Alpha Flight (1st series) #81

Issue Date: 
February 1990
Story Title: 
The Quest for Northstar, part one: Prisoners

James D. Hudnall (Writer), John Calimee (Penciler), Mike Manley (Inker), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Janice Chiang (Letterer), Marc McLaurin (Managing Editor), Danny Fingeroth (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

In Asgard, Northstar is seeking a possible gateway back to Earth, when he is kidnapped by some Dark Elves. Vindicator, Sasquatch, Box and Diamond Lil sit in prison, eventually deciding that they should play along with whatever game Gamma Flight has got for them, when General Brian Winslow visits them and informs them that for the three months they were missing, strange events happened all over Canada, in every region, ending with the death of 342 people on the day Alpha Flight returned. Meanwhile, still hospitalized, Puck learns that he has lost two feet of height. As he is trying to leave so he can aid Alpha Flight, the doctor sedates him, informing him that he is such an interesting case, so they have lots of tests they want to run on him. At Maison Alpha, Talisman fears that she may have failed, so calls to the Spirit of Time and Space to round up four women who then need to rescue one man, and bring them to her. At a convent, a Priest informs Jeanne-Marie Beaubier that they are concerned about her due to the recent hype involving her former teammates, but Jeanne-Marie claims nothing dangerous will happen here, yet after she retells her origin, the Spirit of Time and Space appears and seemingly turns her to ashes. The Spirit of Time and Space then gathers the Purple Girl - who is now calling herself Persuasion, Laura Dean and Goblyn in the same manner. Aurora and the former Beta Flight girls are informed by the Spirit of Time and Space what is required of them, but upon entering Asgard, they are attacked by ravenous Trolls!

Full Summary: 

Maison Alpha, Edmonton, Canada: Her name is Elizabeth Twoyoungmen - and she is all alone now, trapped in a vicious circle. She is the Talisman, mystic guardian of Canada, and she gazes into the glass oracle and sees her plans fall to pieces, and her worst enemy triumphant. Elizabeth watches with growing despair as events get out of hand, and she hopes that there is an escape from the tightening noose of her destiny.

Talisman watches in the glass oracle, as recent events are replayed before her very eyes. It began when a group of American super-villains decided to cross the border into Canada - Scorpion, Nekra, Asp and Owl - but Talisman knew they were drawn here by the psychic influence of Llan the Sorcerer. Elizabeth sent her teammates in Alpha Flight - Vindicator, Sasquatch and Box - as well as Alpha’s ally Diamond Lil - to deal with the American villains - but her plan backfired for two reasons.

Firstly, because Alpha Flight is no longer sanctioned by the Canadian government, a new team called Gamma Flight replaced them, and Gamma Flight was sent in to arrest Alpha Flight. Secondly, Talisman misjudged the Sorcerer’s intentions. He wasn’t planning to use the American villains in his army, he merely used them to lure Alpha Flight into battle. The ensuing violence empowered the Sorcerer to unlock the Gateway of Night - which is the very thing Talisman was trying to prevent.

Talisman stands up, the weight of the world is literally on her shoulders, as Alpha Flight and Diamond Lil have been arrested, while her father Shaman and former Alphan Puck are in hospital, unable to aid her. Elizabeth Twoyoungmen is left with only one option. Using her magical powers, Talisman calls through twisting realms and screeching planes - and the Spirit of Time and Space answers her call. The Spirit of Time and Space appears before Elizabeth and asks her what she wants of him. Talisman informs him that there are three women he must find, and that they must be brought together to find a man trapped in another dimension. ‘Here’s the plan…’

Elsewhere, at Sainte-Anne in De Beaupre, Quebec. Jeanne-Marie Beaubier sits in the office of the Priest, as the Priest informs her that the Mother Superior wanted him to have a word with her, as she is concerned about Jeanne-Marie’s history, especially in light of the recent antics of her former colleagues. Jeanne-Marie asks the Priest if he is talking about Alpha Flight and declares that she doesn’t see what her past has to do with her current life as a nun. She informs him that her entrance into the order has given her peace and tells him that he has no idea how torn her spirit was before she joined.

The Priest tidies his bookcase as he claims that the past always plays a role in the present, sometimes in ways that we cannot foresee. The Priest reminds Jeanne-Marie that it wasn’t long ago that she was cavorting around the globe as the super hero Aurora, and boasts that people like her are a magnet for trouble. Dressed in the traditional black and white costuming of nuns, Jeanne-Marie points out that no one has come looking for her since she entered the order, and exclaims that she left that life behind and that she came here to escape the pain and violence.

Emotional and stumbling, Jeanne-Marie relates the story of her past, and the Priest listens intently, not saying a word. She begins by explaining that she and her brother once soared through the skies of Canada as Aurora and Northstar of Alpha Flight, believing themselves to be mutants, as their powers were flight and super-speed, and when they linked hands, a brilliant light shone forth.

Jeanne-Marie continues, admitting that madness rode her mind and drove her to commit a rash act: she had her lover, Walter Langkowski, alter her atomic structure, and her powers were changed. No longer was the light shared with Northstar, Aurora now owned it outright. But in stealing the light, Aurora unwittingly sent her brother into the arms of a progressive illness, one that slowly took away his life. Seeking a cure, they entered a world of darkness and despair, and only by giving her brother the light, could Aurora cure him. But in doing so, she lost the desire to continue her chosen path.
After Jeanne-Marie concludes her story, the Priest informs her that they think she is more suited to the world of the super hero, as trouble seems to be her shadow. Jeanne-Marie pleads with him to believe her, that nothing is ever going to come looking for her. On cue, the Spirit of Time and Space appears in front of Aurora and informs her that a quest beckons her. The Spirit reveals that he has been sent by the one who wears the Talisman and that through the planes of unending flame, through the doors that laugh in color, she will find her lost brother.

‘Prepare your mortal soul!’ the Spirit declares as the scared Priest reaches for a large cross, reminding Jeanne-Marie that he just told her this would happen. Jeanne-Marie screams at the Spirit, asking it how it dare come into this house, and telling it that whatever it is it has no right to - but without warning, the Spirit of Time and Space breathes flame out of its mouth and covers Aurora, seemingly burning her. The shocked Priest just stands over her ashes.

Meanwhile, in Alfheim, Asgard, two Elves sit by a campfire, and a one of their Riding Cats that is tied to a Talking Tree scratches the Tree, the Tree asks the Elves if they have to keep the Cats tied up here. One of the Elves tells the Talking Tree to be quiet and asks if he wants to be firewood. The other Elf declares ‘There is nothing worse than uppity plant life!’ ‘Speaking of uppity’ says the first Elf, referring to the Outlander, he asks when he is going to come back, as he has been gone for hours now. One of the Elves exclaims that he is probably among the Dolmens again, pining for his lost world. The other warns that the Outlander best be wary, as it is a night for goblins and their ilk.

Nearby, at some large stone segments, Faeries dance through some flowers, while former Alphan, Jean-Paul Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar wanders while wondering how long he has lived here. Unshaven, but as handsome as ever, he thinks it has been ages since he was Northstar, and now, trapped in this weird country - on this floating world called Asgard.

Jean-Paul hardly remembers coming to this world, but does remember that he was sick and suffering delusions. He recalls that supposedly he was dying from exposure to the Earth’s environment, and that Alpha Flight sought a cure for him in a mystic place, and they reached through a gateway to a world called Svartalfheim, the land of the Dark Elves. Jean-Paul remembers that it was there that they met the God, Loki, who revealed that his sister and he can be only cured by Elf-light.

But Loki is the God of Lies…and Jean-Paul has since discovered that upon coming here, these Elf-folk are no kin of his, in fact, they laughed at his story - but now, he cannot find his way home again. Northstar turns and walks through the large stones, while quietly, two trolls walk behind him, seeing that he is alone, ‘Aye! The meat of his body is fresh and tasty!’ But there are more than just two trolls - there are dozens, all ready to attack Northstar, except their commander reminds them that the High Priest wants Northstar taken alive, so if he dies, then they will all die!

Northstar continues to walk through the large stones, remembering that the Elves say this Dolmen is a gateway to other worlds, but none of them know how to use it. He wishes there was some way…but he fears that he will never get out of this place. Jean-Paul supposes that he should get back to the others, but as he leaves the stones he comes across a Riding Cat - who hisses furiously. Jean-Paul asks the cat what the matter is, when suddenly, he turns around - only to be surrounded by dozens of trolls, who manage to render him unconscious.

Back on Earth, more specifically, Etobicoke, Canada, the apartment of Melanie Kilgrave, her daughter Kara, and Kara’s friends Goblyn and Laura Dean. The former member of the disbanded Beta Flight, Kara Kilgrave a.k.a. the Purple Girl, holds up a purple outfit, and asks Laura what she thinks. ‘We yuck!’ the younger girl replies, before pointing out that no one wears red capes anymore. Kara claims that she was just asking, before suggesting that while she is trying on her new outfit, Laura goes and gets Goblyn, as she wants to see what she thinks.

Laura Dean hesitates before getting off the couch and telling Kara that she doesn’t know what kind of input Goblyn has to give, ‘I mean, really’. Kara exclaims that she wants everyone’s opinion, and with that, Laura uses her mutant power to open a gateway, and stepping inside the new realm, she looks around for her sister. Laura calls to Goblyn, telling her that it is time to come in. Laura finds Goblyn playing with a small green pony and tells her that she knows she likes this dimension, but that it is time to go back, as Kara has got something to show them.

In her bedroom, Kara changes out of her clothes, thinking to herself that ever since they left Beta Flight and came back to Etobicoke, things have been a real drag, as they thought giving up the super hero life and try being normal kids again would be the right move…there is only one problem with that…the Purple Girl, Laura Dean and Goblyn are not even remotely normal - the other kids at school didn’t let them forget that.

Kara supposes that people in this world are all supposed to look the same, dress the same and think the same, after all, if you stick out of the crowd, then people come down on you or treat you like dirt. She thinks that everyone is like herd animals, expected to keep their heads down and follow the leader - well not this girl!

As she changes into her new outfit, Kara claims that she likes who she is and is not ashamed of being different - a mutant - purple skin and all. She believes that being different is what makes a person special, only boring people try to be like everybody else. ‘The coolest people are the ones who are true to their inner selves and aren’t afraid to show it.’

Dressed in her new skin-tight purple outfit, Kara exclaims ‘Definitely!’ and walking back into the lounge, she asks the Dean twins what they think of her costume. Both girls cry out in shock - but not at Kara’s costume - the Spirit of Time and Space has just appeared behind her! Laura asks what it is, and Kara points out that it looks like ‘one of those spirit things Talisman used to summon’. Suddenly, the Spirit of Time and Space cries ‘Prepare your mortal souls’ and the Purple Girl, Laura Dean and Goblyn are reduced to ashes.

Meanwhile, at the Winnipeg Prison, Manitoba, Alpha Flight’s ally Lillian “Diamond Lil” Crawley lies across one of the bunks in a cell, and keeps tapping her diamond-hard foot against the concrete wall, while muttering that she is starting to get steamed, as they have been waiting for hours. Alpha Flight’s leader, Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator tells Lil to be patient, as she is sure they will be let out of here soon, pointing out that it is only a drunk tank holding cell.

Lil asks Heather why she let Gamma Flight take them in, ‘We could have dusted them losers easy!’ Vindicator points out that Gamma Flight have the law on their side, reminding Lil that the government sanctioned Gamma Flight after taking away Alpha’s clearance, and though they could easily bust out of prison, a price would be put on their heads. Vindicator believes that Alpha Flight is going to need Gamma Flight’s cooperation if they are going to defeat the Sorcerer, and sticking up for Gamma Flight, Heather points out that they haven’t the Alphans badly, as they let her keep her suit.

In the holding cell across the corridor, Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski declares that he thinks Gamma Flight is trying to pressure them for some reason, why would they want Alpha Flight to be a team anymore? Sitting on one of the bunks, Madison “Box” Jeffries agrees with Walt and declares that this has to be some kind of game. Heather tells her boyfriend that they have to play by Gamma Flight’s rules - at least for the time being.

Walt motions to the door be the cells and announces that someone is coming, and General Brian Winslow enters the corridor off the cells. ‘What a surprise’ mumbles Heather upon seeing the General, who sarcastically replies ‘You remember, I’m touched’. Before remarking that they will obviously be wondering why he is here. Winslow reminds Heather of the little chat they had several months ago, after the affair with the Dreamqueen, when he offered Alpha Flight renewed government sanction.

Vindicator points out that the obviously refused, which Winslow admits he was not surprised about, and reveals that they were already in the process of creating a new team - Gamma Flight - at that time. Heather asks Winslow, firstly why Alpha are denied their freedom to operate, and secondly, why is he here?

Winslow reminds Vindicator that Alpha Flight disappeared after their talk, and in the three months that they were gone, a relentless parade of bizarre events followed. Winslow reveals that strange plagues gripped entire communities in one day - then went away without a trace, that there were rains of blood in Saskatchewan that lasted a week, and reports of horrors attacking every province.

General Brian Winslow tells Heather that worst of all was the tragedy in Montreal - the day Alpha Flight resurfaced - 342 people were found dead. Heather calmly tells Winslow that she can tell him why some of these events happened, and begins to tell him that there is - but Winslow interrupts, telling Heather that he is sure she can explain it all - as that is why Alpha Flight is here - because in every case, Alpha Flight’s involvement was evident!

Elsewhere, at the Ottawa General Hospital, a Doctor informs former Alphan, Eugene “Puck” Judd, that things are not good. As the nurse checks Judd’s temperature, the elderly hero mutters ‘Tell me something I don’t know’, and the doctor reminds him that in the past two days her has lost two feet in height and explains that his body seems to have compressed its mass until he has reached his present condition.

The doctor asks Judd if he is still in pain, and Judd replies that he is, but he thinks he has stopped shrinking, so the pain seems to be going away slowly. Judd claims that he is ready to get out of here, as he knows Alpha Flight needs him. As the nurse administers some medicine, the doctor tells Judd that he will be staying here for quite some time, as they have lots of tests they want to run on him, ‘Yours is a very interesting case’. Judd tells the Doctor, that he has to leave, when the nurse injects him. Judd’s vision goes blurry as the doctor tells him that they are here to take care of him, and that they have lots of tests to run.

Darkness, then Aurora opens her eyes. She finds herself dressed in her revealing white and gold costume, even her blue scarf is around her neck, and her beautiful hair is long again. ‘Maudit!’ she screams, before muttering things in her native French, sobbing, until suddenly, there is a burst of flame - and three others appear before her. ‘Purple Girl, Goblyn, Laura Dean! No! My madness has returned!’

The three mutant girls rush towards Aurora, who has slumped to the ground, and Kara tells Aurora not to worry, before informing her that she is not Purple Girl anymore, that she has changed her name to Persuasion. Kara then asks what this place is, but Aurora doesn’t know, all she does is mutter about this thing that breathed fire.

Suddenly, that “thing” - the Spirit of Time and Space - appears before the quartet and informs states ‘The quest. It is time’. The Spirit informs them that one called Northstar is trapped on the floating world of Asgard, in the country of Alfheim, and that they must find him quickly. The Spirit points out that Laura Dean can open a portal from this Plane of Forgotten Dreams and create a passage to the immortal realm, the portal will take them to Northstar. The Spirit informs the girls to seek out the Cat Elves, who have taken them into their homes.

Aurora asks the Spirit who he was sent by, and how he knows where her “brozair” is. The Spirit of Time and Space replies that the wearer of the Talisman is its mistress and that she bids them to hurry, as they are needed in Edmonton as soon as possible. The Spirit fades away as it warns them to beware of the Dark Elves and their blood-drenched temple.

Aurora tells the Spirit to wait, as she has to ask…but the Spirit is gone. ‘Now what? Asks Kara, and Laura reminds her that the Spirit said she can make a gateway to Asgard, and suggests she take them home instead, then they can figure out what to do from there. Aurora likes that idea, as it sounds better than standing around here. She suggests that once home, they can call Talisman and get some answers.

But as Laura Dean opens a portal using her mutant powers…the living room of Melanie Kilgrave does not appear on the other side. ‘I thought you said you were going to take us home’ snaps Aurora, to which Laura exclaims that this has never happened to her before.

Stepping into the portal, Aurora assumes this to be Asgard and tells her associates that she doesn’t think getting home will be an easy task. The other girls step through, exclaiming how beautiful it is. As they walk across the lush landscape, Aurora wonders if her brother will not want to leave here when they find him - maybe they will not want to leave either.

Nearby, a trap door opens, and two Trolls peek through the opening - ‘I see some girl flesh in the clearing!’ The other one tells his fellows to grab their weapons, as it is time to go hunting.

Persuasion wonders which way they should go, and Aurora motions to some people in the trees, hoping that they can give them some directions. But these “people” rush towards the girls, weapons ready, they shout ‘Kill!’ Aurora guesses that they are not interested in giving directions - ‘Welcome to Asgard, ladies! let’s party!’ jokes the Purple Girl.

Characters Involved: 

Box IV, Sasquatch, Talisman II, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Aurora, Northstar, Puck (Former members of Alpha Flight)

Diamond Lil

Goblyn, Laura Dean, Persuasion / Purple Girl (Former Members of Beta Flight)

General Brian Winslow

The Spirit of Time and Space

Asgardian Talking Trees

Asgardian Riding Cats

Asgardian Faeries

Asgardian Elves

Asgardian Trolls


Hospital Staff

In Flashbacks:

Aurora / Jeanne-Marie, Northstar, Sasquatch (all Alpha Flight)

In the Glass Oracle:

Auric, Nemesis III, Silver, Wildchild, Witchfire (all Gamma Flight)





Story Notes: 

Alpha Flight creator John Byrne drew the covers for this and the next issue.
The Acts of Vengeance in which the American villains came to Canada, Alpha Flight was arrested and the Gateway of Night was opened, took place in Alpha Flight (1st series) #79-80.

Aurora and Northstar joined Alpha Flight in the back stories of Alpha Flight (1st series) #9-10.

Aurora’s DNA structure was altered with the intention of separating her from Northstar in Alpha Flight (1st series) #17.

After Northstar grew physically ill, and Aurora became seriously mentally disturbed, they learned from Loki that they were Asgardian Elves, which is why they had become so ill. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #50]

Alpha Flight met General Brian Winslow in Alpha Flight (1st series) #71, where he offered the Alphans renewed government sanction, but they declined.

Alpha Flight disappeared in Alpha Flight (1st series) #72, abducted by the Sorcerer, and forced to travel across dimensions, searching for their Earth, which took them three months, before finally reaching home in Alpha Flight (1st series) #75.

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