Real Name: Sean Benard

Identity/Class: Human technology user;
   citizen of Canada

Occupation: Detective; former adventurer/government agent

Group Membership: Vancouver Police Department; formerly the Flight (James MacDonald Hudson, Walter Langkowski, Saint Elmo, Smart Alec/Alec Thorne, Snowbird, Stitch, Wolverine/Logan)

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Arnolds, Dieghton, Egghead, Emissaries of Evil (Eel/Leopold Stryke, Porcupine/Alex Gentry, Power Man/Erik Josten, Rhino/Aleksei Sytsevich, Solarr/Silas King, Swordsman/Jacques Duquesne), Frazer (first names unrevealed)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Vancouver, Canada;
   formerly The Flight compound, somewhere outside the Thunder Bay area, Ontario, Canada

First Appearance: Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1 (June, 1992)

Powers/Abilities: Groundhog possessed no paranormal abilities beyond being in fit physical condition. While wearing the Weapon Alpha prototype armor, he possessed several powers, including flight, enhanced strength, and the ability to fire electromagnetic blasts from the glove units.

As the terra-forming armor was originally designed to monitor ultra-sensitive vibrations through the earth, Groundhog once used this capability to eavesdrop on a nearby conversation, by touching the ground with the armor's gloves.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 190 lbs.(by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown

(Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1 (fb) - BTS) - Detective Sean Benard learned Arnolds, Dieghton, and Frazer--fellow members of the Vancouver Police Department--were trafficking in drugs, so he reported them to internal affairs.

(Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1) - While trapped in an alley by the three cops he reported, Benard was rescued by Wolverine, who then took Benard to meet with the Canadian Prime Minister. Benard was informed that he would report to The Flight and work as a member of it, or else he would face charges of murder.

   Arriving at the compound housing The Flight members, Benard was annoyed by Smart Alec's sleep-talking, and ran into a wandering nude Snowbird. The next morning, Benard encountered Saint Elmo, who briefly transformed Benard into light energy.

   After a couple of weeks of intense physical training, Benard met with the men behind the project--James MacDonald Hudson and Walter Langkowski. They showed him the Weapon Alpha prototype armor, and explained he would be wearing it.

   Three more weeks later, Benard was wearing the armor for a training session with the other members of The Flight; but the session went disastrously, because the group did not seem combat-ready. After the training, Benard met the final member of The Flight--Stitch, a young mutant who took a form of affection towards him.

   During all of this, Egghead and his Emissaries of Evil had arrived in Canada, with the intention of setting up a nuclear missile near the border, aimed at New York City.

   The Flight was called in to take care of the problem, and Benard, now using the code name Groundhog, arrived with the team. Groundhog confronted the Rhino, and sustained minor damage to the headpiece of his armor.

   But the Flight's first mission went horribly awry, for Egghead triggered the missile's detonation sequence--Groundhog used the armor in a futile attempt to dig an underground shelter, hoping to provide protection from a possible nuclear blast. Ultimately, Saint Elmo sacrificed himself to destroy the missile.

   Afterwards, Benard was upset at being placed on a team with lunatics and untrained fighters, so he quit The Flight--before he left, Benard angrily told Hudson that if he wanted someone to wear the Groundhog armor so badly, then he should have the courage of his own convictions and wear it himself (see comments).

   Despite the hostility of his departure, Benard returned to the Vancouver police, where the murder charges were never brought up. From there, he watched Hudson's team blossom into Alpha Flight, Canada's premiere group of super-heroes.

Comments: Created by Scott Lobdell, Simon Furman, Pat Broderick and Bruce Patterson.

This disastrous mission is what gave Hudson the idea to split up The Flight into different levels of combat-readiness (thus, Alpha, Beta and Gamma Flights).

Ever since I first posted the entries on the members of the Flight (Groundhog, Saint Elmo, Stitch), I have had several people point out that the group of villains featured are never called the Emissaries of Evil. To be fair, they weren't. However, at one point in the book, Egghead did refer to them as "my employed emissaries". To further bolster my argument, at the beginning of the book, the two duos of Swordsman and Power Man (partners in and out of the Lethal Legion) and Porcupine and Eel (partners once led by Count Nefaria) arrived in Canada at Egghead's bequest, but apparently, Solarr and Rhino, the two men who actually were members of another line-up of the Emissaries, were already there with Egghead. To me, at least, this is pretty much an unstated way of saying that he was just adding more muscle to his team. Should we get a Thunderbolts Handbook anytime soon, I will personally force Marvel to list the Emissaries of Evil as one of Atlas's former group memberships and make this canon.

Groundhog would later get one other "appearance," of a sort:
Wolverine: First Class#5 (September, 2008) - In a flashback before his joining the X-Men, Department H assigned Wolverine to handle a hostage situation at La Citadelle in Quebec, and Jim Hudson ordered him to chose some fellow operatives (whose faces were displayed on a video screen) to accompany him; the faces displayed were Snowbird, Groundhog (marked RESIGNED), Saint Elmo (marked M.I.A.), Marrina, Shaman, Smart Alec, Aurora, Stitch, and Wildchild.
--Ron Fredricks

And Jim Hudson would eventually take Benard's "advice," when he later modified the Groundhog armor and became Weapon Alpha/Vindicator/Guardian.
--Ron Fredricks

Profile by Madison Carter. Sub-profile and additional images by Ron Fredricks.

Groundhog has no known connection to:


Dieghton was a rogue cop on the Vancouver Police Department--along with Arnolds and Frazer (neither depicted), he was trafficking in drugs; when Detective Sean Benard learned of this, he reported the three to internal affairs.

But the trio sought revenge and ambushed Benard, cornering him in a garbage-strewn alleyway; when a gunfight ensued, Benard had only three bullets left in his gun, and a slug through his leg. Benard apparently killed Arnolds and Frazer in self-defense, although he missed Dieghton.

Armed with a shotgun, Dieghton approached the wounded Benard, and was about to finish him off; but Benard was saved when Dieghton suddenly found himself impaled from behind by three claws.

Dieghton collapsed to the ground, but despite his wounds, he apparently survived (Wolverine: "He'll have to order a bellyful of major organs, but there'll be enough of him to stand trial on drug trafficking charges.").

--Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1

images: (without ads)
Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1, p20, pan1 (Main Image - Groundhog flying)
Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1, p20, pan5 (Headshot - Sean Benard (with helmet off, in Groundhog armor) )
Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1, p34, pan4 (Groundhog firing electromagnetic blasts from glove units to dig underground shelter)
Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1, p39, pan1 (Sean Benard leaving team)
Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1, p3, pan2 (Dieghton confronts Benard, with Wolverine lurking behind him)
Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1, p3, pan3 (Dieghton gets SNIKTed by Wolverine)

Alpha Flight Special Edition II#1 (June 1992) - Scott Lobdell & Simon Furman (writers), Pat Broderick (pencils), Bruce D. Patterson (inks), Rob Tokar (editor)

First Posted: 11/05/2004
Last updated: 02/07/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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