Rom #57

Issue Date: 
August 1984
Story Title: 
Scenes of Destruction on Every Hand

Bill Mantlo (Writer), Sal Buscema (Penciler), Mel Candido (Inker), Ben Sean (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Bob Harras (Assistant Editor), Ralph Macchio (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Alpha Flight, Rom and Starshine prepare for the flood and as it reaches the small town of Beaver Falls they do all they can to stop it, which despite being super-heroes is not a lot. They each try valiantly, the flood destroys the town, and one of the towns survivors asks them why they couldn’t do anything, to which the answer is that they did.

Full Summary: 

Beaver Falls, Canada, where only moments ago the four members of the super team known as Alpha Flight – Snowbird, Sasquatch, Marrina and Shaman, along with the hero Rom and his lover Starshine thwarted an attack by the deadly Dire Wraiths. However that threat was just a distraction, now comes the real enemy, the deadly lake, polluted both by man and the Wraith’s has burst the dam thanks to the Wraiths, and the flood has started on the tiny town of Beaver Falls. The townsfolk begin to run from the looming waters as the six heroes stand their ground. Shaman declares that prayer cannot save them as Snowbird asks him if his magic can do anything. Rom realizes that the Wraiths tricked them, and Starshine understands the Wraiths’ plan was to unleash the tainted water across the countryside.

Sasquatch exclaims that the lake is only ten miles from the town and wonders what they can do, as it will be upon them in moments. Rom however takes the lead as the others are uncertain about what to do. He exclaims that they must contain the threat unleashed by the Wraiths and orders Alpha Flight to see to the safety of the town and the citizens. Taking to the air he declares that he and Starshine will try to stop the flood. Sasquatch thinks that the Spaceknights are mad and do not have a chance, Shaman agrees, to which Marrina adds that neither do they, and taking to the air, the goddess Snowbird exclaims that the may as well die heroes if indeed they are to die, ordering Alpha Flight to do as Rom asked.

Rom and Starshine reach the first wave of the oncoming flood and Rom thinks to himself that he only spoke to the Alphans as he did to rouse them from their shock, but wonders to what purpose, for surely the flood is unstoppable and all in its path are doomed. He knows that he and Starshine could have escaped and survived, but it was their enemies, the Dire Wraiths, who tainted the waters with their sinister spells and then unleashed the flood to carry that taint across Canada wherever the black waters would flow. Rom knows that indeed he could not have abandoned the humans, as it is their responsibility to combat the Wraith evil in whatever form it takes, no matter how hopeless the plight of the humans is, or how certain their doom is.

Starshine alerts Rom to the flood that is almost upon them and asks her lover if he has a plan to stop it. Rom gazes at the giant waves, staring at it in wonder and Starshine asks him again if he has a plan. A roar shatters the silence as the wave crashes down on the surrounding area, destroying the church, though it had stood for half a century, it fell in half a second. Rom and Starshine unleash their powers, but both energy analyzer and lighteyes have no effect on the giant wave, and it soon crashes down on the Spaceknights, and drenches the whole area.

Back in the town, Snowbird alerts Dr. Walter Langkowski, the handsome scientist inside the form of Sasquatch to some logs. Seeing them, Sasquatch grabs them and begins to stake them into the ground to form a giant wall, while thinking about Rom’s request for them to see to the town, he feels like it will be ‘spitting into a strong wind’. In the air, the serene goddess informs her teammates that the wave is less than one mile away. Floating in the air cross-legged thanks to a levitation spell, Shaman proclaims that he needs to be ready, and Sasquatch asks him what he thinks he can do other than bless his barricade.

On the streets beyond, the inhabitants of Beaver Falls have already taken into a frenzied panic and are fleeing.

Shaman calls to the Great Spirit, asking it to guide him, he informs the spirit that the balance of nature was unsettled by alien hands, and he asks the spirit to help him undo their evil. Shaman knows his prayers are somewhat dishonest however, for while the Wraiths did unleash the flood, the black waters were already polluted by man, but even though there were two parties involved in the crime against nature, unless the flood is stopped, only man will pay the price. From his medicine pouch, Shaman pulls certain seeds, seeds which respond to ancient incantations, and which swiftly sprout, and grow to form a tight-knit hedge of immense proportions between the black waters and the town in their path.

The giant beanstalk-hedge holds momentarily, before more waves crash upon it, and Shaman loses control, crying out he slips in concentration and plummets to the ground below – only to land in the arms of his friend Sasquatch, who looks at the looming waters and asks ‘Now what?’

Snowbird is concerned with another of her teammates however – Marrina and the goddess calls to the alien girl as she stands before the waves. Marrina may be a young child of the sea, but these foul waters that surge towards her are not her home, for they reek of man’s madness and Wraith malevolence. Marrina dives into the flood, near to no one can match her power within the waters and inside the putrid waters she seeks to stop it, stop it before it’s coal darkness deprives her of her life. She squints in the water, for seconds she is filled with so much revulsion that she cannot bring herself to act, but Marrina is a super hero, and thinking of those in danger of being swept away, she acts.

At first, Marrina is buffeted and swept along, but recovering, she twists her course like a corkscrew she whips the waters through which she swims into a rising black funnel, a waterspout as she attempts to turn the flood back upon itself. However the monstrous flood is too much even for one such as Marrina, and she has become sickened by that which the waters contain to maintain her tension. She is flung from the flood, even so, it is unlikely she would have survived had she remained longer in the flood.

Standing on his giant “fence”, Sasquatch is still holding Shaman, but he has no time to observe the strength of the barrier he has constructed. For the powerful waters smash against it, knocking both Sasquatch and Twoyoungmen off and sending the logs into its angry waters, which quickly spread through the town, destroying homes, shops and other monuments in its wake.

One super hero remains now, Snowbird, and as the ice-maiden glides through the air she calls to her teammates, but seeing nothing but water and a broken town floating in the water, she is saddened.

Down in the waters, a man pushes his children onto the roof of their floating house as he informs them he is going to look for their mother. The daughter calls out to her dad when he is sucked under the water though. Elsewhere, a family huddles on a makeshift raft, but they too are soon pulled under when another wave ravages across them.

Snowbird puts her hands up to her face – she cannot be everywhere at once, nor can she help every victim of the tragedy. Snowbird however is a super hero, one of the most powerful there is, and despite the human emotions which cloud her godlike exterior she calms herself and transforms into a polar bear, dropping into the water as she morphs. Two children are floating in the water, one of them calls for help, and the polar bear swims to them, they are in too much shock to question their rescue.

Sasquatch soon climbs out of the deadly waters, on to the roof of a floating house, he then pulls from the water another victim and sets him on the roof. Walt grabs a giant telephone pole and uses the steps on the side of it to pull Shaman, who is holding on to the unconscious Marrina, and asks if anyone has seen the Spaceknights. Sasquatch looks up – he has now, and both Rom and Starshine fly from the waters, both carrying victims of the flood.

The survivors all assemble on the slopes overlooking the river that flows through the valley that once sheltered the town. Shaman, carrying Marrina, asks Rom of the dead, to which the Spaceknight declares that the dead are the lucky ones, for it is the living he pities. The drenched survivors say nothing as they huddle together, stricken over what they have just experienced. Kneeling beside Marrina, Shaman extends his hands to the sky exclaiming that the living has also suffered shocks, both psychic and physical of which they may still succumb to. Shaman knows that Marrina has become sick due to the amount of time she spent in the Wraith tainted waters, then she was dashed senseless by the waves. Taking from his medicine pouch, Shaman holds a test tube pours from it a potion into Marrina’s mouth. Marrina wakes and weary, she asks if they saved the town.

One of the residents of Beaver Falls speaks up and asks if that is what the heroes were here to do, and asks why they didn’t do something. The heroes look from the stricken man to each other. The men polluted the lake, while the Wraiths unleashed the flood, a flood that carried with it a taint, and as they stands, survivors, that taint seeps into the soil and washes every tributary downstream, carrying it’s evil with it.

Rom says ‘Why didn’t we do something?’ answering the other man’s question with a question, and looking around at the damage, despite the water’s being stopped, Rom cries ‘Gods of Galador…we did!’

Super-powers are a rare and precious commodity. We expect a great deal from those who posses them. But perhaps we need to be reminded that beings with such power are not omnipotent. They can accomplish much against certain dangers. But in the face of a disaster, of this magnitude, even those deemed super-heroes can do little else save…survive.

Characters Involved: 



Marrina, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird (All Alpha Flight)

Townspeople of Beaver Lake

Story Notes: 

Alpha Flight appears briefly at the start of next issue, helping with the clean up of Beaver Falls. [Rom #58]

Issue Information: 
Written By: