A French-Canadian mutant with the abilities of flight, super speed, and light manipulation, Northstar is notable for being the first (canonically) gay Marvel superhero, and one of the first ever. While his homosexuality was sometimes alluded to, then-editor-in-chief of Marvel Jim Shooter (as well as The Comics Code) prevented as much from being outright confirmed.
It wasn't until 1992 —thirteen years after his first appearance— that Scott Lobdell was allowed to let Northstar come out in the pages of Alpha Flight #106. He would later get married to boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #51, which was the first-ever portrayal of a same-sex marriage in mainstream American comics.
While he is most frequently associated with the X-Men nowadays, Northstar was initially introduced as a member of Alpha Flight —a superteam sponsored by the Canadian government— alongside twin sister Aurora, who more or less has the same abilities as him. Since then, Northstar has served as a reliable teacher at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, and an on-off active X-Man.
Northstar appears in:Notable Comics
- Alpha Flight vol. 1 (1983 — 1994)
- Northstar (1994)
- Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 (2001 — 2011)
- Astonishing X-Men vol. 2 (2012 — 2013)
- Amazing X-Men vol. 2 (2013 — 2015)
- X-Men (1993 — 1994), voiced by Rene Lemieux note
Northstar provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Type II.
- Badass Gay: Famously one of the first characters in comics to openly come out, and later the first character to have a same-sex marriage.
- Brother-Sister Team: With Aurora.
- Captain Ethnic: He's often defined by his nationality.
- Canada, Eh?: Downplayed, since he's a Quebecois from Montreal.
- Changeling Fantasy: Subverted in Alpha Flight. In issue #50, after Northstar and Aurora acquired pointed ears and powers that resembled Elves, Loki appeared to them to reveal their "true" origins as half-elf, half-human hybrids. According to Loki, their biological father was human, but their mother was an elf who had fled from Alfheim (one of Asgard's realms) and was hunted down by members of her race. The "accident" that killed their parents was actually an assassination plot by the elves. A number of serious health problems that Northstar had at this point were caused because his physiology as an elf did nor allow him to thrive on Earth. In that issue, Northstar left the team (written out) to seek out the other elves and get some answers. In issue #81-82, Northstar finally finds the elves... who pretty much laugh at him and tell him that he should not have listened to Loki's fairy tales. He is not an elf after all.
- Chick Magnet: He was a huge hit with the ladies early in Alpha Flight. Funny how that turned out.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Through various background stories in Alpha Flight, Northstar has gained quite a lengthy one. Both of Northstar's biological parents were killed in an accident shortly after his birth. He was effectively adopted by a couple related to his parents, but separated from his twin sister Jeanne-Marie who was send to an orphanage. His adoptive parents were both killed in another accident when Northstar was 6-years-old. He was raised in foster homes, and engaged in petty theft as a teenager. Seeking a cause to serve, he became a supporter of an independence movement for Quebec and joined the terrorist organization Cell Combattre. He severed ties with them after he realized that the fanatics in the group had a lot of blood in their hands. Only after that did he seek a career as a professional athlete and was chosen for recruitment by Department H.
- French-Canadian Jerk: Early on, though he has levelled out a little bit over the years. In Alpha Flight, he held most of his teammates in disdain, disapproved of most of his sister's Aurora's romantic relationships, and particularly disliked her (sometimes) boyfriend Sasquatch.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At his best moments.
- Light 'em Up: Light manipulation is part of his skillset.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: He's able to do this because of his super-speed.
- Salt and Pepper: His boyfriend, and later husband, Kyle is black and (obviously) gay.
- Super Speed: And he saw no problem using it to win the gold in the Olympic ski jump.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Whether it's because of their history together or the fact that neither of them is exactly Mr. Personality, Northstar and Wolverine get along very, very poorly.
- Theme Twin Naming: He and his sister's codenames are astronomy-themed and refer to the North (as in Canada, where they're from)
- Token Minority: For one thing, he and Aurora were the only Quebecois members of Alpha Flight. Oh, and he's usually the only gay member of any team he's in, too.
- Wonder Twin Powers: When he is with his twin sister Aurora.