Appearing in "Vows"
- Weapon Alpha (James Hudson) (Main story and flashback)
- Heather McNeil (Main story and flashback)
- Weapon X (Logan) (Main story and flashback)
- Priest (Stan Lee)
- unnamed guests at wedding
- Puck (Eugene Judd) (Only in flashback)
- Jerry Jaxon (Only in flashback)
- Gary Cody (Only in flashback)
- Claire McNeil (Only in flashback)
- Ramsey McNeil (Only in flashback)
- Reed Richards (Mentioned)
- Beatrice de la Salle (Mentioned)
- Chinook (First appearance) (Only in flashback) (Apparent death)
- Adrian Corbo (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Jared Corbo (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Jeremy Clarke (Foreman at a construction site, called a "Major", possibly indicating his military rank)
- Mr. Hulme (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Margie (First appearance) (Heather's co-worker) (Only in flashback)
- Maggie (Heather's friend) (Only in flashback)
- Unnamed general (Only in flashback)
- Department H (Origin revealed)
Races and Species:
- Heather McNeil's car.
Synopsis for "Vows"
The story opens outside a church. It is James MacDonald Hudson's wedding day and the bridegroom is getting dressed just outside the building. His best man Logan is helping James by tying his bow tie. Logan wants to make sure that James knows what he is doing with this wedding. He asks whether "Mac" knows where to stand within the church, and James answers that he does know. Logan then instructs him to not not mumble his marriage vows, because it will make him sound insincere. The implication will be that James is not certain he wants to get married.
James admits that he is not certain about getting married. He thinks this is not what their wedding was supposed to be. Logan points that this wedding may not be perfect, but it is all that his friend has. He instructs the groom to pull himself together and start smiling, or his bride Heather McNeil will have his hide.
Their conversation is interrupted by the priest presiding in the wedding, who asks them to calm down. Then the "priest" speaks directly to the readers and reveals that he is Stan Lee. He explains that this is Flashback Month, so the first Alpha Flight issue published in 4 years actually takes place in the team's past. He informs the readers that they can prepare for a tale full of action, drama, intrigue and even a wedding. But first he has to get the bridegroom and the best man into the church.
Logan instructs "Mac" to enter the church, commenting that they might as well get it over with. Stan Lee jokes on the situation, commenting that he likes "unbridled enthusiasm". Stan smiles and instructs the men to follow him, reminding them that the "blushing bride" is waiting inside. James does not particularly like Stan's cheerful attitude and wonders where did Heather find this reverend. Logan points that the reverend is borrowed, like everything else in this makeshift "hitch-up" of a wedding. But Logan is certain that Stan will get the job done.
James is getting increasingly nervous as he walks within the church. He does not know if he can deliver his part of the ceremony, and comments that he feels kind of light-headed. He then complains that his shoes are too tight. Logan instructs him to take a deep breath and assures him that the wedding ceremony will be over before the groom knows it. Logan then points that after what they have lived through, this wedding should be a piece of cake.
The men take their first look of Heather in her white wedding dress. She is still wearing her glasses, an indication of her poor vision. James seems impressed with her looks, and Logan agrees that this bride is a catch. He jokes that if "Mac" does not marry her, Logan himself is going to step up and do it. In his thoughts, James seems upset. Getting married seems so permanent to him, and he does not know anything about this situation. He is a scientist, and knows how to deal with science and fact-based thinking. He does not know how to deal with emotions or family.
As Stan Lee begins the ceremony, Heather sarcastically whispers about how glad she is that "Mac" could make it to their wedding. James whispers back an apology about his lateness. She smiles and answers that James will likely be late to his own funeral. She then instructs him to stop talking, as she wants to here every word the priest says. She comments that this time is forever. The anxious James wonders about the meaning of the word "forever", and on how can he commit to forever. It seems like yesterday to him that the two of them met. This begins a lengthy flashback to the history of their relationship.
The flashback begins at the offices of the Am-Can Petroleum Company, where James and Heather both worked. James was a journeyman scientist preoccupied with his work. Heather was the secretary of Jerry Jaxon, his boss. In the flashback, Heather takes her first look at James and asks a co-worker called Margie to give her information on the man.
Margie does not hold Mr. Hudson in great regard. She informs Heather that he is Jimmy Hudson, but insists on being called "James". Margie mocks his formality by calling him "Jaaames". Heather asks her co-worker to introduce her to this "Jaaames". Margie thinks that Heather is wasting her time by paying attention to him, and warns that he is a "cold fish", all business. She warns Heather that she will never get James' attention. Heather reveals that she has six brothers. Getting attention is practically her second profession. She insists on being introduced.
Margie walks up to "Dr. Hudson" and calls for his attention. She then introduces him to Heather, explaining that she is Mr. Jaxon's new secretary. Heather stands beside Margie and starts flirting with Hudson, claiming that he casts a very striking shadow when he walks around the halls of the company. James thanks her for the compliment, but seems not interested at all in her. He asks her whether Mr. Jaxon is ready to see him, because he wants to speak to him right away. She steps away, claiming that she is going to check. She also points that she is a "Miss", not a "Mrs".
Heather returns and starts speaking with Margie. Margie claims that she was wrong to call him a "cold fish", as he seems to be a "dead fish". Heather seems to agree, but points that the man is so handsome. She can't believe that James hardly even noticed her. At this point, Jerry Jaxon opens the door to his office and intervenes in the conversation. He sarcastically points that Heather has yet to finish writing his memo, but seems to have time to flirt with the company's staff. Margie seems amused, while Heather apologizes and promises to get working on the memo. Meanwhile, James approaches and starts speaking to Jaxon. He explains that he has an idea about building a suit. (The suit mentioned is a prototype version of the Guardian's Battle-suit.)
The story moves ahead in time. James Hudson has built his prototype suit called "Weapon Alpha". But he discovers that he does not own it, nor does he have a say on how the suit is going to be used. Jerry Jaxon informs him that Am-Can Petroleum owns the full rights to the suit, because they financed the Project. The company has already sold it to the United States military and a general has arrived to arrived to arrange its transportation. James is furious and protests that he built the suit for use in Canadian exploration, not U.S. warfare. He storms out of his laboratory, still cursing Jaxon as a bull-headed, short-sighted bureaucrat.
Heather approaches "Dr. Hudson" to inform him that she wanted to warn him about the fate of the suit, but Mr. Jaxon refused to allow this. She has resigned in protest over Jaxon's treatment of Hudson. He feels fluttered that "Miss McNeil" is on his side, but doubts if quitting was the right decision. She just smiles at James and asks him to call her by her first name, Heather. According to this narrative, her support started inspiring James to take action.
Late that night, James returns to the offices of Am-Can, wears the prototype suit, and flies away. He has decided to stand up for his own rights. He wants to retain ownership of the suit's central control system. It is located in the cybernetic helmet of the suit, which he had created long before joining the company. So he keeps the helmet and abandons the rest of the suit in a hilltop in the vicinity of Edmonton. He does not want to take what is not rightfully his own. Sometime later, James has placed the helmet on a table and has invited Heather to discuss about what to do with it. He has no real plans about it or what to do next in his life. Heather has an idea.
Following Heather's plan, James Hudson meets with Mr. Hulme and offers to help create a super-powers-related department within the Canadian Ministry of Defense. Hulme green-lights the project and shakes hands with James, who now has a government job. James immediately asks whether there is a place for Heather within their new project, Department H. Hulme agrees to hire her and points out that Heather already knows Dr. Hudson's secrets. He finds it better to have Heather on their side rather than working against them.
Department H soon becomes Mac's new dream, and he spends long hours working on machines for the project. He and Heather start dating, though she is not particularly happy with his work schedule interfering with their love life. A scene involves her reminding him to get ready for a movie date, while he obsessively works on a new device. He asks for a few more minutes to work on it, but she points that that his hour-long "minutes" have already lost them a number of movies.
In the movie date depicted, James absentmindedly offers some of his popcorn to Heather. In reply Heather grabs him and kisses him on the mouth, finally getting his attention. She then agrees to his offer of popcorn, while James smiles. She finds herself falling in love with him. But she becomes increasingly aware that he seems to take part in this relationship only when he is not working in his laboratory. The scene changes to a laboratory scene. Heather is wearing a fine dress and waiting for another date, while James is on the floor working on a gadget. He asks for another minute to work on his project.
The following scene takes place some weeks later. The introverted James has noticed that something is wrong with their relationship and that Heather no longer talks to him. He approaches her while she is working on her desk and asks why is she so upset. She angrily points out that she feels ignored by him. She is often right next to him and he acts as if he is a million miles away. She is his girlfriend, but he acts as if he would be happier dating that suit of armor that he is working on. Her outburst attracts onlookers among the staff of Department H.
Heather continues by asking if James thinks that she should be there for him and put aside her own needs. She points that a woman needs to be told that a man loves her, even when she already thinks that he does. He has been neglecting even that duty in their relationship. She asks what James has to say for himself. James immediately asks her to marry him. She hugs him happily and points that she thought he would never ask her. He publicly proclaims his love for her while their co-workers congratulate them. Heather accepts the marriage proposal and asks when will they get married.
The celebratory mood is interrupted by Gary Cody who asks "Mac" to step into his office. Gary claims they have "urgent stuff" to discuss. James steps into Gary's office and starts explaining that he did not forget about their meeting. He was simply busy speaking to Heather. He wants to explain more but Gary stops him, pointing that it is all right for James to act like a human being. Gary then gets to the point and asks whether James finished examining the Department's plans for a Cosmic Ray Collector.
James explains that he did examine the plans, but he is aware that the project is already under construction. He does not think this idea about a collector of cosmic rays is very wise to begin with, and worries about the lack of sufficient safeguards in the plans. Gary points that the Department is looking for a clean answer to nuclear power and he wants to know what are they missing in these plans.
James admits that he is not an expert on cosmic rays. But an American researcher by the name of Reed Richards has published his research on the topic. Richards has noted a number of suspected dangers posed by these rays, including possible burning, cancer risks, genetic mutation ramifications, and mental impulse disruption. James points that these seem to be the tip of the iceberg. Richards is considered one of the most brilliant minds in the world, but even he does not know the full effects of cosmic energy. And this is not talking about stored and amplified rays, like these considered by Department H. James recommends that the project should be suspended, before anyone gets hurt. Gary seems convinced by James' arguments and agrees to act on the suggestion.
The scene shifts to Orloo, which the narration describes as a quaint, quiet town in Ontario. A construction crew working on building the Cosmic Ray Collector receives a phone call from its superiors. The foreman informs his workers that their project has been placed on temporary shutdown. They can take the day off. The workers seem worried about getting paid if this shutdown lasts for long. The foreman blames the decision on bureaucrats with too much spare time. He warns them not to wander too far from the project site, because he plans to have the project back up and running by morning. The foreman's thoughts reveal that he plans to finish the project one way or another, and he does not seem to wait for instructions on the subject. Among the workers is a short, muscular man by the name of Eugene Judd. He walks off and informs the foreman (who he calls "Major") that he will be returning to Hull House, right where the foreman found him the first time. He is ready to return to work when summoned.
The scene shifts to a registry office, where James and Heather are preparing to have a civil registrar ceremony (a non-religious legal marriage ceremony performed by a government official or functionary). Heather is disappointed, because that is not what she had in mind for her wedding. James apologizes, but this simple ceremony is the only thing which he could fit into his work schedule. She reveals that she comes from a big family. This means that she never had anything special, anything just for herself. James points that a justice of the peace can make them a married couple just as well as anyone else. He insists that the ceremony itself is not important, only the vows count.
His words are interrupted by Claire McNeil, Heather's mother, who strongly disagrees. Claire and her husband Ramsey McNeil are preparing to leave without waiting to attend the ceremony. Claire points that Heather and her family are Catholics. If Heather does not get married in a Catholic church, then in the eyes of her parents she is not married at all. And if this civil ceremony is as good as James can make the most important day in their daughter's life, then her parents will not be a part of it. Heather seems hurt and asks her mother what this means about her relationship with her family. Her parents turn their back on her, and Claire claims that they will see her again only when she leaves this "insensitive brute". The parents then leave the building.
Heather seems about to cry. To comfort her, James promises her a second wedding ceremony. The other one will be big and take place in a church. But for the time being this civil ceremony is the best that he can do. Heather accepts, but points that she is only going through this civil ceremony for his sake. But she feels that she has to honor her parents as well. And she lets him know than in her heart, she will not consider them married until they do it properly.
Soon after the civil ceremony, Heather and her friend Margie are looking through magazines to find a suitable wedding dress for the religious ceremony. Margie favors a lace dress that Heather finds too revealing. Margie tries to convince Heather that a liberated woman should not worry too much about wearing revealing clothes. James walks into the apartment he shares with his new wife, surprising her by coming early from the laboratory. He reveals that he has arranged a honeymoon vacation for them, involving a hunting trip in the north. Heather points that she would prefer going someplace warm and to have a honeymoon following the religious ceremony. James explains that the Department H wants him to scout out some locations while vacationing, and they have offered to finance all expenses of their trip. Heather gets the point that this makes their honeymoon essentially an expenses-free vacation, and free is all that they can afford right now. She agrees on the plan, while Margie offers to house-sit their apartment.
The scene shifts to a snow-covered landscape, somewhere in the wilderness of Canada. James and Heather are making their way on foot, while Heather wonders why would Department H want to built a facility all the way up to this location. James speculates that this location was chosen to be far from watching eyes, though he finds its remoteness would make it impractical. The two have failed to notice that someone is watching them from a distance, though James notices a growling sound. He is suddenly attacked by a feral Wolverine. The mutant's teeth are bared, his fingers are curled into a claw-like shape, and he wears a wolverine-pelt around his waist as his only clothing. James is holding a rifle and tries to shoot the attacker, but his shot misses the target.
Wolvie slams his body down on James and easily disarms him. He sits on top of the confused James, raises his hands to the sky, and continues growling. James instructs Heather to run away. She does not pay attention to what he is saying, she just picks up the rifle and shoots Wolvie. Wolverine passes out from the pain and loss of blood. Heather has just saved her husband's life, but she notices that he is bleeding and worries about him. James points that he is still alive and so is his attacker. He examines the unconscious Wolvie's body and discovers that the blood has already stopped flowing from his wounds, which are healing. He is intrigued. He does not know who this man is, or what he is, but declares that Wolvie has to be studied. Heather complains that this is supposed to be their honeymoon and the one opportunity they have for James to spend some time away from his work. He insists on studying Wolvie anyway, but promises to make amends with Heather.
The scene shifts to Heather trying on her wedding dress in front of a mirror, while a friend called Maggie (who looks like Margie) is speaking on the phone with someone. James has finally been able to arrange a big church wedding for Heather. But Maggie reveals that she was talking to him on the phone, and he called to notify Heather that he will not be able to attend his own wedding. An angry Heather heads to her husband's laboratory to confront him. She finds him busy studying Wolverine, who has been placed in a vat. He casually informs his wife that it will take him days to finish his study, if not longer. The wedding will have to be postponed.
Heather is angry and claims that if James actually loved her, he would not devote so much of his life to his work. He is also angry, and claims that if Heather actually understood him she would already know why he can not do that. He then devoted his attention back to Wolverine, and claims that Wolvie's life is at stake. He fails to notice Heather crying. Her thoughts reveal that she fears her own life is also at stake.
Time passes. James has built himself another prototype battle-suit and calls himself Weapon Alpha. He is training alongside Wolverine, who calls himself "Logan" and has become a friend to him. James points that Logan is not doing well in this exercise. He chooses to use his claws in lethal ways when attacking targets, while the purpose of the exercise is to learn how to disable opponents without terminating them. Logan argues that James is getting soft on his wedding day, indicating this is already the new date of the wedding.
The exercise is interrupted by Gary Cody, who alerts them that there is big trouble in Orloo. The people of Department H have just switched on the Cosmic Ray Collector and it is already overloading. They have no way to shut it off. He wants Weapon Alpha to head there and handle the situation. James is surprised because he thought they had long canceled the Collector Project, but Gary points that they have no time for explanations. James notes that he can not miss his own wedding again. He has already twice postponed it, and a third delay may cause Heather to leave him. When Gary points that Weapon Alpha is Canada's only hope, James is convinced to place the needs of his country ahead of his personal life. Logan offers to help with this mission and gets his claws ready for a fight.
The next scene depicts Weapon Alpha flying on the air with Wolverine on his back. Meanwhile, Heather is driving her car and singing a song about getting to the church. She sees James flying away and concludes that he is trying to postpone the wedding yet again. She screams that he should not dare leave her at the altar again. She swears that if she has to track him to the far ends of the Earth to have her wedding, she will do it.
The next scene takes place in Orloo and according to the narration precedes the alert received by Weapon Alpha. On the grounds of Hull House, Eugene Judd is playing basketball with two children. The taller one (and presumably older sibling) is Jared Corbo, the shorter one (and presumably younger sibling) is Adrian Corbo. Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light, accompanied by a deafening sound. The three players stare at the apparent source of the phenomenon, and Eugene realizes that the light at the distance is coming from the "science project" that he helped build. He decides to head there and investigate. He instructs Jared to take his brother inside and wait with Mrs. de la Salle until Eugene manages to return. Jared argues that the question is not when will Eugene return, but if he will return at all. Adrian disagrees and believes that Eugene will return safely.
Eugene soon reaches the site of Cosmic Ray Collector. He finds the foreman speaking on the phone with Gary Cody, reporting that the agents he has sent have yet to arrive and that the project is about to explode again. Eugene addresses the foreman as Mr. Clarke (it is unclear if foreman Major Clarke is the same character as the later General Clarke), and asks what is happening. The foreman recognizes his former worker but orders him to get away, claiming that the former construction site is now a top secret installation. Eugene points out that he helped build this installation and that this "top secret" is putting Hull House in danger. And he currently works at this orphanage. He demands answers.
The foreman explains that the Collector they have build is overcharging, taking on too much energy. He continues by saying that if someone can not stop, there will be consequences. He does not get a chance to explain further, as Weapon Alpha arrives and declares that he is that someone who can stop the crisis. Logan protests that he is here to help as well. Weapon Alpha instructs everyone to stay clear of the Collector. He explains that he has studied the plans to this thing and figures that the device's storage system is malfunctioning. It has collected cosmic rays and continues to do so, but it is also expunging them to its vicinity. Logan does not really get the explanation but figures that this is not a good development.
Weapon Alpha explains further, that if the amplitude of these blasts increases, the unit could cause a rift in space. Eugene asks whether someone could shut it down before it manages to cause this disaster. Logan's eyes seem to turn red upon hearing this. He declares that this sounds like a suicide mission and he is just the man for the job. He impulsively charges at the collector, unsheathing his claws in the process. Weapon Alpha tries and fails to convince him to stop.
Wolverine is then grabbed by a flying superhero called Chinook. The hero recites a poem that describes how Chinook soars over the sky of Canada. He leaves Logan safely on the ground. Weapon Alpha recognizes the man as a veteran hero, but disbelieves that Chinook is back in action after all these years. A close-up of the smiling Chinook reveals that he is young and handsome. He admits that he has not flown since the war (leaving unspecified which one), but now he is glad to be back. He instructs the amateurs to step aside and let a professional handle the situation.
Weapon Alpha realizes that Chinook is on a suicide mission and tries to stop him. He explains that Chinook does not understand what could happen to anyone who gets too close to the Collector. The device is like a giant radioactive incubator. Chinook refuses to listen and claims that the younger man should not worry about him, because he is a legend. He claims he is doing this for Canada and flies straight to the Collector. Logan calmly lights a cigarette and observes that he does not believe in legends. Suddenly there is another burst of energy and Chinook is bathed in cosmic rays. He screams in pain, while Logan cynically observes that this sums up why he does not believe in legends. Chinook starts mutating to a new, larger form. His clothes are torn by his new size.
Chinook emerges is a new, monstrous form. His mentality has also changed. He is no longer a hero, now he declares that his purpose is to sweep across this world and blow it to the ground. He claps his hands and the resulting energy sweets the territory around him, throwing away people and objects. Weapon Alpha, Logan, and Eugene manage to hold their ground. Alpha concludes that Chinook's brief exposure to the cosmic rays has caused him to suffer immense physiological and psychological changes. Logan prevents his friend from speaking further, pointing that they have to capture Chinook before the Collector lets out another burst of energy.
Alpha agrees, but notices Eugene and instructs him to help move the nearby troops away from the Collector. Eugene vehemently declines to leave the battlefield, claiming that Orloo is his town and Hull House is his responsibility. He wants to stay and fight to protect him both. He starts climbing one of Chinook's giant arms. Logan also climbs atop Chinook and comments that he like's the short man's style. The would-be heroes start arguing about their respective height, since none of them is tall. Alpha also leaps on Chinook's body. He reminds his allies to focus on defeating Chinook, rather than arguing with each other.
Chinook easily throws all three men away from his body. He declares that the young men can not defeat him. He was watching over Canada long before any of them were even born. Now he will oversee the country's destruction. Alpha realizes that Chinook is still drawing power from the Collector. Logan adds that this causes the former hero to keep getting bigger and stronger. Alpha reveals that the situation is grimmer than it looks. Chinook is likely drawing mass to his new form, and matter can not just be created. The transformation process could result in creating a mini-black hole on planet Earth. He figures that "Major Clarke" (as he calls the foreman) has to evacuate the town while the three of them confront Chinook. Then the forces of the Major will have to destroy the entire area, along with the Collector. Wolverine points that they are in this area and will be destroyed along with the town. Alpha argues that they have no choice. The Collector has lost mass and needs matter to replace it. It is going to soon break its containment. Logan asks how much matter does the Collector need to gain. Alpha realizes that Chinook is now double its original size, though the needed mass would be... Logan finishes the phrase for him, the mass will be the size of a regular human.
Logan prepares to sacrifice his own body to offer mass to the Collector. Weapon Alpha stops him, arguing that he will not let him make such a sacrifice while Logan is under his command. Alpha himself attacks Chinook, trying to get him away from the Collector. Chinook claims that the "human" can not stop him. As they fight, Alpha tries to reason with his opponent. He reminds Chinook that he too is human. He reminds Chinook that he was a great champion for Canada and its people, the hope and inspiration for an entire nation. He must not ruin this by trying to destroy what he once helped create. Chinook refuses to listen and soon gets the upper hand in the fight, starting beating up Alpha.
Meanwhile, Eugene prevents Logan from joining the fight. The short man figures that it is impossible for them to defeat Chinook by force. They need a plan. The two men soon use nearby rubber strips to form a larger band, and are tying it to two trees. They realize that the Collector has to be fed mass to replace what it has lost, and the ideal candidate to serve as this mass is Chinook himself. Logan prepares to use the rubber band to throw Eugene at Chinook. Their idea is based on pool (the cue sport). Eugene will serve as an instrument to tap the "ball" (Chinook) and tip it towards the hole (the Collector). The "ball" will go in, while he stays out of the hole and reasonably safe. Logan shouts a warning to "Mac", to prevent him from also falling into the hole.
As planned, Eugene is thrown forcefully forward, causing Chinook to be thrown at a mini-black hole that has opened up in front of the Collector. However, the pull of the hole is too strong and Alpha is about to follow Chinook inside the whole. Eugene uses his strength to pull Alpha, but realizes that nothing is holding himself. Logan grabs Eugene and starts pulling, but his strength is not enough to pull out both of his allies. He suggests to sacrifice Alpha, so that he and Eugene survive. Someone strongly disagrees with the idea, grabs Logan's leg, and starts pulling as well. The someone is soon revealed to be Heather, who has tracked her elusive husband to Orloo. She is using one of her hands to hold on to her car, and the other hand to pull at Logan (and through him Eugene and Alpha). Her arm is in pain and feels like it is getting ripped out of its socket, but she refuses to let go. The added mass of the car serves as an anchor which holds all four pieces of the human chain attached to the ground. Nobody is holding Chinook, who is sucked into the hole. The hole immediately closes, while the Collector self-destructs.
With the crisis over, Alpha, Eugene, Logan, and Heather are safe. Heather immediately checks whether "Mac" is uninjured. He confirms that he is alive and well, and points that Heather made the difference between life and death in this mission. Logan reminds his friend not to overlook the help of the short man. Alpha thanks Eugene, but realizes that he does not really know the man's name. He asks for the man's identity, so that the Ministry of Defense can extend its thanks to him. Eugene refuses to identify himself, explaining that he is responsible for the kids at Hull House. For their sake, he would not prefer to stay out of the public eye. He departs with a friendly "see ya around".
A military vehicle arrives, transporting Gary Cody. Gary immediately demands explanations from "Major Clarke". The foreman claims that the situation was beyond his control. Alpha adds that the situation was beyond anyone's control, but angrily points that it would never would have happened if Gary had not chosen to ignore his own advice. Gary answers that "Mac" is his friend, but not his supervisor. He and the higher-ups listened to his opinion, but they chose not to accept it. He reminds "Mac" that he is a very important part of Department H, but the Department consists of more than himself. Logan warns that if the Department fails to take what "Mac" warns them about seriously, then Logan and "Mac" will quit the Department. Mac agrees with the idea of quitting. He asks why would the two of them risk their lives for an organization that they can not trust. He points that a hero (Chinook) died already because of their miscalculation.
Gary takes the threat of resignation seriously, and accepts that the Department would never want to lose either one of its two agents. But then asks them what to do about their current situation. He is interrupted by Heather, who has pulled her wedding dress out of her car. She points that the only thing she and James Hudson will do this day is to get married. This is still her wedding day, and she does not care if she defies the Department to get it. She has already picked a church in Orloo to get married. She gives James one hour to find a tuxedo to wear and get his way to church. She starts walking towards the church, her dress in hands. She warns James not to miss this wedding as well. As she steps away, Logan warns his friend that he should better follow her. James assures Logan that he is going to follow her anywhere she leads.
The extended flashback ends, and James finds himself back in church. Stan Lee is expecting his answer on the marriage thing. After recalling the history of their relationship, James take time to apologize for neglecting Heather in favor of his scientific work and his quest for discovery. He now considers her what is most important in his life. He regrets that she had to chase him to a war zone in order to get his attention and marry him properly. James and Heather exchange confessions of their enduring love for each other. Stan Lee takes it to mean that they are in favor of this wedding and pronounces them husband and wife.
Outside the church, the couple are about to embrace. But Heather decides to throw her bridal bouquet at the crowd of guests, to see who will be the next to marry. She throws the bouquet randomly, and it lands right in the hands of Logan. He makes a disparaging remark about the expectation he is going to marry. Stan Lee addresses the readers and explains that they can not show more scenes as they ran out of panels. He then says that when things get toughest for Alpha FFlight, they can always remember their happiest moments. The story ends.
- As part of the Flashback Month, the events of the issue take place before the formation of Alpha Flight and before the main stories of Alpha Flight Vol 1 (1983-1994). It serves as part of the various origin stories of the team and covers in detail the relationship of James Hudson and Heather McNeil, from their introduction to their wedding day.
- Part of the events depicted in this issue are based in previous origin stories for Alpha Flight and for Wolverine. Other events, such as the scenes taking place in Orloo, are completely new material. However, all of the artwork of the issue is original material, rather than reprints.
- In a few scenes of the issue Heather McNeil has a co-worker and friend called "Margie", who James Hudson calls "Margaret". In a later scene, Heather interacts with a female friend called "Maggie". "Maggie" looks like "Margie", though it is unclear from the narrative if they are the same character under two names. Neither character received a last name.
- The mysterious foreman constructing the Cosmic Ray Collector for Department H seems to be part of a military organization. He is variously called "Major", "Mr. Clarke", and "Major Clarke". It is plausible that he is General Clarke in an earlier phase of his career, as assumed by various online sources. However the issue of his identity was never really clarified and the General never really received an origin story, despite appearing as an Alpha Flight supporting character from 1990 to his apparent death in 1998. Several of his appearances hinted that the General had sinister agendas of his own and many secrets, but most of the details were never really explored.
- While the wedding of James Hudson and Heather McNeil had previously been mentioned in several stories, the event was never depicted on panel before this issue. The issue has the wedding take place in Orloo. The priest at the wedding is Stan Lee, the best man at the wedding is Wolverine, but the rest of the crowd attending the event is not identified. For example, there is a white-haired woman standing by Heather's side during the wedding. It is never revealed if she is a member of Heather's family and she does not seem to be Claire McNeil, who is depicted as a redhead elsewhere in the issue.
- This issue depicts Claire McNeil in a small but decisive part as a disapproving mother for Heather, who objects to any civil registrar ceremony for her daughter on religious grounds. Claire has been a minor supporting character for Alpha Flight since 1983. She is the matriarch to a large family and has been previously depicted as disapproving of James Hudson as a potential son-in-law.
- This issue depicts Ramsey McNeil as effectively a silent character who lets his wife Claire do the talking for him. Ramsey has been a minor supporting character for Alpha Flight since 1983. He has been previously depicted as disapproving of James Hudson as a potential son-in-law. He has once been depicted reserving his contempt for Wolverine, who he considers an animal.
- The issue mentions that Heather McNeil has 6 brothers. While various issues mention that Heather has many brothers, their exact number varies between sources. None of these brothers has ever made an on-panel appearance or received a name. On the other hand, the issue never mentions that Heather has sisters as well. A younger sister of Heather called Rebecca McNeil has appeared as a minor supporting character since 1988. In addition, Elizabeth Twoyoungmen has been depicted as a foster sister of Heather, raised by the McNeil family following the death of her mother.
- In this issue, James Hudson cites Reed Richards as an authority on the subject of cosmic rays. This is in part a reference to the origin story of the Fantastic Four. Reed and the other three founding members of the Four are mutates who received their powers following their exposure to cosmic rays.
- During the battle with Chinook, James Hudson wears an early version of the Guardian's Battle-suit and calls himself Weapon Alpha. This leaves the placement of the battle in an uncertain place in Alpha Flight chronology. Alpha Flight Special Vol 2 1 (June, 1992), another origin story for the team, established that James was not initially considered for field work. An early version of the armor was developed for Groundhog, and only after this agent quit did James start developing the armor for personal use.
- This issue marks the first appearance of the Hull House orphanage, where Eugene Judd works. In this early stage of the history of the orphanage, it is unclear if the orphanage had ties to Department H. Later stories established the orphanage as a facility for the Department, where super-powered children are raised until ready to serve. At least four known members of Alpha Flight were originally Hull House children: Flex, Ghost Girl, Murmur, and Radius. All four are considered mutants, though they never received detailed origins. There were also hints that they had inherited their powers from mutant parents or grandparents, though their second-generation status was never fully established.
- The children which are seen playing basketball are Adrian Corbo and Jared Corbo, making their first appearance. They will grow up to become Alpha Flight members, codenamed Flex and Radius.
- This is the first appearance of Chinook, but very little is established about his origins. He is apparently a veteran superhero who has not been seen in years, if not decades, but still appears youthful. James Hudson assumes him to be human, but the nature of his powers before being bathed in cosmic rays is unclear. He could be a mutant, a mutate, or a member of a human-looking super-powered race such as the Eternals.
- The Marvel Chronology Project, which tracks character appearances, has the following information on the characters of the issue:
- For Chinook, this is the earliest known appearance. His next chronological appearance is in Alpha Flight Vol 2 2 (September, 1997).
- For General Jeremy Clarke, this is his earliest known appearance. His next chronological appearance is a flashback in Alpha Flight Vol 1 92 (January, 1991).
- For Gary Cody, this is his earliest known appearance. His next chronological appearance is the second (origin) story in Alpha Flight Vol 1 10 (May, 1984).
- For James Hudson, the events of pages 12 to 21 and the "present" portions of the issue take place between parts of the second (origin) story in Alpha Flight Vol 1 3 (October, 1983) and Free Comic Book Day Vol 2009 Wolverine (May, 2009). The latter followed by other parts of Alpha Flight Vol 1 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine Vol 1 1 (June, 2009).
- For Heather McNeil, the events of pages 12 to 21 and the "present" portions of the issue take place between parts of the second (origin) story in Alpha Flight Vol 1 3 (October, 1983) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine Vol 1 1 (June, 2009).
- For Puck, the events of the issue take place between a flashback in Alpha Flight Vol 2 14 (September, 1998) and the main story of Alpha Flight Vol 1 1 (August, 1983).
- For Wolverine, the events of pages 12 to 21 and the "present" portions of the issue take place between a flashback scene in X-Men Vol 1 140 (December, 1980) and Free Comic Book Day Vol 2009 Wolverine (May, 2009). The latter followed by the first 16 pages of X-Men Origins: Wolverine Vol 1 1 (June, 2009).
- Unusually for a Flashback Month issue, this is not a stand-alone story published as part of an established series. Alpha Flight Vol 1 had went defunct in 1994 and this issue was the first publication under the Alpha Flight name to appear following its cancellation. In retrospect, it is seen as the first issue of Alpha Flight Vol 2 (1997-1999) and in effect served as a pilot episode for the new direction of the team. It introduced some characters and concepts that were revisited later in the series, particularly the unreliability of Department H and the existence of mysterious agendas within the organization.
- This is the first issue of Alpha Flight written by Steven T. Seagle. Seagle was the main writer of Alpha Flight Vol 2 (1997-1999), writing all 20 regular issues of the series.
- The main penciller of this issue is Anthony Winn, who has relatively few credits in Marvel Comics issues. He did not become a regular artist in Alpha Flight Vol 2, though he did also pencil Alpha Flight Vol 2 10 (May, 1998).
- The full name of James Hudson is James MacDonald Hudson. The issue makes clear that he prefers being called "James", though Heather and his friends call him "Mac". The summary above uses James to distinguish him from other characters. It should be noted that he is not the only "James" in this issue. Wolverine's real name was eventually established to be James Howlett.
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Links and References
- Plot summary in Uncanny X-men.net
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