Alpha Flight (3rd series) #8

Issue Date: 
December 2004
Story Title: 
Waxing Poetic - part 2

Scott Lobdell (Writer), Dave Ross (Penciler), Mark McKenna (Inker), Digital Rainbow (Colorist), Rob & Jimmy @ Comicraft (Letterers) Skottie Young (Cover Artist), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Irving Forbush (President)

Brief Description: 

Major Mapleleaf and Puck battle wax statues of American heroes as Mapleleaf’s horse, Thunder, goes to bring help in the form of the other Alphans. Being watched by the Plodex child is Yukon Jack, sulking after finding out his people no longer want him. Sasquatch argues with a Department H official about not returning Nemesis to their custody. The Dept. H official warns Sasquatch not to come and tell him how to do his job, but Sasquatch returns the threat, severing Alpha’s ties with the Department and warning them to stay away from Alpha, before Thunder comes to pick him and Nemesis up. Centennial is reunited with his great-grandson, and ashamed at what he has become, Centennial manages to scare the boy, telling him that he has returned to live in his home and that if he wants to stay he has to live by his rules. Thunder picks him up, and he joins the battle, in which on two occasions Zuzha sees times when Mapleleaf could have used his powers to his advantage but didn’t, before discovering the Manimator, the villain behind the coming to life of the wax statues. He had hoped to teach his fellow Canadians the error of their idolizing American super heroes. With the battle over, Alpha return to Centennials home. Zuzha confronts Mapleleaf about not using his powers, and tells him she knows that he has no powers, that it is his horse, Thunder that has the powers. Mapleleaf makes out like he thinks she is joking. Centennial tries to make Nemesis feel like part of the team by offering her food, which despite her claim that she doesn’t require food, he tells her asked if she wanted it. When she is alone, she eats it. Elsewhere, the man known as Gardner Monroe awakes to find in his bathroom…the costume he wore in his days as Flashback!

Full Summary: 

They may be new to working as a team against the greatest threats that face their nation - but their hearts are in the right place! (Mostly!) They are…Alpha Flight! Dr. Walter Langkowski, furry on the outside, genius on the inside: Sasquatch! Zuzha Yu, as hot as she is tough: Puck. Yukotujakzurjimozoata, arrogant poopyhead: Yukon Jack! Lou Sadler, all around nice guy: Major Mapleleaf. [Censored], bad and drawn that way: Nemesis. Rutherford Princeton, only getting better with age: Centennial!

Eden Rock, Canada. A man bangs at the door. Someone opens a small flap to see who it is, and upon seeing Gunther, he asks him why he is knocking, as he lives here. Gunther mumbles some words, that the other man does not understand and asks him if he has to use the bathroom. Suddenly reinforced metal door comes off its hinges, ‘He said: open the door!’ someone shouts. Everyone inside the house is sitting around in squalor, and people think that a rival drug gang has started up. A man called Blaque takes charge, declaring that no one makes a move on his crib. ‘That’s certainly one way of looking at it’ proclaims Rutherford „Centennial“ Princeton the third, of the All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight as he enters the room.

Meanwhile, in Montreal, Lou Sadler and Zuzha Yu, a.k.a. Major Mapleleaf and the new Puck respectively are riding Mapleleaf’s flying horse, Thunder, when they are attacked by Thor, Storm and the Human Torch…or not. ‘This is crazy!’ exclaims Zuzha, reminding her handsome teammate that a moment ago these „heroes“ were just wax statues in a storefront museum, but now they are trying to kill them using the super powers of the people the statues were constructed to resemble. ‘Wow, you really do have that expository dialogue down pat’. Lou compliments Zuzha, before telling her to ‘Hold on tight,’ as Thunder does a nose dive towards the street below. As they land, Mapleleaf drops Zuzha off the horse, telling her that he just wanted her out of the line of fire and that she shall be safe here.

Looking around, seeing other statues of heroes come to life, Zuzha looks at Lou and says ‘Uh, not to complain, but t doesn’t feel particularly safe here, eh?’ Mapleleaf salutes as he exclaims ‘Away my trusted steed! Bring help! And Thunder flies off, leaving a disbelieving Zuzha to ask Lou if this is his plan, to get his horse to pull a Lassie and tell the others that the two of them are trapped in a well. ‘Um…Thunder cant talk!’ Mapleleaf replies.

. At the Plodex base in the Arctic Circle, Yukon Jack sits solemnly in a chair and calls his people jerks, for he is not out of the door five minutes and his people are comporting themselves as savages. ‘Who doth need them?’ he asks nobody, unaware that he is being watched by the young Plodex child that Alpha Flight rescued recently. Suddenly, ‘By the multi-hued illumination of the Aurora Borealis!’ Yukon Jack asks, leaping out of his chair, armed with his deadly knife, ‘who wouldst dare to ambush my sacred self?’ Yukon Jack sees who has come up behind him and says ‘Oh. Thunder isn’t it? How might I assist thee?’

Back in Montreal, Zuzha has engaged the wax statues in combat, as she cartwheels and flips herself around the place she says ‘Funny how life changes on a dime, eh? Last week my biggest problem in life, was having to break up the occasional bar fight. If there was anyone less suited to the life of a super hero, that’d be me’. Lying on the ground with the Thing pressing down on him, Mapleleaf calls to Zuzha, telling her that he has faith in her. Suddenly the wax statue of the Thing comes apart, splattering wax all over Lou. ‘Really?’ asks Zuzha in reply to what Lou just said to her. ‘Truly, and thank you,’ says Lou.

As Zuzha helps him up off the ground she asks him why he didn’t use his biocentric power blast to save himself. Mapleleaf mutters that he didn’t think of that at the moment, but the subject gets changed when Zuzha sees the wax statue of the Thing reforming. ‘This is bad!’ they both exclaim as a statue of Colossus comes up behind them, only for Yukon Jack to leap at the wax statue. His teammates are surprised to see him. ‘Score one for Thunder!’ exclaims Zuzha as Lou asks Yukon Jack what of his responsibility to his people. Yukon Jack smashes the wax Colossus as he exclaims he cannot babysit them forever, as eventually they will have to learn to get by without him. Looking around, Zuzha decides that there is no way the wax figures just got up and decided to go on a super powered bender themselves. She thinks someone must be controlling them, someone nearby.

Meanwhile, at Department H headquarters. Walter Langkowski stands before Agent Skimmer, who asks Walter what it is he is exactly saying. ‘I’m not sure where you lost me,’ Walter says, annoyed, telling Skimmer that he knows he said he would bring Nemesis back to Department H custody, but that there has been a change on plans. ‘She’ll be staying with me’. ‘Listen to me, you hyperthyroidial misanthropic moron,’ Skimmer says, pointing a pen at Walt and telling him he doesn’t care how many degrees he has or how many Nobel Prizes he has on his mantel, and that he cares even less how many times he and his little Alpha Flight buddies have „saved the world“, but that he doesn’t come and tell Department H what to do unless he wants to wind up an orange throw rug lining the bottom of Nemesis’ cell.

‘I’m sorry, you were saying?’ asks Walter sarcastically as he transforms himself into Sasquatch and holds Skimmer upside down by his leg. Skimmer cries out in fear, as Walt tells him to listen, and reveals to him that he has never gotten the whole Department H thing, as they always seemed like a bunch of cloak-and-dagger types who were long on intrigue and short on substance and moral fortitude. ‘So let me be clear about this: This version of Alpha Flight isn’t going to trade its soul for a bunch of government I.D. badges, a third rate Quinjet and handicap parking passes‘.

Walt tells Skimmer to stay out of Alpha Flight’s way, and maybe - just maybe - they will leave Department H alone. ‘But no promises’. From the side of the office, Nemesis informs Sasquatch that it would seem ‘Your big red boy scout’ is in need of their assistance, motioning to the horse that has entered the room. ‘Great’ mutters Walt before telling Nemesis he will be right there, while wondering why Alpha Flight couldn’t have a „bat signal“ or a powerful telepath to summon them in times of great danger. ‘We get a flying horse?’ .

Back in Montreal, Mapleleaf runs from the flame-throwing statue of the Human Torch, remembering that his dad used to work side by side with the Original Human Torch of the Invaders. He thinks he should have paid closer attention when his father was bouncing him on his knee. Trapped in the fist of the wax state of the Hulk, Zuzha calls for help. Mapleleaf runs under the Hulk and asks Zuzha if she is okay. Zuzha tells Lou that she doesn’t want to appear ungrateful as she asks him if this is his idea of a rescue. The Human Torch throws flame at the Hulk, causing him to release Zuzha. ‘How’s that?’ Lou asks. ‘Better’ replies Zuzha as she strokes Lou’s face, joking that she is sure he learned how to start fires in Mountie school and asking him if he learned how to put them out.

‘Allow me!’ declares Sasquatch as he claps his hands together, creating a seismic shock and knocking the Human Torch out. ‘Splendid that you’ve joined us!’ declares Lou. Sasquatch pulls on the hair of the wax Thor while telling Lou and Zuzha to get some lift, an aerial view to find out who is controlling the ‘super powered crayons’ so they can shut him down. ‘We’re on it, sir!’ exclaims Lou as he climbs up the side of an upturned bus. As Zuzha uses her acrobatic skills to leap up onto a building, she wonders why Mapleleaf doesn’t fly up. Sasquatch grabs Thor’s hammer off him and starts pummelling him with it.

Back in Eden Rock, people run from the house, others are thrown from it by Rutherford who tells them to stay out. Centennial pulls the man called Blaque from the house by his ear, informing him that before he went into a coma, he was a toddler, barely walking, all full of hope and promise. ‘Now look at you!’ he says, before informing him that he is ashamed to call him his great-grandson. Blaque struggles as he tells his great-grandfather that he obviously doesn’t get it, that the man is trying to crush them and this is how they revolt. ‘You’re revolting all right!’ shouts Rutherford as he slaps his great grandson to the ground. He exclaims that he has been out of it for two decades but that people are still using the same excuses to keep from doing what a man is supposed to do. ‘The only thing holding you back from anything, Malcolm, is you’.

On the ground, Malcolm declares that his name is “Blaque X“ and that Malcolm is the name the Man gave him to keep him down’. ‘Malcolm was the name my granddaughter gave you, you clown!’ Rutherford tells Malcolm, before picking him up and telling him they obviously have a failure to communicate, so he will keep it simple. ‘This is my house,’ Rutherford informs Malcolm that he will be back in a few hours and when he does he expects it to start looking like a home. He informs him that if he wants to stay here, he stays by his rules. ‘Yes, sir,’ Malcolm replies, quite frightened by his great-grandfather. When he asks Centennial where he is going, Rutherford looks at a horse and informs him that some friends could use a hand.

Moments later, Alpha Flight has engaged in battle with the wax statues, while a man in a trench coat stands behind a tree and watches them. He wonders were these super powered defenders come from, as he only has so much of that super mutated meteor wax at his disposal. ‘Though it matters not, those fools! Fools!’ He boasts that nothing will stop Laurent Levessaur from teaching his fellow Canadian citizens the folly of idolizing the American neighbors to the South. Someone taps the Manimator on his shoulder and he looks around to see Puck, hands on hips standing before him.

The Manimator asks Zuzha how she knew it was him, to which she points out that he was the only person not running away, and that no one else is shouting “Fools! Fools!“ under their breath. Laurent tells Zuzha that she doesn’t understand, that he is the Manimator! He informs her that he is using space wax which fell into his backyard to fashion a legion of indestructible American icons in order to beat a sense of National Pride into his fellow countrymen, content to subjugate Canadian culture to the societal succubi to the South.

Zuzha asks him if murdering people is the best way he could think of doing this with his “super powers“. ‘And you better get that monologue fetish looked at, you’re worse than I am!’ she adds before calling him an ‘idiot’ and knocking him out with one punch. With that, all the wax statue freeze in place. ‘Just plain ol` wax statues now!’ Centennial pints out. ‘Verily…now what?’ asks Yukon Jack. ‘Now breakfast!’ Rutherford replies.

Later, at Centennial’s home, Alpha Flight are relaxing in his kitchen. Sasquatch tells Rutherford that his eggs are ready, as Yukon Jack holds his knife out before a large stack of pancakes. ‘Ye there fella, can I offer you a hand?’ Major Mapleleaf asks Malcolm who is sweeping the floor. Malcolm looks at Mapleleaf like he is na idiot or something, as Centennial tells Lou that the boy is fine. Lou and Zuzha then look out the window to where Thunder is grazing, and Zuzha asks Lou if it is the horse. ‘It’s the horse who has the super powers. Thunder, not you’. Lou goes wide-eyed at this suggestion, but Zuzha tells him she will not tell a soul. ‘Ha! Good one!’ says Lou as he taps Zuzha on the arm.

‘So…what do you say?’ asks Walt as he dishes up Centennial’s eggs. ‘Much obliged’ the elderly Alphan replies. Walt corrects him, explaining that he means about Alpha Flight. Rutherford tells Walt that he gave up trying to figure things out about the time Orville and Wilbur took to the air. ‘Way I see it, all things are possible’.

On the roof of Centennial’s home, Nemesis sits, and sits. Rutherford comes onto the roof, telling Nemesis that breakfast is served and holds up a plate of food for her. ‘I am the living embodiment of the spirit of retribution, Rutherford. I do not require food’. Rutherford, who has been slowly building up a rapport with Nemesis tells her he wasn’t asking if she had to eat, but if she wanted to. He puts the food down beside her and leaves her alone again. Nemesis picks up the food.

Elsewhere, in the sprawling nation of Canada, in an anonymous apartment, a man named Gardner Monroe is about to confront his past, and his future. At once. The former actor gets out of bed, and as he enters his bathroom exclaims ‘No…No! P-Please…No!’ as hanging up on the shower rail is the black and white costume he wore when he was associated with Alpha Flight, and known as Flashback!

Next issue: The All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight begins the four-part epic: „Days of Future Present, Past Participle“ And the Alphaverse will never be the same ! No, really! We mean it! See, that’s the problem with comics these days, everyone believes they’ve seen it all…! But they haven’t!

Characters Involved: 

Centennial, Major Mapleleaf II, Nemesis III, Puck II, Sasquatch, Yukon Jack (All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight)

Thunder (Major Mapleleaf’s horse)

Unnamed Plodex child

Flashback / Gardner Monroe

Malcolm / Blaque X (Centennial’s great-grandson) and other thugs

Agent Skimmer (Department H official)

The Manimator / Laurent Levessaur

Wax statues of Black Panther, Captain America, Colossus, Cyclops, Daredevil, Giant Man, Hercules, Hulk, Human Torch, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Nightcrawler, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Storm, Thing, Thor, Vision, Wolverine

Story Notes: 

Centennial refers to Wilbur and Orville Wright. At the beginning of the 20th century the Wright brothers developed the first functioning aeroplanes.

Guest Penciler, Dave Ross, is a previous Alpha Flight artist, the penciler of Alpha Flight (first series) #35-44, 100, which included the death of Snowbird, the first appearance of the Purple Girl, and wedding of Marrina.

Revelations this issue and last would indicate that Nemesis has been held prisoner by Department H since (presumably) the end of Alpha Flight (1st series), however Sasquatch was permitted to use her to help him rescue the missing Alpha Flight members on the condition he would bring her back.

Major Mapleleaf’s father, the Original Major Mapleleaf was a World War II hero who worked with the Invaders. [As told in Alpha Flight (1st series) #106]

Flashback was a disgruntled member of Beta Flight who joined the original Omega Flight. [Alpha Flight (first series) #1, 11-12]. However on the villainous teams last mission together, one of his future selves was killed. [Alpha Flight (first series) #28] Flashback then went to prison, where as revealed by Diamond Lil, one morning he was just no longer there. The widely believed theory was that Flashback’s past had caught up to him and he was pulled back to the Edmonton Mall and killed. His appearance this issue will no doubt reveal what indeed happened to him.

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