Justin Trudeau has had all sorts of characters working for him, including, apparently, the Canadian superhero squad Alpha Flight.
In the variant cover image of an upcoming Marvel comic, "Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5," Trudeau appears slouched in a boxing ring, his blue eyes squinted, his teeth gritted in a smile, and a big red maple leaf on his boxing jersey. His infamous stylized raven tattoo, inspired by a Haida artist, is visible on his shoulder.
The Prime Minister, who's known for his boxing skills, is flanked by Puck, Sasquatch, and Aurora, the three members of Alpha Flight. (For those who don't know their Canadian superheroes: Sasquatch is the giant, Puck is the bearded guy and Aurora is the dark-haired woman.) Iron Man is there too, pouting in the corner, his arms crossed against his chest.
Civil War II centers around conflict between Iron Man and Captain Marvel. In this comic, from writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Ramón Pérez, Puck, Sasquatch, and Aurora have left Canada (and Earth) to work for Captain Marvel's space-based global defense program.
"The story revolves around an ethical dilemma," Zdarsky told me: a new character, Ulysses, can "predict [future] disasters" to a certain degree of accuracy, sort of like the Precogs in Minority Report. But the superheroes are bitterly divided on how, and whether, to draw on this ability, "because it can be flawed and abused," he said.
So the Alpha Flight crew turns to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom Marvel describes in a press release as their "old boss," for some advice about what to do.
Canada's PM isn't media-shy: he's been in Vanity Fair and GQ. His appearance in this comic wasn't officially endorsed by his office, although they also didn't stand in the way of it, said Zdarsky. Envisioning how the Prime Minister would respond to a character that can predict the future, and what sort of advice he might give, was a challenge. "In some ways, it's easier to put words in Iron Man's mouth than a sitting Prime Minister," he said.
Trudeau's father, former PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, also appeared with the Alpha Flight crew back in his day. In 1979, the elder Trudeau was featured in Marvel's Uncanny X-Men #120, ordering the trio to apprehend Wolverine, who left Alpha Flight to join the X-Men.
Zdarsky couldn't reveal too many details about what happens in the new comic, which is available for pre-order. According to Marvel, in this issue, "readers will learn more about the mysterious connection between Tony Stark and the Prime Minister."
Does Trudeau have his own Iron Man suit, too?