Alpha Flight (4th series) #6

Issue Date: 
January 2012
Story Title: 
A Murder of Crows

Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Dale Eaglesham (penciler), Andrew Hennessy (inker), Sonia Oback (colorist), Simon Bowland (letterer), Tom Grummett, Terry Pallot & Ferran Daniel (cover artists), Mayela Gutierrez (production), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Louise Stephenson (special thanks)

Brief Description: 

Kyle Jinadu appears on a talk show as part of a PR stunt for Department H. Alpha Flight attempt a rescue mission, which puts them up against Alpha Strike. Shaman faces off against his age-old foe Ranark, while Snowbird battles Wendigo. The Purple Woman keeps Kyle safe, before she puts the live audience under her control and attempts to escape using them as protection. But Marrina attacks the Purple Woman. Citadel joins the battle and attempts to kill Kyle, despite Purple Woman’s protests. Northstar and Aurora arrive on scene and rescue Marrina and Kyle. At Department H, an anxious Director Brown informs the Master of the World that Kyle has escaped. The Master approaches Vindicator and her daughter, and they discuss whether the child is ready for her part in the procedure. The Master reveals his origin to the young girl. Back at Alpha Flight’s base camp, Sasquatch and Guardian examine their “miracle mystery machine”, while Northstar tries to coax back Kyle’s memories. Kyle attempts to escape, before he is apprehended by Snowbird. Guardian and Northstar reflect on the states of Kyle and Vindicator, before Sasquatch notices that Kyle only has four toes. At the Canadian border, Wolverine arrives - returning to Canada!

Full Summary: 

‘…and we’re back on “Wake Up, Edmonton” with Department H spokesman Kyle Jinadu!’ the host of the morning show announces as he and Kyle sit on blue sofa in the studio. The host asks Kyle to tell the viewers the number of the toll-free hotline for reporting suspicious activity. ‘1-555-Unity-Now’ Kyle replies, adding that it is not just for Alpha Flight sightings, ‘But we take those too!’ he exclaims. The host smiles and tells Kyle that he has a tough question for him: ‘You actually…roomed with a member of Alpha Flight’ he states. ‘Yes. Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar’ Kyle replies. ‘Well. I mean, what…how…’ the host remarks. Kyle calls the host Blake and tells him that these terrorists deceived all of them, and then did everything they could to destroy them all. ‘I ended up in a body cast. And I swore I wouldn’t let them to that to the rest of this great country’ Kyle announces.

Walking off stage, Blake tells Kyle that he did a bang up job, and asks if there are any national posts opening up. ‘Feeling kinda underutilized out here’ Blake explains, to which Kyle tells him to be grateful for the quiet. Kyle adds that the Prime Minister would not have assigned Alpha Strike to protect him if the situation wasn’t deadly serious. Blake tells Kyle that if was that rough Department H would have sent one of the heavy-hitters. ‘Not that freaky-looking chick you got -’ Blake begins, before he is interrupted by a voice that calls out ‘Sorry, what’s that?’ Blake turns and sees standing in the shadows Kara Kilgrave a.k.a. Purple Woman. ‘I didn’t mean anything but it, I just -’ he begins, but Kara declares ‘I’m the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen’, putting Blake under her control. ‘My - my God. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen’ Blake declares. ‘You really want to go get me a coffee’ Purple Woman orders. Blake smiles and addressing her as “Miss Kilgrave” tells the Purple Woman that it would be a huge honor and would make his day.

Inside a coffee shop, ‘Careful, you moron! Just a touch of cream, I said!’ Blake snaps at the kid behind the counter, who looks petrified as Blake holds a knife to his face. ‘Now the sugar! Screw this up and I’ll !@#$%^ kill you’ Blake warns him. Holding the takeaway coffee in a tray as he marches out the door, Blake whistles, and walks straight onto a busy road. ‘Watch it, ya -’ someone calls out. ‘Stupid idiot!’ another shouts as he swerves to miss Blake, but crashes into another car. A large truck honks its horn as Blake strolls in front of the truck, blissfully unaware of the impending danger. Suddenly, a large white owl swoops down and picks Blake up, taking him into the air, he drops the coffee. ‘Coffee! Noooo!’ he shouts, before the white owl drops him down on a nearby rooftop.

Still under the influence of the Purple Woman’s power, Blake sees Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen standing on the rooftop, and shouts ‘I’ll kill you, you dirt bags! You hear me? You’re dead!’ but Shaman tells him to shush. As a murder of crows flies overhead, Shaman pulls from his medicine pouch a vial of “waters of clear sight”, thinking they should cure host of Purple Woman’s control. Blake’s skin returns to its regular color, and as realizes Shaman is standing in front of him gasps ‘Alpha Flight? Oh God - help! Help!’, while the crows continue to circle overhead. ‘Oh, sure…I’m the scary one’ Shaman mutters, as the murder of crows suddenly takes the form of Ranark the Ravager!

Blake holds his nose at the stench, while the giant white owl perches behind Shaman. Ranark with his long bony fingers turns and declares ‘Shaman of the Two-Young-Men - and all betrayers of their clan!’ Ranark announces that he bears greetings from his masters, the Great Beasts of the North. ‘In their name, they command me to eat thy heart’ Ranark tells Shaman. Ranark’s form takes on a more solid appearance and he curses Shaman with the icy touch of Tundra, beast of the land. ‘Soon your flayed skin shall line my medicine pouch!’ Ranark boasts as he fires ice shards at Shaman, who reaches into his medicine pouch and utters ‘Skyfather’s light…mocks the power of your Beasts, Ranark!’ as Shaman surrounds himself in a ring of fire. ‘Thou cravest light, blasphemer? Embrace Tolomaq, beast of fire!’ Ranark booms as energy surrounds him.

The giant owl moves backwards, away from the energy, when suddenly, Wendigo lunges up the side of the building, howling its name, it grabs the owl by its ankle, forcing the owl to revert to its true form - that of the elegant goddess Narya, better known as Snowbird. ‘So, the Beasts’ slave has brought beasts of his own’ Snowbird remarks, before warning the Wendigo that she has defeated him, single-handedly, once before, and will happily do so again. With that, Snowbird uses her incredible strength to punch the Wendigo in the face before it has a chance to climb onto the roof.

Back inside the studio, Kyle is about tot head out the door, when Kara tells him to wait. ‘That noise. You don’t think -’ he begins, to which Kara announcers that their mole didn’t lie, and tells Kyle that Alpha Flight is going for the grab now. ‘Make way!’ Kara shouts as she grabs Kyle and races back onto the set, standing in front of another announcer, Kara addresses the audience: ‘We interrupt this broadcast for an important news bulletin: You are all coming with me!’ Kara utters as she puts the audience under her control.

Up above, Wendigo lunges onto the rooftop and slams a fist down, roaring, however Snowbird leaps back and dodges his attack, while ripping a chunk of concrete up, she holds it towards him. At that moment, Kara orders the crowd under her control to keep moving, while Kyle exclaims ‘Northstar’s coming, isn’t he? I want a gun’. Kara tells him to shut up, but Kyle states again that he wants a gun. On the rooftop, Shaman creates a small storm over Ranark, who releases energy towards Shaman and shouts ‘By Kariooq the Corruptor, thy bones will become as brittle as spring ice, and -’, but he is stopped in his tracks by the storm.

Kara, Kyle and the controlled audience members arrive outside, and Kara tells Kyle that, for a smart guy, he is pretty dense. ‘Unity doesn’t give a damn what you want. They sent you on this nationwide PR buzz as a giant middle finger to Alpha Flight’. ‘All I want to do is protect my adopted country -’ Kyle remarks, but Kara tells him that he is not a hero, that he is simply bait. ‘And these tools actually bit’ Kara mutters. Suddenly, ‘Catchphrase!’ Marrina, the alien member of Alpha Flight, exclaims as she bursts up through a drain hole in the ground, knocking Kara over.

‘Wha-’ Kara begins. ‘I gotta spell it out?’ Marrina asks, before punching Purple Woman in the face, while next out through the drain hole is a large orange squid. ‘What the devil -’ Kyle begins, while Marrina wraps an arm around Kyle’s neck and declares ‘Oh, it’s just a cephalopod. I dragged him all the way from the Pacific. He seems really ticked about it, for some reason’. Marrina tells Kyle that it is time to get him back in the arms of his main man, Jean-Paul. ‘So I can kill him!’ ‘Ooh. Kinky’ Marrina remarks.

‘Come, Snowbird! Our work here is done!’ Shaman calls out as he stands behind the Alpha Strike members Ranark and Wendigo. Narya tells Shaman to go, as she transforms herself into a swarm of insects, avoiding Wendigo’s lunge, she flutters around Ranark’s face, distracting him. ‘NO!’ Ranark shouts, before casting forth a large surge of energy, knocking Shaman back and causing Snowbird to revert to her default form, as they land hard on the rooftop. Ranark’s energy is cast downward, and knocks Marrina and Kyle aside, enabling Kyle to run free from Marrina. ‘Ha! So long, freak!’ Kyle calls out. Marrina calls him an idiot and tells him to watch out - as a nearby motorcycle explodes.

Nearby, Citadel stands with a car held high into the air, while Purple Woman tries in vain to hold him back. ‘Alpha Strike’s objective is to protect Jinadu!’ Kara reminds Citadel, who announces that there is a new directive - Kyle is expendable. ‘What? I told you I needed a gun!’ Kyle exclaims as Marrina grabs a hold of him once again. Citadel tells Kyle not to beat himself up about it, as the gun wouldn’t have helped much, before he throws the car towards Marrina and Kyle. ‘Stupid stupid - woohoo!’ Marrina shouts as she and Kyle are picked up and taken into the air before the car harms them. ‘Thanks for the lift, Aurora!’ Marrina tells Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, who replies ‘But of course’. ‘Hey, handsome’ Northstar smiles at Kyle, who looks concerned. ‘Wha-’ Kyle mutters, before Northstar kisses his lips. ‘Mmm…remember me?’ Northstar asks. ‘Wow’ Kyle utters, wide-eyed, rubbing his head. Northstar just smiles.

Meantime, at Department H, Ottawa, Director Jeff Brown strides down a corridor, ‘Master! Alpha Flight’s escaped - with Jinadu!’ Brown shouts out, alerting the Master of the World to the crisis. ‘Don’t worry, Agent Brown. Unity now…unity forever’ the aster replies cryptically as he gazes out a window.

Back soaring across the sky, Marrina clings to the back of Aurora and calls out to Northstar, asking him if he is okay, while Kyle struggles in Northstar’s arms, shouting ‘You traitor! Terrorist!’, as Jean-Paul tells him to calm down. ‘You’re still under the influence…but we’re going to - ow. Ouch. Kyle - uff!’ Northstar mutters as Kyle continues to struggle and punch Northstar.

‘What happened?’ asks Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator as the Master of the World enters the nursery where Canada’s most faithful hero sits with her daughter, Claire. The Master tells Heather that the trustworthiness of their mole was verified. ‘We can count on Aurora’s “Jeanne-Marie” personality in the future. When it matters’ he explains. ‘It always matters. You should have let me join them, We could have crushed their little resistance once and for -’ Heather begins, before the Master interrupts her: ‘Hush, Heather…you don’t want to agitate the baby’ he declares, while Claire utters ‘Fahtruck!’ as she plays with a toy fire truck.

The Master kneels down beside Heather and her daughter, and reminds Heather that the baby needs to be perfectly calm for the procedure to work the way they desire. ‘Have you…discussed things with her?’ the Master enquires. ‘Fahtruck’ the girl utters again. ‘Not…not yet’ Heather tells the Master, who asks her ‘You want this, don’t you?’, and Heather replies that of course she does, adding that everything she has done has been for her daughter - for this. ‘Claire, who loves you?’ the Master asks, putting the girl on his knee. Claire looks up at the Master and frowns as only a child could, before replying ‘Mamma. Wen’go. Unca Masta’. ‘That’s right. And you shall soon embark on a very special trip. I trip I went on myself…’ the Master tells her, his voice trailing off.

Flashback images, circa 40,000 years ago, narrated in the present by the Master:

The Master reveals that about forty thousand years ago he was a dirty, hairy man who lived in a cave with lots of other dirty, hairy people. But he didn’t like it. So, he did what any superior person should do, and took what he wanted from the others. However, weaklings, when united, can be annoyingly strong, so he set off on his own, walking through snow and ice that would have killed any lesser man, until he found his destiny. He did not have the words then to describe what he saw, but even as the fallen, alien space craft seized him, even as its lacerating tentacles flayed the skin and muscles from his bones, and even as it broke him down and rebuilt him, cell by cell, he knew that here was where he belonged.


The Master explains that the aliens who sent that ship hoped to create monsters to destroy humanity, but instead they created this planet’s savior. ‘For the Master of the World has seized the technology that made him - and perfected it!’ he boasts, adding that soon he will perfect all of the human race, and lead them to their rightful place as conquerors of the universe. ‘Fahtruck?’ Claire asks, looking up at the Master.

Meantime, at Alpha Flight’s base camp, at the Sain Elias Mountains in the Yukon, a member of the Alpha Flight Resistance called Rita is tending to Snowbird’s wounds, while Shaman hovers behind them. She tells Shaman that he needs to rest, and adds that magical meditation does not count. Shaman calls the woman Rita and tells her that Ranark is stronger than he ever knew, and that if he lets the mystic shielding fall, Ranark will find them in seconds. Standing nearby, Dr Walter Langkowski remarks to James “Mac” MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian that at least they are in one piece. ‘Barely. I should have gone with them, Walt’ Mac tells his friend. ‘You think I don’t miss smashing things up, too?’ Walt asks, referring to his current inability to transform into Sasquatch. Walt points out that they don’t have much time, and for their plan to work, the team needed their two big brains here, building the little miracle mystery machine. They both look up at a massive mechanical contraption.

Inside one of the tents, Kyle sits on a stretcher, his hands tied behind his back. ‘And you call us fascists’ he mutters. Northstar holds an ice-pack to his own face and tells Kyle that he is sorry. ‘Yeah, well…I did kind of lose it a bit there, didn’t I?’ Kyle replies. He hangs his head and tells Jean-Paul that he is sorry, explaining that it is like there is a voice in his head that is shouting all the time - all this Unity garbage. ‘And then I look at you…and I can almost remember…who I really am’ Kyle smiles. Jean-Paul sits down beside Kyle and tells him that everything is going to be all right. ‘Walt and Mac are on it. You just have to trust them to -’ he begins, before Kyle shouts ‘Ha!’ and head-butts Northstar by shoving his skull against Jean-Paul’s, knocking Northstar over.

‘Traitors! All of you!’ Kyle shouts as he rushes out of the tent, running past two of Alpha Flight’s supporters. Kyle stops dead in his tracks however when Snowbird, transformed into a large woolly mammoth appears before him. ‘AGGGH!’ Kyle screams, before being lifted up as the Snowbird grabs him in the mammoth’s trunk. ‘You all right?’ Mac asks Northstar as exits the tent, rubbing his head. ‘I’m fine’ Northstar mutters as he looks at Kyle, struggling to break free of Snowbird’s hold, his shoes even fall off. ‘Don’t worry, Jean-Paul. You’re reaching him. You can see it in his eyes. Can’t fake that’ Mac declares, adding that they will bring him back. ‘Yes. And Heather, too’ Jean-Paul replies, the two men looking sincerely at each other. ‘Heather?’ Mac asks. ‘Yeah, Heather, too’ Mac whispers, hanging his head. Suddenly, Walt calls out to them, ‘I hate to break it to you…’ he begins, as he grabs the struggling Kyle’s leg. ‘Leggo, you dirty monsters!’ Kyle protests. ‘…but this Unity thing might be a little more complicated than we thought. Count the toes’ Walt declares as he holds up Kyle’s foot - with only four toes!

Meantime, at the US / Canadian border. Border patrol officers walk amongst the queues of cars lined up. ‘Hey, what’s the hold up?’ someone calls out as they step out of their car. One of the officers orders them back into the car, while another speaks through a megaphone and announces that due to a credible threat detected by Canadian anti-terrorism agencies, the Prime Minister has issued an emergency degree. ‘Effective immediately, no Americans will be allowed to cross the border!’ he orders. While some cars turn around and drive away, one pulls right up to the patrol officer. ‘You deaf, bub? Turn it around!’ the officer calls out. But the driver of the car replies that it is all right, and holds up his Canadian passport. ‘I’m coming home’ announces Logan - a.k.a. Wolverine!

Characters Involved: 

Aurora / Jeanne-Marie, Guardian, Marrina, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird (all Alpha Flight)

Northstar, Wolverine (both former members of Alpha Flight)

Citadel, Purple Woman, Ranark the Ravager, Vindicator II, Wendigo (all Alpha Strike)

Kyle Jinadu

Claire McNeil Hudson

Director Jeff Brown

Master of the World

Rita and other members of Alpha Flight’s resistance

Blake and other staff of “Wake Up, Edmonton”

Audience members

Shop assistant

Various civilians

Border control officer

In the Master’s story

Eshu / Master of the World

Other cave people

Story Notes: 

Snowbird single-handedly took down a Wendigo in the classic Uncanny X-Men #140.

The Master’s origin can be seen in the classic Alpha Flight (1st series) #3. It is re-told here in a cartoon style as the Master narrates his story to young Claire.

The alien space ship that called to the Master belonged to the Plodex, Marrina’s race.

Issue Information: 
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