Shaman (comics)

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Shaman (second from left) on the cover of Alpha Flight #27, October 1985. Art by John Byrne.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #120 (Apr 1979)
Created by John Byrne
In-story information
Alter ego Michael Twoyoungmen
Team affiliations Alpha Flight
Notable aliases The Binder of Spirits, The Breaker of Dark Spells, The Promised One, Talisman
Abilities Carries a medicine bag which contains a pocket dimension
Can summon anything needed from the bag

Shaman (Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen) is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as a member of Alpha Flight.

Publication history[edit]

Shaman first appeared in Uncanny X-Men in the 120th issue of the comic in April 1979, and was created by John Byrne. John Byrne first wrote Shaman in Uncanny.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Michael Twoyoungmen is a member of Canada's First Nations (specifically the Tsuu T'ina) and is from Calgary, Alberta.

Twoyoungmen's grandfather, elderly and near death, asks him to become his mystical apprentice. Twoyoungmen, not believing in magic, refuses. At around the same time, Kathryn Twoyoungmen became terminally ill. Twoyoungmen sought desperately for a cure but, despite promising his daughter Elizabeth he would find one, Kathryn dies; his grandfather passes away on the very same day.

Grief-stricken, Twoyoungmen secluded himself in a cabin in Banff National Park, leaving Elizabeth to be raised by family friends the McNeils (whose daughter Heather would one day become Alpha Flight leader Vindicator). Twoyoungmen's failure to save Kathryn kindles a deep-seated resentment and anger in Elizabeth. In his cabin, Twoyoungmen receives the skull of his grandfather and experiences a vision of the man. Twoyoungmen studies Sarcee magic, eventually becoming strong enough in his belief to draw mystical items from his enchanted medicine bag at will. He adopts the title and garb of Shaman.

Several years later, Shaman assists in the birth of Snowbird, the product of a mystical union between a human and the goddess Nelvanna. Shaman cast spells to bind Snowbird to the Earthly realm. He raises her and she ages rapidly, stabilizing several weeks later at a physical age in her 20s. Seeking superhuman agents to join Alpha Flight, Heather and her husband James Hudson (aka Alpha Flight organizer Guardian) visit Shaman and recruited both him and Snowbird.[volume & issue needed]

A few years after Shaman joined Alpha Flight, his daughter Elizabeth discovers a skull at an archeological site and experienced a vision of Ranaq the Devourer, one of the Great Beasts. She summons her father, whom she knew was Shaman despite a spell he had cast to conceal his identity, to examine the skull. The two then meet Lucas Strang and his great-granddaughter Emily. Emily is possessed by Ranaq and he attempts to destroy Elizabeth, but instead activates her latent mystical powers, allowing her to defeat him. Shaman has Elizabeth reach into his medicine bag and withdraw the "Coronet of Enchantment," a mystical circlet which she dons to become Talisman, a prophesied person of great mystical power. Shaman did not tell Talisman that the Coronet, once donned, could not be removed without causing her intense agony. Shortly thereafter, Talisman is trapped in the pocket dimension contained within Shaman's medicine bag despite Shaman's promise he would save her. Although she was rescued by the Beyonder, this latest failed promise turns her resentment of Shaman into hatred.[volume & issue needed]

Shaman's failure to save his daughter leads to a crisis of faith and Shaman was unable to draw mystical items from his medicine bag. Shaman embarks on a vision quest and learns anew the secrets of mysticism from the spirit of his grandfather. Shaman gains the power to beseech nature spirits for aid, although he could not command them as Elizabeth could. He also receives a staff and a helmet which is also his familiar spirit.[volume & issue needed]

Snowbird was now about to give birth to her first child and the birth needed to happen at a "place of power." Shaman beseeches the spirits to lead him to such a place. However, Talisman, corrupted by her power and fueled by her rage, compels the spirits to lead Shaman and Alpha Flight to a place of evil. Snowbird's child is possessed by the spirit of a sailor who had lain under the permafrost for over a century. Calling himself Pestilence, he battles Alpha Flight. Talisman plans to allow Pestilence to defeat Alpha Flight and then step in to defeat him, humiliating her father. However, Talisman is unable to defeat Pestilence as he is only partially dead due to being preserved in ice, thus out of the influence of her powers, and he tears the Coronet of Enchantment from her brow. Shocked back to her senses, Elizabeth is devastated over what she has done and apologies to her father. Shaman, believing it was the only way to save Alpha Flight, dons the Coronet and took on the mantle and powers of Talisman. Shaman, who grew cold and distant as Talisman just as Elizabeth had, eventually relinquishes the Coronet to Elizabeth and takes up his original medicine bag and powers again. He continues to work with Alpha Flight again under the name Shaman.[volume & issue needed]

Much later, time-displaced versions of Alpha Flight are brought forward in time and remain in the present, assuming the mantle of Alpha Flight while the original Alpha Flight depart Earth to return a clutch of Plodex eggs to the Plodex homeworld.[volume & issue needed]

Shaman, along with Major Mapleleaf II, both Pucks, Guardian, and Vindicator, is brutally attacked by the Collective. Their bodies are left in the Yukon Territory as the Collective continues on to the United States. Shaman was later confirmed dead by Sasquatch.[1]

During the "Chaos War" storyline, Shaman (alongside Guardian, Vindicator, and Marrina Smallwood) is among the heroes who return from the dead after what happened to the death realms due to Amatusu-Mikaboshi's rampage through the Underworld. He ends up with a reunited Alpha Flight when it comes to fighting the Great Beasts.[2] Shaman remains among the living after the defeat of the Chaos King.[3]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Shaman is a magic-wielder who carries a medicine bag which contains a pocket dimension known as the Void. He can summon all manner of mystical objects and potions from the bag.

Following his vision quest, Shaman gained the power to beseech spirits to fulfill his requests. He could not force the spirits to obey. In this incarnation, Shaman carried a "spirit staff," which would glow when he summoned the spirits. He wore an "eagle helm," which could transform into an eagle which served as his familiar spirit.

Shaman could levitate (but not fly) by manipulating ambient mystical energy.

When Shaman took on the role of Talisman, he had the power to command natural spirits to do his will. He could manipulate vast mystical energy for a wide variety of effects. He has since relinquished these powers.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Ultimate Shaman appears at a friendly baseball game with other Alpha Flight members in Ultimate X-Men #94. This version of Shaman is a mutant who possesses enhanced strength, speed, agility, and senses which have been enhanced through the drug Banshee instead of the magical abilities of his Marvel Universe counterpart. This version of Shaman is an alternate version of John Proudstar instead of Michael Twoyoungmen.[original research?]

In other media[edit]


  • Shaman appears in the X-Men episode "Repo Man" voiced by Don Francks. He is shown as a member of Alpha Flight.


  1. ^ New Avengers #16
  2. ^ Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1
  3. ^ Chaos War #5

External links[edit]