It's Canada Day today! And despite being only part Canuck, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate with a little list of Canadian Marvel characters!
Why Marvel? Well, for one thing, it has one of the best known Canadian superheros in the world - Wolverine! Also because I just happen to be a Marvel fan.
So in no particular order, here are the Marvel creations from the Great White North!
Shaman: A Canadian surgeon turned Native medicine man, Shaman has some pretty phenomenal magic going on. Levitation, energy bolts, teleportation and weather control. He's kind of like a kick-ass Canadian Storm.
Talisman: The daughter of Shaman, Talisman is unsurprisingly able to control magical energies. She also has a tiara and the most incredible abs. I'm a little jealous...
Snowbird: Not just a name for those who come up to Canada for the skiing every year! Snowbird is the daughter of the Goddess of the Northern Lights (Nelvanna), a ridiculously stunning blonde with the ability to fly and take on the shape of arctic animals. As if she wasn't quite Canadian enough, her alter ego is a Mountie.
Guardian: Often confused with Captain Canuck (who is not a Marvel creation), Guardian often makes people think of a Canadian Captain America, mostly because of the choice to wear a flag as a costume. However, he is much closer to Iron Man in many ways, as his powers derive from his battle suit, which allows him to fly and throw force-bolts. He and his wife are also the founders of Alpha Flight.
Sasquatch: Definitely the most physically intimidating member of Alpha Flight! Sasquatch is closely related to Hulk, as he was also a scientist experimenting with gamma radiation. However, he actually gains his powers when possessed by a spirit. Because Canada.
Aurora and Northstar: Twins separated at birth, Aurora and Northstar were re-united with the help of Wolverine and Alpha Flight. Both can fly, and Aurora possesses super strength, while Northstar has superspeed. Interesting tidbit (relevant given that I am writing this in the Davie village, the heart of Vancouver's gay community) Northstar was one of the first gay superheros and later married his boyfriend. Awesome.
Kyle Jinadu: Not a superhero, but deserves a mention as the husband of Northstar and a Toronto-based mutant supporter.
Puck: Technically two characters, Puck can refer either to the original Puck, a Canadian shrunk to dwarf-size when he trapped Black Raazter in his body, or to his daughter Zuzha Yu. Personally, I would love to see an Alpha Flight live-action tv series, just to see Peter Dinklage as Puck. Please?
Wolverine: You were wondering when I would get here, weren't you? Really, what can be said about Logan that everyone doesn't already know? He's Canadian. Which is awesome. That is all.
Major MapleLeaf: OK, these names are just getting ridiculous. Another Mountie-slash-superhero, the title is another twofer (oh yes, we are getting Canadian today!). Both father and son bore the name, with similar powers.
Vindicator: Wife to Guardian and co-founder of Alpha Flight, Heather Hudson took over the team after the apparent death of her husband. With essentially exactly the same costume, prompting me to think about all those couples who just have to match...
Box: Paraplegic-turned-robotic-hero, Roger Bochs (geddit?) is an engineering genius who created a suit to allow him to fight crime. Talk about handi-capable! Later, the Box robot is enhanced and worn by mutant Madison Jeffries for the Alpha Flight.
Diamond Lil: Superstrong Canadian with a force-field. I think she deserves extra mention for being part of Omega Flight as well as Alpha Flight. We know how much I love my hero/villain grey areas.
Pathway and Goblyn: Yup, that's another Canadian flag costume! Very useful in trans-dimension travel - is that like keeping a Canadian flag on your luggage when traveling to Europe? Twin sisters, Pathway and Goblyn were both members of the Canadian Beta Flight team.
Persuasion: Originally from Toronto, Persuasion is the daughter of the Purple Man, and has the power to secrete pheromones to sap the will of those around her.
And there you have it! A little Alpha Flight love for your Canada Day, and a reminder about some of the lesser-known Canadians that grace the pages of Marvel.
I do occasionally get a little annoyed about the overt stereotypes within Alpha Flight (especially in the major players), I try to remind myself that comic books are not exactly known for breaking barriers when it comes to cliche. I can cope with multiple flag-costumes and Mountie aliases, although c'mon, Major Mapleleaf? That one may just go a little far. I'll also twitch a little listing the team as a whole; Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, NorthStar, Aurora.... it's like a tourist's dream of Canada! Of course, if you are going to make fun of a country, I'm pretty sure that the Canucks are most likely to laugh, agree, and offer you a beer. (Look Marvel, I can do stereotypes too!)
Marrina, although a member of Alpha Flight, may not count as Canadian because she's technically grown from an alien egg, and just lives here now. Honorary Canadian? I'm not sure what the passport situation is for aliens... Speaking of passports, I'll give an extra mention to Arachne as well. She may not be Canadian, but she is part of Omega Flight, so maybe she's managed to get hold of a permanent residency?
What do you think? Are you a fan of the Alpha Flight, or do you think that they are just a poor cousin to the American teams? Is there anyone that you think I've missed? (I'm sure there is at least one that I have forgotten about...or should that be aboot?)
Finally - Happy Canada Day from me up here in the great white (but currently gorgeous and sunny) North!