Marvel Adventures: Iron Man #11

Issue Date: 
May 2008
Story Title: 
Northern Lights

Fred van Lente (writer), Scott Koblish (artist), Javier Tarsalgia (colorist), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Francis Tsai (cover artist), Joe Sabino (production), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Iron Man arrives in northernmost Canada, searching for his father, as he had word that Howard was here. As he makes his way to a research station though, he is attacked by Alpha Flight - Snowbird, Sasquatch, Aurora, Northstar and Shaman - who have mistaken Iron Man for one of the training robots that they battle out here in the remote wilderness. Iron Man notes how Alpha Flight bicker with each other a lot, until Guardian arrives, and apologizes for the confusion, and they part ways. Arriving at the research station, Iron Man finds the staff unfamiliar with Howard Stark. After learning that there was an unusually violent solar storm a few days ago, Iron Man leaves. Deciding that this was a complete waste of time, he supposes he should visit the nearby town, and does so, but no one is keen to give up any information about Howard Stark. At this time, the research station is destroyed - by the Living Laser. Iron Man recalls his recent battle with the Living Laser, in which the Living Laser wasn’t thrust into the sun, and supposes that the recent solar storm the scientists spoke of could have freed him from the sun, but captured him in the “Northern Lights”. Iron Man begins to battle his foe, trying to draw him away from the town, until he gets captured in a magnetic pull. Lucky for him, Guardian arrives and disrupts the pull with his electromagnetic abilities, but is wounded in the process, leaving Iron Man and a disorganized Alpha Flight to take on the Living Laser, who goes about melting the ice, causing the town to flood. Alpha Flight pull themselves together, and rescue the civilians, and when Guardian wakes, he is able to help Iron Man destroy the Living Laser. Afterwards, Iron Man suggests to Alpha Flight that they not be so critical of each other, but Alpha Flight explain that they do because they are a family, before they take Guardian away for medical attention. Iron Man is slightly dejected, but his hopes rise when a woman approaches him, giving him some important information about his father.

Full Summary: 

Billionaire inventor, Tony Stark built a suit of armor that saved his life. He now fights against the forces of evil as the Invincible IRON MAN!

Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man soars across the northernmost Canadian territory of Nunavut, which he finds beautiful, but barren to his eyes. He supposes that is the point, at least from the view of his father, Howard Stark, who used to head Tony’s company, Stark International, but then disappeared some decades ago, saying he was going to “some remote part of the world”. ‘And you can’t get much remoter than this!’ Tony decides.

As he zooms close to the snow-covered ground, the snow blows up around him due to the force of his speed, but Iron Man doesn’t see two figures streak towards him from behind. Tony recalls how his private investigator discovered that the last anyone saw of his father was when he used his connections with a satellite company to ship out to a research station in the Arctic Circle. Tony boasts that if his father is still there, then he is going to find him. ‘If it’s the last thing I -’ he is interrupted as he is about to say “do”, by two attractive people, who swerve around him with ease, and speak in French to each other.

‘Aurora, don’t you think Guardian’s training robots keep getting stranger?’ the young man asks Aurora, who addresses him as Northstar and replies that she couldn’t agree more. ‘I can barely stand looking at it, so let’s - put it out of its misery? But of course?’ Aurora says, then Northstar finishes off her sentence as they clasp hands and unleash a blindingly powerful, stunning, light. ‘Wait, I -’ Iron Man protests, but it’s no use, as he flails backwards, and his sensors inform him that the luminescent intensity is exceeding ten million candles, and that his optic shields are failing.

Northstar and Aurora begin darting around Iron Man at super speed, creating a turbine around him as Northstar tells his sister that they shouldn’t be greedy to their teammates, to which Aurora agrees, remarking that the others need training too. Iron Man’s sensors announce that Iron Man’s gyro-stabilizers are unable to correct his torque. ‘So let us send the robot back to Alpha Flight - gift-wrapped!’ the siblings exclaim as they propel Iron Man from their turbine.
Iron Man orders a voice-override as he fumbles through the air, and exclaims ‘Deploy impact foam!’. A small amount of foam is ejected from the armor, but it’s too late, as Iron Man thuds to the snow-covered ground. Iron Man talks to his computer, asking it to identify his attackers based on video feed from armor eyepieces. They computer obliges and begins its face-recognition program, when, suddenly, a white wolverine sneaks up on Iron Man and begins growling at him. Iron Man talks calmly to the wolverine, remarking that he didn’t think they were this far north. ‘I think I’ll name you “Logan”’, he tells the wolverine, asking it to excuse him for not finding it much of a threat, when, suddenly, the wolverine leaps at Iron Man, and transforms into a polar bear at the same time.

But Iron Man acts quickly, and uses his enhanced strength to grab the polar bear, ‘No fair! You don’t see me changing shapes, do you?’ he tells it as he flips it over. The bear shows its teeth to Iron Man, who tells it to listen up as he remarks that he was a boy scout, and is a strong believer in leaving nature the way you found it. Tony’s sensors indicate that his uni-beam is only at 25% intensity. Iron Man finishes his sentence as the polar beam walks towards him again: ‘If I have to choose between me or you leaving here period - well, sorry - but that’s no choice at all!’

At that moment, a long-haired man floats above Iron Man and reaches into a pouch attached to his belt, where he pulls some crystals from it, and tosses them all around Iron Man. As they land, the small crystals join together, and form a large dome around Iron Man, trapping him, while the polar bear shifts its form into an artic owl, and darts away. ‘Now what?!’ Iron Man exclaims, while his sensors announce that Iron Man’s attackers have been identified and a line-up appears no Tony‘ internal sensors: Members of Canadian Government Super Hero Team: ALPHA FLIGHT: Leader: Guardian:

electromagnetic power suit

Northstar: speed, flight

Aurora: speed, flight

Shaman: First Nations magic user

Snowbird: shape shifter

Sasquatch: super strength

‘They’re on my side, huh?’ Iron Man tells himself, exclaiming that alpha Flight’s attack on him must have been a mistake - a big mistake! With that, he uses his armor-strength to break through his crystal prison, only for a big furry fist to smash him in the face. ‘Not so fast, robo-jerk!’ exclaims Sasquatch as he causes Iron Man to fall to the snow. ‘We don’t usually finish playing with our toys until we’ve good and smashed them!’ Sasquatch boasts, as Northstar, Aurora, Shaman and Snowbird, returning to her regular form, gather around.

Iron Man protests, asking the Canadian heroes to listen to him. ‘I’m not a robot!’ he shouts. ‘I’m Iron Man, a hero from the States!’. Sasquatch ponders this, and remarks that Guardian must have installed a sophisticated artificial intelligence into this battle droid for it be trying such a weird stalling tactic. Suddenly though, a small robot with pincer-like arms stumbles towards Alpha Flight, shouting ‘Beware - Alpha Flight! I will destroy you! Resistance is futile!’.

‘Er, yeah…like I was saying…’ Sasquatch mumbles, before picking Iron Man up by the leg and shaking him up and down, ‘Iron Man! Buddy! Pal! Welcome to Canada, eh?’. ‘Gee, thanks’ Iron Man replies sarcastically, when, suddenly, Alpha Flight’s leader, Guardian flies onto the scene, calling out to Iron Man and asking him if he is all right, before apologizing for the mix up, pointing out that they are not used to seeing him in that armor he is wearing.

Iron Man assures Guardian that no permanent harm has been done and adds that he supposes their confusion was understandable, explaining that this is his new Artic Armor, designed for maximum solar absorption and enhanced temperature control. The beautiful Snowbird asserts her authority, suggesting that, perhaps if Aurora looked at her targets before striking, then this pointless fracas could have been avoided. ‘No one talks to my sister like that!’ Northstar snaps at Snowbird as he strides over to her, shaking a finger at her. ‘Ooh, fight!’ grins Sasquatch, causing Aurora to shout ‘Butt out, you furry fool!’.

Alpha Flight squabble as Guardian and Iron Man shake hands, and Guardian asks Iron Man not to mind his team, explaining that they chose the remotest part of Canada for their training exercises so no one can hear them bicker. Guardian asks Iron Man that, since he is here, if he wouldn’t mind taking part in the training session. ‘Show my team how the famous super-types do it?’ Iron Man replies that if that incident proved anything, it was that there is nothing Alpha Flight needs to learn from him, and takes flight as he explains that he has traveled to Nunavut on a private mission, one he should get back to. ‘Thanks for the offer though!’ he exclaims, while Northstar tries to pull Sasquatch’s hand off from around his neck.

Soon, Iron Man blasts towards GeoSat’s auroral research station, with his fingers crossed inside his armor. But, as he sets down and meets with the staff inside the facility, he shows them a computerized image of what an older Howard Stark might look like today, and his hopes are dashed, as one of the members of the research team tell him that Howard Stark could have worked here in the past, but that nobody who works here now would have any way of knowing, as GeoSat rotates its staff every six months to keep them from going crazy out here. One of the staff members offers to search their personnel records, but Iron Man explains that Howard Stark would have used a phony identity. ‘I’m afraid…this is just another road to nowhere’.

Motioning to a large photograph on the wall, Tony asks one of the scientists if they study the “aurora borealis” here - the so-called “Northern Lights”. The female scientists replies that she wouldn’t want to bore him with the technical details, but that they are trying to understand the upper-most reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere - Iron Man interrupts, and concludes the surprised woman’s sentence: ‘to enhance performance of radio and other communications systems that need to be reflected off of or passed through it’. ‘Exactly…’ the woman mumbles.

Motioning to a piece of equipment, Iron Man exclaims ‘That would explain why you have this nice induction magnometer. I love this model, Japanese right?’ he remarks. ‘Yes…’ the woman replies. Motioning to the screen, Iron Man tells the scientists that they are getting some unusual readings. The scientists agree, and one of them remarks that they have never captured a frequency like this before. Another explains that there was an unusually violent “solar storm” a few days ago, and the ejection of charged plasma from the sun interacting with Earth’s magnetic field is what causes the Northern Lights, so they are concerned that it threw off the calibration of their instruments.

Iron Man tells the scientists that he should let them get back to work then, and thanks them for their help, waving goodbye, as one of the scientists exclaims ‘And here I thought super heroes just ran around and beat up bank robbers!’. As the scientists get back to work, there is a strange loud noise. ‘Did I just hear what I thought I heard?’ one of them asks. ‘I - I think it almost sound like -’ the female scientist remarks, until she is interrupted by jolts of energy that suddenly flow into the facility.

Standing on a nearby rise, Tony thinks to himself ‘Well, this will be twenty-four hours of my life I’ll never get back’, before noticing a nearby town. ‘It’s a long shot…but since I’m here’ he decides, and flies down to the town, where he projects the computer generated image of Howard Stark once more, showing it to the townspeople and explaining that he is trying to find this man and his family. ‘Has anyone seen hi? His given name is Howard Stark, he may have worked at the research station at some point’. But the townspeople are frightened, and hurry away from him. ‘Hello? Anyone? Bueller?!’

Suddenly, there is a massive explosion back at the research station, and a glowing-green figure fills the sky, shouting ‘IIIRRRROOOOONNNN MMMAAAAAAANNN!!’ Iron Man focuses and realizes that is his old enemy - the Living Laser! Iron Man recalls their last battle, during which the Living Laser plunged into the heart of the sun. ‘Not even a being made of pure light, like him could escape that gravitational pull!’ Iron Man exclaims, before recalling the solar storm that the researchers mentioned - that could have shot him back to Earth, where he then got caught up in the Earth’s ionosphere.

Tony supposes that the scientists could have then captured the Living Laser by accident, along with the other “Northern Lights”. As the Living Laser continues to scream for Iron Man, Tony flies towards him, deciding that, after the Laser’s ideal, it doesn’t seem like there is much left of his mind, other than his “love” for Tony of course.

Iron Man blasts the Living Laser with repulsor rays, until he realizes that his repulsor rays are magnetic-based, and therefore don’t do a thing Iron Man dodges the Living Laser’s attack, realizing though that the superheated ionized air that the Living Laser is firing could burn the whole town to the ground. Iron Man darts about, attempting to draw the Living Laser away from the town, until the Living Laser uses his magnetic force to draw the armored Iron Man towards him.

Iron Man’s sensors warn him that the electromagnetic pulse insulators are nearing maximum capacity, and Iron Man urgently tries to pull himself free from the Living Lasers grasp, when, suddenly, he is aided by the arrival of Guardian. ‘My sentiments exactly!’ Guardian exclaims as he collides with the Living Laser, disrupting his hold over Iron Man. Northstar and Aurora swoop in to aid Iron Man to safety, exclaiming ‘Tell us, Yank, when you travel abroad - do you always bring such interesting friends with you?’. Iron Man just laughs.

Guardian calls out to his team and remarks that they are lucky his power suit is based on electromagnetism, so he was able to sense this as it happened. Guardian tells Alpha Flight that, for a “baddie” this size, they need to fall into formation Delta Phalanx. Guardian is about to explain something else, when he is struck by powerful beams of energy from the Living Lasers eyes. Guardian screams, and plummets to the ground, luckily Sasquatch is able to catch him. Sasquatch announces that Guardian is unconscious, and now they are without a leader.

‘He said we should fall into Delta Phalanx!’ Northstar exclaims. ‘Dealt Phalanx! Right!’ Snowbird agrees. But, the five Alphans just stare at the Living Laser, ‘Which one is Delta Phalanx again?’ Shaman asks. ‘I don’t remember!’ Aurora exclaims. ‘Don’t look at me!’ Sasquatch tells his teammates. Iron Man just hangs his head in shame. ‘Oh for…’ he begins, until Snowbird turns to Aurora and tells her that if she didn’t run her mouth during their training, then some of them might be able to remember what Guardian tells them. ‘Do you ever mind your own business, Ice Queen?’ Aurora snaps back.

Meanwhile, as Alpha Flight continue to squabble, the Living Laser makes a dash for the nearby town, and begins blasting at various objects. ‘”Snowbird!” My codename is “Snowbird”!’ shouts Snowbird at Aurora. ‘Incoming!’ shouts Iron Man, as he sees a lot of debris fly their way, courtesy of the Living Laser. ‘On it!’ declares Sasquatch as he begins to punch away the debris, as Iron Man blasts them with energy rays.

The Living Laser continues to scream out Iron Man’s name, while he begins to melt the ground - rapidly. Iron Man turns to Alpha Flight and tells them that he doesn’t wish to interrupt their arguing, save for the fact that they have a situation. Alpha Flight leap into action, as Aurora and Northstar begin to pull civilians from the rising-waters, and Shaman casts some illusions of Iron Man, which he conjures to distract the Living Laser and buy them some more time.

Snowbird exclaims that it is working, before diving into the ice-cold water, and shifts her form into that of a giant white whale to keep the innocents from drowning. Northstar and Aurora begin depositing the civilians onto Snowbird-whale, ‘Excellent!’ Shaman exclaims, before telling Sasquatch that he needs him to use his strength to build a makeshift seawall - but Sasquatch interrupts, asking Shaman who elected him the leader. ‘What does that mean? I have more years on this team than you -’ Shaman replies, until Iron Man comes between them just as Sasquatch declares that he can squash Shaman like a grape.

‘Enough! Enough, already! I’ve never seen such a dysfunctional bunch!’ Iron Man declares, telling them that they have to set their differences aside, as the Living Laser isn’t just going to destroy itself. Suddenly though, Iron Man gets and idea, and calls out to Guardian, asking him if he can hear him. ‘Do you think you have enough juice to surround me in an electromagnetic force bubble?’ Getting to his feet, Guardian wearily replies that he can try, and does so, ‘Like that?’ he asks. ‘Yes! Perfect!’ Iron Man replies, as he takes flight, surrounded by the electromagnetic bubble, he shouts at Living Laser: ‘You want me so bad, ugly? Well - here I am!’ he exclaims as he forces himself towards the Living Laser’s gaping mouth.

The Living Laser tries to pull back, but he can’t, and vanishes without putting up a fight. Northstar is shocked, and exclaims that the creature hated Iron Man so much, ‘It destroyed itself trying to get at him!’ Aurora finishes her brothers sentence. Snowbird returns to the group along with Iron Man, safe and sound, the armored hero declares that he hopes that this taught them all a little something about working together. ‘Snowbird, you needn’t criticise Aurora so much -’ Iron Man begins to say, until Aurora interrupts him, ‘Of all the nerve!’ she exclaims. ‘You have no right to tell my teammate what to do!’.

‘What? But I was just saying -’ Iron Man begins, taken aback. Aurora interrupts him again, pointing at Snowbird she tells Iron Man that they can criticize each other as much as they want. Snowbird agrees, and explains to Iron Man that, for all their differences, Alpha Flight, first and foremost, is a family. Shaman tells Iron Man that one of their family members - Guardian - needs medical attention immediately, and waves farewell, as Alpha Flight help Guardian away.

Iron Man watches Alpha Flight leave, ‘A family, yeah…I wouldn’t know much about that’ he thinks to himself, looking at the projection of his father once more. Suddenly, a woman approaches Iron Man, and announces that she knew the man he is looking for as Howard Lieber. ‘You did? You mean - he was here?’ Iron Man exclaims. The woman introduces herself as Dr. Kusugak, and explains that when Howard arrived, he found work at the Free Clinic, up the road, which was more rewarding than the research station.

The Dr. tells Iron Man that Howard helped them get, and maintain, all their medical equipment, before he joined the non-profit Doctors Beyond Nations. She reveals that not long ago, Howard was transferred to Ghudaza, which is in Africa. Iron Man asks the woman why she didn’t speak up earlier, to which the woman explains that they all knew Howard was running from something, as he helped so many people in this town, they didn’t want to betray his trust.

The woman tells Iron Man that he has proven himself as well, and cannot imagine that he would want to find Howard for any bad purpose, so she hands him a slip of paper, explaining that it has all the details he needs to get in touch with Howard. Iron Man assures the woman that he will put it to good use, and thanks her for her help. Taking flight, Tony thinks to himself ‘Well, what do you know? Maybe heroism is in my blood!’.

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Guardian, Northstar, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird (all Alpha Flight)

Iron Man
Living Laser

Scientists at Auroral Research Station


Dr. Kusugak from Doctors Beyond Nations

Training robot

In Projected Image:

Howard Stark

Story Notes: 

Marvel Adventures: Iron Man is set in the “Marvel Adventures” Universe, along with several other publications aimed at younger readers.

This is the first time the Marvel Adventures Alpha Flight have appeared. They remain very similar to their 616 counterparts, but somewhat exaggerated.

Iron Man calling the wolverine that Snowbird disguises herself as “Logan” is a nod to of course the mutant Wolverine, who goes by the name “Logan”. This is interesting considering the close relationship that Wolverine and Snowbird have in the 616 Universe (Not established in the Marvel Adventures Universe).

Issue Information: 
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