Jean-Paul Beaubier was an infant when his parents were killed in a car crash. He was soon adopted by a family named Martin and separated from his twin Jeanne-Marie. When Jean-Paul was six years old history repeated itself, as the Martins too died in an accident and the boy was brought to a foster home. Jean-Paul led a rather lonely childhood, often getting into trouble. As a teen, he attempted to steal from a man named Raymonde Belmonde, who was himself involved in shady dealings. Belmonde helped the young Jean-Paul deal with his emerging super-human powers and his confusion about his emerging homosexuality.
Jean-Paul eventually left Belmonde and joined a circus in France as an acrobat. Always fiercely nationalistic, Jean-Paul returned to Quebec and joined a radical Separatist movement called "Front de Libération du Québec." However, he discovered their terrorist activities and left the group after stopping a bomb on a bus, with no official recognition that he was ever a member. Jean-Paul then decided to turn his passion for skiing into a career, and with his powers of speed quickly became a champion at the Olympic Games.
After gaining notoriety as a sport star, he was contacted by James MacDonald Hudson, who had already met Beaubier's twin Jeanne-Marie. Jean-Paul was intrigued to meet the sister he never knew and joined Department H as Alpha Flight's "Northstar." He was present when Alpha Flight first fought the X-Men in Calgary in an attempt to reclaim Wolverine, who had once been Department H's "Weapon X."
Unfortunately, Jean-Paul's abrasive personality made staying a member of Alpha Flight difficult. He was increasingly disdainful of Jeanne-Marie's relationship with Sasquatch (an attitude which may actually have been jealousy), and eventually left the team after a fight with his sister over an implied insult to her propriety. (Aurora then had Sasquatch manipulate her powers so that she was no longer identical to her brother.) While he was not officially a member at the time, Northstar later joined Alpha Flight when Loki's Fire Fountain opened in Ungava Bay, Canada, because Aurora was suffering from a bout with her schizophrenia at the time. When Phoenix attacked Alpha Flight, blaming them for a psychic distress call she received from her father (Cyclops), Northstar chose Rogue as a target. Rogue kissed Northstar to drain his powers, and immediately became privy to all Jean-Paul's secrets, presumably including his sexual orientation. Interestingly enough, during the ensuing encounter with the Fire Fountain and the people transformed by it, Northstar agreed to touch Rogue's skin to see if Anodyne had cured her.
Later, Northstar was forced to rejoin Alpha Flight at the Eye of the World when Talisman issued a mystic summons for help in their efforts to free Sasquatch's soul from the realm of the Great Beasts. Upset at being manipulated, he almost left immediately, but Snowbird used her powers to force him to stay. With Northstar's help, Alpha Flight managed to rescue Walter's soul, though Sasquatch's body was destroyed and his soul was now trapped in the box armor.
It was not long before Sasquatch tried to regain a more human form, which led him to locate a humanoid body in another dimension. Unfortunately it turned out to be the Hulk, and Sasquatch refused to displace his former colleague and friend, so his soul again was lost. When Alpha Flight responded to calls to put down the returned (and rampaging) Hulk, Northstar and Aurora tried to use their gestalt light powers, but instead their touch shorted out each other's powers due to the genetic changes Sasquatch had performed on Aurora.
Northstar stayed with the reconstituted Alpha Flight for quite some time after that. Eventually his past as a terrorist was revealed to all (though Alpha had known for some time) when his former commander began killing off his subordinates and Jean-Paul was forced to save them. Fortunately, because he took part only in very limited terrorist activities, none of them murderous, Northstar was pardoned by the Canadian government.
Shortly thereafter, Jean-Paul took up skiing again as a means of distancing himself from Aurora's new relationship with Roger Bochs. His secret identity was inadvertently revealed to the world when he rescued a skier who had been accidentally mind-controlled by Kara Killgrave. Because Northstar could not prove that he never used his powers in competition, he was stripped of his medals from his amateur career. Meanwhile, Kara Killgrave tracked Jean-Paul down and apologized, but then succumbed to her fantasies and "persuaded" Northstar to be her boyfriend and take her to a remote island. While Jean-Paul swam in the ocean, Kilgrave's pheromones washed off and he grew very angry with her, so she returned them both to Alpha Flight.
Weeks later, Jean-Paul contracted a mysterious illness that resulted in a hacking cough and limited his healing. Then, during a battle with Pestilence, the villain accelerated Jean-Paul's illness even more, though seemingly not to fatal levels. At the same time, Aurora's schizophrenia worsened and she appeared on the edge of insanity. Recalling the Fire Fountain in Ungava Bay, which had evolved those who touched it to their fullest potential, Alpha Flight traveled to the north in the hopes of finding a cure. Journeying into a dark netherworld, Northstar took a turn for the worse, and Aurora volunteered to stay behind with him while their comrades continued the search. In the meantime, the twins were contacted by Loki, who informed them that they were really half-elves, and that being away from their true home was causing their respective illnesses. Aurora then expended all of her light to heal Northstar, but was drained and abducted by demons. The other Alphans recovered Northstar and escaped, but sealed Puck and Aurora in the netherworld behind them. Then a shining gate opened and Northstar ascended to join his people in Alfheim.
Unfortunately, Loki had lied, and the elves revealed that Northstar and Aurora could not have been elvish at all. However, the Elder Gods had already punished Loki for his manipulation, so at least none of the Trickster's plans for Northstar came to fruition. Still, Northstar was trapped in Asgard until some reserve Alphans found a way to rescue him - just in time, as he had been captured by trolls intending to sacrifice and eat him. In a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire," the Alphans (including Northstar and the now-powerless Aurora, who had been rescued earlier) battled Llan the Sorcerer, who was the reason the expedition to Asgard had been organized in the first place, as Alpha Flight needed every member for the conflict. Aurora was soon beaten down and nearly eaten by demons, so to save her life, Northstar tried to transfer his power to her, just as she had done for him months before. The transfer worked, and the twins were again able to generate their blazing light, which helped the rest of the team beat Llan and his minions.
Northstar remained an active member of a reorganized Alpha Flight for a while, surviving through the apparent abduction of his sister and then finding her again as a prisoner of Headlok. Following Headlok's defeat and Aurora's return to active duty, Jean-Paul discovered a baby abandoned in a dumpster, while in combat with the rest of the team. The child was HIV-positive and had already manifested AIDS symptoms, but Jean-Paul adopted her and named her Joanne. Sadly, Joanne died shortly thereafter, but her life and death catalyzed something inside Northstar, and he called a press conference at which he announced "I am gay". Northstar remained a member of Alpha Flight while the team was in existence, but left angrily during a suspension of operations due to anti-mutant sentiments.
Searching for Aurora
Northstar spent much of his time in this period searching for Aurora, who had disappeared following her breakup with Weapon Omega/Wildchild. He managed to stop her from killing Wildchild in a fit and brought her back to Canada for treatment, but she was abducted (and later released) by the Brotherhood of Mutants. Northstar eventually found her, half-insane, in the school in which she had grown up and taught. Though she eluded his grasp, Jean-Paul eventually got her treated with the help of his original Alpha Flight teammates, who discovered that Jeanne-Marie's worsened condition was part of a plot by Department H to destabilize certain mutants. The original team was reinstated, but Northstar stayed only a short time.
Northstar left the team to publish an autobiography called "Born Normal," and it was at one of his book signings that Jean Grey came to recruit him for a mission to Genosha. Jean-Paul initially dismissed the idea, but then agreed to join her. At the Mansion, however, Jean-Paul immediately came into conflict with the homophobic Paulie Provenzano. Still, he accompanied this "interim" team of X-Men, and actually had to save Paulie's life, giving the other mutant a new respect for him. Once Magneto's plans for world conquest were derailed, Northstar returned to his civilian life.
Teaching at the Xavier Institute
With the "outing" of the X-Men as mutants and the vast expansion of the Xavier Institute, Charles Xavier himself approached Northstar with an offer to teach business and economics to his students. Jean-Paul refused at first, but did grant a request by Xavier to support the X-Men field team operating nearby as they collected a new mutant. The mutant, a boy named Peter, turned out to possess an explosive field that decimated everything within a three- to four-foot radius, and Northstar insisted on flying him to a hospital, so the Blackbird aircraft would not be damaged. Along the way the two mutants struck up conversation and came to accept each other (despite the twelve-year-old's uneasiness towards homosexuals), but then Peter's powers flared twice more, and on the second time, Northstar was knocked out and they fell to the ground. Peter suffered severe internal injuries, and despite Xavier's assistance, the boy died. Northstar himself was heavily wounded, but as soon as he regained consciousness he accepted Xavier's offer and transferred to the Institute's faculty. During his convalescence, Jean-Paul found himself attracted to Bobby Drake, although his feelings did not go further because he believed Bobby to be heterosexual.
Dawn of the White Light
Northstar functioned as an X-Man for a while, but after the Institute's reorganization and expansion, he decided to teach full-time, and mentored the Alpha Squadron. While Wolverine was a brainwashed operative of Hydra, Northstar was stabbed by Logan's claws and killed. However, before his body could be disposed of, it was captured by Hydra, who resurrected him and gave him leadership of the Dawn of the White Light, a death cult of mutants. He also participated in an attack on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier causing it to crash. Wolverine, having been deprogrammed, tracked Northstar down and subdued him, killing most of the death cult mutants. Northstar was handed over to S.H.I.E.L.D., but his deprogramming did not work as well as Wolverine's. At this point, he remained held by S.H.I.E.L.D., though Nick Fury had denied his presence, and only Wolverine, if anyone, knew the truth.
Children of the Vault
Northstar was later brainwashed by the Children of the Vault and fought the X-Men with his sister, Aurora. He was defeated by Cable and later his memories were pieced together and his mind 'healed' by S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment after briefly having his mind melded with that of his sister.
Northstar later sought out Anole, a former student at the Institute who had fallen in love with him and who he had attacked after his resurrection. He tried to convince the young mutant to return with the X-Men, but Anole attacked him and and told to warn the X-Men to leave him alone.
Rejoining the X-Men
After the defeat of the Skrulls, Jean-Paul seemed to enjoy a more normal life style after he created his own Extreme Sports business alongside his sister, making him the CEO and Brand Visionary of Team Northstar Extreme Snow Sports. During a snow boarding event, Jean-Paul used his powers to break the altitude, speed, and vertical drop records for the sport. Jean-Paul also developed a romantic relationship with Kyle. He was later asked by Wolverine to become a member of the X-Men in order to fill a power gap in their lineup. He agreed to join after being assured that it was not a PR stunt by the X-Men because he was openly gay.
Later while training Surge in the use of super-speed, Northstar stopped to give an interview in which he found out about Simon Trask's Proposition X. He ran back to the X-Men and threatened to quit and go back to Canada. However, he remained with the X-Men throughout several missions, including confrontations with Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men and a rescue mission to retrieve Illyana Rasputina after she was banished to Limbo during the events surrounding the return of Hope Summers. During this time, he had difficulties to reconcile his hero job and his love-life with Kyle.
A temporal copy of Northstar from a period of time shortly before the apparent death of Guardian at the hands of Jerry Jaxon appeared, along with an entire team of early Alpha Flight members. This Northstar was last seen with a similarly time-displaced Aurora, still operating in the present.
Chaos War & Rejoining Alpha Flight
As his old friends reformed Alpha Flight, Northstar returned to Canada and began living with his husband. He refused to rejoin Alpha Flight at first, but reconsidered so he could keep an eye on what he believed to be troubling behavior from his sister.
In the reality created by Nate Grey and a Life Seed, a world where everyone on Earth was a mutant and relationships were strongly discouraged or illegal, Northstar was a member of Department X, the police force in charge of investigating and arresting dissident mutants. Although a valuable member of the team, Northstar maintained an indifferent aloofness from his teammates. One day Department X was tasked with capturing recurrent love criminals Luke and Nezumi Sen. While the rest of the team battled the couple, Northstar opted to remain in their police van reading. Nezumi revealed to Blob while being loaded into the police van that she was pregnant, the first pregnancy that the group had encountered in their careers. Flummoxed by her revelation, Blob consulted with his teammates for confirmation of the pregnancy and what to do with their pregnant charge. Northstar confirmed with Moneta that she had seen proof through her connection with Luke and reminded the group that they couldn't take Nezumi back to Cerebro due to a lack of protocol for the situation. Eventually the group opted to unfreeze Nezumi upon their return to headquarters and decided what to do with her there.
On a following day, Northstar and Department X participated in a controlled burn of a nearby woodland, in order to give the X-Men a catastrophe to manage. When team leader Blob had been absent for a few days and Moneta threatened to take over his duties, Northstar and the team ignored her. Furious, Moneta verbally lashed out and called them paper pushers only concerned with intimacy violations. Northstar countered that intimacy violations were real problems. Moneta then left in a huff, with Northstar translating her Quebecois explanation to the group.
Northstar and his teammates were present the following day when Moneta accused Psylocke of pretending to wipe an arrested mutant's memory. Psylocke countered, stating that sometimes the memory erasure took awhile to stick. Blob quickly came to Psylocke's defense, chastising Moneta for her accusations and pulling rank to quell her disobedience. After sending Moneta home, Jubilee revealed to Blob the inhumane treatment of their prisoner Nezumi and the continuing uncertainty of how to deal with Nezumi's pregnancy. At Blob's disbelief, Northstar sharply revealed Moneta's involvement and the refinement of her torture techniques.
Days later, Department X investigated a tip of a dissident teenage party at a ramshackle former library. The team soon discovered a group of teenagers, who Moneta insisted were in fact part of a "dangerous retrograde cult". Although the teenagers initially opted to flee, some members of their group rallied their cohorts to fight Department X, inspired by revolutionary Murshid En Sabah Nur. The trained officers quickly and reluctantly defeated the riled teens. Upon inquiry Moneta revealed that she had set up the encounter to prove the existence of the resistance. Furious at her deception, Blob fired her from the department and ordered her memory wiped.
While cleaning up the mess from the fight, Blob and Psylocke shared an intimate moment. Unbeknownst to the pair, Northstar picked up on the intimacy between the two and was deeply bothered by this revelation. Iceman in turn picked up on his discomfort and attempted to alleviate Northstar's distress through his patent teasing and touching. Unamused, Northstar broke contact and flew away; later that night he woke up in a cold sweat. Upon returning to the office the next day, he came across a mind-wiped Moneta and speculated on how much of her memory had been taken. When Iceman attempted to tease Moneta, Northstar chastised him for threatening her reconditioning. Blob and Psylocke showed up soon after and gave out assignments for the day, one of which was at a nearby theater charged with showing inflammatory material. Northstar accepted the assignment, zooming away before Iceman could be assigned to accompany him. Arriving at the theater, Northstar was greeted by Rictor, the proprietor and an apparent friend. Rictor, despite Northstar's warning, was nonchalant about Department X's interest in the theater. Iceman showed up soon after, having opted to follow Northstar to the theater out of concern for his well-being. This infuriated Northstar who demanded that Iceman butt out. Sensing the tension between the two, Rictor invited them up to the roof to drink with him. After several hours of drinking, Jean-Paul revealed to Bobby how much he missed his former life as an Olympic skier and the visions/feelings that haunted him of his husband back in the mainstream reality. An explosion occurred soon after in front of the theater, instigated by Jubilee, who offered the three of them to join her in rioting over their stolen and slowly-returning memories. Northstar and the others happily accepted.
Unbeknownst to the rioters and with Blob's encouragement, Psylocke released all of the memories she had stored in her mind, both from prisoners arrested by Department X and, apparently, her teammates. Soon after, Northstar remembered his past friendship with Iceman, jokingly calling him "otter-pop" (a gay endearment referring to his ice-making abilities and physique). This fully snapped Bobby back to himself and he hugged Jean-Paul in remembrance.
Although not shown on panel, it can be assumed that Northstar returned to the mainstream reality with the rest of the trapped mutants through Nate Grey's portals.
Northstar was of the many mutants that joined the mutant nation of Krakoa, he was seen at the island's shore alongside other mutants when Captain Kate Pryde and her Marauders arrived from a mutant rescue mission.
Northstar and his sister Aurora were sent on a flyover scouting mission to Arakko by Krakoa's Captain Commander Cyclops, in their report they mentioned the island being full of giant hostile beasts.
It was Northstar and Aurora who discovered Siryn after she first died on Krakoa. They were both immediately suspicious as she appeared to have fallen despite her ability to fly. After Akihiro had gone missing during an investigation, because he was being tortured by the Morrigan Northstar found him in Montana, thus saving his life. Northstar was also killed by the Morrigan along with most of the X-Factor team when she was haunting the Boneyard.
Northstar, along with Tommy Shepherd and Prodigy were the first to discover the corpse of Scarlet Witch at the Hellfire Gala. He led X-Factor's investigation into the murder. When Quicksilver attacked Magneto for his alleged murder of Wanda, Jean-Paul attempted to comfort the other speedster.
After Wanda Maximoff's actions allowed for The Five to resurrect mutants who had died prior to the creation of Cerebro or the manifestation of their mutant abilities, Jean-Paul was informed that his daughter Joanne would have been a mutant and thus was eligible for resurrection.
Northstar is a mutant and has displayed the following powers:
- 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: He 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: He has the 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: He 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 is 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. He once claimed to be able to move at 189,299 miles per second, exceeding the speed of light in the vacuum, although it may have been said in jest. Northstar can also move a portion of his body at superhuman speed at a time.
- Heightened Reflexes: He possesses reflexes far above the average human. His reflexes are so advanced that he can go through a burning entire apartment, checking all the rooms and taking out the survivors in just mere seconds.
- Accelerated Metabolism: He possesses a boosted metabolism that can be used to heal wounds quickly.
- Superhuman 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: He has the ability to use his super speed to automatically compensate for any G-Force difference.
- Flight: He has the 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.
Northstar is a world-class professional skier, skilled trapeze artist, businessman and an accomplished novelist. He speaks his native tongue of French (both standard French and Québécois).) and is fluent in English. After his resurrection by The Hand, Northstar has been trained in the deadly martial arts. Northstar is very skilled in aerial combat.
Northstar has claimed to be able to move faster than the speed of light, and also claimed that if he did move at these speeds it would kill him, as his body is unable to cope with the forces that would be applied against it.
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
- Loki once claimed that the mother of Northstar and Aurora was a Norse elf named Danae though this later reveal by elves of Alfheim to be a lie to get Northstar to Asgard.
- Northstar was the first mainstream superhero to come out as gay.
- In a podcast interview Fabian Nicieza mentioned, that when he envisioned the reveal that Jean-Paul was gay, it would have been a domestic scene between him and minor character Kerry Patrick as his partner. However he left the book before that reveal happened (in a very different way) in Alpha Flight #106.
- As a Canadian government agent, Northstar's code name would be known in both official languages (English & French): Etoile Polaire. Just like the RCMP.
- Northstar's speed does not work by grounded methods, only by flight or forms of kinetic energy propelling him from touching solid grounds. This allows him to move parts of his body, air run, or even swim at super speed.
- Northstar has stated before that he is claustrophobic.
- He has also been referred to as Jean-Claude.
- X-Men #120 (first appearance)
- Alpha Flight #10 (origin)
- Alpha Flight #106 (revealed as gay, adopts baby girl with AIDS)
- Uncanny X-Men #392 (joins X-Men for the first time)
- Uncanny X-Men #414 (rejoins the X-Men)
- New X-Men (Vol. 2) #13, Wolverine (Vol. 3) #25-31 (killed & resurrected by Hydra, turns evil)
- X-Men Annual (Vol. 3) #1 (restored back to normal)
- Uncanny X-Men #508 (rejoins the X-Men in California)
- 356 appearance(s) of Jean-Paul Beaubier (Earth-616)
- 21 minor appearance(s) of Jean-Paul Beaubier (Earth-616)
- 16 mention(s) of Jean-Paul Beaubier (Earth-616)
- 297 image(s) of Jean-Paul Beaubier (Earth-616)
- 26 quotation(s) by or about Jean-Paul Beaubier (Earth-616)