Jean-Paul Beaubier is born to a French Canadian family in Montreal, but after his parents die in an automobile accident during his childhood, he and his twin sister, Jeanne-Marie, are separated. Jean-Paul is later adopted, but his adopted parents are killed after only a couple of years. Prior to his debut as a superhero, Beaubier competes as a professional skier. He became an elite level skier during his teenage years, prior to his mutation surfacing. Once he develops his mutant abilities he becomes virtually unbeatable and eventually bores of the sport due to the lack of competition. He becomes an angry and rebellious youth and, as a young adult, joins the Front de libération du Québec, a terrorist separatist movement organized to win independence for Quebec from Canada. However, he soon becomes disgusted with the group's tactics and renounces terrorism. Beaubier then learns of a superhero group financed by the Canadian government called Alpha Flight. He then reunites with his sister Jeanne-Marie, who takes the name Aurora.
Jean-Paul joins Alpha Flight, adopting the codename “Northstar.” It is there that he is reunited with his twin sister Jeanne-Marie (“Aurora”). Northstar makes his comic debut in Uncanny X-Men #120 where he joins Alpha Flight combating the X-Men to capture former teammate Wolverine. Department H learns that it is being disbanded and Jean-Paul is shocked when he witnesses his sister’s split personalities. Jean-Paul then encounters his old friend Raymond Belmonde, a man who took him in and mentored him, helping him become comfortable with himself and steering him on the right path. He introduces Aurora to Belmonde only for the twins to be attacked by local crime boss Deadly Ernest, who kills Belmonde. The twins deal with the villain, though their relationship sours when Northstar offends Aurora by suggesting that she had “romanced her way to safety.” Aurora refuses to speak with him after that and her lover and teammate Sasquatch assists her in altering her powers such that she no longer needs Northstar to generate light. Her attempts to isolate him cause Northstar to quit Alpha Flight. Eventually, Aurora arrives at his doorstep seeking his help. The twins begin to reconcile, but Aurora rejects him again when she discovers Jean-Paul’s past history as a terrorist with the FLQ, telling the other members of Alpha Flight. They cross-examine him about his terrorist activities, though any discussion is dropped due to an emergency. When Sasquatch dies, the twins reconcile after Northstar comforts his grieving sister. However, during a confrontation with the Hulk, Northstar and Aurora discover that her power alterations cause the twins to negate one another’s abilities upon touching. After the battle finishes, Northstar decides to rejoin Alpha Flight. While on a skiing vacation, Northstar is forced to publicly expose himself as a mutant to save a woman's life. Spectators accuse the retired skiing champion of using his powers to cheat. Realizing that he could not know if he had subconsciously used his abilities in the past, he relinquishes his medals and bitterly turns his back on skiing forever. The villain Pestilence senses decay in Northstar's body and causes his sickness to grow serious to the point that his wounds no longer heal, slowly killing him. As his illness progresses, Aurora desperately uses her healing light to cure him. The twins' later use of their powers on one another stabilizes their abilities back to their original state, also allowing Northstar to generate light independently like Aurora. During another battle, Northstar discovers an abandoned baby girl in an alley. Doctors discover that the baby girl is dying of AIDS, having been infected with HIV in the womb. Jean-Paul adopts her and names her Joanne Beaubier, and he and Alpha Flight performed various events to remind the public of AIDS and the dangers of remaining silent about it. Her death weeks later spurs Northstar to publicly acknowledge that he is gay, hoping that his role as a gay man and a celebrity will increase media attention on HIV/AIDS safety and prevention. Eventually Northstar decides to leave Alpha Flight and writes a memoir about his experience as a mutant and gay man entitled "Born Normal".
In the 2001 Eve of Destruction story arc, Northstar is briefly recruited to an improvised team of X-Men by Jean Grey to rescue Professor X, who has been captured by Magneto and is being kept prisoner in Genosha. Jean meets Northstar at a book-signing appearance, where he is mobbed. One person in the crowd turns out to be carrying a gun. Northstar foils the assassination attempt at super-speed. Later, he meets one of the new mutants, an invulnerable young man who goes by the name of Omerta. This man is very homophobic and it leads to an actual fight between the two on the driveway of the X-Men's mansion. Omerta believes his powers will protect him, but a couple dozen punches at super-speed seriously rattles him. At Professor Xavier's request, Northstar then works with the X-Men to save the life of a mutant child who cannot stop exploding. Despite his speed, Northstar cannot save the boy, who perishes simply because of his powers. Soon afterwards, Northstar officially joins the X-Men and becomes an instructor at the Xavier Institute, teaching business, economics, and French. He is also shown teaching flying classes. Northstar becomes a mentor to his own squad of young mutants, Alpha Squadron, and forms a close mentor relationship with student Anole. During his time at Xavier's, he forms a close friendship with Annie Ghazikhanian, a former nurse at the Xavier Institute. Annie realizes that Northstar has developed an attraction to Bobby Drake. Bobby remains oblivious, despite Northstar, who was currently sick, saving him from the misguided anger of a jealous mutant. When HYDRA forms an alliance with the cults the Dawn of the White Light and the Hand, the groups start recruiting new agents from the superhero community by killing, resurrecting, and brainwashing them. The X-Man Wolverine is one of their victims, brainwashed into becoming a HYDRA assassin. He eventually attacks the X-Men and kills Northstar. One of the Affected, Elixir J. Frederickson, manages to heal Northstar's wounds but is unable to revive him. A few days later a statue of Northstar is created in memory of him and is placed in a garden of statues of various fallen X-Men on the campus grounds. S.H.I.E.L.D. requests that Northstar be decapitated in order to prevent a resurrection, but before anything can happen, Northstar's body is stolen by Elektra, another brainwashed victim of HYDRA. A resurrected Northstar leads an attack with Elektra on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, crippling S.H.I.E.L.D. and putting Nick Fury in critical condition. Northstar also takes the time to kill terrorists and antiheroes all across the country, and makes use of his regained 'flare', the ability to generate a brief blinding light. Wolverine meets Northstar, but is taken prinsoner by the other D.O.L.L.S., all of whom he kills except for Northstar. When Northstar refuses to tell Wolverine the location of HYDRA's command center, Wolverine knocks him out and calls S.H.I.E.L.D. to pick him up and psychologically "deprogram" him. Nick Fury reports that Northstar's body was not found and he is presumed deceased, while actually being in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Not long afterward, the mysterious group of superhumans known as The Children of the Vault abducts Northstar from the S.H.I.E.L.D. holding facility in order to use him to kill their nemisises, Swordmaster and the X-Men. They easily are able to mentally control Northstar due to The Hand's previous mental manipulations leaving his psyche fragile. Under their control he then finds his sister about to commit suicide and stops her so that The Children can psychokinetically control her too. Together they attack the school under The Children's word and make quick work of several X-Men, notably Colossus,Dazzler and Nightcrawler, whose encounter with Northstar briefly shakes him from mind-control. Leaving Aurora to battle the X-Men, Northstar begins a search for Persian but is stopped by Rebel and Livewire. The X-Men take Northstar and Abyss to the S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier in an attempt to fix the mental damage inflicted on the twins. Using their V.R. equipment the X-Men allow the twins to relive their lives at an accelerated pace. The process is interrupted near the end of the session by Executioner, creating a telepathic connection between the twins. Using each other's emotional support they apparently manage to face their inner turmoils. This allows both brother and sister to gain a higher level of control of their powers.
A Random Notification...
Northstar is later contacted by Cyclops to find Anole, who goes into hiding after accidentally attacking his own father due to post traumatic stress disorder from his time at the X-Mansion. Northstar discovers Anole on a tree limb beside a tree house, the teenager not too happy to see his former mentor. At first, Jean-Paul makes jokes, thinking Victor is having a problem with fitting in, as both a mutant and as a gay teen. Victor explains that his town accepts him for who he is – his problems come from Northstar, along with the other X-Men, for stealing the New X-Men's innocence. Just before Anole departs, he elbows Jean-Paul in the face – similar to how Northstar attacked him in the past – and tells him to tell all of the former New X-Men not to come looking for him. Northstar and his sister Aurora respond to Emma Frost's telepathic APB and fight alongside the X-Men in San Francisco against the Neolite Armada when they invade Earth. However, Jean-Paul also makes a life for himself outside of superheroics, having returned to being a star at extreme skiing, as well as starting his own brand of snowboarding equipment and becoming involved in a relationship. Wolverine then approaches him to rejoin the X-Men to help fill a much needed speedster role on the team. After receiving confirmation that he would not be the team's token gay member, he accepts. Later while training Augment in the use of super-speed, Northstar stops to give an interview. During the interview he finds out about Simon Trask's Proposition X. He runs back to the X-Men and threatens to quit and go back to Canada. Later, he and Dazzler take out Pixie and all get drunk. They come back to find Scott sleeping on the couch and he has a word to them about taking out an underage girl when they are attacked by Mastermind and Chimera of the Brotherhood of Mutants. After the Brotherhood retreats, Northstar and other X-men go to Jean Grey's burial site, taking on Spiral before she teleports off with the remaining members after the Goblin Queen's defeat. During the protests between anti-mutant and pro-mutant movements about mutant reproductive rights. Northstar is seen during the protests between the groups. He tells Simon Trask to his face that his cause will find no support here and is seen trying to fly away after a fight breaks out between the groups. A temporal copy of Northstar—from a period of time shortly before the apparent death of Guardian at the hands of Jerry Jaxon—was introduced near the end of the third Alpha Flight series, along with an entire team of early Alpha Flight members. This Northstar is last seen with a similarly time-displaced Aurora, still operating in the Earth-616 present.
Powers and Abilities
Northstar is an Alpha-Level mutant.
Gestalt Photokinesis: Originally he could only generate light when in physical contact with his twin sister Aurora. Should he link hands with Aurora, they could generate a light equivalent to a lighthouse beacon (one million foot candles) by each sibling’s varying the rate of acceleration of his or her own molecules out of phase with those of the other’s.
Photokinesis: can generate from his body a bright white light equivalent at maximum intensity to half million-foot candles. He does so by varying the rate of acceleration of the molecules of his body out of phase with one another, thereby generating a cascade of photonic discharges.
- Concussive Blasts: ability to send out powerful concussive blasts that can do considerable damage. He can project these from his hands and out from his body in a series of concussive bursts.
Superhuman Speed: possesses the ability to propel his body at superhuman speed, becoming a living projectile. Through an act of concentration, Northstar can channel a portion of the kinetic energy of the atomic motion in his body’s molecules in a single direction. This can accelerate his body in a velocity in direct proportions to the amount of kinetic energy he has tapped. It was once theoretically possible for him to reach 99% of the speed of light (186, 272 miles per second in a vacuum), although he never traveled at anywhere near that speed since if he did, he would wreak great damage upon himself and his environment. Northstar can also move a portion of his body at superhuman speed at a time.
- Heightened Reflexes: possesses reflexes far above the average human. Reflexes are so advanced that he can go through an entire apartment, checking all the rooms and taking out the survivors in just mere seconds.
- Flight: ability to propel himself through the air. To hover in mid-air Northstar applies thrust downward in a carefully controlled manner. When carrying another, unprotected human being aloft, Northstar does not move faster than 60 miles per hour in order that his "passenger" may be able to breathe easily (Northstar himself can breathe at somewhat higher rates due to training) and so that the "passenger" will not suffer harm from wind, friction, or air turbulence.
- Accelerated Metabolism: possesses a boosted metabolism that can be used to heal wounds quickly.
- Enhanced Durability: as a side effect of partially robbing his molecules of their atomic motion, the binding forces within and between the molecules increase. This enhances the sheer toughness of Northstar's entire body. This effect gives his skin enough durability to withstand the ravages of wind, friction and air turbulence.
- G-Force Compensation: ability to use his super speed to automatically compensate for any G-Force difference.
Northstar is a world-class professional skier, skilled trapeze artist, and an accomplished novelist. He also speaks fluent French. After resurrection by The Hand, Northstar has been trained in the deadly martial arts. Northstar is very skilled in aerial combat.
Normal human male with intensive regular exercise.
In other Media
Northstar appears in the X-Men episodes "Slave Island", "Repo Man", and "Child of Light". He is voiced by Rene Lemieux. No mention or hint is made of his sexual orientation. In the cartoon Northstar possesses the ability to fly and generate a blinding light when he slaps hands with his sister Aurora. Though he didn't have any speaking role in Slave Island, the episode Repo Man showed the character's origins as he spoke with a French Canadian accent. In "Slave Island" Jean-Paul is a hostage/prisoner of the island nation of Genosha. He, along with many other mutants, provides slave labor for the government using their mutant skills for such tasks as building dams and the like. They wear special collars that restrict them from using their powers to escape and sleep in prison-like cells. They eventually escape Genosha with the help of the X-Men. In "Repo Man", Northstar is shown as part of the Canadian Special Forces team Alpha Flight, which tries to convince former member Wolverine to re-join. Northstar, as well as other Alpha Flight members, make a brief cameo in "Child of Light".
Northstar's costumes are modified so they do not tear when he uses his powers. Northstar wore a visor for a time after becoming a member of the X-men
X-Men Blackbird, formerly Alpha Flight's "Omnijet"
- Loki once claimed that the mother of Northstar and Aurora was a Norse elf.
- Northstar is one of the first openly gay superheroes.
- In 2005, Marvel killed Northstar in three separate continuities within the space of one calendar month. Between February 16th and March 9th, 2005, versions of Northstar were killed in the Earth-616-based Wolverine #25, and in X-Men: Age of Apocalypse and X-Men:
- This Northstar is last seen with a similarly time-displaced Aurora, still operating in the Earth-616 present.
- Shortly before Northstar admitted he was gay, he was voted Canada's most eligible bachelor, in the Alpha Flight series