Real Name: Nelvanna

Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Quidlivun) goddess

Occupation: Goddess of the Northern Lights

Group Membership: Inua;
   formerly Gaea's informal alliance of goddesses (Aman Sinaya, Amaterasu, Ameretat, Ay, Chalchiuhtlique, Frigga, Haumea, Hera, Isis, Ixchel, Julunggul, Lada, Lahamu,
Lakshmi, Mahu, Mama Cocha, Mielikki, Morrigan, Parvati, Saraswati, Sigyn, Wiininwaa, Xi Wangmu, Ungnyeo)

Affiliations: Alpha Flight (Aurora/Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, Guardian/James Hudson, Northstar/Jean-Paul Beaubier, Puck/Eugene Judd, Sasquatch/Walter Langkowski, Shaman/Michael Twoyoungmen, Snowbird/Narya), Ancient One (Yao), Gaea, Hodiak, Kadlu, Moonstalker (Kaina), Richard Easton, Turoq, Wolverine (Logan/James Howlett)

Enemies: Chaos King (Mikaboshi), Great Beasts (Herateq, Kariooq, Kimara, Kolomaq, Neootoq, Ranaq, Somon, Tanaraq, Tiamaq, Tolomaq, Tundra), Mauvais (Jean-Pierre Baubier)

Known Relatives: Narya (Snowbird, daughter), Douglas "Doug" Thompson (son-in-law, deceased), unidentified grandson (deceased), Yukotujakzurjimozoata (Yukon Jack, ex-son-in-law), Hodiak (father), Gaea/A'akuluujjusi (mother), Nanuq, Negafok, Turoq (brothers), Sedna (sister), extensive (and I do mean extensive!) extended family via Gaea

Aliases: Goddess of the Northern Lights

Base of Operations: Quidlivun

First Appearance: (spirit) Alpha Flight I#7/2 (February 1984);
   (physically present) Chaos War: Alpha Flight#1 (January 2011)

Powers/Abilities: Nelvanna is immortal and unaging, and cannot die by conventional means. She is immune to all terrestrial diseases and is resistant to conventional injury; if wounded, her godly life force will enable her to recover at a superhuman rate. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it incinerates her or disperses a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her to die. She can lift at least 25 tons, and her godly metabolism gives her superhuman endurance. She can also generate blasts of unspecified energies and open portals between dimensions. Though she is physically trapped in Quidlivun, she can manifest in spirit form on Earth under the right circumstances.

Height: 5'9" (by approximation)
Unrevealed (it is unrevealed whether her body is more dense and massive than mortal tissue, or whether his tissue is more durable by its own nature without being more massive)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: White

(Alpha Flight I#7/2 (fb)) - Nelvanna was the Inua's goddess of the Northern Lights, the daughter of Hodiak...

(Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - and the Earth goddess Gaea, in her guise as the Inua goddess A'akuluujjusi.

(Wolverine II#170 - BTS) - The Inua allegedly created the curse of the Wendigo to punish those who committed cannibalism on their lands (see comments).

(Alpha Flight I#24 (fb) - BTS) - Well over a thousand years ago the Great Beasts, creatures from another universe that had destroyed their own world, came to Earth, the nearest planet on the mystic continuum, intending to corrupt and pillage it as they had their own world. Though normally the Beasts' dark natures would force them to fight among themselves, rendering them effectively powerless, one of their number, Somon the Great Articifer, could override this, allowing them to cooperate and making them a greater threat. Three times the Beasts came to Earth, and each time they were driven back by the Inua. During their third assault,...

(Alpha Flight I#19 (fb) - BTS) - over a thousand years ago Nelvanna imprisoned the Great Beast Ranaq the Devourer within the Beast's home dimension behind a mystical Great Barrier. She also similarly imprisoned the others Beasts,...

(Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - with the aid of other Inua.

(Alpha Flight I#1 (fb) - BTS) - However, the Great Beast Tundra returned the favor, sealing Nelvanna (and other Inua) away from Earth.

(Alpha Flight I#24 (fb) - BTS) - As the end approached, Tundra conceived a counter-plan, and created a magical vortex that spun the energies of the barriers back on their creators, so that as the Beasts became trapped in their dimension, the ancient gods of the North were also imprisoned,...

(Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - in their home realm of Quidlivun.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2 (fb) - BTS) - However Nelvanna and other Inua could still briefly manifest on Earth when summoned by powerful magics.

(Thor I#301 (fb) - BTS) - Circa 1000AD, after the Third Celestial Host visited Earth, promising to pass judgement on the planet when next they visited in a millennia, the Earth goddess Gaea convened a meeting of mother-goddesses from Earth's many pantheons,...

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update#1) - including Nelvanna,...

(Thor I#301 (fb) - BTS) - and the group decided to groom twelve candidates chosen from their worshipers to epitomize man's greatest attributes. The goddesses agreed to watch over the children of men, looking for a new child to be their race's herald.

(Spectacular Spider-Man Annual#8/3 - BTS) - In the 11th century Nelvanna chose a sixteen year old Alaskan hunter, the Inupiat woman Kiana (see comments), who would later become the Young God Moonstalker.

(Thor I#301 (fb) - BTS) - Nelvanna, or her chosen representative, contacted Kiana and unleashed in her the godly essence possessed by all mankind. Kiana was then transported to an underground temple and placed in suspended animation, where she was gradually joined by the other Young Gods chosen by other pantheons. At some point during the subsequent centuries of waiting Nelvanna took a turn guarding the temple and its precious contents.

(Wolverine II#172 (fb) - BTS) - During the French and Indian War of 1754-1763, the French cannibal sorcerer Mauvais tried to conquer Canada, then the northern and largest territory of the colony New France, but the Nelvanna and other Inua opposed him, ensuring the region ended up in the control of the comparatively less malevolent English.

   Still considering Mauvais a potential threat to their worshipers' lands, when he resurfaced in 1789 trying to use the French Revolution for his own ends, the Inua orchestrated his capture...

(Wolverine II#165 (fb) - BTS) - by that era's Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One (see comments). Frozen in place, his immobile form was placed in le Prison de la Morte ("Prison of Death"), hidden away on a remote island.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2 (fb) - BTS) - In modern times Nelvanna and the other Inua sensed that the Beasts were manipulating weak-minded men to be their agents and tricking them into weakening the barriers. Still restricted in their own access to Earth, Nelvanna, her father Hodiak, and Turoq the Shaper decided they needed their own champion on Earth to stop the Beasts. In order to create an Inua who was equally of Earth and so not be trapped like they were, they decided that Nelvanna would mate with a mortal. Thus when archaeologist Richard Easton discovered in an ancient "place of power" a mystic headband that could potentially raise Tundra, the Inua trio used it to draw Easton into their realm.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2) - After the Shaper reassured the shocked Easton that they meant him no harm, Nelvanna introduced herself and informed him that she needed his seed. Since to mortal eyes she looked elderly, Easton was appalled by the suggestion, as Hodiak had suspected he might be. Aware that there was a limit to how long Easton could be kept in their realm, Nelvanna worried how they could persuade the mortal, but Turoq used his shaping magic to make Easton see Nelvanna as his ideal fantasy woman. Nelvanna again propositioned Easton, explaining that the world was in danger and they needed to create a champion to keep the evil in check, and this time he hesitantly accepted.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2 (fb) - BTS) - During their night together Nelvanna explained to Easton about the headband's power and the danger Tundra posed. Easton and Nelvanna's tryst conceived a child.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2) - Returned to Earth, Easton was shocked to discover that over nine years had passed there compared to a single night with the Inua.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2 (fb) - BTS) - A year later (Earth time) and the heavily pregnant Nelvanna needed to give birth on the mortal plane so her demigod child could be bound to that realm. The goddess sent dreams to the Sarcee shaman (and medical doctor) Michael Twoyoungmen to tell him of Nelvanna's need and draw him to the site where Easton had found the headband.

(Alpha Flight I#7/2) - There, Twoyoungmen summoned Nelvanna to Earth and used his magic to deliver the child, Narya.

(Alpha Flight I#12 - BTS) - Narya became the superhero Snowbird, a member of Alpha Flight, alongside Twoyoungmen as Shaman, and scientist Walter Langkowski as Sasquatch; none of them were aware that Sasquatch's ability to transform into a monstrous superhuman form was down to his exposure to gamma radiation as he believed, but because he was linked to the Great Beast Tanaraq and transforming into its avatar. Initially that was a purely physical change, with Langkowski's mind controlling the form, but finally Tanaraq began to influence Sasquatch's behavior, triggering violent rages. Nelvanna and her fellows sensed something was amiss from their realm.

(Alpha Flight I#21 - BTS) - Having determined the details of what they had been sensing, Nelvanna, Hodiak and Turoq became angered that Snowbird had not slain Sasquatch, despite ample opportunities to do so. To express their displeasure, they struck at her from their realm as she was flying over Northern Alberta, inflicting intense pain that caused her to fall from the sky.

(Alpha Flight I#23) - With Snowbird still not having carried out her duty to slay Tanaraq's host (because she didn't know actually know Sasquatch was Tanaraq's avatar), the trio of gods visited her in a dream, inflicting more pain on her as they berated her for her "treachery," with Nelvanna telling her daughter that death was too easy a punishment for her failure. As Snowbird insisted she was innocent, Turoq finally showed her the truth about Sasquatch.

(Alpha Flight I#23 - BTS) - Now aware of what she had to do, Snowbird awoke and headed to confront Sasquatch, arriving just as Tanaraq took full control and slaying him as her mother, grandfather and the Shaper had demanded.

(Alpha Flight I#24 - BTS) - Snowbird and the rest of Alpha Flight ventured into the Great Beasts' realm to rescue Langkowski's soul. Snowbird seemingly slew Somon the Great Artificer (he actually survived or was later revived), causing their realm to begin to die and the Beasts to turn on one another. After escaping back to Earth Snowbird deemed her mission completed, and allowed herself to act on her growing love for the mortal Doug Thompson.

(Alpha Flight I#36) - Snowbird married Doug and later fell pregnant. When the pregnancy advanced to term literally overnight, Shaman sought a mystical nexus where the child could be delivered safely and contacted the Inua, but Nelvanna informed him that by choosing a mortal mate Narya had rejected her heritage and turned her back on the gods. When the mage countered that she had likewise mated with a mortal, Hodiak responded that she had only done so to avert a great evil, and Nelvanna added that Narya's choice was motivated by selfish human desires. Stating that since Narya had turned her back on them, they would do likewise rather than aid her folly, Turoq ended the summoning, and the visions of the Inua vanished.

(Alpha Flight I#37) - Unaware his estranged daughter, Elizabeth, had used her own mystic powers as Talisman to misdirect him to a location that harbored a malevolent entity, Pestilence, Shaman took Snowbird to where he believed he could safely deliver her child. As the mage prepared, the Inua trio appeared once more to Narya, also allowing Doug to see them. Informing the pair that with her task done, Narya now belonged with them, not on Earth, they offered Narya one last chance to give up her connection to humanity and go with them, with Nelvanna warning her daughter that bearing a mortal's child would mean she had turned her back on living eternally in their realm. Unwilling to give up on either her husband or unborn infant, Narya rejected them, and the gods vanished.

(Alpha Flight I#45) - Doug, Snowbird and their infant child all ultimately died thanks to Pestilence. At their joint funerals, Michael Twoyoungmen called on the Inua and petitioned they forgive Narya and let her spirit dwell in their realm. Admitting that despite her previous harsh words that she desired this too, Nelvanna freed Narya's soul from her slain body, but her spirit refused to go there unless both Doug and her child were permitted to accompany her. Hodiak responded to this ultimatum by reminding everyone they had been prepared to leave Narya's spirit trapped on the Earthly plane, but Nelvanna swiftly made it clear she would not permit this. The other two gods agreed to raise Doug and the child to godhood, and the trio freed the two mortal spirits from their corporeal remains to join Narya, then departed with them back to their own realm.

(Alpha Flight I#45 - BTS) - Langkowski's disembodied spirit took over Narya's abandoned form.

(Wolverine II#172 (fb) - BTS) - Now aware the Great Beasts remained a threat, the Northern Gods orchestrated Snowbird's resurrection...

(Wolverine II#143 - BTS) - using AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) as their unwitting pawns to do so.

(Wolverine II#170 - BTS) - Mauvais broke free of the Ancient One's spell and returned to Canada to where the connection between Earth and the Inua realm was strongest, seeking revenge against the Inua, intending to usurp the power of the Wendigo so he could use it to lock the Northern Gods out of the region forever and conquer the country. In response Nelvanna, Hodiak and Turoq subtly ensured Mauvais' mutant foe Wolverine learned of his location and confronted him.

(Wolverine II#172 (fb) - BTS) - Mauvais blocked the Inua's access to Earth, but when this happened Snowbird sensed the loss of contact and summoned the rest of Alpha Flight.

(Wolverine II#172) - Alpha Flight arrived to assist Wolverine against Mauvais, who had now transformed himself into a Wendigo while retaining his intellect and sorcerous powers. Together they wore him down sufficiently that his warding spells failed, allowing the Inua trio to manifest. Declaring their previous punishment had been too lenient, Hodiak opened a portal and banished Mauvais to the Great Beasts' dimension. Afterwards Nelvanna thanked Wolverine and Alpha Flight, saying they were in the heroes' debt before returning to their own realm.

(Astonishing Tales: Snowbird#1) - At the edge of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, Snowbird suffered a moment of existential crisis and contacted her mother and grandfather to ask them if her existence was fated to be nothing more than a ceaseless war against the forces of darkness, with no mate or child to share her life with. They responded that these very longings betrayed her true nature, noting that her father being mortal was crucial to making her their avatar on Earth, but telling her not to fall prey to her inherited human frailties. Informing her that an ages-old threat was once again rearing its head, they sent her south to Elk's Tooth Alaska to deal with two returned Great Beasts, Tiamaq and Herateq. After observing from their realm as Snowbird slew both Beasts, Nelvanna asked her father if they had been cruel to deny Narya's plea, wondering if her daughter's existence was indeed to be nothing more than the role of an executioner, or whether her mortal passions might outweigh the desires of the gods.

(Chaos War: Alpha Flight#1) - The Chaos King and his demonic forces attacked Earth and all its attached godly realms. As his forces overran Quidlivun Nelvanna and the other Northern Gods fought back desperately. Fighting back to back with Nelvanna, the lightning goddess Kadlu pointed out to her fellow goddess that they could not win, and advised her to save Snowbird, who was fighting nearby. Nelvanna told her daughter to flee, an instruction Snowbird protested against. Opening a portal to Earth Nelvanna pushed her daughter through it, reminding her child that she was the only one of the Inua who could travel between the dimensions, and insisting that while the Chaos King might strike them down, she trusted Snowbird to find a way to prevail; this last was cut off as the Chaos King impaled Nelvanna on his claws, slaying her.

(Chaos War#5 - BTS) - With the help of Snowbird and others the Greek demigod Hercules defeated the Chaos King and used the collected godly powers the villain had amassed to restore everything, presumably including reviving the slain Inua.

 Comments: Adapted from mythology into Marvel by John Byrne.

   We've not been told that Nelvanna chose Kiana to become a Young God, but the Math adds up: Gaea asked her alliance of mother-goddesses to locate candidates to be Young Gods out of the races they watched over; Nelvanna is the Inua representative on said group; Kiana is Inupiat. Nelvanna might not have approached Kiana directly, as we are told sometimes it was a representative on behalf of the goddess, but she would still have been the one doing the choosing.

   Mauvais said he was imprisoned by the Sorcerer Supreme during the French Revolution. Since at the time it was believed that the Ancient One had been the only Sorcerer Supreme for the last several centuries, Mauvais and the Inua handbook profiles identified Mauvais' foe as the Ancient One. However, subsequent retcons have revealed that others took up the title of Sorcerer Supreme for periods during the Ancient One's overall reign, so there's now the possibility that Mauvais' foe was someone else.

   In Alpha Flight I#64 Nelvanna and the other Inua seem to appear to Sasquatch; this was subsequently revealed in Alpha Flight I#67 to have been an illusion generated by the Dreamqueen. Later, Alpha Flight I#122 the Goddess appeared to members of Alpha Flight as Nelvanna. Neither of these issues contain genuine appearances by Nelvanna.

   Mauvais claims it was the Inua who created the Wendigo curse, though he doesn't say if Nelvanna was involved in that particular act. Relevant subsequent handbook entries (Wendigo, Inua, etc.) have thus also stated this. It's worth noting however that Monsters Unleashed#9/6 says it was the "Elder Gods," which is usually taken to refer to a very different group, and in Amazing X-Men II#12 Tanaraq claims credit for "forging" it. Maybe Mauvais was simply wrong about who created it, or maybe it's some combination of all three - a lot of curses that afflict mankind (vampirism, lycanthropy) originate with Chthon and the Darkhold, so perhaps he devised the curse, but it was Tanaraq who unleashed it on mankind (the version he is seen unleashing in World War Wendigo transforms non-cannibals into Wendigo), and then the Inua, unable to stop the curse completely, redirected it to only afflict cannibals, rather than any innocents?

   John Byrne chose to have Nelvanna be Snowbird's mother in part because he was paying homage to another version of the character. Nelvanna is actually one of the earliest comic book superheroines, debuting in Hillborough Studios Triumph-Adventure-Comics#1 in August 1941, meaning that she predates the more famous Wonder Woman by two months. Though for many years largely unknown outside of Canada, where her comics were published, she remained fondly remembered there, prompting Byrne's homage.

   This profile was completed 09/11/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

Nelvanna has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Thor and Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica, p30, pan1 (main image)
Alpha Flight I#7/2, p3, pan3 (headshot)
Alpha Flight I#7/2, p3, pan1 (manifesting to Easton)
Alpha Flight I#7/2, p3, pan5 (youthful illusion)
Alpha Flight I#7/2, p7, pan1-2 (giving birth)
Wolverine II#172, p17, pan1 (confronting Mauvais)
Chaos War: Alpha Flight#1, p1, pan4-5 (slain by Chaos King)
Nelvanna of the Northern Lights collection cover (Bell Features' Golden Age Nelvanna)

Alpha Flight I#7/2 (February 1984) - John Byrne (writer, art), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Alpha Flight I#21 (April 1985) - John Byrne (writer, pencils), Bob Wiacek (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Alpha Flight I#23 (June 1985)
- John Byrne (writer, pencils), Bob Wiacek, Keith Williams (inks), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Alpha Flight I#36-37 (July-August 1986) - Bill Mantlo (writer), David Ross (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Alpha Flight I#45 (April 1987) - Bill Mantlo (writer), June Brigman (pencils), Whilce Portacio (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Wolverine II#170 (January 2002) - Frank Tieri (writer), Sean Chen (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Mike Marts (editor)
Wolverine II#172 (March 2002) -
Frank Tieri (writer), Sean Chen (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Mike Raicht (editor)
Astonishing Tales: Snowbird#1 (November 2009) - Karl Bollers (writer), Harvey Tolibao (art), Michael Horwitz (editor)
Chaos War: Alpha Flight#1 (January 2011) - Jim McCann (writer), Reilly Brown (pencils), Terry Pallot (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)

First Posted: 09/12/2021
Last updated: 09/11/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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