Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen is a physician and surgeon who inherits a mystical pouch and a heritage that endows him with the ability to become his tribe’s medicine man known as Shaman. He joins the Canadian Super Hero team Alpha Flight and fights for what’s right.
Born to a long line of Sarcee mystics on the Sarcee Indian Reservation in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Michael Twoyoungmen grows up and renounces his heritage to pursue a career in scientific medicine. He soon becomes known as one of Canada’s greatest surgeons. He marries Kathryn, and the couple has a daughter, Elizabeth.
When Michael’s grandfather contacts him, seeking to return Michael to the mystic ways, Michael refuses. Around the same time, his wife suffers an illness, and Michael works painstakingly to find a cure, promising Elizabeth he would do so, but Kathryn soon dies on the same day Michael’s grandfather dies. Michael departs in grief, and Elizabeth refuses to go with him, choosing to stay with their neighbors, the McNeils, instead; she remains there until she becomes an adult, not speaking to her father again. Michael spends the next decade in isolation, coming to terms with his loss. Upon opening a package his grandfather had left him, Michael finds a mystic skull and a medicine bag. His grandfather’s spirit conferred with him, helping him to embrace his heritage, and Michael learns to draw forth mystical objects from the seemingly empty pouch, which was actually a conduit to another dimension. When Michael brings a pair of sacred wristbands together, he magically transforms into the Sarcee medicine man known as Shaman. Michael, as Shaman, does not retain all his medical knowledge and must transform back to access it.
Michael later facilitates the birth of the Inuit demi-goddess Narya, who becomes Snowbird, and mystically binds her to the Canadian soil to help ensure her survival. Michael sees Narya grow quickly to adulthood and helps her learn about her powers and mortality.
Sarcee Sorcery & Mystical Artifacts
Shaman could mystically draw forth various spells and magical objects from his medicine pouch, which is actually a conduit to “the Void,” a chaotic magical dimension that causes madness in most mortals who look into it. When Shaman’s pouch opens fully, “the Void” is released to consume the universe, requiring mystical forces within and stabilizing forces without to reverse the maddening effects.
By reaching his hand into the pouch, Shaman can draw out a desired spell or object, generally pulling forth powders, sticks, baubles, pebbles, mists, bones or other spell components. He can also pull out varying abilities, including control over plant life, mass teleportation, induction of phobias, weather and elemental control, limited time travel and dimension traversing capabilities, exorcism of demons, healing of injuries, manipulation of energy and other spells as necessary. Shaman’s ability to access his pouch’s mystical powers depended on his own faith and self-confidence. His spells were not capable of mind control or accurately predicting the future. Certain spells, generally exorcism or dimensional travel, required higher levels of meditation and preparation.
Shaman possessed an extrasensory affinity for spirit energies, and he could commune with various spirits, once wearing a headpiece that gave him direct contact with the eaglet spirit, his familiar, and carrying a spirit staff. When Shaman wears the mystic tiara of the Talisman, he can command various spirits, though this cut him off from his humanity, and he does not need to eat or sleep. Shaman can also levitate himself and even fly, though at very slow speeds.
Shaman maintains an empathic bond with Talisman, and can sometimes communicate with her telepathically. Shaman can separate his astral form from his body and still control his body from afar. For a time, Shaman briefly absorbs his medicine pouch within himself and draws forth spells by phasing his hand into his own form.
Shaman goes up against the mystical Great Beasts, other-dimensional monstrous enemies that he would battle repeatedly. While Shaman fights alongside Alpha Flight, he battles the X-Men and Pestilence, but later allies with the X-Men.
Family Ties and Alpha Flight Allies
Michael marries Kathryn Twoyoungmen, and they have a daughter together, Elizabeth. Though Kathryn dies when Elizabeth is young, their daughter chooses to remain with the neighbors instead of her father. She later grows up to inherit a coronet and becomes Talisman. Though unable to take it off, she and her father have a difficult relationship afterward as she blamed his lack of communication with her about the consequences of using the mystical artifact. They eventually reconcile and work together as Super Heroes.
As Shaman, Michael joins the Canadian Super Hero team Alpha Flight, and later instructs the fledgling team, Beta Flight. He offers assistance to the Gamma Flight team as well.
When Michael’s old neighbor Heather McNeil (later Vindicator) and her husband James Hudson, AKA Guardian, visited, the couple learned of Michael and Narya’s powers. Hudson recruited both of them into Canada’s Department H, where other Super Heroes trained to form a heroic team called the Flight; Michael took the codename Shaman. He hoped that involvement with other heroes would allow Snowbird to better acclimate to humanity. The Flight defeated American villains, the Emissaries of Evil, who had sought to detonate a nuclear bomb, but Flight member Saint Elmo was killed. Furious, having thought the team was safe for himself and Snowbird, Shaman angrily confronted Hudson, but ultimately chose to remain with the group.
Hudson recruited several other heroes and formed different training teams, organizing them into fighting squads Alpha Flight, Beta Flight, and Gamma Flight, Shaman serving with Alpha Flight. Department H wanted to put tracking chips in their heroes, but Shaman was exempted when he refused. After months of training, Alpha Flight battled the mutant X-Men in Calgary in an attempt to retrieve ex-Flight operative James Howlett/Logan, AKA Wolverine, battled the magically transformed cannibalistic Wendigo, and later fought Ranark the Ravager alongside the Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing.
Though the government decided to disband Alpha Flight, the heroes chose to remain a team after they first fought the mystical Great Beasts. Members of Alpha Flight were briefly recruited for the “Contest of Champions” between Death and En Dwi Gast, AKA Grandmaster, and they later aided the Spaceknight Rom against the shape-stealing Dire Wraiths. The Great Spirits Shaman conferred with warned him that Hudson was destined to die, so Shaman watched out closely for his friend as they battled alongside the X-Men against Hydra. Alpha Flight soon battled Omega Flight, villainous former trainees of Department H; during the battle, the brilliant Smart Alec looked inside Shaman’s pouch, ignoring his warnings not to do so. Smart Alec was driven mad, so Shaman reduced him in size and placed him inside the pouch until he could discover a cure, though Alec later died in this tiny state. Hudson seemingly died battling Omega Flight, devastating Alpha Flight. The team soon aided Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, in fighting Taneleer Tivan, AKA Collector, and also traveled to the realm Crystallium, to which Shaman’s medicine bag was linked, to assist Crystar against Zardeth.
Shaman returned to the Sarcee reservation to work as a doctor. During this time, his now-adult daughter, Elizabeth, approached him for his aid after encountering the Great Beast Ranaq. After they defeated this menace, Shaman realized that Elizabeth was the prophesied mystic Talisman, the binder of spirits; at Shaman’s request, she confirmed this by looking into Shaman’s pouch with impunity and pulling forth a mystic coronet. After donning it, she realized she could not remove it, and gradually began to lose her sense of humanity as she tapped into her new powers. Elizabeth later blamed Shaman for not warning her what donning the coronet would entail, but he believed she had no choice but to embrace her new role.
When Alpha Flight teamed with the X-Men against the Asgardian Loki Laufeyson, AKA Loki, Shaman began dying due to magic’s removal from the world and forced to fight demons from his medicine pouch. Shaman aided Alpha Flight in retrieving the displaced soul of teammate Walter Langkowski, AKA Sasquatch, from the Realm of the Great Beasts, and bound the soul to the empty Box armor.
After helping James Rhodes as Iron Man analyze and alleviate his recent severe headaches, Shaman had his medicine pouch turned inside out during Alpha Flight’s next battle with Omega Flight, threatening the entire team with madness and reality-disruption. Shaman worked to stabilize the mystic forces from outside but needed a similar presence inside the pouch to reverse the effects. He asked Talisman for aid, promising he would get her out in time, but he failed to do so, only saving the other members of Alpha Flight. To Shaman’s despair, Talisman becomes lost in the pouch. Though the all-powerful Beyonder rescued her moments later, she turned on her father, hating Shaman for his failure to save her on his own and for breaking another promise to her. His faith in himself weakened due to his failure, Shaman lost his ability to utilize his magic and left the team after finding himself useless in a battle against the Hulk. He underwent a spirit quest in the wilderness, where his grandfather’s spirit guided him through a series of tests. Shaman regained faith in himself and was granted a new costume and new abilities to request aid from various spirits for different effects.
Shaman returned to Alpha Flight in time to help Snowbird give birth to her child, guided to a sacred spot by various spirits, but he learned too late that Talisman, trying to humiliate him, had commanded the spirits to deceive him. The infant was possessed by the century-old evil F.R. Crozier, AKA Pestilence, who ripped the tiara from Talisman’s brow. Shaman donned the tiara to save his team, becoming the new Talisman and used his increased powers as the binder of spirits to defeat Pestilence temporarily. After aiding the Avengers in an underwater battle against the Homo mermani barbarian Attuma, the team later defeated Pestilence permanently. However, the battle led to the deaths of Snowbird, her husband, and child. As Talisman, Michael lost touch with his humanity and distanced himself from his friends, soon leaving the team.
Michael later returned to the team to aid them against the other-dimensional Dreamqueen. Elizabeth convinced her father to return the tiara to her, and he began calling himself Shaman again. Soon battling Llan the Sorcerer, Alpha Flight fought their way through various alternate realities, one of which saw Shaman almost mortally wounded. Shaman received medical attention for his injuries before he and Talisman helped defeat Llan. While battling the Master of the World’s Remnant Men, Talisman utilized Shaman’s medicine pouch to ensure their victory but suffered brain damage as a result, taking months to recover with Shaman’s aid. When Alpha Flight joined the Avengers and the People’s Protectorate in combating a nuclear threat, Shaman was instrumental in saving countless lives, utilizing his pouch to contain an explosion, and teleport others to safety. Shaman aided his team and the Fantastic Four against the malevolent telepath Arthur Goddard, AKA Headlok, facing his own failures again in the process.
Alpha Flight reorganized, with Shaman joining the Gamma Flight support team (as Medical & Supernatural Sciences Administrative Coordinator) and assuming responsibility for the fledgling Beta Flight’s training. Shaman briefly joined other Earth mystics in holding all reality together when Wendell Vaughn, AKA Quasar’s cosmic battle with the Deviant Ereshkigal threatened the cosmos. When Beta Flight became accidentally lost in another dimension and Shaman could not find the group, he isolated himself again as he could not face another failure. After aiding Earth’s heroes in the Infinity War, Shaman returned to Alpha Flight when Beta Flight found their way back, though he remained emotionally distant.
He successfully resisted the attempts of the Goddess — the “good” aspect of Adam Warlock (later Magus) — to control him through his spiritual faith, and, as an astral being, gauged the abilities of his teammates to do the same. He then manipulated some of Alpha Flight’s allies into entering the Land of the Dead with him to battle the demon Carcass, where Shaman faced a demonic version of his dead wife. His faith renewed after the battle Shaman apologized to his allies for risking their lives without their full knowledge and soon reconciled with his daughter as well.
Shaman returned to his people, acting as their medicine man again. However, he later rejoined Alpha Flight, fighting government corruption and the Ecliptic’s Zodiac, and aiding Wolverine against another Great Beast, Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), Wendigo and the evil Jean-Pierre, AKA Mauvais. Shaman also briefly trained the future hero Earthmover in mystic abilities and was among the Alpha Flight members who went into space to help guide the development of a new generation of Plodex aliens. More recently, Shaman and various Alpha Flight teammates were apparently slain by the Collective, a mutant possessed by a sentient amalgam of mutant powers.
Though Shaman and other heroes returned after Amatusu-Mikaboshi rampaged through the Underworld. Shaman then reunited with Alpha Flight and, with them, fought the Great Beasts. He also helped defeat the Chaos King.
Following the restoration of magic to the world, Shaman joined Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange’s Strange Academy, a magically hidden school in New Orleans for magically-inclined students. Shaman joined the teaching staff alongside other powerful mystics who pop in and out of the school throughout the year.