X-Men and Alpha Flight (2nd series) #2

Issue Date: 
June 1998
Story Title: 
Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot…

Ben Raab & John Cassaday (Writers), John Cassaday (Penciler & Inker), Jason Wright (Colorist), Heisler & Heisler (Letterers), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor-in-Chief)

Dedicated to John Byrne and Chris Claremont

Brief Description: 

Alpha Flight are tested by Professor X in the X-Men’s Danger Room as Xavier wants to know if they are up to the task of rescuing the X-Men from Baron von Strucker. En route to rescue the X-Men, Guardian informs his team of the plan, while other issues the team has arise, such as Aurora’s Jeanne-Marie persona going on her first mission, Northstar’s over-protectiveness over his sister and Walter dealing with his girlfriend’s split personality. Shaman also has a premonition in which Guardian dies. Alpha Flight infiltrate Strucker’s base and easily take down his army of HYDRA agents, until Guardian is separated from the group. Fearing the premonition may come true, Shaman has Sasquatch try and free him while the others go rescue the X-Men. The mutants are already free however, as they escaped when Alpha Flight short-circuited the power. At first they think Alpha Flight have some dispute with them, but Shaman quickly informs them of what is going on. Guardian meanwhile is being overwhelmed by HYDRA agents wearing the battle suit armor that he created, and as Strucker watches him be crushed, Sasquatch finally breaks into the room, not long before the other Alphans and X-Men follow him. The heroes prove they all work well together, and take down the HYDRA agents as Lemieu, Gary Cody’s assistant who betrayed him angrily jibes Strucker, asking him how many times it is one can fail in this life and still call themselves “superior”. Strucker shoots Lemieu, and just before Wolverine attacks him he teleports away. Alpha Flight and the X-Men have a brief chat after the battle in which Shaman decides not to tell Guardian of his premonition as it did not come true. Back in Canada, Guardian returns to Heather, proud that Alpha Flight saved the day.

Full Summary: 

Canada’s premiere super hero team - Guardian, Snowbird, Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora, Shaman and Puck, collectively known as Alpha Flight - stand ready for the task that lies before them. James MacDonald Hudson a.k.a. Guardian, the team leader tells the others it is time to show their opponents what they are made. Their opponents being…The Original X-Men?

Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and Angel prepare to fight Alpha Flight, With Scott “Cyclops” Summers replying to Mac’s comment, but telling him the X-Men will be the judge. ‘You tell ‘im, Slim!’ young Bobby “Iceman” Drake shouts, supporting his team leader. Eugene Milton Judd, better known as Alpha’s diminutive Puck tells the X-Men that they will have to back up their claim. This should be interesting.

Flying towards Sasquatch, who when he is human is known as Doctor Walter Langkowski, the X-Men’s Warren “Angel” Worthington the third exclaims he will hit “Bigfoot” from high, while Hank “the Beast” McCoy leaps towards Sasquatch’s feet. Sasquatch is about to underestimate his smaller opponent, assuming his Hulk-like strength is enough defence against any attack. ‘This is one tower you don’t wanna buzz, bird boy!’ Walt tells Angel as the winged mutant swoops towards him, however, Alpha Flight is no stranger to teamwork, and the young mutant Aurora streaks towards Angel, preventing him from attacking her lover Sasquatch.

Aurora tells Angel that he should listen to Sasquatch, and explains bluntly that he is no match for him. Angel smiles and tells the attractive Alphan that she is much more his speed, ’Oooo la laaaa?’ Angels’ sentence is skewered as Aurora’s handsome brother, Jean-Paul Beaubier, also known as Northstar speeds towards the two in mid flight and pulls him away from her. ‘Unhand my sister, cretin!’ he shouts. Though protectiveness runs in Aurora’s family, her brother expresses it solely for her, being no team player.

While Iceman starts to cover Alpha Flight’s resident Goddess, Snowbird, in a mountain of snow, the Beast is flipping Sasquatch around by his feet. As Sasquatch is tumbled around, Beast says to him: ‘I assume this codifies your cognizance of the fact that the greater an object’s mass, the more severe the blunt of the trauma of said object upon any given surface at any given point. But you knew that already’. Suddenly, Puck grabs Beast by the feet and declares ’In other words, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”, eh?’ and with that he pulls Beast and knocks him over. Judd’s humor is an asset he has developed to make up for the pain of his dwarfism.

Cyclops calls to Beast and tries to get him back in the battle, while a man who possesses the same leadership potential - Guardian calls to Snowbird, and informs her that Northstar needs her help, but Snowbird is nowhere to be seen. Bobby Drake calls to Cyclops, and leaning against a mound of snow, he smirks and boasts ‘A little bit of snow, a little bit of ingenuity and voila! Goddess a la mode!’ Scott congratulates Iceman on a good job before telling him to help the others. Guardian has been watching too, and he smiles, for he knows his people. He tells Cyclops that the human Popsicle should stand back, as Snowbird is not known for her sense of humor. Suddenly, a giant polar bear leaps roaring from the snow, and rushes straight towards the screaming Iceman. Narya is part goddess, part human, her power far greater than her experience, which makes her dangerous. The polar bear has a claw outstretched as she grabs Bobby by the throat, however Narya changes back into her default form. ‘Mother!’ whispers the frightened Iceman.

The mystic Shaman is the only Alphan left, Doctor Michael Twoyoungmen’s tool is his Sarcee medicine pouch, and from it, he summons a large vine shaped with a hand at the end of it, ready to grab onto Jean Grey, the X-Men’s Marvel Girl. Grey is a telekinetic, and takes control of the vine, sending it back towards Shaman, where it grabs a hold of him instead.

Suddenly, the surrounding area fades from view, and the X-Men disappear. Alpha Flight are left standing in a technologically advanced room, and someone thanks them, telling them ‘that will be all’. Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters and the Uncanny X-Men wheels himself into the training room known as the Danger Room. He tells Canada’s finest super heroes that as a team they show promise, but points out that a training session in the Danger Room is one thing, but they will face more than holographic representations of his Original X-Men when they confront Baron von Strucker and his army of HYDRA terrorists. ‘You’ve got to be better than that’.

Judd suddenly leaps onto Xavier’s lap, angry he reminds Charles that he called and they came, and points out that it doesn’t look like he got a better offer, but before Judd can continue his rant, Mac motions to Sasquatch, who picks Judd up by his head, ‘Put a sock in it, shorty’ says Walt, as Judd squirms in his grasp, kicking and protesting. Mac tells Charles that Alpha Flight may be a little rough around the edges, but that they will bring the X-Men home safe. ‘We’ll do our best’ he declares, as Charles wheels himself out of the Danger Room, and replying ‘I hope so’.

An island in the Pacific Ocean, Baron von Strucker, head of the terrorist organization HYDRA stands before the six captive X-Men and thinks to himself how superior he is, even though numerous others, like Charles Xavier and Magneto have tried to prove otherwise. But Xavier and Magneto are both mutants, and represent the pinnacle of human evolution. Alleged that is, and Strucker recalls how these so-called “homo-superior” tried to foil his plans, destroying his spirit by denying him his tools of conquest. But Strucker knows he is a true Aryan son, whose spirit is unassailable - and he has found new tools. ‘It was only a matter of time’ he mutters standing before the captive X-Men. Strucker’s new lackey, the Canadian Lemieu enters the chamber and asks him why there are eight cells but only six are filled. He wonders if the final two elude him, before asking Strucker why he hates them so. Strucker walks out of the room, replying simply that he has his reasons.

High above the Pacific Ocean now, Alpha Flight have thirty-five minutes before they are expected to arrive at the location of Strucker and the captive X-Men. Mac stands before his team, beside several computer screens depicting Strucker’s observatory and he informs the Alphans that it was Department H spy satellites that confirmed the location of Strucker’s stronghold, while Xavier’s mutant-detector Cerebro confirmed the X-Men’s presence.

Mac starts to get down to the plan, informing the Alphans that there are two entrances, one on the Eastern side of the island and one on the Western. His plan is for two teams to infiltrate the base from the opposing sides and he will rendezvous with them in the center. He continues with the expected HYDRA resistance, before informing them to proceed to the Northwest wing, where the X-Men are located, on his signal. Arms folded across his chest, Mac proclaims ‘It comes down to this: the odds of escape even with the X-Men’s aid are slim. Without them…? It’s near impossible’.

In another part of the jet, Shaman is preparing for the mission in his own fashion, calling upon the spirits of his ancestors to being him and his teammates strength in the impending battle. But sometimes the visions the seer wants, are not necessarily what he receives. Shaman is horrified when the vision he sees before him is of his friend and teammate, James MacDonald Hudson being blown up. Snowbird notices Shaman’s horror and asks him what is wrong. When Twoyoungmen reveals to her he had a premonition, Narya asks if it bodes ill. Shaman replies that it was a harrowing portrayal of things to come, and indeed bodes ill ‘for one of us‘. Shaman looks over to where a solemn Mac is sitting, slumped forward in his chair.

Walter goes over to his lover Aurora as she stares out a window, and asks her if she is okay with this. Remembering that it is Aurora’s other-self currently in control, the shy Jeanne-Marie, Walt asks if Jeanne-Marie is okay with this. Jeanne-Marie is about to answer, when her brother Northstar interrupts. Jean-Paul rudely tells Walt that his sister can take care of herself, and if there is trouble, then he will protect her. Jean-Paul tells Walt to worry about his own ‘flea-ridden hide’, and mocks him for the way he got kicked around by Xavier’s toys. ‘Why you arrogant, little frog!’ Walt shouts, annoyed, but before the two men can have-it-out Mac breaks them up, telling them to save it for what is ahead, as they are here.

T-Minus 3 Minutes: Snowbird, Sasquatch and Jeanne-Marie have disposed of the HYDRA agents outside their entrance point and Snowbird breaks into the observatory, the others follow her.

T-Minus 2 Minutes: Shaman works the control panel to the door at his entrance point while Northstar and Puck handle the HYDRA agents. T-Minus 1 Minute, Twoyoungmen thinks to himself that the team is doing well, and hopes that if the spirits are kind, their luck will continue.

T-Minus 30 Seconds: The army of HYDRA inside the observatory are made aware of six-anomalous bio-signatures entering the base. ‘We have guests’.

Alpha Flight attack the army of HYDRA soldiers in the center of the complex, Sasquatch cracks jokes as usual, ‘Surprised you guys made it on time, “Sawed-Off”’ he says to Judd as he shoves HYDRA agents out of his way. ‘Thought the same about you, eh, “Hairball”?’ Judd snaps back as he sits on a HYDRA soldier and pummels him. Snowbird and Jeanne-Marie dodge HYDRA wearing the super-powered armor, and as Northstar speeds across the ground, knocking several HYDRA over, he calls to his sister, telling her that he will be right there. Proving that she can use Aurora’s powers just fine, Jeanne-Marie tells Jean-Paul to tend to himself, pointing out that she needs no help.

Right on schedule, Guardian drops down into the midst of the battle, ‘Strucker! You have something of mine!’ Mac shouts. Strucker smirks, ‘Come to collect your toys have you?’ Once all the HYDRA agents are disposed of, Mac urges Shaman to lead the others on to rescue the X-Men, claiming he can handle things here. Twoyoungmen begins to protest, but Mac ignores him, ‘I said go!’ he shouts.

As Alpha Flight enter the corridor off the main chamber, a large door slams shut behind them. ‘Guardian is trapped!’ exclaims Snowbird. Twoyoungmen thinks back to the premonition, and tells Narya to focus, as the mission is too important. Shaman turns to Sasquatch and tells him it is up to him to get inside the chamber anyway that he can. Sasquatch starts to lift the heavy door as the Alphans depart.

Very soon, Alpha Flight reach the North-western location of the missing X-Men, but are confused to find the chambers the X-Men were held in all broken. Suddenly, ‘Hold it right there!’ someone shouts. Alpha Flight them turn to find themselves confronted by the X-Men. Cyclops tells the Alphans that he doesn’t know what beef Department H has with them this time, but before he can continue, Shaman cuts him off, telling him that he misunderstands, and reveals that Alpha Flight broke into the facility to look for them.

‘You call that stealth?’ asks former Alphan Wolverine, leaning against a wall as he lights up a cigarette. Cyclops mutters that Alpha Flight must have done something right, and reminds him that as soon as the power went down they were able to escape. Logan points out that the question remains - why are Alpha Flight here in the first place, and asks Twoyoungmen to pull an explanation out of his bag of tricks. Shaman begins telling the story, informing the X-Men that in exchange for all remaining proto-types of Guardian’s original armor, the Canadian government would receive sufficient funds to reinstate Department H, and therefore Alpha Flight. He points out that what no one realized was that HYDRA had planned a mole within the Canadian government to cut this deal. Shaman declares that this accounts for Alpha Flight’s involvement, but as for what Strucker wants with the X-Men, he does not know. What he does know, is that Guardian feels responsible. At the mention of his best friend’s name, Wolverine asks where Mac is.

Mac is trapped, he unleashes powerful blasts of electromagnetic energy, but more and more HYDRA agents attack him. Strucker looks on, grinning, he tells Mac to fight on and be the hero, to prove himself, before telling him that it matters not, as in the end, he shall die alone. ‘No one can save you’. Strucker is obviously unaware that Sasquatch is still outside the chamber, trying to force the door open.

Mac has disposed of all the HYDRA agents and turns to Strucker, telling him that it is he who does not see the big picture. ‘Aren’t I?’ Strucker asks with a grin as he clicks a button on the side of his char. Instantly, dozens of HYDRA agents wearing the battle suits Mac designed come flying up beside Canada’s iconic super hero.

Strucker watches intensely, while thinking to himself what exactly it is he sees: ‘a world full of costumed buffoons…of genetic freaks…of self-proclaimed saviors daring to bar my way from the supremacy that is my due’. Strucker then sees them trampled beneath his boots as he marches toward a goal, victims of the Blitzkrieg to come. ‘So fight to your last breath. You have failed’. Guardian is overwhelmed by the HYDRA agents who all close in on him, smothering him - but Sasquatch is incredibly strong, and with a loud roar rips up the reinforced door, rushing in to aid Mac.

‘Foolish beast. Come one, come all -’ Strucker cannot continue, as Wolverine exclaims ‘Itching t’pick a fight, tubby?’ Logan leads his former and current teams into the main chamber, and immediately, both groups of super heroes know what to do - engage the enemy. Jeanne-Marie calls to Nightcrawler, pointing out that the enemy is everywhere. ‘The more the merrier’ Kurt replies. For being knocked out before she even got to put up a fight when she was captured, Kitty Pryde phases through two of the armored HYDRA, ‘I’m not so easy a target when it’s a fair fight, am I? Creep’.

Colossus extends his arm to Puck and tells him to climb aboard, for a little manoeuvre called ‘The Fastball Special!’ Colossus throws the diminutive Alphan into the midst of the battle, propelling Judd thus giving him more oomph, ‘Hockey style, eh Colossus? Nice shot. For a Ruskie’ he adds quietly. Shaman believes Guardian to be safe, and after taking a staff from his medicine pouch he plunges it into the ground, causing vines to spread across his enemy as he praises Snowbird’s mother, Nelvanna, Goddess of the Northern Light.

Lemieu approaches Strucker, who asks Gary Cody’s former assistant if he brings him news. Holding a gun out in front of him, Lemieu cries ‘News? News?’ Strucker is calm and tells Lemieu that he is nothing more than a paperboy who has come to deliver today’s dispatch. Lemieu tells Strucker to look at himself - decked in rags, stinking of his own filth, his body corroded by the junk that he has infected himself with. Lemieu tells Strucker that he gave him everything, the battle suits and the X-Men. ‘How many times can one man lose in this lifetime and still call himself “superior”?’

Strucker answers Lemieu’s question by shooting him and declaring ‘As many as it takes’. Wolverine leaps towards Strucker, ‘End of the line, bub!’ But Strucker taps a small device on his wrist, ‘Only at my discretion. For now. There shall come a reckoning’ with that, Strucker vanishes. Wolverine asks Mac how it feels having his own technology used against him, to which Guardian replies that things do not always work out the way they want them. ‘Amen’ replies Wolverine as he looks at his friends, teammates past and present - Snowbird, Cyclops, Northstar, Jeanne-Marie, Nightcrawler, Shaman, Sasquatch, Storm, Puck, Colossus and Kitty Pryde - all standing on a mountain of deactivated battle suits.

Hours later, back at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Kitty wraps her arms around the Professor and asks him if he thinks her and Colossus’ next date will be as exciting. ‘I sincerely pray not’ the Professor replies. Northstar watches as his sister holds hands with Walter who is talking to Cyclops, while Wolverine and Judd open a beer each. ‘Beer, nectar of the gods, eh, Shorty?’ Judd asks Logan. “Shorty?” Logan replies.

Guardian approaches Xavier and points out that everyone made it back in one piece and asks him if he is impressed. ‘Rather’ replies Charles, before smiling, and thanking Guardian. Snowbird points out to Twoyoungmen that his premonition did not come true and asks him if he will tells Guardian about it. Shaman informs Narya that this is the vexing nature of prophecy, ’some are better left unspoken’.

Wolverine asks Mac if everything is finally settled between him and Xavier, to which Mac replies that after all these years it finally appears so. Motioning to Alpha Flight who are all boarding Alpha Flight’s jet, Logan tells Mac he better get a move on. Mac smiles and asks Logan when it is that he is going to come and visit, as Heather misses him. ’She does, huh?’ asks Logan as the two men shake hands. ’We both do’ replies Mac. As the handsome hero climbs aboard the jet, Wolverine declares that the feeling is mutual.

Soon, at 138 Laurier Drive, Ottawa, Canada, Guardian flies through the window of his and Heather’s home. Heather informs Mac that Gary just rung her to inform her he was on his way, before asking him if everything is okay with him and the team. Guardian tells Heather that Alpha Flight did it, they really pulled it off just like he knew they could. He takes Heather in his arms and smiles, in the end he has to say that it was good to see old friends one more time.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor X ,
Sprite, Storm, Wolverine, (all X-Men)

Aurora / Jeanne-Marie, Guardian, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird (all Alpha Flight)
Heather McNeil Hudson

Baron von Strucker

Agents of HYDRA

Lemieu (Gary Cody’s assistant)

Scientists working for Strucker

In Danger Room Scenario

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all Original X-Men)

In Flashback / Illustrative Image

Professor X


Baron von Strucker

In Flash-Forward


Story Notes: 

Shaman’s precognitive-flash-forward is of course a depiction of Guardian’s death. While Shaman assumed it to happen this mission, it does not happen until the tragic Alpha Flight (first series) #12.
Professor X and Magneto confronted Strucker in Uncanny X-Men #161.

Raab’s portrayal of Aurora / Jeanne-Marie is somewhat off. Between Alpha Flight (first series) #3 and #7 she was indeed Jeanne-Marie, as clearly shown in the scene between her, Northstar and Sasquatch. However in the training scene the concern for Sasquatch was more Aurora’s personality, as Jeanne-Marie did not like him. In addition, Jeanne-Marie isn’t properly capable of using her mutant powers (or at least that’s what everyone believes until Alpha Flight (1st series) #23.

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