Canada’s Heroes vs. America’s Heroes

Alpha Flight is a Canadian superhero team that works for Department H in Canada’s Department of National Defence. A fictional storyline and team created by American comic book writer and artist John Byrne contains provincially based characters, each represents a part of Canada through their powers or costume. These heroes include the Guardian who is the leader and can fly as well as alter the earth’s magnetic field. Northstar has super speed and can generate light with his mutant powers. He has a twin sister Aurora who has similar powers along with multiple personality disorder.  A scientist transformed through radiation into Sasquatch is a fur covered monster. Shaman is a native man who is a sorcerer aside from being a doctor. Snowbird is an Inuit who can shape shift into animals of the north.

Alpha Flight

These Canadian superheroes are comparable in many ways to those created in America. First I want to discuss the choice of costumes or disguise. The Guardian wears a suit with a maple leaf that as a whole represents the Canadian flag. This is comparable to Captain America with his famous American flag representation on his suit; patriotism is visible with both heroes. Northstar has a two colored blue and white suit which can be compared to the two toned suit of Torch or Mr.Fantastic from the Fantastic 4. Aurora wears a black and white costume similar to the American character of Storm from the X-men as well as Catwoman. Sasquatch and his brown furry animal self is comparable to Wolverine from the X-men. The Shaman wears a green suit and is very muscular this costume resembles The Hulk from the Avengers. Lastly Snowbird wears blue and white which is relatable to Invisible Woman from the Fantastic 4.

Avengers Justice League X Men Fantastic 4

Secondly Candian superpowers can be matched up to those of the Americans. The Guardian has the ability to fly and manipulate the Earth’s rotation these powers are exactly like the ones possessed by Superman from the Justice League. Northstars ability to generate light is similar to Thor from The Avengers and his super speed is matched up to Flash from the Justice League. Aurora who generates light has the same capabilities as Storm from the X-men who generates weather. Sasquatch is a giant monster created by gamma rays just like the Hulk from the Avengers. Shaman has sorcery mutual powers are viewed by Dr.X from X-men who can read minds. Snowbird who can shape shift into any animal from the north relates to Beast Boy from DC comics who can turn into any animal by choice.

Overall, the costumes and powers of Canadian versus American superheroes are very similar and easy to compare. I believe that these similarities could be because of the artist, John Byrne who had drawn both the Canadian Alpha Flight Team and others from America such as X-men and the Fantastic 4. On the other hand the attitude observed by the American superheroes is generally more violence based rather than socially concerned. The Canadian heroes are very patriotic and provincially based; each province is given its own representative. American heroes opposingly are generalized to America as a whole and their main purpose is to fight off super villains rather than help the community directly. If there are any other interesting similarities between the nationally differing heroes you’ve noticed leave a comment!

CaptainAmericaVS   TheGuardian

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5 Responses to Canada’s Heroes vs. America’s Heroes

  1. akspink says:

    Nice post, it’s nice to see Canadians represented in comics. When I first heard about these Canadian superheroes, I thought it was both awesome and humorous. Alpha Flight takes a few small Canadian stereotypes and plays them up into these cool heroes. I especially think the BC based Sasquatch is clever, he resembles both the Hulk and the Thing from Fantastic 4. I agree with the comparisons that Aurora is a lot like Storm and Guardian like Captain America. Maybe this was an idea for Canadians to compete with the USA, like we do with so many things, or maybe Byrne just thought Canada should be represented in a more obvious way. I just wish there was a Cowboy hero from Calgary!

  2. Sheena Manabat says:

    I guess with our ongoing struggle for a Canadian identity Alpha Flight definitely seems awesome/hilarious! I haven’t read any of the Alpha Flight though – to be honest I haven’t heard anything too good. But I’d be willing to try (suggestions?)! I also read somewhere that Wolverine was a part of Alpha Flight at some point since he’s Canadian. I think if i found those issues I would definitely be into it =).

  3. courtneycharnock says:

    I would like to say that I am proud of Canada for making these superheroes. But if they are so generic and similar to American superheroes–in fact if they were somehow modelled upon them, than perhaps it isn’t a big victory for Canadian comics. I understand that Canada struggles to compete with the United States. I understand that Canada struggles to have an identity to begin with. It is such a multicultural, multifaceted and new country. Because we are so different, you’d think that we’d be able to have more unique superheroes that aren’t so plainly analogous with their American counterparts.


  4. mileslester says:

    I think that equating the powers and costumes of Canadian and American superheroes reveals something interesting, that there is a lack of variety in the superhero world. Like Courtney I think it would be great if there could be more unique characteristics for the superheroes. Unfortunately I think that it is very unlikely since there seems to be a limited set of powers that are deemed interesting or popular and are used repeatedly or have become so significant to a particular character it cannot be used again without comparison.
    I think an issue with Alpha flight though is that they just seem so gimmicky, having one for each province and having them present the things that are most associated with that province just seems like too much to me.

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