X-Men (1st series) #120

Issue Date: 
April 1979
Story Title: 
Wanted: Wolverine, Dead or Alive!

Chris Claremont (co-plotter, scripter), John Byrne (co-plotter, penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Glynis Wein (colorist), Roger Stern (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Canadian prime-minister wants Wolverine caught and Vindicator is once again given the task of bringing him home. He contacts Alpha Flight to help him. The X-Men leave Japan by plane, but the pilots find themselves in a storm that seems to have an intelligence all its own. They are forced to land at Calgary in Canada and, there, Vindicator calls for Wolverine to hand himself over to them, or he won’t be responsible for what happens. Before the X-Men can respond, Sasquatch acts over-eagerly and destroys the plane. The X-Men protect the innocents aboard by escaping in a blizzard controlled by Storm. In Calgary, they split up and agree to rendezvous later. Nightcrawler is quickly caught by Northstar and Aurora, and Wolverine finds himself ambushed by Sasquatch. Vindicator, though, is fought off by Storm, but this leaves Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men with the task of rescuing their two colleagues.

Full Summary: 


A large screen in the war room of the Canadian Ministry of Defense, Ottawa, shows scenes of the X-Men during their recent battle with Moses Magnum’s two Mandroids. Prime-Minister Trudeau asks Vindicator who they are. Wolverine he recognizes, but the rest are a mystery. James Hudson replies that they’re called X-Men, an unofficial team of super-heroes and, like Wolverine, they’re probably mutants. Beyond that, he knows very little, other than they’re dangerous, based near New York and come with a possible connection to the U.S. Government.

The prime minister doesn’t care about that. He just wants Weapon X back. They’ve spent a lot of money and resources developing him, not to mention Hudson’s group as well, and he won’t see it thrown away. Hudson realizes that, but says that Wolverine resigned from his post. Trudeau replies that he can simply un-resign then. Hudson understands and promises that he won’t fail him like last time. If anyone has a prayer of corralling Wolverine, then, it’s Alpha Flight.

He sends an alert to the other members of Alpha Flight, who are situated around the vast country. Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar) is an Olympic and professional ski champion on a promotional tour in Jasper National Park. His sister, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier (Aurora), is a teacher in LeValle, Quebec. Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen MD. (Shaman) is a staff physician at the Sarcee Reserve Hospital outside Calgary, Alberta. Corporal Anne McKenzie, RCMP, is a records officer, assigned to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Finally, Dr. Walter Langowski, Ph.D (Sasquatch), a former all-pro linebacker, is now a professor of biophysics at McGill University, Montreal.


Having left the Savage Land, hoping to return to warn Professor Xavier of Magneto’s threat, the X-Men finally seem to be on their way. Sunfire warmly shakes Cyclops by the hand for all their help in saving Japan. Cyclops replies that, should he ever return to the States, their home is his home. He asks the X-Men to board the plane but Nightcrawler notices that Wolverine is nowhere to be found.

Not too far away, a limousine with Mariko Yashida inside it receives a tap on the window. She opens it and a gloved hand reaches inside. On the palm sits a white chrysanthemum, which surprises her. She looks through the window and sees Wolverine, who tells her it’s a gift; something to remember him by. She says it’s very beautiful and Wolverine replies that so is she. He tells her his name is Logan and bids her farewell.

Wolverine rejoins the team and they head for America aboard a custom-built DC10, owned by lawyer Jeryn Hogarth. Passing over the Alaskan coast, the pilots, Annie and Jill, find the weather becoming gradually worse. Anchorage and Juneau airports are closed and conditions at Seattle and Vancouver are deteriorating. It looks like they’ll have to jump the Rockies. Annie heads off to inform the X-Men of the situation, finding Colleen Wing asleep besides Scott. They’ve been together ever since the plane took off. She wakes Scott and asks him to come up to the flight deck.

They go to the cockpit and Scott asks what’s wrong. Annie informs him that the forecast was for clear weather all the way to New York, but an hour ago a freak blizzard blew up from nowhere. It’s shut down every airport west of the Rockies. They changed course for San Francisco but the storm cut them off. They vectored for Hawaii but the storm once again closed in around them. Ororo appears and tells them that she senses a wrongness about it. Scott asks if she can do anything about it and she tries. She tries to gently shape the storm to her will, but finds that it resists her. Some outside force, an intelligence controls it.

Jill warns Scott that the strain of Ororo’s efforts is tearing the plane apart, so Scott asks her to cool it. Someone is going to a lot of trouble to capture them and he, for one, is curious to find out why. The hours pass and the freak blizzard herds the DC10 east across the Yukon and towards the province of Alberta. Wolverine arrives in the cockpit to join the two others and Ororo asks if she should wake the rest. Scott asks her to leave them be; they’ll need their rest. Annie tells them that they must land at Calgary or they’ll crash. Their fuel won’t last forever.

The pilots request permission to land and are cleared by ground control. He then instructs a colleague of his, Walt, to tell the special operations team that their pigeons are approaching. It’s a hairy approach but the plane lands faultlessly, despite the vicious cross-wind. Jill thinks it’s odd that the taxi route they are given takes them as far from the terminal as they can possibly get. Suddenly, she calls for Annie to hit the brakes fast; there’s a man on the runway.

The plane comes to a halt, just yards from the red and white costumed figure of James MacDonald Hudson, a.k.a. Vindicator. He calls to the cockpit and for Wolverine in particular. He says that Wolverine knows who this is and he knows why he is here. Surrender now and his friends don’t get hurt. Resist and he won’t be responsible for what happens. He has one minute to make up his mind. Cyclops recognizes Hudson as being the man who attacked Wolverine last summer. Wolverine pops his claws and tells him to stay outta this; it’s his fight.

Scott tells him to sheathe his claws. This isn’t the time or place for a rumble, not with innocent people aboard. He asks Annie to get the plane airborne but the wheel doesn’t respond to her touch. The engine is at full throttle but they’re standing still. The rest of the X-Men emerge from their slumber, the vibrations having woken them. Kurt peers out of the window and sees the shadow of Sasquatch, literally holding the plane in place. The 250 ton aircraft isn’t going anywhere until the muscles of the hairy beast wants it to. With terrifying ease, he throws the plane away, and it hurtles towards a hangar, crashing through the walls and catching fire. Vindicator berates his teammate, and Sasquatch apologizes for not knowing his own strength.

Vindicator flies over the plane, thinking it’s a good job they were almost out of fuel. He fires a blast at the fuselage’s roof and tears a hole in it. He hopes no one is hurt or they’ll have a lot of explaining to do. He enters the plane and is surprised to find nobody in there. Before he can move, he is battered by a wall of snow, as the storm’s intensity doubles in strength in a matter of seconds. He manages to fly through it and asks Shaman why he didn’t phase out the storm as soon as the plane landed. Shaman replies that this isn’t his doing. It seems that one of the X-Men is an elemental and is turning his weather spell against him. He is helpless to stop him.

The X-Men and friends hustle away, hidden by the swirling snow. They make their way to the terminal to decide what to do next. As they enter the calm of the terminal, Cyclops says he wants some straight answers from Wolverine. This is the second time that ‘Major Maple Leaf’ has called him out and this time he brought friends. He asks who they are and why exactly they’re after him. Wolverine replies, once again, that it’s his fight. Not anymore, replies Cyclops.

Colossus opens a doorway to the main public areas and finds the coast is clear. With the blizzard grounding all planes, there are plenty of people around so they can blend in. Scott presses Logan again for an explanation. He decides to give him what he wants. He explains that they aren’t villains, but they’re what he used to be: Canadian government agents. Jimmy Hudson, the man Scott calls Major Maple Leaf, is head of a project to develop a team of Canadian super-heroes. He started by looking for mutants, the same as Professor X. He found him. He was Hudson’s first guinea pig, his first success and his first big failure. Hudson gambled on Wolverine, while all the shrinks said he was uncontrollable; a psycho. In the end, he proved the shrinks right.

The team moves down the escalators and outside into the parking area. Wolverine says it’s funny but he thought he resigned. He continues to say that he was operational when Hudson gathered the rest of Alpha Flight. Outside of him, he doesn’t know who or how many they’re up against. Scott decides they should split up. Their disappearing act has baffled Alpha Flight and he means to keep it that way. He spotted a huge concrete tower in the center of the city. They will rendezvous there.

The team go their separate ways. Nightcrawler teleports his way into town. He travelled the seven miles in just three jumps. He looks around and thinks that Calgary isn’t much to look at but what city is when you’re on the run? He hasn’t felt like this since Winzeldorf when the villagers tried to burn him at the stake. He’s glad that at least things are different now. Unfortunately, they’re not so different. Suddenly, from above, Northstar and Aurora appear. Aurora dazzles Nightcrawler with pure elemental light and Northstar finishes him off with a solid punch to the chin. Despite Kurt being unconscious, Aurora hopes he isn’t hurt, as she doesn’t like hunting her own kind.

The concrete tower Scott mentioned earlier is the Calgary Tower and some of the X-Men gather around it. There is no sign of Banshee, Storm, Wolverine or Nightcrawler, but they are early and think that maybe the others just got held up. Scott knows that they’re on Hudson’s turf now and they can’t afford to slip up.

Some of Scott’s teammates are closer than he thinks. Barely three blocks away, Banshee, Storm and Colleen are in a boutique in the Toronto-Dominion mall. They have to get Ororo disguised, as she stands out a mile with her height and white hair. He puffs away on a pipe, despite the problems with his voice. The doc in Japan said it would be quite a while before he can scream again. He wonders if it would be so bad. No more swash-bucklin, no more Banshee; only Sean Cassidy and his lady.

Ororo appears from a fitting room and Colleen asks Sean what he thinks. The assistant loves her look but Banshee isn’t too sure. He’s used to seeing her in the wild. The assistant doesn’t understand and Ororo explains that she feels smothered in all these clothes. Colleen says they’re supposed to keep her warm but she replies that she is never cold.

At that moment, not far away, Vindicator heads towards the mall. They’ve re-calibrated their ground scanners and should have the X-Men under lock and key before they know what’s hit them. With Alpha Flight scattered all over the city, he has to handle this alone but he has surprise as his advantage. He burns a hole in the mall’s roof and flies in. The shoppers flee for safety and Hudson knows that was dumb. People here aren’t as used as New Yorkers to super-types.

He finds the boutique, which is the focal point of the contact, and heads inside. As he walks through the shop, Banshee spots him and cries, “You! The spalpeen who nearly murdered Moira MacTaggert!” he reacts instinctively and tenses his vocal chords to channel his scream into a tight beam of irresistible sonic energy. However, as he tries to scream, he doubles over in pain and ends up in a ball on the ground. Hudson is genuinely concerned for his health and tells him not to talk; he’ll radio for a doctor.

Before he can act, Storm emerges from the fitting room and says he will pray that Banshee is all right, or he will pay the price. Twice he has attacked the X-Men, though they have done him no harm. She promises by all that she holds dear, there will not be a third. She summons a blast of wind, which punches Vindicator through the wall, causing more startled shoppers to run for cover. Storm is furious. “You spoke of power,” she continues, “Little man, you do not know the meaning of the word!” the assistant pleads with her to stop as she’s wrecking her store, and Colleen never dreamed she was so powerful. She summoned a hurricane, localized in a shop.

Banshee manages to get to his feet and waves Storm back. They have to warn Scott and must let Hudson go. Hudson makes his way through the mall, swallowing his male pride. For all his power, he doesn’t fancy taking on Storm alone, not without risking the destruction of the mall and everyone in it. He flies away, thinking that some super-hero and team-leader he turned out to be. Perhaps Heather was right and he isn’t cut out for this kind of life. He never wanted the job in the first place; it was meant for Wolverine.

Cyclops and Colossus see Vindicator disappearing into the night sky, heading away from the building where they saw the lightning flash a minute earlier. Scott knows he’s underestimated his foes. Hudson works with mutants and it stands for reason that he might have some sensor device akin to their Cerebro. He assumed they were safe but they may be more vulnerable than ever.

Wolverine heads through the city, smoking a cigar and thinking about how shiny skyscrapers still cannot hide the poverty that’s here. They just make it harder to find. He wonders if Cracklin’ Rosa still runs her ‘social club.’ He was a wild kid back in those days and she was his kinda woman. He wonders where he gets off falling for a woman like Mariko Yashida. Love, he thinks; who needs it.

Just as he flicks his cigar to the ground, he is ambushed by Sasquatch. He slams the diminutive X-Man against a wall and back against another with great force. “Captain Logan,” he says, “You’ve put me and my friends to a lot of trouble tonight. Now, are you going to come along quietly, or do I have to get rough?” With Logan down for the count, he doesn’t need a response and he puts him over his broad shoulders and carries him away.

Meanwhile, across the city, Banshee and Storm are informing Scott of Vindicator’s attack. He tells them they did their best. Colleen and Misty are phoning Jeryn Hogarth for legal advice, but he’s not going to wait. Wolverine and Nightcrawler are still missing and they have to assume they’ve been captured. The X-Men didn’t start this fight but they’re sure as blazes gonna finish it, over Alpha Flight’s bodies!

Characters Involved: 

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

Aurora, Northstar, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snow-Bird, Vindicator (all Alpha Flight)

Canadian Prime-Minister Pierre Trudeau

Department H employee


Mr. Osama

Japanese Prime-Minister Takeo Fukada

Mariko Yashida

Colleen Wing

Misty Knight

Annie and Jill (pilots)

Three control tower staff including Walt

Dave Cockrum

Terry Austin

Airport customer and staff

Residents of Calgary including Johnny and Kelly

Boutique owner and customers

(on screen)

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

Two Mark II Mandroids

One of Moses Magnum’s employees

Story Notes: 

James Hudson appeared in X-Men (1st series) #109, though he used the name Weapon Alpha there. Here, he uses the name Vindicator.

Jeryn Hogarth is a celebrated and very rich lawyer, who was an ally to several super-heroes, as well as Misty Knight and Colleen Wing.

Shaman’s mention of the X-Men’s elemental being a male is understandable, considering they’ve never met Storm and they are, after all, called the X-Men.

Nightcrawler’s harassment at the hands of the villagers of Winzeldorf was shown in Giant-Size X-Men #1.

James Hudson mentions a woman called Heather. This is his wife Heather Hudson, who later became a member of Alpha Flight herself. She can be seen in Classic X-Men #26.

A spalpeen is a good-humored Irish slang for a “good for nothing” fellow.

Issue Information: 
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