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SNOWBIRD

Real Name: Anne McKenzie Thompson (Her native Eskimo name is Narya).

Occupation: Adventurer, Records Officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Yellowknife, Northwest Territory

Legal Status: Citizen of Canada with no known criminal record

Identity: Secret. The general populace of Earth is unaware of Snowbird's extra-dimensional origins.

Other Aliases: None

Place of Birth: Resolute Bay, Northwest Territory, Canada

Marital Status: Widowed

Known Relatives: Richard Lawrence Easton (father), Nelvanna (mother), Hodiak (grandfather), Michael Twoyoungmen (foster father, alias Shaman), Elizabeth Twoyoungmen (adoptive sister, alias Talisman), Douglas Thompson (husband, deceased), son (unnamed, deceased),

Group Affiliations: The Inuit Gods, Alpha Fight

Base of Operations: Tamarind Island near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, formerly Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada

First Appearance: (as Anne McKenzie) X-Men I #120, (as Snowbird) X-Men I #121

Origin: Alpha Flight #7-8

History: Narya is a member of an extra-dimensional race of beings who were worshipped as gods by the Inuit and Eskimo tribes of Northern Canada. It is not known if she is in the same class of beings as the Asgardian or Olympian gods or if she is somehow related to the other Native American gods of North America known collectively as the Anasazi. According to one account, she is a member of a race of beings known as the Innua, the name the Inuit and Tlingit tribes of the North Pacific coast of North America gave to their gods and guardian spirits. Several thousand years before her birth, Tundra, one of a race of beings known as the Great Beasts, imprisoned the Eskimo gods behind a mystical barrier that prevented them from traveling from their own dimension into that of Earth. Therefore, the Eskimo gods would be unable to defend Earth from Tundra and the other Great Beasts thousands of years later when the Beasts might finally break through the mystical barriers behind which the gods had imprisoned them. This spell binding the Eskimo gods from Earth possibly did not affect the other North American gods worshipped by the Native American tribes on Earth from visiting Earth.

In modern years, a nondescript man named Richard Easton was serving in a minor capacity at an archaeological expedition north of the Arctic Circle near Resolute Bay in the Northwest Territory, Canada. There, Easton discovered a long buried metal headband. That night he felt a compulsion to don the headband and did so. Thereupon, three of the Eskimo gods appeared to him: Nelvanna, goddess of the Northern Lights; her father, Hodiak and the Shaper (who is not to be confused with the alien Shaper of Worlds). Nelvanna told Easton that she intended to mate with him. Easton, however, was terrified as well as appalled by Nelvanna's extremely aged appearance. The Shaper then cast a spell that made Nelvanna appear to be an extra-ordinarily beautiful young woman. In this guise, she explained to Easton that she needed to mate with him in order to give birth to a child who would serve as a champion against the rising of an ancient evil. By this she meant that the gods wanted there to be a hybrid being, half deity and half human, who would be unaffected by Tundra's barrier and who could battle Tundra and the other Great Beasts should they break free. Overpowered by the illusion of Nelvanna's beauty, Easton acceded her request and was transported to the realm of the Eskimo gods where he mated with her. On returning, Easton thought he had only been gone for one night, but discovered he had been away from Earth for nine years. Easton then went mad, probably as a combination of this discovery and his experience of being in the realm of the Eskimo gods.

A year later, Michael Twoyoungmen, who had recently become a shaman (medicine man) of the Sarcee Indians in Canada, found himself drawn to the area near Resolute Bay by mystical energies. Through dreams, he learned of dreams about Nelvanna's pregnancy and of her need of a human mystic to serve as a midwife to the birth of her child. Twoyoungmen cast a spell which temporarily opened a portal in the barrier separating Earth from the realm of the Eskimo gods, and Nelvanna appeared to him. Using his knowledge of magic, Twoyoungmen then assisted at the birth of the being who would then become known as Snowbird. The birth process was mystical in nature and quite unlike a human birth. Twoyoungmen found an infant-sized embryo hovering before him. Realizing the the embryo was a transmorph or shapeshifter. Twoyoungmen quickly cast a spell to bind it to the Earth's reality for otherwise it might never assume a human form. The result was that the embryo became a human female infant who was already the equivalent of a year old. Twoyoungmen did not realize, however, that in casting this spell that he had unwittingly bound the infant to the land of Canada, specifically, although eventually this spell has since been rendered ineffective. 

Twoyoungmen brought the infant back to his cabin in the forests of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, where he lived as a hermit. Within a few years the girl, whom he named Narya, grew to adulthood.

One day, Twoyoungmen was visited by his former neighbor, Heather McNeil Hudson, and her husband, James McDonald Hudson. Twoyoungmen introduced them to Narya. Curious about her, Heather Hudson secretly followed Narya leaving the cabin naked. To her surprise and shock, Heather Hudson witnessed Narya transforming herself into an Arctic Owl and then killing a small animal. Heather told her husband about what she had saw, and together they confronted Twoyoungmen, who explained to them about his own mystical powers and about Narya's powers and origin. Intrigued, James Macdonald Hudson asked both Twoyoungmen and Narya to join the organization of special agents that he was forming for the Canadian government. Twoyoungmen and Narya accepted the offer, and after a period of training, they both joined this organization, Alpha Flight, under the codenames Shaman and Snowbird, respectively. James Hudson helped Snowbird create the human persona Anne McKenzie, which she could assume through her preternatural shape-changing powers. Special arrangements with the Prime Minister gave Anne McKenzie Canadian citizenship and installed her as a Records Officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. There, one of her fellow officers, Douglas Thompson, fell in love with her while unaware of her true identity and nature.

Snowbird was a valued member of Alpha Flight and participated in several missions with the team. During her life, Snowbird battled and helped to defeat members of the Great Beasts on several occasions. 

Eventually, Snowbird learned that her fellow Alpha Flight member, Walter Langkowski, who could transform himself into the superhumanly powerful form of Sasquatch, had unwittingly become linked with Tanaraq, one of the Great Beasts. When Langkowski transformed himself into Sasquatch, he actually took on the physical form of Tanaraq, and Tanaraq's personality was slowly becoming dominant over Langkowski's in that form. Snowbird therefore believed it became necessary to kill Sasquatch and attacked him in that form. Tanaraq's consciousness now controlled Sasquatch's body and fought back against Snowbird. Snowbird took on the physical form of a sasquatch (the legendary man-like beast of North America) herself and tore out Sasquatch's heart, thereby killing Langkowski and forcing Tanaraq's spirit back to the dimension of the Great Beasts. Langkowki's spirit found refuge for a time in the robot body known as Box, but eventually his spirit was transported onto another dimensional plane.

Anne McKenzie had by now revealed to Douglas Thompson that she was Snowbird and a demi-goddess. In love with Thompson, she married him and became pregnant with his child. Outraged that she would thus ally herself with a mortal, the Eskimo gods forbade her to return to their other-dimensional realm.

Michael Twoyoungmen, now known as Talisman, journeyed with the pregnant Narya, Thompson and other members of Alpha Flight to a mystical place of power in the Canadian Arctic in order to deliver her child and bind the child's spirit to the Earth as he had done with Snowbird when she was born. However, unknown to Shaman, the body of F. R. Crozier, who had been in a form of suspended animation for well over a hundred years, lay buried underground, still alive. Crozier's spirit took possession of Snowbird's newborn son and transformed the infant's body into an adult one. Crozier called himself Pestilence and intended to use his powers over death and decay to spread havoc on Earth. Taking magical control of Snowbird, Shaman had her, in sasquatch form, attack Pestilence who fled.

Douglas Thompson tracked Pestilence to the mining town of Burial Butte in the Canadian Klondike where Pestilence infected him with a fatal disease. Snowbird and Shaman found Thompson and learned from him that Pestilence was in the mines. Thompson died after telling several other members of Alpha Flight about Pestilence's whereabouts.

Within the mines, Shaman magically forced Snowbird to assume her sasquatch form and try to kill Pestilence, but Shaman then came to realize that the innocence of Snowbird's son was beginning to take over Pestilence's mind. If Pestilence's current body was killed, then his spirit would be freed to seek a new host; if his current body stayed alive, the child's spirit might prove dominant over him. Pestilence decided he had to seek a new host and so he used his powers to take control of Snowbird's sasquatch form, intending to have her kill his current body. Heather Hudson, who now led Alpha Flight as Vindicator, wanted to stop Snowbird from killing her son's body, but she also believed that she might have to kill Snowbird to stop her. Hence, Vindicator hesitated, and in that moment of indecision, Snowbird, under Pestilence's control, killed Pestilence's body. Vindicator then slew Snowbird with a burst of plasma to prevent Pestilence from taking over Snowbird's own body.

Shaman however was capable of mystically saving Snowbird's spirit. He summoned Nelvanna, Hodiak and the Shaper and asked them to accept Narya's spirit into their realm. Nelvanna agreed, but Narya's spirit rising from her corpse, refused to go unless the gods allowed the spirit's of Douglas Thompson and her son to come with her; otherwise, Narya said she would travel with her husband's and son's spirits outside Nelvanna's realm. Hence, the spirits of Narya, her husband and their child now dwell in the other-dimensional paradise of the Eskimo gods.

As far Snowbird's physical body, it remained in the form of a sasquatch and was resurrected and possessed by the spirit of Pestilence. In Snowbird's sasquatch form, Pestilence battled Box inhabited by the spirit of Walter Langkowski. Langkowski channeled energy from Box's internal power pack into the sasquatch body, causing Pestilence's spirit to flee from it. Heather Hudson then hurled Shaman's mystical medicine pack at Pestilence's spirit. Pestilence's spirit was engulfed by the bag and entrapped, apparently forever within the strange mystical dimension accessed by it. Langkowski's spirit took possession of Snowbird's body and still inhabits it today. In this body, Langkowski can become a white-furred sasquatch or a female human being with the name and identity of Wanda Langkowski. After some time in this state, Snowbird's spirit came from the realm of the Eskimo gods and transformed her body to male. Wanda Langkowski now reverted back to Walter Langkowski with the same powers he had before in his original body.

Since her departure from Earth, Alpha Flight and a number of other individuals encountered extra-dimensional versions of Snowbird who continued to exist in other timelines or alternate Earths resonating in separate quantum universes divergent from the know timeline. One time-displaced Snowbird from early in her career in Alpha Flight appeared and rejoined the modern version of Alpha Flight. This Snowbird married Yukon Jack and became queen of her tribe. Sometime later, AIM used DNA from this Snowbird to create a clone and artificially age it into adulthood, but the clone was taken over by the spirit of the mainstream Snowbird who returned to Earth  from the realm of the Eskimo gods. Hodiak had sent her to join as their representative in the God Squad, a team of heroes gathered by Hercules of the Olympian gods to oppose the alien Skrull gods, the deities of the extra-terrestrial Skrull race, attempting to subjugate the gods of Earth. In battling the Skrull gods, Snowbird nearly lost her identity in the form of Neoqtoq of the Great Beasts but rallied on and defeated the Skrull gods, just barely returning to Earth with Hercules.

Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 110 lbs.
Eyes: (as Snowbird) White, (as McKenzie) Blue
Hair: Blonde (White in her sasquatch and animal forms)

Strength Level: Snowbird possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 10 tons under optimal conditions. In her sasquatch form, she could lift (press) about 70 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Snowbird possesses the ability to assume the form of any animal whose natural habitat is the Canadian arctic north. The precise nature of this power is unknown. When she took the form of an animal whose mass and volume were less than those f a human being, she became a human-sized version of that animal. She could, however, draw additional mass and volume from an unidentified and presumably mystical source when she took the form of an animal greater than that of a human being, such as a polar bear or sasquatch. She could then shed that additional mass upon returning to human form. Upon taking the form of an animal, she gained that animal's special abilities, such as, for example, heightened sensory perception.

In her form of Snowbird, the demigoddess was capable of flight. Her uppermost level of speed has not been established. Snowbird also has certain mystical senses which enable her to perform feats such as detecting the presence of magical energies or the breaching of a magical field. She could feel the presence of a great mystical evil as coldness. Her principal extrasensory was that of limited precognition. By concentrating, she could mystically envision an event which took place in her immediate vicinity anytime within six hours into the past. Her precognitive visions could portray events occurring backwards or forwards in time, according to her will.

Snowbird also possesses superhuman strength and can increase that strength by taking on a more powerful form, most notably that of Sasquatch for as long as she maintained that form.

Limitations: Snowbird can not shed extra mass in going from human form to that of an animal whose mass and volume were less than those of her human form. This is why when she took the form of an animal who had less mass than her human form, that she becomes a human-sized version of that animal.

Ordinarily, Snowbird, when in human form, changed back to human form before assuming the form of another animal. Transforming directly from one animal into another into another creates tremendous strain on herself.

Snowbird's personality is usually overlaid with the character traits and instinctual patterns of whatever animal in whose form she is using. (Similarly, she was more human in her emotions and thoughts as Anne McKenzie than she was in her true form as Snowbird.) Hence, for example, when she becomes a polar bear, (at least in large part, since she still spoke when in animal form), although her submerged Snowbird persona still directs the bear's actions and could, when necessary, trigger her transformation back to Snowbird. However, if she gave way to the animal's instincts and passions while in the animal's form, such as the polar bear's bloodlust, she can lose even her subconscious control over her actions as a bear. In such case, her human/goddess rationality can only resume control with much difficulty or not at all until the animal's passion subsided. Furthermore, the greater duration of time that she spent as a certain animal, the stronger came the impression of that animal's personality on her psyche on her personality as she remains in that form. If she remained on one form for an extended period of time, she risked having her personality fixed as that of the animal, and therefore of never changing back. Michael Twoyoungmen hypothesized that certain arcane Sarcee Indian tribal rituals could transform Snowbird back to her human form, but this was never attempted. Her human forms (as Snowbird and as Anne McKenzie) apparently did not run the risk of "locking" her into human form only, presumably because of her hybrid ancestry.

At one time, Snowbird was inherently linked to the country of Canada. In casting the spell at her birth that enabled Snowbird to take human form, Michael Twoyoungmen had unintentionally bound her life-force to the country of Canada. As a result, Snowbird could only live in full health in Canada or in the extra-dimensional realm of the Eskimo gods. If she left Canada or entered another country, her life force began ebbing away and she greatly weakened and aged with great rapidity. She regained her youth, vitality and powers upon being returned to Canada or the Eskimo god's dimension and any injuries she sustained would rapidly heal as per her healing factor. (The specifics of this spell and it's supposed limits with the boundaries of Canada have never been completely explained.) However, since having been restored to life, this limitation has been rescinded and she can traverse the globe and even enter outer space without ill effects.

Comments: Snowbird is a copyrighted character of Marvel Comics; Narya, Hodiak, Nelvanna and the accompanying Eskimo Gods of the Marvel Universe are not actual mythological characters. However, Innua ("spirits") is the actual term the Eskimo tribes used to refer to their gods.

Considering the lengths of time between Easton leaving and departing Earth and Shaman's encounter with Nelvanna after her encounter with Easton, it is entirely possibly that time in the the realm of the Eskimo gods runs faster than that of Earth. It is not known if they are the same as the Innua (Eskimo gods) of North America, especially concerning the differences in their race as compared with the Olympian and Asgardian gods.

Image courtesy of Mark Hearn of Maco Studios.

Last updated: 08/29/12

 

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