Oh, Canada. While the U.S. of A. celebrated its independence this weekend, our friends up north celebrated Canada Day earlier this week, commemorating the birth of their own nation. Canada’s ways are strange and mysterious to Americans, with mystical foods like poutine and ham-like bacon, and strange traditions like hockey and nationalized healthcare. To celebrate America’s favorite neighbor, here’s a look at five of the best Canadian superheroes of all time.
Peace, respect, law and order. These are the values that Canada holds dear. And Wolverine, Canada’s marquee superhero, represents them all--in his own unique way. With razor claws, berserker rage, and bloodlust he, keeps the peace at a cost of a henchmen or two's (or thousand's) limb. And yeah, he respects order. His order. As for respect…Wolverine is respect personified, as long as red heads aren't around (though we admit, the character actually is an honored Samuari). Truly, Wolverine is the consummate Canadian in everything he does.
James Hudson, leader of the premier Canadian superteam Alpha Flight, has gone by many names: Weapon Alpha, Vindicator, Guardian. But no matter what name he’s weld, Hudson has always sought to serve his country and protect Canada from its enemies. Basically the Canadian equivalent to Captain America, Hudson derives his powers not from a mix of steroids and radiation, but rather good ol’ Canadian ingenuity through a superpowered exo-suit. Hudson’s suit, adorned with Canada’s maple leaf symbol, grants him the power of flight, superstrength and speed. And because this is comics, he can also shoot energy from his hands. Sadly, Guardian has never enjoyed the popularity of Captain America or even fellow Canadian hero, Wolverine, with nary a starring role in years. Where's the love Marvel, eh?
While not a superhero in the strictest sense, Scott Pilgrim took the comics world by storm in the mid-2000s with a series of popular manga-like graphic novels written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Pilgrim is a slacker musician living in Toronto, mooching off his friends and struggling to maintain a real relationship. But that all changes when he meets Ramona Flowers, a mysterious girl with a legion of evil exes. As Scott confronts Ramona’s ex-lovers in a series of colorful, video game inspired battles, he is forced to confront his own flaws and shortcomings. The Scott Pilgrim series not only earned plenty of praise and awards, it was also nabbed Hollywood's attention with a live-action movie starring Michael Cera as the title character (with Chris Evan AND Brandon Routh as two of the evil exes).
A longtime member of both Alpha Flight and the X-Men, Northstar second-biggest Canadian mutant. With superhuman speed and flight, Northstar was a champion skier and Quebecois separatist terrorist before reforming and joining Canada’s premiere team, Alpha Flight. After joining the X-Men, North Star found himself the victim of Canadian-on-Canadian violence when a brainwashed Wolverine murdered him in 2005 (don’t worry, he got better.) And it's a good thing he did, as he's one of Marvel's most popular gay characters. While creator John Byrne intended for Northstar to always be gay, it took 13 years for the character to openly acknowledge his sexuality. Marvel's policy against openly homosexual characters kept him from coming out--which, you know, is a pretty ironic mandate for the X-Men. In a sign of how far gay rights had come from the 1980s, Northstar married his partner Kyle in a highly publicized storyline in 2012.
Sadly, DC Comics' Canadian representation is about as strong as the country's bacon. Leave it to Canadian Jeff Lemire to try rectifying this, introducing the new heroine Equinox to his Justice League United team. Equinox comes from the First Nations, the indigenous people of Canada. She's the latest Midayo, a personification of the seven pillars of Cree life. A superheoro who's literally dependent on Canada, Equinox’s powers are tied to her homeland like Captain America's strength is tied to Super Soldier Serum, shifting as the seasons change. While she’s still the new kid on the ice block, Equinox is the latest in a proud tradition of fun and exciting Canadian superheroes.
Who's your favorite Canadian superhero? Belt your opinion like you're Alanis Morisette below!