The story behind Justin Trudeau’s Marvel Comics cameo
Justin Trudeau’s latest adventure in ubiquity is a semi-superheroic star turn in Marvel Comics’ Civil War II: Choosing Sides. The story centres on a serious rift between Captain Marvel and Iron Man, and the crime-fighting trio of Puck, Sasquatch and Aurora—members of the Canadian supergroup Alpha Flight—are dispatched to Ottawa to seek out diplomatic counsel.
J. T. is not the first Prime Minister Trudeau to appear in the Marvel universe—his dad was featured in the pages of Uncanny X-Men in 1979. But P. E. T. didn’t get quite the exposure that his son has scored.
When Marvel approached Chip Zdarsky—the alter ego of Toronto comic-book artist and journalist Steve Murray—to write the issue, he planned right away to include the PM, currently Canada’s biggest pop-cultural export. And what he created isn’t your token one-panel cameo: the prime minister appears on almost every page. But first Zdarsky wanted to officially clear it with Ottawa. “After going back and forth a few times,” he says, “they basically said they wouldn’t stand in my way, but they couldn’t technically endorse it.”
Most of the story takes place in Trudeau’s office, not, as the cover might suggest, in a boxing ring. Zdarsky had attended the 2012 charity boxing match between Trudeau and Senator Patrick Brazeau, and later sent Ramon Perez, the Toronto-based illustrator assigned to the issue, a couple of snaps he took at the event as inspiration.
Without revealing any spoilers, Trudeau’s role is more brains than brawn. He’s there to dispense political words of wisdom to Alpha Flight and ultimately advises the group on which side (Captain Marvel’s or Iron Man’s) is in the right. For comic nerds craving a little more high-flying action: the PM does throw a few punches.
Civil War II: Choosing Sides, Issue No. 5. Out now.