Snowbird (comics)

Snowbird (comics)


caption=Snowbird. Art by Sean Chen.
Also pictured: Wolverine and Guardian
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Uncanny X-Men" #120 (April 1979)
creators=John Byrne
alliances=Alpha Flight
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
God Squad
aliases=Anne McKenzie
Ability to turn into a white version of any animal native to Canada

Snowbird is a fictional character who appeared in Marvel Comics' series Alpha Flight. She first appears in "Uncanny X-Men" #120, and was created by John Byrne.

Fictional character biography

The Inuit goddess Nelvanna appeared before a man named Richard Easton, insisting upon mating with him in order to produce a child who would grow to battle the evil, mystical "Great Beasts" of Canada. Easton reluctantly agreed and Nelvanna became pregnant.

Michael Twoyoungmen, also known as Shaman, was chosen to serve as midwife to Nelvanna when she gave birth. Shaman named the child Narya, used a spell to bind her to the earthly realm, and agreed to raise her in his cabin in the Canadian wilderness.

Narya grew at a rapid rate, and it was discovered that she possessed supernatural abilities. Most notably, she can transform into any animal native to Canada, gaining the attributes of that creature while in its guise. In addition, she possesses the ability to fly, to sense mystic and magical power, limited precognition and postcognition, and a limited degree of super-strength. However, she is unable to leave Canada's borders without instantly falling ill; it is possible that being outside Canada's borders for too long could prove fatal.

When Twoyoungmen's friends, James and Heather Hudson (also known as Guardian and Vindicator respectively), learned of Narya's powers and origin, they asked both of them to join the Canadian super team, Alpha Flight. They agreed, and Narya adopted the codename Snowbird on the battlefield and the ordinary identity of Anne McKenzie in public.

Snowbird was a longtime member of Alpha Flight, and she fell in love and married her workmate at the Canadian ranger forces, Douglas Thompson, with whom she had a child. In "Alpha Flight" #44, she was possessed by the villain Pestilence, who tried to drain the life of her teammates after he had killed her family. In order to defeat Pestilence, Guardian (Heather Hudson) killed Snowbird. The mind of her teammate Walter Langkowski (Sasquatch), who was at that point trapped in another body, was transferred into Snowbird's body, and the body was eventually altered to resemble Walter's own body. Snowbird's spirit passed into the realm of the Inuit gods, but she refused to enter paradise until the gods would also admit her husband and child, which they eventually did.

Years later, Snowbird would return from the dead, rising bodily from her grave. Given that her original body was still in use by Sasquatch, it seems that she created a new body. She is again an active member of Alpha Flight, and is no longer physically limited to Canada's borders, as shown when she left, with the rest of the original Alpha Flight (bar Sasquatch, who remained to lead a new team) to return a clutch of Plodex eggs to their home planet.

Recently, a time-displaced alternate Snowbird from relatively early in her Alpha Flight career was brought to the present-day with her teammates (apart from Sasquatch). At last report, while most of this group were continuing to act as Alpha Flight in the present day, the temporal copy of Snowbird had married Yukon Jack and become queen of his tribe.

ecret Invasion

She is sent by her uncle Hodiak to be part of team of gods dubbed the "God Squad" assembled by Hercules to battle the Skrull gods. When approached by the new Guardian Michael Pointer, she informs him that, due to Alpha Flight's demise, the end of her marriage, and the lost of the Great Beasts, she will not join the new Omega Flight team. ["Incredible Hercules #117"] When captured by Nightmare, it is revealed that her greatest fear is survivor's guilt for not being present at the battle between Pointer and Alpha Flight. Later, Snowbird has sex with Hercules. ["Incredible Hercules #118] During a battle with a group of gods who had been absorbed into the Skrull pantheon, Snowbird changes into Neooqtoq the Ravager, deadliest of the great beasts of the north. In doing so, she loses her rational mind, attempting to kill anything in her way. She pulls in all the fallen gods, and seemingly collapses into herself. ["Incredible Hercules #119] However, at the last moment she transformed herself into a flock of mosquitos, choosing to honor her fallen teammates by fighting on, and rejoins the battle against the Skrull gods. She returns at a crucial moment, and impales the Skrull god Kly'bn on the spine of the slain god-eater Demogorge.

Powers and abilities

Snowbird is able to change into an albino version of any creature native to the arctic. She can also transform into a female human being; her true face is not human. When she transforms, she gains all the strength and abilities of what she transforms into. She can draw additional mass from an unidentified and presumably mystical source when she takes the form of an animal whose mass and volume are greater than her base form. When she takes the form of an animal whose mass and volume are less than those of a human being, she became a human-sized version of that animal. Such things she has transformed into were a swarm of mosquitos, a sperm whale, Tanaraq (the true form of Sasquatch), the monster Wendigo, etc. She even transformed into a wolverine and beat Wendigo by ripping him to shreds.

However, Snowbird's personality is overlaid with the character traits and instinctual patterns of whatever animal's form she was using at the time. Furthermore, the greater amount of time she spends as a certain animal, the stronger the impression of that animal's psyche on her personality as long as she remained in that form. If she remained in one form for an extended period of time, she risked having her personality fixed as that of the animal, and therefore of never transforming back. Also transforming from one animal to another without first changing into her base form caused her strain. However, both of these limitations have been reduced or removed following her resurrection: she has since been shown to talk in animal form, and she transformed into a mountain lion to Wendigo with no strain at all.

In her base form she has superhuman strength. However, when she transforms into an animal she can take the strength and abilities of whatever she transforms into. So she can take all the strength of Wendigo or even the Great Beast Tanaraq, varying her strength. She also has the ability to fly, but her base form's speed was never stated, and she often assumes the form of a snow owl when she wants to fly. She would also gain the speed of any creature that she transformed into. Snowbird has the mental ability to compel others to aid her in her struggle against the Great Beasts, and once mentally controlled Northstar to aid Alpha Flight against them.

After a battle with the Great Beast Kolomaq, Snowbird was badly wounded when suddenly a "healing glow" came over her and all her wounds were instantly healed. This occurs in her base form, but if she can instantly heal in her other forms is not known. Many years after her death, Alpha Flight found Snowbird in a cylinder in the A.I.M. headquarters. They rescued her and determined that she has an advanced form of cellular rejuvenation. Once she was buried and began to decay, this regeneration process was initiated and carried to fruition over a considerable length of time. This contradicts the fact that currently Sasquatch possesses Snowbird's body after his was destroyed and that body became male. (Walter's body is really Snowbird's original body.) This continuity error has never been addressed.

She has all the knowledge and wisdom of the Gods of the Arctic, but due to her young age she doesn't know how to fully use it, as she is technically only a few years old. She also has the ability of "post-cognition," to envision events that happened already up to six hours in the past. She can replay events in an area, but only she is capable of seeing them. It is unknown if she can do this in forms other than her base form.

Being a mystical creature herself, she can pick up and sense various mystical activities from various places. She could detect the presence of magical energies or the breaching of a magical field. She can also resist teleportation. Talisman of Alpha Flight tried and failed to teleport her back to their headquarters.

Shaman's binding process initially restricted her from leaving Canada; upon doing so she would become weaker, although she once went to the United States with the X-Men and was not affected. This restriction has apparently been lifted, as she has traveled into interstellar space with no ill effects.


Narya is blonde and has blue eyes, but they are usually depicted as being solid black with white pupils. This appearance is surprising, because she embodies Inuit culture. This is most likely because, like the other members of Alpha Flight, she was not originally intended to be a big character. Thus, her look was already established when John Byrne later gave her an origin after the team became popular and received their own book.

Other versions

Ultimate Snowbird

In "Ultimate X-Men" #94, a Native American woman in a white costume named Snowbird attacked the X-Men with the help of the Ultimate version of Alpha Flight. She displayed the ability to fly and to create and control blizzard like weather patterns. Her abilities allowed her to surprise attack Ultimate Storm and quickly knocking the young mutant out of the sky with a localized blizzard. It is speculatedFact|date=August 2008 that the Ultimate Snowbird is Danielle Moonstar, whose illusion powers have increased into a form of reality alteration powers while on Banshee.

Marvel Zombies

In "Marvel Zombies: Dead Days", she is seen as a zombie attacking Cyclops, but then has a pole stabbed through her brain by Magneto.

In other media

*Snowbird could be seen in the "X-Men" animated television series of the mid-1990s as she and the rest of Alpha Flight made cameos in the series. She displayed her shapeshifting abilities as she assumed the form of a snow owl and a white wolf when trying to capture Wolverine.


External links

* [ AlphaFlight.Net Alphanex Entry: Snowbird]
* [ UncannyXmen.Net Spotlight on Snowbird]
* [ Snowbird's profile at Women of Marvel Comics]

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