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The Northern Light is a Canadian superhero who stars in his own self-titled prose adventures written by Das Nordlicht 91, though in actuality, he's Carter Brenson-Holt, a 20-something Toronto native who has energy-based powers due to genetics, as his grandfather, Joseph Brenson, was a World War II superhero named "Energy Ace", a super-powered Captain America expy. With the help of his friends, Carter protects Toronto from all sorts of superhuman threats, while keeping his already chaotic life at bay.


Tropes associated with The Northern Light:

  • Action Girl: Sarah Reimer, otherwise known as "Synergy".
  • Affectionate Parody: The "Energy Ace" comics that Carter stumbles upon are a rather over-the-top homage to Golden Age comics.
  • Appropriated Appellation: The "Northern Light" name was given to Carter by his friend Shal Collmer after getting it from an old comic book at his store. After some reluctance, Carter just goes along with it and sticks with the name.
  • Arch-Enemy: Firestarter, who also doubles as NL's Evil Counterpart.
  • Badass Biker: Carter, who patrols the streets of Toronto on his one-of-a-kind Speed Machine V-86 superbike.
  • Betty and Veronica: Goes into absurd levels as Carter not only falls in love with his friend Debbie Collmer, but also with Sarah Reimer, a fellow student at the University of Toronto. Who turns out to not only be the brother of Avro, another Canadian superhero, but also a superpowered person herself, who at first turns to crime.
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  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Surprisingly, NL falls victim to this in one issue courtesy of Mistress Plague, and Synergy, along with her brother Avro, helps Carter snap out of Plague's mind-melding.
  • Canada, Eh?: Averted, by virtue of being written by a Canadian, though the characters poke fun at the cliches.
  • The Cape: Interestingly enough, NL himself doesn't have a cape.
  • Captain Patriotic: Energy Ace wore a costume based on the Red Ensign (Canada's national flag at the time).
  • Civvie Spandex: The Northern Light outfit, which consists of a blue-white-gold jacket, blue pants, white gloves, and his mask. Carter's frequently shown wearing his regular clothing under the jacket.
  • Code Name: Shal Collmer, Carter's friend, picks "The Northern Light" as a code name for his hero identity from one of the comic books on the racks at his store. At first, Carter isn't enthused with the name, but he grows to liek the name.
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  • The Commissioner Gordon: Toronto Police Chief Philip O'Sullivan, who even asks his men to assist NL whenever he needs it.
  • Cool Helmet: NL's helmet, once he gets it.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment gets in on the action with "Captain Maple Leaf".
    • Kenneth O'Ryan, chairman of O'Ryan Media attempts to turn NL into this, but Carter refuses the proposition. Note that O'Ryan is portrayed to be a harmless businessman, and that the rejection doesn't cause him to turn evil.
  • Crossover: With Special Intelligence, as the O.E.I.O. shows up to help NL fight off a group of mutant creatures terrorizing Niagara Falls.
  • Dating Catwoman: The Northern Light's relationship with Synergy (Sarah Reimer), which causes her to abandon her (early) life of crime and become one of NL's allies.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Carter stops Sarah from commiting a small crime right as she uses her powers to do so, and one discussion later, Sarah drops the crime angle and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Carter does get better at snarking as the series progresses.
  • Development Gag: NL's original name was meant to be "Synergy", which eventually ends up getting used by Sarah Reimer, Carter's friend from university.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: The majority of "Team Northern Light" (Carter, Shall and Debbie Collmer, & Sarah Reimer) all attend the University of Toronto.
  • Evil Laugh: By the time the comic really gets going, Carter himself seems intent on interrupting thesee, often reacting to a laughing villain with a "shut up!".
  • Expy: Energy Ace seems to be this for various World War II superheroes, but particularly to Captain America, notably in the Energy Ace's patriotically-themed costume.
  • Fictional Counterpart: While the comic does use actual Toronto locales and businesses as well as sports teams, there exists fictional companies created for the comic...
    • CityOne News, a stand-in for several local Toronto news stations.
    • Buy More, a Best Buy analogue which also counts as a shout out to Chuck.
    • O'Ryan Media, taking the place of a couple of real-life media empires: Bell Media & Rogers Communications.
      • Note that both Bell & Rogers exist in the Northern Light universe, but are both dwarfed in size by O'Ryan Media.
  • Find the Cure!: In one story, Carter's afflicted by Mistress Plague's Hate Plague, and Sarah has to find a cure to it before it's too late.
  • Five-Man Band: Team Northern Light:
    • The Hero: Carter Brenson-Holt/Northern Light
    • The Lancer: Debbie Zacchiarelli
    • The Smart Guy: Shal Collmer
    • Sixth Ranger: Sarah Reimer/Synergy
    • The Mentor: Eric Brenson-Holt, indirectly, however, though once he learns of Carter's dual identity, he does his best to help.
  • Genre Savvy: Through the course of the series, Carter himself becomes aware enough to poke fun of certain tropes and even villain nuances that he comes across.
  • Gilligan Cut: The first issue features Carter refusing to wear the superhero costume that Shal had come up for him. We then see the following page, where Carter, bemused, is wearing said costume.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Carter's eyes particularly glow whenever he goes full-on with his powers.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Various...
    • The Canadian government has its Canadian Superhuman Affairs Council, run by former superhero Steve Sheppard.
    • Seems that the Ontario government has its own superhuman department, the Ontario Superhuman Regulations Board, which is portrayed in a generally positive light.
  • Hate Plague: The main weapon that villainess Mistress Plague uses in disposing of her enemies. In one instance, he manages to infect Carter with it, and it falls on Sarah to stop him before the situation worsens.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Synergy/Sarah Reimer ultimately joins the good guys after only one "battle" with the Northern Light. Then again, she didn't do anything that evil to begin with...
    • Carter references this right after Sarah's turn:
    Northern Light: Y'know, um, Synergy....erm.....Sarah? You didn't exactly do anything that would get you thrown in jail....don't feel bad.
  • Heel Realization: After a brief skirmish with NL, Sarah Reimer realizes that she probably doesn't want to throw her life away by going down a path of crime, leading to her change into a superhero.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Carter ends up in a platonic relationship with red-headed Sarah Reimer.
  • Home Base: Collmer's Comics & Collectibles, a shop that Shal actually owns.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Kenneth O'Ryan. He attempts to recruit Carter onto his company as a Corporate-Sponsored Superhero, and doesn't show any scorn when Carter respectfully rejects the offer.
  • Hope Bringer: The Northern Light for the city of Toronto, who are quite grateful for his efforts in saving their city.
  • In-Series Nickname: Carter refers to himself and his friends as "Team Northern Light", while his friends simply just refer to him as "NL".
    • Sarah Reimer likes to call Carter "Lite Brite", no doubt referencing his energy powers.
  • Kid Sidekick: Energy Ace's teenaged ally "Kid Energy". He later shows up in the modern age as an elderly man who helps Carter for a bit.
  • Last Girl Wins: Likely to be the ultimate outcome for Carter's relationship with Sarah Reimer.
  • Legacy Character: While Carter's grandfather was a superhero, he doesn't take up his codename of "Energy Ace", citing that it's probably laughable by today's standards.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Carter seems to avert this most of the time, as he's able to explain to the hero he meets up with who he is.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Like give unassuming Rick O'Neill electricity-based powers.
  • Light 'em Up: Synergy has light-based abilities, a fact that astonishes Carter when he learns about it the hard way.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Debbie Zacchiarelli and Shal Collmer, according to how Carter seems to view the two.
  • Mega-Corp: O'Ryan Telecommunications Inc.
  • Mood Killer: Carter's cellphone rings at the most inopportune times frequently, but a particularly hilarious example occurs in Northern Light #19, where a potential romantic moment between Carter & Sarah ends up getting interrupted by Shal calling about a microwave fire at his house.
    • This ends up getting lampshaded by Sarah herself in a later issue...
    Sarah: Hey, Carter, please don't tell me we'll have another heartfelt moment that'll get ruined by your cellphone...might be funny to some, but not to me.
  • Myth Arc: Carter and his personal search for the cause of his incredible powers.
  • Nice Guy: Carter himself is rather polite and awkward for a guy his age.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Thomas Coburn, assistant to the mayor of Toronto, who seems to have it in for our hero.
  • Once Per Issue:
    • Always expect a news truck to be set on fire or exploded during one of NL's battles with a villain.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Carter's early costume didn't hide most of his face, save for a Domino Mask, but he has it modified to a helmet upon the suggestion of Debbie, who comments that the previous mask would've let villains in on his identity.
  • Parental Abandonment: Heroically averted. Both Carter's mother and father (in fact, his immediate family, even...) know about his dual identity and become ardent supporters of Carter's superheroics.
  • Playing with Fire: Firestarter, who uses his pyrokinetic powers to cause mayhem.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: "Sarter" (Carter/Sarah) and "Shabbie" (Shal/Debbie).
  • Puberty Superpower: It's implied that Carter's energy powers appeared in spurts during youth, but only fully realized once he reached his teenaged years.
  • Pure Energy: Implied to be the power source to Carter's own energy abilities.
  • Reconstruction: Of lighthearted superhero tales.
  • Reformed Criminal: Sarah Reimer, though as stated before, she really does any major crimes before turning to the side of good.
  • Romantic False Lead: Arguably, Debbie Collmer to Carter. The two seem like they might have something at first, but once Sarah Reimer enters Carter's life, his romantic adventures shift toward her rather than Debbie.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Firestarter, Mistress Plague, Aggressor, The Serpent Clan, General McCaine, Bloodbath, the Greater Good, among others.
  • Secret Keeper: His friends and family, as well as select others like Chief O'Sullivan and Sarah know about Carter's dual identity, but they keep it a secret outside of that.
  • Shock and Awe: Rick O'Neill/Lightning Bolt, who's one of Carter's close friends in the superhero community.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Whenever Carter logs onto the internet, he's often seen watching an Atop the Fourth Wall video alongside whatever research he's doing pertaining to his heroics.
    • On that same tangent, we see that in one issue, Carter punches out a would-be robber whilst shouting, "I AM A MAN!"
    • The Buy More chain of electronics stores are essentially a wink-and-nudge to 'Chuck'.
    • Carter himself looks quite much like Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn, which is intentional, says Word of God.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Carter, his friends, family, and the majority of the city of Toronto all fall under the idealistic side, despite flaws inherent in all aspects. However, Carter and his friends are certainly trying their best to be the best of themselves.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: It's no accident that Carter looks like a younger version of his grandfather.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Carter, Debbie, and Shal.
    • Later issues adds Carter's university friend Sarah to the mix, filling in for Debbie.
  • Touched by Vorlons: It's said that Joseph Brenson got his energy powers from a dying alien shot down by the Nazis.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: At first, this seems to be the case with Carter & Debbie Zacchiarelli, but the two agree to just stay as friends.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Carter is quite thankful his parents are rather supportive and willing to assist him with his superhero operations.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The relationship with NL and Synergy manifests in this manner, even when the two are in their civilian guises.

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