames for himself. ‘Captain Tomorrow? Justice Man? The Flying Fossil? Old Man (<Old Man is a registered trademark)?’. Nemesis says ‘No’ to all the suggestions. The old man calls Nemesis “child” and tells her that if someone told him last week he would be flying over the North Pole carrying an anarchist assassin while trying to come up with a super hero name for himself, he would have said they were crazy. ‘Then again’, he adds ‘Last week I was still comatose – so I probably wouldn't have been saying anything at all’.
Nemesis tells Rutherford that it just goes to show – life is made up of a series of little surprises. With that she jumps from the old man’s arms, and he flies after her as she seems to plummet to the icy landscape below - only for the blood and ebony clad woman to stop in the middle of the air, and hover above the ground. Rutherford has caught up to her and asks her why she never told him she could fly on her own. ‘You never asked’ Nemesis replies matter-of-factly. ‘There is something seriously wrong with you, young woman’ Rutherford mutters.
Back in the woods, Lou and Yukon have entered the shack and climbed down a ladder, which leads into the Plodex complex. Major Mapleleaf frowns and declares that he doesn’t mean to be a “gloomy gus” but that he is disappointed, for he assumed any Plodex headquarters would be a little more impressive. ‘’ says Yukon Jack before Lou remarks ‘then again, I cant make out a thing in this darkness, can you?’ ‘Nay’ replies Yukon. Lou tells Yukon to wait where he is, while he goes back up to Thunder and gets a flashlight from his saddlebag. ‘Nay, again’ replies Yukotujakzurjimozoata, ‘that will not be necessary’.
With that, Yukon Jack extends his hand and creates a glow in the dark tunnel. ‘WOW!’ exclaims Lou, to which Yukon Jack asks him if it is really that fascinating that he can generate his own light source, after all, he is heir to a nation. However, Lou meant “wow”, as in ‘Wow, the Plodex must have come through here’, and looking at the damage in the tunnel, the loincloth wearing Yukon replies ‘Verily’.
Elsewhere, Sasquatch slides down some sort of guttering in another part of the Plodex headquarters, and lands in a small lake of mud. It is just as he theorized, the Plodex entrance system has adapted over the years to best hide itself from unwanted intruders. ‘That dance-centric video game was only the latest example of –’ Walt cant finish his sentence, for a scream marks the arrival of the new Puck sliding down the chute, and Walt catches her in his big furry arms.
Sasquatch puts Zuzha down in the mud and she tells him that she has had enough, for first she was tricked into coming along on this little “mission” with the arm-wrestling game, and now she thinks Walt is trying to humiliate her at every turn. Zuzha turns her back to Walt and tells him that she doesn’t need this and that she has a ‘bar full of stupid drunks’ back in Montreal.
Walter ignores Zuzha and declares that the Plodex defense system operates on something akin to quantum-nano technology, that located with the bacteria of the mud, the anthropomorphic possibilities, once docked to an existing genetic template are virtually incalculable. As mud-mixed Plodex creatures emerge from the mud Puck says ‘You think, eh?’
Back on the top of the world, the anarchist and the old man come across a city! ‘Shut my mouth!’ remarks Rutherford, to which Nemesis snaps ‘We can only hope’. Rutherford tells Nemesis to come on, as this place is a page right out of his life, when he was a Canadian cop on loan to the Chicago police department during something called “Prohibition”. Realizing what era this city seems to be from, Nemesis reveals that she is more than passingly familiar with the era and tells the old man to stop calling her “Child”, for it is neither accurate, nor endearing.
Two people approach Rutherford, a fat old man reveals that Rutherford Princeton is “the third” and declares that on behalf of the people of Chicago of the state of Illinois welcomes him home. Rutherford tells the Mayor that it certainly feels like home. A blonde woman tells Rutherford that she is so happy to see that he is okay, and starts to say ‘As you can imagine, when we heard what happened, dar-’ she never finishes the sentence, for Nemesis slices the woman with her sword.
Blood splatters across Rutherford and he asks Nemesis (calling her “child” still) why she did something like that. Nemesis informs him that the entire tableaux is constructed of illusions, and it is just an elaborate defense system created by the Plodex to lull intruders into a false sense of security. Rutherford sees the device that was used to create the illusion and says ‘Again. Shut my mouth’.
Back in the Plodex compound Major Mapleleaf and Yukon Jack are engaged in battle with small yellow creatures. ‘Will the humiliation never cease?’ asks Yukon as he plows through the creatures. Major Mapleleaf easily fights off the creatures while remarking that there is certainly a lot of them, however based on what Doctor Langkowski said about the threat posed by the Plodex’s living defense system… ‘I guess I was expecting something a little…I don’t know, taller?’.
Soon, Yukon and Lou are tied up and surrounded by the small creatures, who have brought the heroes to their master. Yukon Jack asks Lou if he could not have simple said “Duck”, to which Major Mapleleaf replies that it is not fair he gets all of the blame, as he is not the one with sixteen syllables in his first name. Sitting on a throne, a green-clad man asks if this is what it has come to – the Fantastic Four fear the might of the Mole Man so much, that they are reduced to sending spies against him in search of a weakness.
The elderly villain boasts that they are fools to think they can stand against an entire army of Moloids. Major Mapleleaf informs the Mole Man that he and Yukon Jack are not associated with the Fantastic Four, and that they are actually Canadian, and trying to track down the Plodex. ‘The Plodex, you say?’ asks the Mole Man, before looking quite upset and apologizing to the men, before letting them free.
Yukon Jack walks in front of Lou through a dark tunnel, and Lou declares that considering that was their first encounter with a super-villain, he thinks things went ‘pretty okey dokey – don’t you?’ ‘Frankly I was a bit underwhelmed’ replies the handsome jungle man.
Zuzha walks beside Sasquatch and tells him that she doesn’t care if the costume is made of “unstable molecules”, as she still feels unclean. Sasquatch tells her that if it means anything to her, he thinks her performance in defeating those creatures was exemplary. Zuzha is quite surprised.
Nemesis walks behind Rutherford and tells him to ‘shush’ and asks him if he hears something. Rutherford asks if it sounds like talking.
‘Oh, geeze!’ cries Sasquatch – and Major Mapleleaf – and Nemesis – and Puck – and Yukon Jack – and Rutherford – everyone walks into the same room…but from different angles…!
Next Issue: Have you seen this hoser? (He’s a funky looking yellowish-greenish Plodex dude in blue and white togs).