Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Superheroes from Around the World: Canada!

Continuing our series of superheroes around the world, Canada is next in line! I find this most fitting, especially considering that it's hockey playoff time! Lets get crackin'!

When I think of Canadian superheroes, the first (and most obvious) one to pop into my head is Wolverine. However, I find that one too easy, so we're going to go with Guardian, the leader of Canada's superhero group Alpha Flight.

Guardian first appeared in the February 1978 issue of Uncanny X-Men #109. He was created by Marvel to expand the Marvel Universe, and Guardian was specially made to be the Canadian equivalent of Captain America.

Born in London, Ontario, Guardian (civilian name James MacDonald Hudson) was a leading petrochemical engineer and scientist for the Am-Can Corporation, who was working on developing a powered exoskelleton suit.

When he learns that his work will be used for American military purposes, Hudson raids his workplace, steals the prototype suit and destroys the plans. He leaves the suit to be recovered  and fully expects to be sued and arrested for his actions.

Hudson's girlfriend, Heather MacNeil, uses political connections in the Canadian government to persuade Am-Can to waive the charges against him. As a result, Department H is formed, a secret branch of the Canadian Department of National Defence, and Hudson is named as head of operations. Hudson forms Alpha Flight as a superhero team for the Canadian government and develops his exoskeleton into a battle suit.

Formerly, Guardian used a skintight technological "battle-suit" composed of steel mesh and serves as an exoskeleton, which allowed him to fly, fire energy blasts and has a personal force field for defense. The suit design stems from a geological/oil-exploration exo-suit designed by Hudson during his early career. The original suit was clunky, over-large and awkward, though it did have an energy beam "weapon" system, ostensibly used for drilling/tunneling. The skin-tight suit is considered to be a later, possibly 2nd or 3rd generation, evolution of the original design. The battle-suit is cybernetically controlled and contains a high resolution navigation system. The battle-suit permits flight by directing beams of force towards the ground, propelling the wearer forward at up to Mach 1.

When he returned from space, the technology of the suit that formerly existed as a separate part of him was incorporated into his body. The alien Qwrlln converted James Hudson into a cyborg incorporating much of his battle-suit; some of his mechanical parts were visible on the surface of his body. As a result, his powers were greatly enhanced. Hudson's cyborg brain was half-organic (portions of his original brain) and half-mechanical. Hudson could control his mechanical systems by mental command, though he was vulnerable to being controlled by the Qwrlln through the mechanical portion of his brain. With great effort the human portion of his brain could override this control.

Guardian is a pretty bad-assed character, and as the Canadian equilivent of Captain America, he does a pretty great job keeping Canada safe.

P.S. I took most of the Guardian info off of Wikipedia, so don't be surprised if you go to the Wiki page and most of it is basically verbatim.  It's Wednesday. I'm tired.

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