Guardian
Guardian as depicted in Alpha Flight #89 (October 1990). Art by Jim Lee.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Uncanny X-Men #109 (February 1978)
Created by
In-story information
Alter egoJames MacDonald Hudson
SpeciesHuman cyborg
Place of originLondon, Ontario, Canada (Earth-616)
Team affiliations
PartnershipsVindicator
Notable aliasesWeapon Alpha, Vindicator, Jamie, Jimmy, Mac, Jimmy Hudson, Dr. Hudson, Antiguard, Major Maple-Leaf
Abilities
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Proficient scientist and engineer
  • Skilled hand-to-hand combatant, martial artist, strategist and inventor
  • Physical attributes enhanced to peak of human potential
  • Superhuman strength and durability
  • Flight
  • Personal force field
  • Ability to fire energy blasts

Guardian (James Hudson; also known as Weapon Alpha or Vindicator) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by John Byrne, the character made his first appearance in The Uncanny X-Men #109 (February 1978) which was co-plotted by Byrne and his long-time collaborator Chris Claremont.[1]

The character is a founding member and leader of Alpha Flight. He was designed to be the Canadian equivalent of Captain America, hence his costume markings are modeled after the Canadian flag. Guardian is often confused with Captain Canuck, another Canadian-themed superhero with similar costume and superpowers.[2]

As Vindicator, the character appears in X-Men: The Animated Series, voiced by Barry Flatman.

Concept and creation

Guardian was a fan character, created by John Byrne years before he did any professional work in comics.[3]

He was originally called "the Canadian Shield", after the rock formation, but when Byrne introduced the character in X-Men, this name was rejected by publisher Marvel Comics because of their prominent fictional organization named S.H.I.E.L.D. Byrne then suggested "Guardian", but this was also rejected due to the numerous extant Marvel characters under that name, so X-Men scripter Chris Claremont came up with Weapon Alpha and later Vindicator.[3] These names were used for the character's initial appearances in The Uncanny X-Men #109, 120–121, and 139–140.[4] Byrne disliked both these names,[3] and when he was assigned the writing and penciling of the newly launched Alpha Flight comic, he quickly had "Vindicator" change names to his earlier suggestion, "Guardian".

Fictional character biography

James MacDonald Hudson was born in London, Ontario, Canada.[5] He is a leading petrochemical engineer and scientist for the Am-Can Corporation developing a powered exoskeleton suit. When he learns that his work will be used for American military purposes, Hudson raids his workplace, steals the prototype suit and destroys the plans. He leaves the suit to be recovered (albeit without the vital control helmet, which he built before coming to the company) and fully expects to be sued and arrested for his actions.

However, Hudson's girlfriend, Heather MacNeil, uses political connections in the Canadian government to persuade Am-Can to waive the charges against him. As a result, Department H is formed, a secret branch of the Canadian Department of National Defence, and Hudson is named as head of operations. Inspired by the debut of the Fantastic Four, James Hudson planned to create a superhero team for Canada.[6] He started out with a prototype superhero team called the Flight which had Wolverine as one of its members.[7]

Following his prototype team the Flight, Hudson forms Alpha Flight as a superhero team for the Canadian government and develops his exoskeleton into a battle suit. As Weapon Alpha, Hudson sought to capture Wolverine, who had left Canada and joined the X-Men. He accidentally injured Moira MacTaggert in the process.[6] He then led Alpha Flight in battle against the X-Men to capture Wolverine.[8] After that mission failed, he made no further attempts to forcibly return Wolverine to Canada.

With the cancellation of Department H and its funding, Alpha Flight is temporarily disbanded. Hudson laments this for a time, but then is called to action by the arrival of the Great Beast Tundra. He sets out alone, but Heather takes it upon herself to summon the rest of Alpha Flight, plus two recently "gold-striped" members. The team defeats Tundra, and then summarily decides to reform, albeit without direct Government support.[9]

Hudson and Alpha Flight retain their security clearances and status as RCMP Auxiliaries. They have a series of adventures, both as a team and as individuals. Early on, Hudson expresses a lack of confidence in himself, but he slowly gains some over time. For example, his initial reaction to the imposing creature the Wendigo has him expressing fear. Nevertheless, he confronts the creature "like a super-hero borne."[10]

Though Hudson and his wife initially struggle as any Canadian middle-class couple do, he is soon offered a plum job with the large corporation Roxxon in New York City. Relocated to New York, Hudson is almost immediately trapped and set upon by an evil incarnation of Omega Flight and an old foe: his old boss from Am-Can, Jerry Jaxon. The battle is soon joined by the rest of Alpha Flight, though it does not end well for Hudson. Although seemingly killed when his battle suit explodes due to the strain of energizing a multiple teleportation matrix system (thanks to Jaxon), he is in fact transported to Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. There he meets an alien race known as the Q`wrrlln. In their attempts to heal Hudson, the Q`wrrlln integrate his battle suit into his body, fusing it to his biological and nervous systems.[11] This is originally posed as a ruse by Delphine Courtney to confuse and deceive Heather Hudson and the surviving members of Alpha Flight.[12]

Hudson eventually returns to Earth and takes the name Vindicator, leaving the title of "Guardian" (and position of leadership) with his wife, Heather. Again, Hudson's time with the team is cut short when the Q'wrrlln summon him (and a select group of heroes) to protect their planet against Galactus. As before, Hudson seemingly perishes when his suit detonates while transporting the heroes back home. However, during the explosion Hudson is transported to an alternate dimension. After some time, he eventually returns to Earth.[volume & issue needed]

While again working for Department H, Hudson becomes caught up in the plans of its new director, General Jeremy Clarke. Scientists working for Clarke clone Hudson, steal his memories, and attempt to shoot his body into outer space. The plan does not succeed, though, as Hudson crash lands in Antarctica.[volume & issue needed]

A seemingly de-aged Hudson reappears to the members of Alpha Flight. This is in fact the clone created by Department H. The original Hudson is eventually found by Sasquatch in Antarctica. After his return he once again becomes team leader while the clone becomes leader of Beta Flight. Later, both Hudsons are captured by AIM, and the clone is killed in the escape.[13]

Along with several other members of Alpha Flight, Hudson attempts to return a clutch of Plodex eggs to their homeworld. However, an accident brings temporal copies of most of the original Alpha Flight from a time before Hudson's first "death" to the present. This group, including James Hudson, takes up the role of Alpha Flight while the original ones are helping to rebuild the Plodex homeworld.[volume & issue needed]

Alpha Flight (Sasquatch, Major Mapleleaf II, Puck Jr., Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman, and Puck) is brutally attacked by The Collective,[14] resulting in the deaths of Guardian, Vindicator, Shaman, and Puck. Their bodies are left in the Yukon Territory as the Collective continues on to the United States.[volume & issue needed]

The Guardian suit was worn by Michael Pointer during his run in Omega Flight before joining Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men as Weapon Omega.[volume & issue needed]

During the Chaos War storyline, Guardian (alongside Vindicator, Shaman, and Marrina Smallwood) are among the heroes that return from the dead following what happened to the death realms. He reunites Alpha Flight to fight the Great Beasts.[15] James Hudson remains among the living after the defeat of the Chaos King.[16]

In the pages of the "Ravencroft" miniseries, James is seen as a member of J.A.N.U.S.[17]

Powers and abilities

Formerly, Guardian used a skin-tight technological "battle suit" composed of steel mesh which served as an exoskeleton; it allowed him to fly, fire energy blasts and had a personal force field for defence. The suit design stems from a geological/oil-exploration exo-suit designed by Hudson during his early career. The original suit was clunky, over-large and awkward, though it did have an energy beam "weapon" system, ostensibly used for drilling/tunneling. The skin-tight suit is considered to be a later, possibly 2nd or 3rd generation, evolution of the original design. The battle suit is cybernetically controlled and contains a high resolution navigation system. The battle suit permits flight by directing beams of force towards the ground, propelling the wearer forward at up to Mach 1.

Guardian could cause the battle suit computers to trigger and release gravitons, canceling the Earth's rotation relative to himself, propelling himself westward at up to about 1000 miles per hour (at the equator). This effect would suspend his positioning relative to the Earth's electromagnetic field while the planet rotated, allowing him to travel West at high speed depending on his latitude positioning.

When he returned from space, the technology of the suit that formerly existed as a separate part of him was incorporated into his body. The alien Q`wrrlln converted James Hudson into a cyborg incorporating much of his battle suit; some of his mechanical parts were visible on the surface of his body. As a result, his powers were greatly enhanced. Hudson's cyborg brain was half-organic (portions of his original brain) and half-mechanical. Hudson could control his mechanical systems by mental command, though he was vulnerable to being controlled by the Q`wrrlln through the mechanical portion of his brain. With great effort the human portion of his brain could override this control.

Guardian's power suit allows for:

Hudson has earned a Ph.D. in engineering. He is a brilliant engineer, inventor, and a good battle strategist and leader.

Other characters named Guardian

There have been other characters who have called themselves Guardian:

Other versions

Earth-3240

On Earth-3240, where the Cold War never ended, Guardian was Heather Hudson's second husband. Her previous husband was Logan, whom she had killed while under the control of Weapon X. This Guardian has much the same powers as the Earth-616 Guardian.

Marvel Zombies

On Earth-2149, a zombified Guardian can be seen attacking the X-Men alongside zombified versions of Alpha Flight. He is killed when Magneto scalps him with a metal blade. His body can later be seen being examined by Reed Richards on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier.

Ultimate Marvel

On Earth 1610, the Ultimate Universe version of Hudson is a non-powered Gulf war veteran and sheriff of Port St. Lucie, Florida, and was acquainted with Wolverine, who also introduced him to his wife Heather. Wolverine entrusted him with raising his son from Magda a.k.a. "The Witch of Wundagore". Hudson named him James Hudson Jr. (which later became James Howlett, after James discovered his true father). James eventually manifested a healing factor and claws in Ultimate Comics: X.

Derek Morgan

Derek Morgan was a mutant who can assume an avian form with prehensile wings, sharp talons, enhanced sight, super-strength, enhanced durability, and a healing factor.[21]

In other media

Television

Video games

Merchandise

References

  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  2. ^ "Captain Canuck vs Guardian - Battles - Comic Vine". Comic Vine. 11 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Nickerson, Al (August 2008). "Claremont and Byrne: The Team that Made the X-Men Uncanny". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (29): 5.
  4. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 184. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  5. ^ "marvel.com/universe/Guardian". Marvel.com. 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  6. ^ a b The Uncanny X-Men #109. Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ Alpha Flight Special vol. 2 #1 (1992). Marvel Comics.
  8. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #120-121. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Alpha Flight #1. Marvel Comics.
  10. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #140. Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Alpha Flight #25. Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Alpha Flight #26. Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ Wolverine vol. 2 #143. Marvel Comics.
  14. ^ The New Avengers #16
  15. ^ Chaos War: Alpha Flight. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ Chaos War #5. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Ravencroft #5. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Captain America #387. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Iron Man Annual #4. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ Civil War: The Initiative #3. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ Ultimate X #3. Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari [@cheo_coker] (February 23, 2022). "And as many people gave us grief for what happened at the end of 107, that was always by design. When I first pitched doing the show, I pitched that rugpull from the very beginning....I wanted people to feel the same way I did after Guardian in Alpha Flight Issue 12..." (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 27, 2022 – via Twitter.