Marvel Fanfare (1st series) #28

Issue Date: 
September 1986
Story Title: 
Murder by Numbers 1, 2, 3... It’s as Easy to Learn… as your A-B-C!

Bill Mantlo (Writer), Ken Steacy (Penciler, Inker, Colorist & Letterer), Rosemary McCormack-Lowy (Assistant Editor), Al Milgrom (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Northstar’s terrorist past is brought up once again when retired RCMP senior officer Commander McHeath informs Alpha Flight that someone is targeting the members of Cell Combattre, a violent sub group of the FLQ. Northstar confirms this, as he arrived on the scene of one of the murders the night prior. McHeath suggests that Northstar and the others track down the members of Cell Combattre before the murderer does. The assembled members of Alpha Flight - Vindicator, Snowbird, Aurora, Puck and Box - offer to help Northstar, but he isn’t interested, as he wants to do it alone, and flies off - unaware that Alpha Flight are tracking him via his microchip implant. Northstar first goes to check on his friend Clementine D’Arbanville, but soon after, Alpha Flight arrive, and while he is busy talking to them, a bomb goes off, killing Clementine. A man in armor similar to the original battle suit designed by James Hudson, calling himself Scourge is responsible for the bomb, and sets another one in a scrap yard that kills another two of Cell Combattre that Northstar tried to help, only Alpha get involved again. They are forced to take Northstar down, and convince him to work together to save the remaining two members of Cell Combattre. Scourge tracks on of the remaining members, but before he can kill him, Alpha Flight intervene and battle Scourge, who is eventually revealed to be Commander McHeath, exacting revenge on Cell Combattre for past personal crimes. He was able to track them by following Alpha Flight who were following Northstar. The remaining members of Cell Combattre are saved, and Northstar beats McHeath up, before Snowbird kills him. A few days later, Alpha Flight and Northstar make amends, and Northstar has his microchip implant removed.

Full Summary: 

It was not raining on Tamarind Island, British Columbia, when Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier hung up the phone in Alpha Flight’s headquarters and started running - to arrive in fog-bound Toronto, Ontario, 4500 kilometers and thirty minutes later. The handsome speedster darts about, thinking to himself that the fog blankets are like a shroud, though he knows that running is only slightly slower than flying, and it is a negligible difference - unless the life of a friend hangs in the balance that is.

Jean-Paul arrives at a scene of chaos - fire fighters are doing their best to douse a blazing fire, while police officers keep civilians behind a barricade, and reporters and camera crews try to scoop the story. Northstar leaps the barricade with ease, when a police officer tells him to get back, as this is a restricted area, before the police officer asks ‘Hey, aren’t you…?’ Northstar confirms the officer’s suspicions, producing his Alpha Flight I.D. card, Jean-Paul declares that it gives him access to any site in Canada. The police officer replies that he doesn’t speak French, but that he still recognizes the Alpha Flight security clearance card and tells Northstar to pass, adding that he is too late to do any good.

‘Too late?’ Jean-Paul thinks to himself, after all, he crossed half a continent in the half hour since Jacques’ call, and in that time, Jacques’ entire apartment complex has been devastated. Northstar sees a body on a stretcher that is being carried past him by some medics and he approaches it, lifting up the sheet, he sees the body of Jacques. Beginning to cry, Northstar swears that he will avenge his friend.

The next day, a distraught Alpha Flight assembles in the offices of Commander Giles McHeath in Ottawa. Northstar leans against a display cabinet, and his scantily-clad twin sister, Aurora stands beside him. Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator - Alpha Flight’s leader - stands right in front of Commander McHeath’s desk, while the beautiful goddess Narya a.k.a. Snowbird, the diminutive Eugene “Puck” Judd and the quadriplegic inside the metal man Roger “Box” Bochs stand at the rear of the room.

Heather asks McHeath why Alpha Flight has been summoned here, pointing out that they are not at the beck and call of any government agency, including the RCMP. McHeath asks Vindicator if she noticed the legend following his name on his office door, and remarks that, after a half-century with the RCMP, he is now very much retired. Heather asks McHeath, who is busy smoking a pipe, if he is not with the government then, to which McHeath replies ‘no longer’ and explains that upon leaving the force he established a private anti-terrorist organization, and the RCMP calls on him when one of his past operations rears is ugly head - such as right now.

McHeath reveals that a long dormant investigation into FLQ acts of terrorism during the early seventies has just turned up fresh clues - and indicate the involvement of a member of Alpha Flight! ’What!?’ exclaims Puck. ’Who? Northstar?’ presumes Box, to which Northstar declares that it would seem he stands condemned even before he is accused. A wide-eyed Aurora mutters ‘Oh, Jean-Paul not again!’ while Snowbird points out that one’s past is precedent. Heather hushes her team and declares that they need to hear what McHeath has to say.

But Aurora rushes over to McHeath’s desk and tells him that, before he lays any charges on her brother, she wants him to know that Northstar stopped a recent terrorist murder plot directed at the leaders of the United States and Canada! McHeath practically ignores Aurora and just looks a photo of himself in his younger days while muttering that he has a complete dossier. Northstar asks McHeath if the report is so complete that it includes the promise he recently made to his sister to foreswear violent opposition to the state. Aurora backs up Northstar’s statement, exclaiming that it is true.

Commander McHeath asks Northstar if he has foresworn loyalty to his old friends as well, to which Northstar replies that they have abandoned political violence, but that he will not betray them. McHeath jumps to his feet, exclaiming that he is not on this job to punish these people, but to try and save them, just like Northstar did last night. Aurora declares that Jean-Paul was on Tamarind Island last night, to which Northstar then confesses to also being in Toronto. McHeath remarks that it was there that Northstar learnt his super speed could not protect a former terrorist - who had been placed on a fanatic’s hit list!. ‘WHAT?!’ exclaims Northstar, clearly shocked.

McHeath presses a button on a panel and the picture hanging behind him turns into a monitor as he remarks ‘Surely you didn’t think your friend blew himself up?’ McHeath lights his pipe again as Alpha Flight watch Northstar appear on the monitor, and McHeath remarks that Northstar’s friend was too good a demolitions man for that, certainly not the type to take a block of innocent “civilians” with him. Aurora remarks that her brother is standing in front of a blasted apartment, and Heather remarks that the blast was on the news that morning.

McHeath informs Alpha Flight that he was called in to investigate when Northstar was spotted beside the body of fugitive terrorist…Jacques Paradis! McHeath explains that Paradis, also known as Numero Un or “Number One” was the suspected leader of one of the most violent cells of the Front de Liberation du Quebec, and that he had been hiding since the conclusion of the October Crisis when FLQ terrorism was smashed. McHeath remarks that the authorities had no idea where Paradis was, but two other people apparently did - his good friend and former comrade, Northstar - and his murderer!

Northstar explains to everyone that Jacques phoned him and said that he thought someone had seen through his alias and was hunting him. Box remarks that it appears someone was, and Judd tells Northstar not to blame himself, after all, he did try to save his friend. However McHeath suggests that Northstar could have called in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police instead of streaking off on his own - and arriving too late. But Northstar explains that Jacques would have seen that as a betrayal, and reminds his teammates that he has always been a loner, but that Jacques gave him something to believe in.

(Shown with flashback illustrations)

Jean-Paul declares that his French language, his heritage - liberty, he and Jacques were not alone in those days, for Quebec cried out for freedom! Jean-Paul remarks that there were some - such as the FLQ - who did more than petition for recognition of Quebec as a sovereign nation - they also fought! Jean-Paul adds that, being young, angry and confused about many things, he joined them. However - the resistance degenerated into…terror!

Commander McHeath declares that the response to the FLQ kidnapping was swift, and Ottawa sent in federal troops to aid the police. He admits that civil liberties were suspended as hundreds of separatistes and their sympathizers were rounded up and arrested. Recalling an incident were he was assaulted, McHeath remarks that Montreal became a solemn city besieged. McHeath exclaims that Canada searched its soul after the October crisis and that the civil rights of countless innocents were trampled in the war against the FLQ. He declares that many people began to urge the rewriting of the laws, but than an underground cell of the FLQ known as Cell Combattre comprised of six terrorists known only as Numero Un, Deux, Trois and Lettre A, B and C, all of who could not wait for peaceful change. Instead, they launched a Christmas raid on an RCMP post, slaughtering every policeman present.


Commander McHeath reveals that, in time, other FLQ terrorists were captured and imprisoned, but not Cell Combattre. Aurora asks McHeath what all of this has to do with her brother, pointing out that nothing he has said implicates Jean-Paul with the six murderers. McHeath doesn’t look at Aurora as he reveals that they suspected Cell Combattre had a seventh member, and as he shows an image of someone speeding past the police remarks that Cell Combattre employed a special courier, one who carried their communications too swiftly to allow deception or interception.

Snowbird exclaims that there is no doubt, while Box declares that it had to have been Northstar. Aurora turns to Vindicator, ‘Oh no, no!’ she exclaims while Heather comforts her. Northstar quickly announces that it is true, but that he only carried their messages until he learned what they were planning. Jean-Paul claims that he begged them not to go through with it, but they were so determined. McHeath remarks that Northstar fled from Cell Combattre, severing all ties, and Jean-Paul confirms this, adding that he informed James Hudson of this, but that he was invited to join Department H anyway.

McHeath declares that he thinks Northstar has shown a definite disavowal of his past as a member of Alpha Flight, to which Jean-Paul replies that he never gave up his principles, only their realization through violence. He adds that Jacques and the others did the same, to which McHeath declares that will not prevent their being punished for their crimes, if they ever catch them, while pointing out that it is unfortunate someone else seems determined to find them first. Jean-Paul asks McHeath what he wants from him, to turn informer? McHeath replies that he doesn’t, that all he wants is Northstar to find his friends, to help the RCMP help them by urging them to surrender. ‘For their own safety…bring them in!’

Soon, the rest of Alpha Flight follow Northstar out of McHeath’s office and Snowbird asks Jean-Paul what he intends to do, to which Aurora exclaims that her brother has no choice, that he must do what is right. Northstar asks his sister what exactly is “right” - serving a state that oppressed its French-speaking citizens, or fighting for their political freedom? Heather tells Jean-Paul that it depends on how you fight and on knowing when to stop. Jean-Paul asks how he knows that the authorities and McHeath have stopped waging the war as well, before suggesting that perhaps the authorities killed Jacques and claim that his other comrades are in peril, forcing him to locate them, thus leading the government to enemies it could never find!

Heather tells Northstar that if his friends are targets of a killer or the government, then they must save them, adding that if the explosion last night does mean that Cell Combattre have gone back to their old ways and are planning new acts of terrorism, then Alpha Flight must stop them. ‘We need do nothing, Vindicator!’ Northstar exclaims, declaring that Cell Combattre are his former friends and comrades, so he will either save them, warn them…or betray them…alone! With that, Northstar takes to the skies, speeding away.

‘He’s gone!’ exclaims Box as Northstar disappears from sight in an instant. Heather mutters that the hot-headed Northstar has no team spirit at all, and asks how he could ever have been a member of Cell Combattre. ‘Then he fought for something he believed in, Vindicator!’ snaps Aurora as she takes flight, while Snowbird points out that Northstar has always been ambivalent about being part of Alpha Flight, before they all take flight following him, with Box carrying Puck, who remarks that one thing is for certain - no one can catch up to Northstar when he pours the speed on! Aurora points out that she could have once, but that was before her genetic makeup and powers were altered. Heather, however, declares that there is one way they can track him!

McHeath is thinking about how to track Northstar too, and he knows what Heather knows, as do certain others from the RCMP during Department H’s heyday - James MacDonald Hudson had microchips implanted in the skulls of some of his protégés - Northstar included - so that he could contact them in emergencies. McHeath knows that Alpha Flight can track their teammate via the implant, and although he does not know the frequency, he would be a poor policeman to let that stop him. McHeath picks up a small device and recalls how Alpha Flight, upon entering his office, were “dusted” with electromagnetic particles, and although he knew Northstar’s would soon be swept off, he can track the rest of Alpha Flight while they track Northstar, thus, leading him straight to Cell Combattre.

Later that evening in Toronto, Alpha Flight touch down and Judd asks if the implants that link them to the Alphanex computer will let them track Northstar, to which Heather explains that they were not designed with that purpose, but yes they will. Aurora exclaims that she cannot help but feel guilty about tracking her brother, to which Box reminds Aurora of Northstar’s entanglement with Cell Combattre and remarks that if he rejoins them, he will be renouncing Alpha Flight, and the authorities will not take kindly to him protecting terrorists. Aurora boasts that no prison built could hold her brother, to which Box asks ‘Who says they’d jail him?’ This shocks Aurora, who declares that they must find her brother.

Judd asks Heather what if Northstar has good reason to fear leading McHeath to his friends, to which Heather asks if Puck is suggesting that because McHeath is no longer with the government, he may not be playing by the book. The heroes take flight again, this time with Judd holding on to Heather, who declares that if Judd’s suspicious are founded, then McHeath has made a mistake by calling them in, ‘How could an ex-policeman harm Northstar’s friends when they’re protected by Alpha Flight!?’ she exclaims.

While Alpha Flight soars the skies, another flying figure zips across it, unseen over the city, he calls himself…Scourge! He wears a cybernetic battle-suit based on a prototype designed years ago by James Hudson for a company called Am-Can. Apparently, someone else had access to the original plans - and that means to construct the armor! Scourge looks at a device on his arm and sees that Alpha Flight has landed, and wonders if Northstar has led them to the terrorists already.

In an alley nearby, Box exclaims that Northstar is near. Snowbird asks if he is in one of the condemned buildings, to which Judd wonders which one it could be. Snowbird reminds everyone that she possesses post cognitive abilities - powers that let her “replay” events from the recent past, and begins to display this little-used ability of hers, she watches the recent past unfold before her and motions to the building that Northstar entered - an old theater.

As Alpha Flight enter the theater, Judd looks around and remarks that it is as good a hide-out as any, while Aurora exclaims that her brother doesn’t appear to be here. Heather orders Box to “vector in” on Northstar, and asks Snowbird to track Jean-Paul’s scent. Narya complies by transforming into an albino wolverine, but only for a moment though, as she quickly reverts to her default form, ‘What a stench! Humanity has befouled this place!’ she exclaims, while Box announces that he has the scope on Northstar.

Suddenly though, as Alpha Flight move towards the theater stage, Jean-Paul reveals himself, ‘You have been tracking me - how?!’ he exclaims. Aurora tells her brother that it is the “why” that is important, explaining that they are here to see, for his own good, that he does nothing criminal. Northstar replies that he would expect Alpha Flight to doubt him, as they always have, but hoped that his own sister would put more trust in his pledge never to return to terrorism. Aurora tells her brother that she wants to believe him, and that they all want to help his friends. Jean-Paul snarls that his “friends” are just fine, and turns to the backstage area, ‘Isn’t that right…Clementine!?’ Northstar asks, when suddenly, there is a massive explosion backstage so powerful that it forces Northstar off the stage and stuns Snowbird, knocking her over.

Heather is fine thanks to the force field her electro-magnetic battle suit emanates, while Judd tends to Snowbird, Box uses his incredible strength to hold part of the building up, joking that the blast has brought the house down - literally, while Aurora calls out to her brother as she cannot see where he has gone. Heather takes control of the situation and uses a plasma funnel which she creates by flying around the fire to snuff out the flames. She orders Box to clear the debris and for the others to search for Northstar and his friend.

Puck finds the stunned speedster, while a concerned Aurora asks ‘Is he…’ but Judd assures her that Northstar is fine, just knocked off his feet by the blast. ‘The blast!’ exclaims Jean-Paul as he gathers himself, recalling that it came from behind him, he flies to what’s left of backstage, exclaiming that is where Clementine was. Aurora realizes that her brother is referring to Clementine D’Arbanville, and Judd remembers her as the woman who alerted Northstar to Pink Pearl’s plot to kill the Prime Minister and the President of the United States.

Northstar finds Clementine’s body, motionless and broken, he kneels beside her informing the others that he helped Clementine go underground again after the drama with Pink Pearl cost Clementine her circus. Jean-Paul remarked that this theater seemed the perfect hiding place, for to Clementine, the whole world was a stage, adding that even her involvement in Cell Combattre took on the aspect of a part in a perilous play. Picking Clementine up, Northstar tells Alpha Flight that she wanted to retire from the role of “Numero Deux”, the terrorist ingénue, and live a normal life. ‘And now, because you followed me, distracted me…SHE’S DEAD!’ Jean-Paul snaps, tears streaming down his face, he takes to the air, telling Alpha Flight to leave him alone, lest they help the rest of his friends the way they “helped” Clementine, before he flies away.

Judd covers Clementine’s body with a blanket, while the team regroups. Heather wonders if Clementine was killed by McHeath’s so-called murderer, then where is he? Aurora suggests that Clementine might have built the bomb that exploded, killing herself, in an attempt to destroy Alpha Flight. Box remarks that would make Clementine a martyr to her cause, while Snowbird points out that Clementine helped Canada in the Pink Pearl drama. ‘There is a lot here that doesn’t figure, eh?’ Judd remarks, before the team takes flight again, with Heather pointing out that the pieces are never going to add up unless they keep after Northstar.

Before the Toronto police reach the devastated theater, another figure stalks forth from the shadows backstage - Scourge. The armored murderer lifts up the sheet covering Clementine to check that she is indeed dead and thinks that the Alphans thinks there may be a killer on step ahead of Northstar on the terrorists trail, not realizing that it is they themselves who is leading he, Scourge, to the criminals!

Meanwhile, the chase continues across Toronto, and it is not long before Alpha Flight have caught up with their teammate as Heather points out that Northstar is flying a lot slower than before, suggesting that perhaps the blast back at the theater hurt him more than he let on. Judd remarks that even with his speed cut, Northstar is still way ahead of them, to which Heather replies that speed doesn’t matter, so long as Box maintains a fix on Northstar’s microchip. Aurora asks Heather why every member of Alpha Flight didn’t receive an implant. Snowbird remarks that in her own case, it was impossible, for she is not allowed to bleed, while Heather informs Aurora that Marrina’s amulet served the same purpose, and Shaman’s mystical senses alerted him in times of need, while she and Box became members later on. ‘But the rest of the original team had the implants’ Scourge thinks to himself as he flies unseen above Alpha Flight, ‘So follow Northstar, Alpha Flight…and lead me to his murderous friends!’.

Racing against time, Northstar reaches a Toronto scrap yard, thinking to himself that his teammates obviously have some way of tracking him, so he must alert Numero Trois and Lettre A before Alpha Flight - or the assassin - finds them. Jean-Paul enters an old yellow bus, surprising his former associates, who ask him what he is doing here. Jean-Paul replies that he has come to warn them that the authorities, an assassin, or his teammates, hunt them. The two Cell Combattre members produce guns and point them at Northstar, asking how they could know where the two of them were hiding, unless he led them here. ‘I came to help you, and you accuse me of betraying you?’ Northstar exclaims, clearly annoyed.

Suddenly, Box rips the bus apart, causing everyone to fall from it, ‘Fine friends you’ve got there, speedster!’ Northstar exclaims. Heather notices the guns and destroys them with a plasma blast, while telling Northstar that it seems the old ways die hard where his playmates are concerned. ‘You blame them, Vindicator?’ Northstar asks, pointing out that the members of Cell Combattre have been on the run for years, hunted and hounded by the police, and now by beings whose powers any normal human being would fear. Northstar begins to speed around Alpha Flight, causing Snowbird to get tangled in her cape, while Heather fires small plasma bursts at him, Jean-Paul exclaims that her knows what Cell Combattre has done, but he also knows what has been done to them, so he will use his powers to protect them.

Judd tells Northstar that it is too bad his powers didn’t protect those mounties who were murdered, before declaring that the Cell Combattre members may not deserve it, but Alpha Flight is here to save their lives. Northstar easily dodges Judd’s punch and exclaims that Quebec was in a war, and whether it is acknowledged by history or not, those policemen were the enemy. Judd suggests Northstar watch his analogies, remarking that if what happened was war, then the FLQ lost - and the victor could execute the vanquished. ‘Luckily for your murderous friends, the courts will apply the law even to them, eh?’ Judd remarks, while Heather declares that Canada has no death penalty.

Box grabs Northstar by the ankle and forces him down to the ground, while Heather exclaims that no one is going to take Cell Combattre’s lives if Alpha Flight can help it. Due to Northstar’s exhaustion he is unable to evade his teammates, while those he sought to protect cut and run. ‘Let the fools destroy each other!’ one of the exclaims as they rush through the scrap yard - only to be blown up. ‘NO!’ Northstar shouts while Box continues to hold him down. Heather tells Jean-Paul that no one could have survived that blast, while Box, still with his hand on Jean-Paul, but letting him stand up, asks who set the blast, as there was no one here except for them and the terrorists.

Heather examines the area and remarks that there is no sign of a murderer, while Northstar shoves Box’s hand off of him and asks Heather if she is saying his comrades destroyed themselves, he calls her mad and exclaims that if they had wanted to die they could have ended their existences at any time. Box suggests that this time they thought maybe they could take Alpha Flight out with them, while Jean-Paul snaps that he has already said Cell Combattre has renounced that aspect of their past. Box asks Northstar how he explains those guns that they were ready to use, to which Northstar replies that they needed to protect themselves. ‘Or to protect their present plans from one whom they no longer felt they could trust?’ suggests Snowbird.

Heather tells Jean-Paul that the terrorists must have had a bomb hidden in the scrap yard, and Puck adds that they might not have had built one with Alpha Flight in mind, but that killing them would be quite a coup for a reborn Cell Combattre. ‘But McHeath set me…you…on their trail!’ Northstar exclaims. Heather suggests that perhaps McHeath lied about there being a murderer after Northstar’s friends, and perhaps he knew they were up to their old tricks. ‘And wanted me to stop them before they could kill again!’ exclaims Jean-Paul, to which Heather asks if he can blame McHeath for wanting that, to which Northstar replies ‘No’. Heather tells Jean-Paul that he must lead them to Lettres B and C so that they can stop them before they hurt themselves, or anyone else. ‘Yes!’ Jean-Paul exclaims before Alpha Flight take to the skies again, with Scourge watching them go, ‘Even better than I could have planned! Lead on, Alpha Flight, lead on!’ he exclaims.

Meanwhile, in the Beaches, Toronto, a tow of upwardly mobile middle class citizens. At six o’clock, children come home from play, mothers put dinner into the microwaves, and fathers come home from work. Such as the man formerly known as Lettre B. Scourge soars over the neighborhood, thinking that Lettre B is hiding in plain sight, a retired terrorist disguised as an ordinary business man, who no doubt relies on his surroundings to keep him camouflaged. But Scourge thinks that he would know Lettre B anywhere, and that Alpha Flight is near, probably sheltering the killer’s wife - Lettre C - while waiting to warn Lettre B as well. Scourge boasts that he will not give them that chance, as he has waited too many years! ‘This night, justice shall be done!’.

Scourge hovers over the former terrorist known as Lettre B, who gives no other outward evidence of his fear than some sweat beads on his face - but the trap Alpha Flight has set for Scourge has been sprung, and Lettre B spins around as Box flies up behind Scourge and smashes him over, ‘We’ve been expecting you, hit man! Looks like McHeath was right!’ Box exclaims. Heather stands by Lettre C and remarks that the battle suit looks like a prototype developed by Mac. Snowbird goes over to protect Lettre B, while Scourge introduces himself, boasting that he is the instrument of vengeance come to punish these monsters for their crimes.

Judd calls Scourge a madman trying to rationalize his own lawlessness and leaps towards him, kicking him in the face, though Scourge manages to fire a blast at the house while Judd declares that they are under Alpha Flight’s protection and that he will not get to slaughter them like he did their comrades. Scourge exclaims that Cell Combattre was condemned by society and that he merely exists to carry out the sentence society imposed on them. Vindicator fires a plasma blast at Scourge, keeping him down, while Aurora flies up behind him. ‘You claim to act in the name of justice?’ she asks while putting her hands over his eyes. ‘Not even justice is so blind - as you will shortly be!’ she exclaims, blinding Scourge at such a close proximity, though he is protected by his armor, ‘Curse you, witch!’ he shouts as he pulls his helmet off, shouting that she has burnt out his suit’s optilenses.

‘And I must see you to slay you!’ shouts Commander McHeath, revealing himself. ‘McHeath!’ exclaims Northstar, protecting Lettre B, C and their children. ‘Yes!’ exclaims McHeath, admitting that he used Northstar to lead him to his targets, declaring that he has sought them for years, ever since their Christmas massacre slaughtered his men, except that the government had all but abandoned the chase, so he had to hunt them down on his own, and now that he has found them, justice will be at last done. ‘Vigilantes are no more lawful than terrorists, McHeath!’ exclaims Box as he smacks McHeath to the ground.

‘Justice? You call what you did justice!?’ Northstar shouts as he speeds over to McHeath, who tells Jean-Paul not to speak to him of “justice”, reminding him that he aided them in their crimes. Jean-Paul declares that he will not allow himself or his friends to be judged by a bloodthirsty maniac, and speeds around McHeath, punching him repeatedly at super speed so badly, that it soon threatens McHeath’s own survival, until finally, Heather and Judd manage to pull Northstar away while Aurora informs him that he is killing McHeath. ‘Yes! I must!’ exclaims Northstar.

Heather tells him to take it easy, that he needs to let the same courts that will judge him and Cell Combattre judge McHeath. Northstar, his fists covered in blood, tells Heather that she is right, while McHeath exclaims that if he is to be judged, then he wants the death of a super-terrorist added to his list of crimes. Before he can fire though, Snowbird transforms into a polar bear and tells Scourge that he has committed enough crimes to sway public support in favor of capital punishment. ‘Let their be an end to your evil!’ she exclaims as she kills McHeath by slashing him across the back of his head, before reverting to her default form.

Aurora comforts Northstar while Judd and Box keep the crowds back. Heather notices the approaching police officers and supposes that a civilian summoned them, she tells her team that she will handle the explanations. One of the po9lice asks what is going on here and orders no one to move until he gets some answers.

Some days later, at a hospital in Toronto, Alpha Flight are visiting Northstar, and Heather asks him how his hands are. Jean-Paul replies that they are not healing half as fast as his heart now that the Prime Minister has decided to pardon him for any past indiscretions. Aurora remarks that the Prime Minister could do no less when he realized how limited her brother’s role in Cell Combattre truly was. Judd tells Northstar that his two former comrades will have to go to prison though, but between their reformation and help in trapping Scourge, they shouldn’t be there long.

Aurora tells Northstar that his past is at last buried and that he can finally regard Alpha Flight as his family now. Jean-Paul replies that he has never had a family, reminding her that their poor parents died mysteriously soon after the two of them were born, and they were subsequently separated after that. Jean-Paul declares that, lost and alone, he joined Cell Combattre, although their goals were the same, their methods differed, and finally, he renounced them. ‘True, I sought to save them from Scourge, but they could never again be as a family to me’.

Northstar remarks that they may ask him to make Alpha Flight his family, but that such a relationship implies trust and understanding. Heather tells Northstar that she thinks they have given him a fair measure of both, considering his past. Northstar admits that he his aspects of his past from the team, but that she hid from him the fact that his privacy was not his own. ‘There is the microchip that enabled you to follow me’ Jean-Paul remarks, motioning to a small tray with the chip lying in it, Northstar reveals that he had the doctors remove it.

Jean-Paul admits that he does realize they sought to help him and his friends, and that counts heavily in accepting membership in this “family”, but that he can only be a true son of Alpha if, in the future, he has their unqualified trust. Heather replies that, on behalf of Alpha Flight, she can say that he has, while Aurora hugs her brother, declaring that, at last, they have both found a home.

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Box I, Northstar, Puck, Snowbird, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Commander Giles McHeath / Scourge

Clementine D’Arbanville / Numero Deux

Lettre A, Lettre B, Lettre C, Numero Trois

Body of Jacques Paradis / Numero Un

Lettre B and C’s children


Police Officers

Fire Fighters


Reporters & Camera Crewsp>

In Illustrative Flashback images:

Northstar at various times in his life

Jacques Paradis

Members of the FLQ

Members of Cell Combattre

Police officers

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place between Alpha Flight (1st series) #42 and #43.

Notably absent from Alpha Flight’s roster this issue are Shaman (who was actually Talisman III at the time) and Madison Jeffries, both of whom it is safe to assume were busy on Tamarind Island.

Vindicator severed ties with the government in Alpha Flight (1st series) #39 after learning that Gary Cody, their government liaison, was spying on them.

First and only appearance of Commander McHeath a.k.a. Scourge - not to be confused with the famous Scourge who killed numerous villains in Captain America (1st series).

Northstar’s terrorist past was first brought up in Alpha Flight (1st series) #22 and #25. It is reference occasionally throughout Alpha Flight (1st series), and explored further in the Northstar limited series.

Northstar and Aurora stopped the terrorist plot against leaders of the United States and Canada in Alpha Flight (1st series) #22. A footnote incorrectly calls it the “Pretty Pearl affair”, when in fact, her name is Pink Pearl.

Northstar wasn’t abandoned by his parents as said this issue, but his birth parents, and foster parents (birth mother’s cousins) died in car accidents six years apart. Northstar was moved to a foster home, before finding a father-figure in Raymonde Belmonde, then he joined up with the FLQ and Cell Combattre, which is where he met his friend Jacques.

James Hudson had a very forgiving kind of personality, and recruited several of the original and classic Alphans into Department H despite having questionable pasts including Northstar, Puck, Wild Child, Box I (in an origin story that doesn’t quite fit with pre-established continuity) and potential recruit Bedlam.

Aurora’s powers and genetic makeup were altered to differentiate herself from Northstar in Alpha Flight (1st series) #17. The footnote this issue incorrectly says it happened in Incredible Hulk #312.

It is unknown how Commander McHeath got the plans to Guardian’s original clunky battle suit armor.

All of the original Alphans and Betas were somehow traceable by a signal. Guardian, Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora, Puck and presumably Flashback were implanted with a homing chip, which was placed in their skull. Shaman didn’t need one due to his mystic senses. Snowbird has similar senses, besides she is not allowed to bleed, so she can’t receive an implant. Marrina has hers placed in her amulet, possibly because of her alien physiology. Box ha sensors in his armor that would serve the same purpose.
It is unknown whether Gamma Flight members were implanted with a chip (in Diamond Lil’s case it would have been impossible anyway), though as it never comes up, it would be safe to say they do not have these implants. The same can be said for the First Flight members.

Contrary to Heather’s remark about Box joining Alpha Flight later, yes, he may have joined the team proper later, but he was active with Beta Flight when the microchips were implanted.

While Northstar’s implant is removed this issue, the state of the other implants is unknown - Aurora’s may have been removed during her lobotomy in the second Weapon X series, and presumably Sasquatch no longer has his after being reborn in Snowbird’s body. The same can be said for Guardian whose body was “rebuilt” by the alien Qwrlln.

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