Alpha Flight (5th series) #3

Issue Date: 
December 2023
Story Title: 
Divided We Stand, part three

Ed Brisson (writer), Scott Godlewski (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer & production), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Leonard Kirk & Edgar Delgado (cover artists), Carlos Gomez & Jesus Aburtov (after John Byrne Alpha Flight #6 Homage Variant cover artists), Drew Baumgartner (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)


Brief Description: 

In Oregon, the rebel Alpha Flight members Northstar, Aurora, Fang and Nemesis protect Feedback from the Box Sentinels sent to apprehend him, and Department H Director, Erika Dorion, orders the Box Sentinels to take out Alpha Flight. Department H's Alpha Flight – Guardian, Snowbird, Puck and Shaman – arrive at Department H to learn of what is currently transpiring, but keep their displeasure to themselves. Erika orders Roger Bochs Jr., who controls the Box Sentinels, not to let the rebel Alpha Flight escape – but it's too late, as Nemesis teleports them away with Feedback. Erika is not shy about hiding her frustrations. At Krakoa North, Laurent, one of the rescued mutants, starts to grow anxious about what is going to happen, and doesn't understand why they have to wait to go to Chandilar, as surely there must be somewhere closer they can escape to, but when Chandilar pvoes to be the only option, he decides he just wants to go home. Nemesis is weakened and unable to teleport her teammates all the way back to Krakoa North, so they seek refuge in Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. Despite her injuries, Nemesis assures her teammates that she just needs to rest and will get them back to Krakoa north. Back at Department H, Roger picks up the missing Alphans bio-signatures and Erika agrees for Guardian and the others to bring them in, but warns Guardian not to let his former teammates make him look bad again. As Nemesis recovers, Fang tells Feedback that he was recently on a mission in Santo Marco that left dozens dead because a mmutant called Feedback over-extended himself and died as a result. Fang reveals that Feedback had been scheduled for resurrection – but it hadn't happened yet. Feedback reveals that some time ago he cloned himself at Department H and escaped because his contract had been sold to a corporation in Santo Marco, and so the clone was sent to become a living battery for this corporation, while he escaped and created a new identity for himself. He worries about his wife and daughter, before Northstar scolds him for what he let happen to the clone. Aurora monitors Nemesis and sees that she isn't getting any better, and suggests they come up with a new plan, but Nemesis is determined to rescue her teammates – but she collapses and in the process is unmasked, revealing herself as Heather Hudson – just as Guardian arrives on scene with his teammates, apparently having no idea his wife was now Nemesis.

Full Summary: 

Bend, Oregon, U.S.A, where outside a diner, Akihiro a.k.a. Fang slices the head off one of the Box Sentinels and remarks that he is disappointed to see Canada buying into Orchis' bull$#&% - but that he is more than happy to send their Sentinels back as scraps. He raises his claws again, while Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar speeds towards another Box Sentinel with his fists ready to strike, and his twin sister, Jeanne-Marie a.k.a. Aurora hovers above the fight, blasting another of the Box Sentinels with intense light. 'How...' Albert Louis a.k.a. Feedback utters as he stares out at the battle, when suddenly, someone appears behind him.

Albert turns, and sees the mysterious woman known as Nemesis, who informs him that they are here to save him from Department H. 'Department H? I thought...I thought this was Orchis' Feedback remarks. Nemesis tells him that it is both – that they are working together. Raising her sword, Nemesis informs Feedback that they have somewhere safe to take him, somewhere that Department H can't reach him. An explosion sounds as Northstar receives the brunt of a blast fired by a Box Sentinel. 'No... this is my fight' Feedback tells Nemesis as he surrounds himself in an energy field and rushes into battle.

Department H headquarters, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where Department H's new director, Erika Dorion, is at her desk, communicating with Roger Bochs Jr. via intercom, she snaps at Roger, 'Pull it together!' She reminds him that this is supposed to be his big debut and is letting the mutants walk all over him. 'I've got it!' Roger retorts from his lab, where he uses a video-link to control the Box Sentinels. 'Don't say it – prove it to me!' Erika shouts, while her assistant stands nearby, watching. 'Take them down. No prisoners' Erika tells Roger, who narrows his eyes and replies 'Okay! Okay!' Erika then slams her laptop screen down and decides that this is useless, that she can't do anything from here. 'Clearly this clown needs direct supervision' she decides.

Back in Oregon, Aurora blasts another Box Sentinel with light, unaware that another Box Sentinel is flying towards her – and blasts her from behind, causing her to fall from the sky where she lands on top of a car. 'Aurora!' Northstar calls out, distracted by his sister's fall, he is unable to prevent another Box Sentinel blast him at close range, knocking him backwards.

Making her way through Department H, Erika tells her assistant that she wants a desk, monitors and full support staff set up before she arrives. 'Yes, ma'am' the assistant responds, before Erika snaps 'And where the hell is Alpha Flight?' 'Here' James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a Guardian responds as he exits the hangar bay alongside Narya a.k.a. Snowbird, Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck and Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen a.k.a. Shaman. 'We came back as soon as you -' Guardian begins, but Erika has no time for pleasantries and instructs Alpha Flight to follow her. Alpha Flight keep their distance as Erika informs them that the Box Sentinels are making short work of their old teammates. 'I want you to watch, see how it's done. Maybe you can learn a thing or two' she suggests. 'Thrilling. Always happy to be replaced by machines' Puck mumbles. Erika spins around bends down towards him, poking a finger at him she scowls and tells him 'At least the machines deliver results'. Erika spins around and carries on down the corridor: 'Which is more than I can say for the four of you' she adds.

'Okay, Roger... it's time to wow me' Erika calls out as she enters Roger's lab, where Department H personnel are setting up a desk and monitors as Erika ordered. Erika then tells Roger to prove that he is not just wasting Department H time and money. 'This is not good' Shaman whispers to Guardian, while Snowbird tells him that they shouldn't have turned around. 'Damn what Department H said...Northstar, Aurora, Nemesis and Fang...they need us, and we're not there for them' Snowbird utters, while looking at one of the screens depicting Fang helping the wounded Aurora.

Back in Oregon, several Box Sentinels close in on Northstar, Auora and Fang, who decides that he thinks they have proved their point, and suggests that it is time they get the hell out of here. 'Those things pack a hell of a punch' Northstar acknowledges, when suddenly, 'On your six!' Feedback shouts as he arrives and smacks one of the Box Sentinels to the ground thanks to his enhanced strength courtesy of his energy field. Fang thanks Feedback for the save, to which Feedback remarks that he should be the one thanking. 'Surprised Alpha Flight remembered me' he adds. Northstar tells Feedback at they are not Alpha Flight, not anymore – but that they never forget those who have fought with them. Fang looks up and sees Nemesis drop down from above and tells her that it is time to go. 'On it!' the mysterious woman responds as she raises her sword in preparation for teleporting away.

'Roger, do not let them leave!' Erika shrieks. 'I can't focus on my job with you constantly screaming in my ear, Erika!' Roger retorts, before commanding several of the Box Sentinels to open fire – and when the smoke clears, the diner has been destroyed, a small fire burns, and Feedback and his rescuers are nowhere to be seen. 'Wait...where did they go?' Erika asks. She turns from the monitor to Roger and asks him if he still has a read on them. 'I don't. They're off the map' Roger responds. 'Dammit!' Erika shouts, slamming a fist down onto the desk. She leans on the desk and asks how many Box Sentinels were lost, while her assistant looks at her. Roger checks his computer and reports that Box 1, 2, 6, 7, 9 and 14 are down, while Box 3 and 5 have both taken minimal damage and are fully functional, and Box 4, 8 and 12v are still at 100%. 'Hardly the showcase you promised me, Roger' Erika spits.

Meanwhile, at Krakoa North, hidden in Manitoba, Canada, under the star-filled sky, a number of rescued mutants are being watched over by Northstar's husband, Kyle Beaubier-Jinadu. One of those mutants, a young man with silvery hair called Laurent Bavota approaches Kyle. 'Oh...hey, Argent. What can I do for you?' Kyle asks. The young mutant asks Kyle to just call him Laurent, as Argent is what he called himself when he was younger. 'It was exciting, I thought I was going to change the world. But… it was not the life I was meant to lead' Laurent reveals. Laurent looks out to the other mutants seated nearby. 'I want to know... this place you're going to bring us... this chadelier -' Laurent begins. 'Chandilar. It's the throne-world of the Shi'ar empire' Kyle explains. 'Yes... there. Is there not somewhere closer to home? Somewhere on Earth where we can stay instead?' Laurent asks, pointing out that it seems to be safe here, he asks if they can't just stay here. Kyle looks over at Laurent and tells him that he wishes it was that easy, but that it is not possible.

Kyle explains that they are safe here for now, but that they don't know how much longer that will last. 'We understand that Chandilar is going to be a big change for a lot of you, but the hope is that it'll only be temporary' he adds. 'My grandfather used to say: hope in one hand and -' Laurent begins, but Kyle interrupts him, telling him that he knows the saying. Laurent announces that he wants to go home, or least away from here – away from the other mutants and the chaos that follows them. 'I just want to be left alone, and it feels as though you are keeping me captive here' he remarks. Kyle assures Laurent that he is being kept safe, and reminds him that Orchis has decided mutants are the enemy, that none of them have the right to exist on Earth. 'Even if you don't want to go to war with them. They've already declared war on you' Kyle points out, adding that, unfortunately, most of the world has sided with them. 'There is nowhere in the world that's safe for you or any of them. Not now' Kyle remarks.

Kyle tells Laurent that he hates it too – he hates what Orchis has done, and he hates that Laurent has to leave his home because of them. Kyle points out that the only comfort they can take from this is that they will be safe on Chandilar. 'But, if you decide that you don't want to go to Chandilar, then we can talk to the rest of the team when they return' Kyle suggests. He adds that he isn't sure what the alternative would be, but that the others may have some suggestions. 'Non. I am not interested in discussing it. I just want to go home' Laurent responds, before he strides off away from Kyle.

Meanwhile, there is a glow within the forest of Turtle Mountain Provincial Park in Manitoba as the moon glows above. 'Ou sommes-nous?' Northstar asks as he examines his surroundings after arriving in the forest. 'Not in Krakoa North, that's for damn sure' Fang remarks. 'This is not right. Nemesis, why aren't we -' Northstar begins, before Aurora screams: 'Nemesis!' as she sees that the masked woman has collapsed nearwby. 'Non' Aurora utters as she crouches beside Nemesis. 'I'm sorry I couldn't get us all the way back' Nemesis begins. Aurora lifts Nemesis off the ground and sees that the Box Sentinels have wounded her by blasting her back. 'I will tear their heads from their -' Aurora begins, while Nemesis assures her that she just needs ten minutes. Northstar folds his arms and decides that this is not good, and that Nemesis needs medical attention. He adds that they can't wait here, as they are sitting ducks – the Box Sentinels will not be far behind. Clutching her sword, Nemesis asks her companions to let the sword do its magic, and she will be good. 'Good as new. I promise...I will not let you down' she utters, while Feedback looks on, concerned.

Back at Department H, Roger reports that he has located the mutants, that they just pinged inside Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, just on the Canadian side. He begins to route the Box Sentinels, but notes that it will take an hour to reach them. 'If they jump again -' he begins, before Erika wags her finger at him and instructs him to do it. 'We're not letting them get away, not again' she snaps. Addressing Erika as “Director,” Guardian suggests that Alpha Flight take this, as the Omnijet can be there in less than forty minutes. 'That time can make all the -' he begins, as Erika half-heartedly turns to Guardian, Snowbird, Puck and Shaman ands waves her hand at them, 'Yes, fine. Go! You take it' she tells them, adding that she wants Nemesis taken down, as she doesn't want them teleporting out of Department H's reach again. 'Do you understand?' she asks. The heroes turn and leave Roger's lab, while Erika walks after them, pointing at them, she calls out 'They've already made you look like fools once. Do not let it happen again'. Guardian just scowls as he leaves.

Back within Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, while Aurora comforts Nemesis, Fang approaches Feedback and tells him that he needs to talk to him for a moment. 'Are you sure we should be just waiting around like -' Feedback begins, to which Fang ignores his question and reveals that a couple of months ago, he was on a mission in Santo Marco, where dozens were left dead and hundreds were injured – because a mutant named Feedback a.k.a. Albert Louis over-extended himself and exploded, blowing up a factory and throwing the whole city into chaos. 'We'd set him up for resurrection, but that ain't happened yet. And you are' Fang notes. Feedback looks shocked and utters 'He died?' before hanging his head. The others listen as Feedback reveals that when he was still at Department H, he wanted to leave, but he was under contract and Department H wouldn't let him go, because they sold his contract to a corporation in Santo Marco, who were going to use his powers, use him as a battery for their factory – clean energy and all it would cost was his life as an indentured servant.

Feedback continues, claiming that he had given so much already, and he wasn't going to spend the rest of his life like that. He reveals that he knew Department H had the capabilities to clone team members, they had done it with Guardian, so he made a clone of himself – a clone who had no idea he was a clone. 'He thought he was me but had no idea what Department H was going to do. And I... I left' Feedback gasps, clenching his fists, clearly in distress. Feedback continues, explaining that he moved to California, changed his name and found work in biotech. He then met his wife, got married and had a kid. 'Oh God. Eleanor, Sophie...what they must be going through right now, I -' Feedback utters, pinching the bridge of his nose and closing his eyes. 'At least they still have their lives, unlike the clone you left to suffer. As though he had no flame inside of him' Northstar remarks.

Feedback looks clearly pained, and tells the others that he doesn't know what to say, and admits that part of him thought maybe Department H wouldn't have left the clone in Santo Marco to rot, but he doesn't know what he could have done. 'If what you're saying is true, I couldn't have just walked in there and saved him. I'm not like you. I'm nothing like you' Feedback declares.

Nearby, Nemesis doesn't appear to be any better, and Aurora remarks that she thinks it is time they came up with an alternate plan. But Nemesis states that she just needs a few more minutes, but Aurora notes that it has been thirty minutes already. 'You're in no condition to teleport us, but we cannot stay here. Northstar and I can -' Aurora begins, but Nemesis struggles to her feet and announces that she is okay. 'You're hurt, and you've pushed yourself too much. We can take it from here' Aurora responds. 'No, you can't...just let me do my -' Nemesis begins, before collapsing back to the ground. 'Non!' Aurora gasps as she grabs Nemesis. 'Non. Non. Non' Aurora repeats, before pulling Nemesis' mask off. She goes wide-eyed upon seeing Nemesis' face, and tells the others that Nemesis is dying.

Northstar, Fang and Feedback move closer to Aurora and Nemesis, as Aurora announces that they need to get Nemesis help. But suddenly, 'Oh my god...' Guardian gasps as he electromagnetically lowers himself and Puck down into the forest, while Snowbird flies down after them, and Shaman levitates himself downwards. '...HEATHER?' Guardian shouts upon seeing Nemesis' unmasked face – the face of his wife, Heather McNeil Hudson. Aurora looks down at her longtime teammate, before Guardian grabs his wife from her and exclaims 'My love, no! What did they do to you?'

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Fang VI, Guardian, Nemesis VIII, Northstar, Puck, Shaman, Snowbird (all Alpha Flight)


Kyle Beaubier-Jinadu


Erika Dorion

Roger Bochs Jr./Box V


Argent II/Laurent Bavota and other mutants at Krakoa North


Box Sentinels

Erika's assistant

Department H personnel

Story Notes: 

This issue includes a Box Sentinel Damage Report from Roger Bochs Jr. which includes how the Box Sentinels were damaged by Feedback, Fang and Aurora, and includes notes for improvement.

This issue includes an email from Kyle to Northstar, written shortly after Kyle's exchange with Laurent, in which Kyle informs Northstar that mutants at Krakoa North, in particular Laurent, are getting restless, and that he thinks they need to make the move to Chandilar sooner rather than later.

The incident Fang referred to in which Feedback was killed in Santo Marco occurred in Marauders (2nd series) #11.

Feedback refers to wanting to leave Department H but being unable to as he was under contract. The heroes of Alpha Flight being “under contract” to Department H is something never referred to in previous volumes of Alpha Flight. Indeed when Feedback last appeared in Alpha Flight (1st series) #130, Alpha Flight was disbanded, although some of the members remained at Department H in various capacities. Presumably, Feedback was one of them, and it was prior to Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1 that Feedback's contract was sold to Santo Marco.

The notion of Feedback cloning himself would tie-in with the dark goings-on that surfaced in Department H by the time of Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1, as it was revealed in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #20, that Department H had cloned Guardian by creating a bio-synthetic duplicate of him to replace the original, who had become difficult for them to manage.

Heather Hudson, most commonly known as Vindicator II and sometimes as Guardian III was last seen in Alpha Flight: True North #1, in which she had been placed in a virtual reality scenario by Guardian in an attempt to reverse the Unity Programming which affected Heather in Alpha Flight (4th series) #1-8. An additional appearance in Amazing X-Men (2nd series) #10 possibly takes place after the Alpha Flight: True North #1 issue, as it saw Heather seemingly cured from the Unity Programming and active once more with Alpha Flight as Vindicator.

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