- I... hadn't even thought of it like that. But... But you're right, both of you. If Alpha Flight is going to survive it needs a leader... For Mac... For the dream... I will be that leader!
- -- Heather Hudson src
Heather grew up as a neighbor to the Twoyoungmen family. Michael Twoyoungmen's daughter Elizabeth was like a sister to Heather and moved in with the McNeils after her mother died and Michael went in retreat, eventually becoming the mystical hero Shaman.
Because Heather's parents had seven children of their own to support as well as Elizabeth, Heather took a job as a secretary when she was just 17 in order to help support the family. Heather was working as a secretary to Jerome Jaxon of the Am-Can petroleum company when she met James Hudson, one of the company's research scientists. Hudson had invented a cybernetic suit for geological exploration. Heather learned Hudson had resigned from the company after learning his suit was to be sold as a weapon by Jaxon, and stole its cybernetic helmet, rendering it inoperable. Heather too resigned, and followed him. The two were attracted to each other and were soon married.
Heather also explained that the Canadian government could help them, and they approached Department H, with a view to starting a superhero team, using Hudson's suit. The team came to be known as Alpha Flight, and Hudson became its leader.
While on their honeymoon in a cabin in a Canadian National Park, the couple encountered Wolverine while he was only known as a rampaging 'wild man.' Heather had a calming influence on Wolverine. Wolverine was eventually groomed to become the leader of Alpha Flight, and there was an obvious attraction between him and Heather. However, Wolverine left rather than cause difficulties in the Hudsons' relationship. Soon after, Alpha Flight had their funding revoked and disbanded.
After Alpha Flight's initial disbanding, Heather secretly called the members together first to battle Tundra, and later Omega Flight, a villainous team which was led by the Hudsons' corrupt former employer, Jerome Jaxon. James appeared to die in the battle when his suit's power pack was sabotaged by Jaxon.
Heather would go on to re-form Alpha Flight, bringing together the disparate members to a central location in Vancouver. She would begin to serve as leader, even though she had no powers or weaponry. Under her leadership, the government would again offer to fund Alpha Flight and settled them onto a new base on Tamarind Island.
Her teammates, Roger Bochs and Madison Jeffries re-created Delphine Courtney's suit, which had been based on James's Guardian suit. Heather began to use it as Vindicator, hoping she could uphold her dead husband's legacy. While James was missing presumed dead, Heather was involved for a time with her teammate Madison Jeffries, and was loved unrequitedly by another teammate, Puck. Under Heather's leadership, the team battled a number of enemies including the Dreamqueen, Pestilence, Scramble, Mesmero, the Sentinels, and Attuma, recruited many new members, and lost several of them in battle, including Roger Bochs and Narya. Upon James's unexpected return, he and Heather switched codenames, and she became known as Guardian.
While James was again presumed dead Heather was in command of Alpha Flight until a younger clone of Hudson emerged. She found it odd to be working with a much younger James until the real Hudson returned with several other Alpha Flight members to confront the current team about Department H's dealings.
Heather had proved herself as both a team leader and a capable combatant. The Hudsons continued to serve alongside each other, although his absence and cyborg conversion caused some difficulty in their relationship.
Heather was presumed dead after Alpha Flight's disastrous bout with the Collective. During the Chaos King's attack on Earth (and the rest of reality), it was revealed that she had, in fact, died; the gates to the Underworld were opened, and Heather managed to escape, along with Guardian, Shaman, Marrina, and many others.
Controlled by the Master of the World, Heather betrayed Alpha Flight to the Unity Party after they took over Canada. She was shown as desperate to regain custody of her daughter, and murdered the distant relatives of hers who had been Claire's foster parents. However, once the Master boasted that he intended to raise Claire to become his mate, Heather turned on him and, combining her powers with Mac's, destroyed his flying fortress. Unfortunately, before Mac could reverse the Unity Process and restore Heather's mind, Heather snatched up Claire and fled.
Heather went on the run with Claire, having decided to seclude herself out of fear that Department H would try to separate them again if she turned herself in. Over the years, she chose multiple names for Claire and herself. Having always kept track of them, James eventually agreed to bring her to Department H in order to ensure her safety and well-being. To this end, Guardian set up a scenario in which he rescued Heather from a group of mercenaries. James brought Heather and Claire to the Department H headquarters, using virtual reality and neuro-stimulants to make her believe she was setting her up in a peaceful cabin in British Columbia to help her stay on the down-low. James intended to use the virtual scenario as part of a process to make Heather trust Department H again even if it took years for it.
Heather was an excellent combatant. She also conducted research with her husband.
Normal human female with moderate regular exercise; strength increases to exert force equivalent to 25-75 tons while wearing her battlesuit.
- Vindicator Suit
- Electromagnetic Suit
- Supersonic flight
- The ability to let gravity propel the suit westward at a high speed. The visual effect is often confused with teleportation and/or cloaking. It is most effective when used close to Earth's magnetic poles.
- Body armor
- Protective forcefield which automatically triggered if the anti-gravity ability was used.
- Concussive electromagnetic beams
- Electromagnetism for 'dispersal beams', electrostatic charges and other effects.
- Ability to lift objects via 'graviton beam'
- Limited ability to generate and control plasma, often in the form of a funnel or vortex
- Able to interface with computers.
- Geothermal suit
- Flight: able to reach speeds above Mach 1
- Superhuman Durability: wears a body armor that projects forcefield capable of withstanding injury to a certain extent.
- Heat Manipulation: the suit absorbs various forms of heat and is capable of projecting it as blasts.
- Hydrokinesis: ability to generate water in the form of hot steam or cooled spring water.
- Geokinesis: ability to affect volcanic and seismic activity, such as a lava geyser or clouds of ash.
- Electromagnetic Suit
No known weapons
- Heather Hudson is near-sighted and usually wears glasses to correct her vision. Several modern depictions have her without needing glasses or goggles any more. According to an issue of Alpha Flight Vol 2, she switched from wearing glasses to contact lenses prior to rejoining Alpha Flight, though she still needed something to protect her eyes when flying, because the lenses kept drying out.
- According to Alpha Flight Vol 2 1 (August, 1997), Heather McNeil Hudson's astrological symbol is Virgo. This indicates Heather was born under this sign of the zodiac, sometime between August 22 and September 22.
- 269 Appearances of Heather McNeil (Earth-616)
- 7 Minor Appearances of Heather McNeil (Earth-616)
- Media Heather McNeil (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 209 Images featuring Heather McNeil (Earth-616)
- 20 Quotations by or about Heather McNeil (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Heather McNeil (Earth-616)
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- First Appearances: (As Hudson) X-Men #139 (1980), (in costume) Alpha Flight (v1) #32 (1986), (as Guardian) X-Men and Alpha Flight #1 (1986), (as Vindicator) Alpha Flight (v1) #34 (1986)
- Origin: Alpha Flight (v1) #2-3 (1983), Alpha Flight (v1) #24 (1985), Alpha Flight: In the Beginning... #-1 (1997)
- Significant Issues: Reformed Alpha Flight (Alpha Flight (v1) #1, 1983); agreed to lead Alpha Flight (Alpha Flight (v1) #17, 1984); stranded in Savage Land, formed Alpha Prime (Alpha Flight Annual #2, 1987); forcibly recruited back into Alpha Flight, given new battle-suit (Alpha Flight (v2) #1, 1997); gave birth to daughter (X-Men Unlimited #45, 2003); deceased (New Avengers #16, 2006)