Champions (2nd series) #20

Issue Date: 
July 2018
Story Title: 
Northern Lights, part 2

Jim Zub (writer), Sean Izaakse (artist), Marcio Menyz (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Stefano Caselli & Rachelle Rosenberg (cover artists), Nyla Innuksuk (consultant), Alanna Smith (associate editor), Tom Breevort (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

At night a young woman called Amka Aliyak is exploring a strange facility in the Arctic, where she is greeted by Sila, a goddess, who was awoken by the shaking of the ground. Sila is captured by the strange bug-like robots in the facility, who trap her in a force bubble. Amka comes to Sila's rescue, and destroys the force bubble, but this causes an explosion in the facility, which is  seen by Amka's friend, Pilip, who is waiting outside for her. Amka is in the middle of a crater, and Sila goes over to her, before she seemingly unleashes some energy, and they both vanish. A day later the Champions have arrived over the Arctic, and the bug-like robots are blasting energy into their ship, striking Nova, who panics and flies out of the jet, before collapsing into the icy waters below. Viv Vision goes into the water after him, while the rest of the Champions defend themselves and their jet against the robots, until the robots stop fighting them at the command of the being known as the Master of the World. Viv rescues Nova from the icy waters and the Champions land safely. The Master offers the use of his facility where Nova can be healed by his technology. Viv accompanies the robots, while the rest of the team remains with the Master, who reveals that he is repairing Arctic sea ice to halt global climate change, surprising the young heroes. The Master explains what is happening to glaciers in this part of the world, and how he is using the alien technology which he has command over to repair the glaciers, impressing the young heroes, who ask him what the catch is. The Master boasts that at some point he will rule this planet, and to do that he needs to make sure there is a planet to rule, so he is saving Earth from itself. Nova wakes in the facility to find that he is healed. Viv does her best at learning about humanity while she spends time with him, but turns him down when he asks her out. The Champions agree that what the Master is doing is good, and he starts to show them the rest of the facility. They pass a large crater in the ground, which the Master passes off as defense systems testing. The tour is interrupted when the Champions hear some chanting, and discover protesters. Pilip reaches out to the Champions and informs them about the disappearance of his friend, Amka, while the Master passes of the protesters as nothing more than a distraction, people who cannot see the greater picture. He becomes hostile for a moment when someone throws a snowball at his face, before calming down, although this does not go unnoticed by the Champions. Amadeus tells the protesters that things are complicated here, while Miles vanishes from the group to do some exploring of the facility. Adding to the Master's frustration is the sudden arrival of Captain Marvel, Snowbird, Sasquatch, Talisman and Puck!

Full Summary: 

Last night:
'Who... who are you?' a young woman called Amka Aliyak asks in her native Inuktitut addressing a glowing, wonderfully colored woman who appears before her, surrounded by various animals with the same glow and color. The apparition introduces herself as Sila, and explains that she is the sky the wind and the weather – the soul of the North. 'What do they call you?' Sila asks. Amka introduces herself, and asks Sila how she ended up here. They are in a bunker in the Arctic, and Sila explains that the land shook and she was pulled from her slumber, she awoke surrounded by this unnatural place.

'That sounds creepy and awful, so let's see if we can fix it. There's gotta be a way to set you free...' Amka declares as she begins looking at panels within the bunker. Suddenly, a strange bug-like robot appears, darting towards Amka, 'Perimeter security breach!' the robot exclaims, while Sila tells Amka to beware. 'Oh, crap!' Amka gasps, while another robot appears, flying above Amka, it identifies her as an unenhanced human with a low threat level, before activating a taser, which the robot blasts towards her, but Amka drops to the ground, escaping harm.

'Let her be!' Sila shouts as she casts some energy about, but the little robot flies over to her and activates a containment protocol, trapping Sila in a force bubble, Sila screams in agony. 'No!' Amka shouts. 'I'll show you a “threat level”!' Amka exclaims as she grabs one of the little robot bugs, forces it against the other, and slams them both into the force bubble. 'TAKE THAT!' she shouts, destroying the robots, which creates some sort of energy back lash. The energy rises and crackles up through the facility like lightning, which is seen by a young man who is watching from behind a wire fence. 'Whoa! What was that?' he wonders, before the energy explodes again and engulfs the facility. 'AAAAAH!' he screams, before looking worried and calling out to Amka.

When the explosion and smoke clear, Amka can be seen curled up in the center of a crater. 'Child of the North... that was very brave' Sila remarks as she hovers over Amka, who looks up at her and tells her that she is sorry. 'Why?' Sila asks. Tears in her eyes, Amka reveals that when she was young, her uncle told her stories about the Silap Inua – but she didn't believe him. Suddenly, several more of the bug-like robots fly towards Sila and Amka. 'Energy breach' one of the robots states, while Sila remarks 'And now you do'. 'Yeah...right before I die' Amka coughs, as another robot reports 'Threat level: high'. Sila declares that Amka is a warrior, and tells her that though she does not know what the future holds, she does know this: 'You will not die this day'. As the robots close in, Sila releases an energy which engulfs Amka and creates a blinding light.

Sam Alexander a.k.a. Nova looks down at the energy burn in his chest, 'Uh... that's not good' he utters as more energy blasts are fired into the Champions' jet, which is being piloted by Amadeus Cho a.k.a. Hulk. 'Nova! Wait!' Hulk calls out as Nova suddenly flies out of the ship through the smashed screen. 'Ah'm just gonna fly home and get a doctor' Nova calls back – before he suddenly stops flying and begins to plummet to the water beneath, as bug-like robots continue to fire energy beams at the Champion's jet. 'Nova has lost consciousness' Viv Vision points out as she phases her body so that one of the energy beams passes through her. Riri Williams a.k.a. Ironheart tells Viv that she will keep the drones focused, and for her to go get Nova. Viv increases her density to intercept, dropping to the icy waters below. As she hits the water, Viv reports that the water temperature is 32.5 degrees fahrenheit, and that Nova will not last long, while Nova sinks to the depths below.

Back in the jet, Nadia van Dyne a.k.a. Wasp dodges the blast of one of the bug robots, and declares 'Robots like you give inventors like me a bad name, you know that?' before using her powers on one of the robots and telling it to go play in the Microverse, as the robot is shrunk down. Miles Morales a.k.a. Spider-Man darts about the jet, dodging more laser blasts, 'We're getting worked' he shouts, before firing his webbing at one of the robots, latching onto it, he tells Hulk that they have gotta get out of here. 'Roger that, Spidey!' Hulk replies as Spider-Man swings the robot towards the Hulk, who crushes it. Ironheart continues to blast the robots and tells the others that she will gold them off while they grab Nova and Viv, as several of the robots blast her at once. Inside the jet, Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms Marvel stretches her hands to either side of the jet's hull and tells Ironheart that they are not leaving her to fight alone. 'We're a team, and -' Kamala begins, but Riri tells her that there is no time to argue, and to go.

Suddenly: 'ENOUGH!' a voice shouts, and one of the robots pauses defensive measures, as Ironheart looks up and sees a man in a black costume with armor across his chest, a long red cape flowing behind him and a red and silver helmet over his head hovering before her. 'What is the meaning of this assault upon my domain? Explain yourselves!' the new arrival booms, as his robot-bugs hover around him. 'Who the flip is that?' Miles asks. Kamala frowns and replies that she thinks he calls himself “The Master of the World”. 'Wow. That is the most bad guy-eriffic name I've ever heard' Amadeus remarks.

Viv Vision then bursts from the water, with Nova in her arms, she reports that he has suffered severe internal damage, along with cold-water shock and hypothermia, and his life signs are critical. She places him on the ice near the Master, who announces that his servants can help. Ironheart flies over to them, 'You think we're gonna let you touch him after you -' she begins, to which the Master interrupts her: 'If you ww\ant to save his life, yes' he declares. Wasp flies over to the Master and reports that they came here for science and research, and then his drones attacked them. The Master explains that his drones entered defensive mode. 'Your robots shot our friend!' Wasp exclaims. Ironheart asks Viv if she can treat Nova, but Viv expains that his injuries are beyond her abilities, especially without any equipment on hand, so they have no other option within range. The robots release cables, which they wrap around Nova and lift him into the air. The Master gives his word that his servants will not harm Nova, and allows Viv to go with them and observe, if she would like. 'I will' Viv responds.

Miles and Kamala are both wearing jackets to protect them from the cold as they, Amadeus, Riri and Nadia surround the Master. Amadeus tells him to start talking, and asks what this is all about. The Master tells the young heroes that he is sorry their friend was injured when his servants defended the site, but the work he is doing here is too valuable to be disturbed. 'Oh yeah? And what kind of work is that?' Kamala asks as she creates a large fist, ready to strike. The Master smirks as he replies 'Quite simply, really... I'm repairing arctic sea ice to halt global climate change'. The Champions looks shocked. 'Huh?' Miles asks. 'What?' Riri exclaims. 'Are you serious?' Kamala calls out. 'Quite' the Master responds, before asking the Champions to come along with him and he will show them.

The Master hovers over the Champions as they follow him across the snow. He tells them that glaciers in this region have lost 37 percent of their mass in the past nine months – a rate far beyond seasonal melting and refreezing. He explains that as major ice formations like this crumble and permafrost thaws, the world's temperature rises, creating new and more violent weather patterns. Kamala tells him they know that, which is why the Wasp and her GIRL science team having been analyzing ice levels, looking for solutions. 'The solution is already underway' the Master replies, motioning to strange scaffolding set up around glaciers. The Master explains that his servants build high-tech scaffolds, grow glacial lattice formations and then reattach them to repair the damage that has been done. The Wasp flitters towards the Master and tells him that she didn't think ice creation was possible on this scale. 'It isn't, not with your primitive scientific systems' the Master responds.

The Master reveals that over forty thousand years ago, he was a simple man who stumbled upon a crashed vessel of the Plodex, an advanced alien race, who then saved him and upgraded his genetic structure. He explains that his servants and this facility are built using their superior technology. Amadeus looks around, intrigued, and tells the Master 'Okay, so you're fixing glaciers and rebalancing temperature and that's, forgive the pun, pretty cool. But you call yourself the “Master of the World” and you're big-time evil, so what's the catch?' The Master levitates higher and raises his arms overhead as he replies that the “catch” is he will rule this planet at some point in the future, but the only way he can do that is to make sure there is a planet for him to rule – so in short, he is here to save Earth from itself! “At some point in the future” Kamala quotes the Master, asking him how soon that is. The Master smiles and points out that he has waited over forty thousand years, learning and improving himself at each step – so what is a few hundred more if it means the planet is safe and ready for his conquest? 'Uh...I think this requires a team huddle' Miles suggests, while Kamala looks on, concerned.

Inside the Master's facility, Viv hovers near the table where Nova has been placed. A computer states that the medical functions are complete, and that the subject's life signs are stable. 'Your work is quick and impressive' Viv remarks.

'Oh, man. That suuuucked' the young Nova mumbles as he wakes. Viv calls him Samuel and greets him, assuring him that he has not perished. 'I never told you my real name...' Sam replies. Viv informs him that the mobile calls he makes to their Champions group chat are registered to Samuel Alexander, at an address corresponding to his own. 'You may wish to change that' Viv suggests. 'Right...' Sam mutters, before telling Viv that she saved his life. Viv replies that she retrieved him from the water, but that the advanced drones of this facility were the ones that operated on him. 'And now you're holding my hand...' Sam points out. Viv reveals that her father explained to her that basic physical contact is a way to reassure the sick or infirm that they are being properly cared for. 'So... can we go on a date?' Sam smiles. 'No' Viv replies.

Back outside, the Champions are huddled, and Kamala tells the others that she is feeling really torn about all this. 'Bad guys being good guys is... good, right?' Nadia asks. 'I saw Doctor Doom do this hero bit with Iron Man. I don't know...' Riri remarks. Miles suggests that if the Master is serious, then he won't even be a threat until the year 2300-something, at which point they will all be dead or clones, or whatever. 'So that's a Champions: The Next Generation problem?' Amadeus asks, 'Yeah, we'll leave them a time capsule about it' Miles suggests.

'Satisfied?' the Master asks the Champions. 'For now' Kamala replies. 'Good' the Master tells her, before offering to show the young heroes the rest of the facility. The Master motions to a factory and tells the Champions this is where his servants manufacture more help for the cause. As the young heroes walk past a large crater in the ground, Riri asks the Master what happened there. The Master claims that they were testing their defense systems. 'With your self-replicating robo-drones?' Amadeus asks. The Master tells the Champions not to worry, as they are not fully autonomous, and he maintains control. 'until they go into crazy defense mode and hurt people' Nadia remarks. The Master apologizes for his robots hurting Nova, and assures them it will not happen again. Miles looks perplexed, and asks his teammates if anyone else hears chanting.

OUR LAND!! OUR RULES! NO MORE FACTORIES!' voices call out from where a group of protesters have gathered outside the tall wire fence surrounding the Master's facility. A robot reports that the perimeter security is maintained and threat level is minimal. 'You can't hide from us! We'll make you face justice!' a young man shouts, gripping the fence. Nadia points out that it looks like the locals are not happy with the Master's experiment. The Master claims that they do not appreciate the greater good being served here – but even so, they will benefit from its effects. 'It's the Champions!' one of the crowd calls out. 'Hulk...Hulk! You've gotta help us!' another pleads, getting Amadeus' attention. 'What's going on?' Amadeus asks as he and Kamala approach the perimeter fence. The young man on the other side asks them to listen to him, and introduces himself as Pilip. He informs them that last night, his friend Amka snuck over the fence and never came back. He adds that her mother is worried sick, and he needs to find her. 'Oh my gosh, that's awful!' Kamala exclaims.

The Master flies towards the fence and reports that there is no record of any trespassers until the Champions flew overhead and engaged his servants. 'But she -' Pilip begins, however the Master interrupts him, informing the Champions that he empathizes with this boy's plight, but assures them that the girl is not here. 'OUR LAND! OUR RULES! NO MORE FACTORIES!' the protesters continue to chant. 'You can't build here!' one of them calls out, while another exclaims that they deserve control of their land. The Master flies higher, hovering over the protesters and tells them that this is about far more than government jurisdictions or tribal land treaties, as once the world's climate is safe, they will be free to quibble over borders – he doesn't finish his sentence as someone throws a snowball at him, hitting him in his face. 'You DaRe strike me? I should -' the Master begins, angrily, before looking down at the Champions, who are watching him closely. 'OUR LAND! OUR RULES! NO MORE FACTORIES!' the protesters continue. The Master boasts that, thankfully, he is nothing if not magnanimous toward his neighbors here in the North, while smirking.

'Hulk, please!' Pilip pleads through the wire fence. He asks Hulk to tear the fence down so they can take back their land and find his friend. 'I... I don't know, dude. He's really fixing stuff... saving the environment... it's complicated' Amadeus replies. 'That look the Master gave back there...pure Doctor Doom' Riri tells Miles, who agrees. Riri tells Miles that she has a bad feeling about this. Miles agrees and proposes that he will poke around and see what he can find. Riri tells him that she will hold down the fort in the meantime, as Miles vanishes. The Master suggests to the Champions that they go check on their friend's recovery. Kamala quietly tells Nadia that this thing feels awkward, and that she doesn't want to ignore those people. 'We're not. We'll make sure it's on the level and then help the Master and the village come to some kind of agreement' Nadia replies.

Suddenly, the Master's robots report that there is a perimeter breach. 'More distractions?' the Master wonders as he looks to the sky, where a jet can be seen approaching the facility. Kamala sees the jet as well and asks Ironheart if she can identify it. Ironheart begins to run a scan, while the Master smiles, and sighs that it was just a matter of time. 'Positive match' Ironheart reports as she identifies the craft as the Omnijet continues to approach, and suddenly, Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel drops down between the Champions and the Master of the World. 'Threat level high' one of the big-like robots states as Captain Marvel is joined by four of Canada's mightiest: Snowbird! Sasquatch! Talisman! Puck! The Champions look concerned as they see Canada's premiere super heroes, who all look very unimpressed, while the Master tells Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight that it is good to see them again, and asks whether they have met his new friends, the Champions....

Characters Involved: 

Hulk III, Ironheart, Ms Marvel V, Nova III, Spider-Man VII, Viv Vision, Wasp III (all Champions)
Captain Marvel VI
Puck, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Talisman II (all Alpha Flight)

Master of the World

Snowguard / Amka Aliyak


Story Notes: 

The Master of the World was last seen in Captain Marvel (8th series) #6-10.

The Master of the World's origin was explored in Alpha Flight (1st series) #3.

A Canadian-based Alpha Flight team hasn’ been seen active in Canada since Fantastic Four (1st series) #643, at which time the roster consisted of Guardian, Sasquatch, Snowbird, Aurora, Puck, Marrina and Talisman. Since that time, Sasquatch, Aurora and Puck became part of the Alpha Flight Space Station crew, starting with Captain Marvel (8th series) #1, although Aurora was later transferred to NASA. It was implied in Captain Marvel (8th series) #9 that the Alpha Flight Space Station has jurisdiction in Canada, and the appearance of Snowbird and Talisman this issue seems to suggest that perhaps they at least they are still active as Alpha Flight in Canada.


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