On both the small and big screen, 2016 truly is the year of the comic book superhero. It has become the most popular genre to viewers, and you just have to look at the love and hype for Jessica Jones, Captain America: Civil War, Batman V Superman, X-Men: Apocalypse and many more as proof.
And with the widespread adoration for all things super-heroic in mind, we thought we'd have a bit of fun, and recreate Montreal as a comic book.
To do so, we've chosen specific comic book characters (heroes, anti-heroes, and villains alike) to represent some of the boroughs of Montreal. Certain characters were chosen for their likeness to the borough itself, while others were picked because they'd make the area's ideal defender.
See where your favourite characters were placed in our list of Montreal boroughs as comic book characters below.
The McGill Ghetto as IRON MAN
At his core, Iron Man is really just a talented engineer from an affluent family. The same goes for the many engineering students living in the McGill Ghetto, who also share a certain cockiness that is both deserved, but also entirely annoying. Yes, we understand engineering/operating a super-suit in the fight against evil is difficult and all that, but please take the sense of superiority elsewhere.
Of course, there are more than just students of engineering in the McGill Ghetto, but they do make up a fairly large part of the student-centric area. For one, engineers actually enjoy being that close to campus, and two, you can pretty much spot so many of them all around the area; they're the ones wearing sweatpants.
NDG as JESSICA JONES
Unlike many other Marvel characters, Jessica Jones doesn't really want to be a superhero. What Jessica really wants is to be left out of all that vigilante nonsense and help people in her own way. In many circumstances her methods may be the same, but Jones still maintains she's different from everybody else, with any retort coupled with a sarcastic comment, of course.
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is basically Jessica's Montreal borough spirit animal for that reason. Folks in NDG enjoy going out to bars, getting a little silly, and generally having a good time like everyone else in Montreal, but they like to do it in their own borough, in their own way. The motions are all basically the same, but NDG'ers think they're doing it different, just like Jessica.
Add in the fact that people in NDG sure do love to dominate a local pub and down some drinks, and you can understand the Jessica Jones association even better.
Griffintown as BATMAN
Industrial, filled with young professionals, and one of Montreal's technology hubs, it isn't hard to see why Griffintown would make a great fit for both Batman and his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne. By day, Bruce would head WayneTech, housed in a newly-built Griffintown condo-office tower, then take to the streets by night, prowling the area's alleyways.
Plus, with all of the construction going on in the area, it wouldn't be crazy hard for Batman to build a new Batcave without anyone really noticing.
Plateau-Mont-Royal as MYSTIQUE
Few boroughs are quite as multifaceted as the Plateau. Certain parts of the borough (like the Main strip of Saint Laurent) are nightlife hubs, yet many of the residents are families and older folks. The borough is also home to many artists and creatives, while also having a strong presence of businesses and professional-types.
Simply put, there are many faces to the Plateau, and Mystique is a woman of many faces, literally.
Able to change form, from animal to human, with but a thought, Mystique defies classification. Beyond her physical mutant abilities, however, Mystique has been known to play the role of hero and villain depending on the situation, and can range from being a sympathetic to an entirely loathsome character.
In so many ways, we feel the exact same way about the Plateau. Sometimes we love the borough for its unique architecture, parks, and venues. Other times we can't stand the borough when bars get shut down for noise complaints or for some blunder on the part of the Plateau's municipal leaders. The Plateau plays with our heart, just like Mystique.
South Shore (Brossard) as THE FLASH
Few neighbourhoods have grown quite as quickly as South Shore's Brossard. In a matter of years, the municipality has become a haven for all those in the South Shore, with Dix30 and Greenfield Park already housed in the area, with another mega shopping centre (complete with condos and parks) on the way.
Needless to say, Brossard has blown up fast. Like, Flash-level fast. Only the fastest hero in the DC Universe, played by the uber-adorable Grant Gustin in the popular CW show, could keep up with Brossard's rate of expansion.
Verdun as CAPTAIN AMERICA
Unlike many Montreal boroughs that are riddled with bars, nightlife venues, and young party-goers, Verdun is something of an outlier, with families making up most of the borough. Of course, many Montreal neighborhoods are family-centric, but Verdun takes things even further, outright banning bars in the borough (this has since changed, but not by much) to maintain its tranquility. Verdun would rather be a quiet, good-natured borough at the cost of seeming boring and uncool.
In the superhero community, that ideology simply screams Captain America. A good christian from the 40s (who also happens to be a super soldier) brought into the present day, Steve Rogers/Captain America doesn't share many of the attitudes and beliefs of his fellow Avengers. Hell, Rogers doesn't even like to swear, as we all remember from Age of Ultron. Captain America is, of course, a total badass, but he lacks the grit and charisma of his peers, notably Iron Man and Hawkeye (yes, even Hawkeye has more grit than Captain America).
So for their mutual commitment to being "good" at the cost of seeming lame, Verdun and Captain America are truly two peas in a pod.
Montréal-Nord as THE PUNISHER
One need only point to the recent riot that went down in Montréal-Nord last week (not the first, mind you) to see why Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, would make such a good fit for the borough. Montréal-Nord can get kind of intense, and only a no-nonsense anti-hero like The Punisher could tame such a neighbourhood. Hopefully that never happens, though, because The Punisher tends to rack up the body count pretty quick.
We also thought the Hulk could make for a good super-heroic representation of Montréal-Nord as well. The ideal, of course, would be a gamma-irradiated Frank Castle who would basically be The Punisher-Hulk.
Mile-Ex as SPIDER-GWEN
Mainstream is just not okay in the Mile-Ex, the hippest 'hood in Montreal (yes, the Mile End has been dethroned. Blame gentrification), and so no "popular" superhero would fit the artsy area. Good thing there are tons of lesser-known superheroes who are a bit more reflective of Mile-Ex's overall vibe. To us, SpiderGwen is the best fit.
For those who don't know, which is probably a lot of you, SpiderGwen is an alternate-reality Spiderman, from a timeline in which Gwen Stacy (the long-dead love interest of Peter Parker;Emma Stone in the last movies) was bit by a radioactive spider and Peter Parker later dies indirectly because of her actions as a superhero.
A truly amazing character, SpiderGwen is like the hip version of Spiderman, mainly because you probably never heard of her. Making her more Mile-Ex is the fact that SpiderGwen is in a band, and is the drummer no less, easily the most undervalued member of any ensemble.
SpiderGwen is too much of an individual to not do what she thinks is right, which is pretty much the mantra of folks living in Mile-Ex. Folks living in the area may take that advice and apply it recording EPs and creating unsold art, whereas SpiderGwen fights crime, but hey, we can't all be superheroes.
Parc Jean-Drapeau as WONDER WOMAN
Okay, so I'm entirely aware that Parc Jean-Drapeau is not a borough, neighborhood, nor a place where people really live, but it's a fairly integral part of Montreal culture, so I feel justified in including it on this list. Whatever, I'm writing this thing anyways, so if you don't approve just leave an angry comment (not that you weren't going to already).
As for the superheroic counterpart to Parc Jean-Drapeau, the popular event site and one-time site of Parc Jean-Drapeau, I'm giving it to my favourite superhero of all time, the one and only Diana of Themyscira, princess of the amazons, the mighty Wonder Woman.
Despite being popularized int he recently released Batman V Superman, not many know about Wonder Woman's backstory. The only part that really matters to us right now is how Wonder Woman hails from a tiny, magically protected isle called Themyscira, otherwise known as Paradise Island.
To many Montrealers, Parc Jean-Drapeau, host to amazing festivals like Osheaga, Piknic Electronik, Heavy MTL, along with tons of musical acts (not to mention the casino and Biosphere) is the Paradise Island of Montreal. When you head to Jean-Drapeau, you know you're going to have a good time.
Plus, Jean-Drapeau is deeply rooted in Montreal's history, much like Wonder Woman's homeland is to ancient Greek civilization. You also know that Wonder Woman would do one hell of a job of fitting in at any and all event held at PJD, pretty much because she looks good in anything, and this is coming from a gay dude.
Little Italy as CATWOMAN
If I wanted to be super basic about it, I could justify Catwoman (not the Halle Barry version, who is no doubt burning in comic book hell) as Little Italy's superhero-counterpart for the fact that she is (probably) of Italian descent, as her father is likely Gotham gangster Carmine Falcone, as alluded to in Batman: Dark Victory.
But basic I am not, and I think Catwoman makes a great fit for Little Italy simply because she is a character who enjoys the finer things in life. Mildly obsessed with all-things expensive and of good taste, Catwoman lives her life sumptuously, not caring for little things like the law that may get in the way of her lifestyle.
A haven for foodies, Little Italy, with its amazing restaurants, is much the same. If you're dining in Little Italy, you're probably throwing out any diet-concerns to the wind, pulling a Catwoman and enjoying an indulgent meal because it simply tastes so good. Unfortunately we can't all have a Catwoman-level body by doing so, but we can dream.
West Island as BLACK WIDOW
While all the big guns of the Avengers smash buildings and destroy warships with their godly hammers, Natasha Romanoff (or Romanova, if you want to be official about it), otherwise known as the Black Widow, is busy doing her own thing. And most of the time, Black Widow's spy-style way of getting things done is entirely more effective, even though it may not look quite as spectacular. Not that Romanoff really cares what anyone thinks anyway, she's here to get her mission done, no matter what anyone says.
That "I give zero f*cks" attitude is pretty much seen throughout the West Island, at least in the youth. Chilling in basements and going to house parties is totally fine with Westies, even if the rest of Montreal is concerned with getting into the latest, trendiest club. At the end of the day, you're just want to have a good time. Westies understand that you don't need to do the flashy thing to accomplish your goal, much like Black Widow.
Ville-Marie as DAREDEVIL
Lawyer by day, vigilante by night, Matt Murdock/Daredevil may be blind, but he sees far more than the average person. And I'm not simply alluding to his hyper-senses that more than make up for his lack of sight, Daredevil is a first-hand witness to the corruption that plagues the legal system.
Montreal is no stranger to corruption, as we're all well aware, and that's why Daredevil would be the ideal candidate to protect the borough of Ville-Marie. As the municipal head of the city, Ville-Marie is the locus of administration for Montreal, and to say there isn't a bit of underhanded dealing going on in the borough would be a little ignorant.
That's where Daredevil's unique abilities as both superhero and lawyer come in. As a lawyer, Murdock could ensure Montreal's municipal administration stays on the level, then solve anything that can't be dealt with in the courts as Daredevil.
Granted, "the devil of Ville-Marie" doesn't sound as catchy as "the devil of Hell's Kitchen" but New York gets all the cool heroes. It's time to share NYC.
Special Mention: She-Hulk, the lawyer cousin of Bruce Banner, would also be a great fit for Ville-Marie. But unlike Daredevil, Jennifer (or at least her more recent comics) has a lighthearted attitude that wouldn't quite fit Ville-Marie. Still, Jen would no doubt smash out corruption a lot quicker.
Outremont as MAGNETO
Old, influential, Jewish, rich; am I describing Outremont or Magneto, the longtime adversary (and sometimes ally) of the X-Men? Trick question, I'm talking about both, because the two have a fair bit in common.
A one-time ruler of his own nation, Magneto is familiar with being in positions of power, and after obtaining a large stock of Nazi gold the Master of Magnetism is pretty damn rich, too.
Outremont, Montreal's affluent north-west Jewish neighbourhood, can boast the same. One could also argue there's a bit of xenophobia in Outrement (they did try to ban new places of worship, after all) a characteristic shared with Magneto, who pretty much hates all base-line humans who aren't mutants.
Old Port as SUPERGIRL
To both tourists and citizens alike, the Old Port of Montreal is a bright, sunny, energetic area that always heralds a good time. Whether you're there to watch the fireworks, get a beaver tail by the water, or simply enjoy the weather in the summer, Old Port is synonymous with good tidings.
In National City, Supergirl does the same. Whenever the red-and-blue-clad hero takes to the skies, people know things are going to get better. So, as a symbol of hope, inspiration, and general optimism, Supergirl is the Old Port. Kara would also be incredibly useful anytime there was a mishap with a big ol' ship, because super strength, flight, and heat vision can fix practically all problems.
I am, of course, basing this description off of the CBS TV show Supergirl and not the comic book version of the character. Don't get me wrong, the original Supergirl is solid, but I have mass amounts of love for the Melissa Benoist version. Seriously, watch the show, if only for Cat Grant alone.
Laval as ROBIN
Honestly, Laval tries so hard to be as cool as Montreal. In most c
ases, people from Laval actually just say they live in Montreal, partly for the convenience and partly for the fact that they don't want to seem like they're not "truly" from Montreal.
Laval is close enough to Montreal, but to be a purist, the two are seperate, a view a lot of people share. The same goes for Robin, for despite being pretty damn badass, he (or she, depending on who's behind the mask) is still just a sidekick. Batman's sidekick, but a sidekick nonetheless.
The original Robin, Dick Grayson, would eventually go on to try and overcome the sidekick-shadow and become Nightwing (same goes for Tim Drake, later becoming Red Robin) but he never really emerged from Batman's shadow. Maybe one day Laval will become as esteemed as its Batman, Montreal, but chances are that won't happen.
Ahunstic as THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
When you think "Montreal neighborhoods" (or "boroughs" if you want to be nitpicky about it) several automatically come to mind. Almost never, however, is Ahunstic name-dropped, mainly because people just forget it's really there. And with next-to-no iconic features, landmarks, or restaurants, it's not hard to see why people look over Ahunstic.
Sue Storm, better known as the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four knows that struggle. Most obviously, Susan can become entirely intangible, so being invisible is straight up in her power set. But more than that, as the wife of mega-genius Reed Richards, sister of much-adored hot-head Johnny Storm/Human Torch, and teammate to The Thing, Sue is almost always overshadowed by her family and friends in the Fantastic Four.
Don't get me wrong, the Invisible Woman is a complete badass and is actually one of the strongest heroes in the entire Marvel Universe. The thing is, people don't really know that. I can't really speak to Ahunstic's unseen awesomeness, but just like the Invisible Woman, the borough has amazing features folks don't know about, simply because they don't think to look.
Town of Mount Royal: Archangel
Unlike certain other, shall we say "affluent" areas of Montreal, folks in the Town of Mount Royal play the whole "we rich and we know it" thing down. Obviously not everyone in TMR is loaded, but generally, if they are, they're fairly low-key about it.
Warren Worthington III, aka Archangel (and originally Angel), is comparable to TMR in that sense.
Heir to Worthington Industries, Archangel is super rich, a fact he made pretty apparent in his earlier, beautiful-playboy days when he first joined the X-Men. Eventually, however, Warren would get seriously humbled after he was mutated into a blue-skinned, metal-winged angel of death by Apocalypse.
After a brief stint at being evil (it happens to the best heroes) Archangel returned to the super heroic fold, but a bit different. No longer jovial and carefree, Archangel became dark, somber, and less concerned with things like material goods and money.
While TMR isn't exactly known for being Archangel-level brooding, they do share the hero's approach to wealth, namely not being show-offs about it. TMR is also regarded as an area with a rather unique mix of natural and urban splendour (the town is a National Historic Site of Canada, after all), which parallels Archangel's naturally-and-technologically mutated body along with his dual nature as both hero and Horseman of Apocalypse.
Westmount as LEX LUTHOR/PROFESSOR X
For the affluent neighbourhood of Westmount, we have two comic book characters tied as the super-representative of the area: Lex Luthor, the genius businessman and longtime adversary of Superman, and Professor Charles Xavier, the founder of the X-Men.
The two have a couple of similarities (baldness not included) that make them fitting for Westmount. Both are super rich, much like many Westmount residents, while also being incredibly influential. Prof. X is the world's strongest telepath, so he can make anyone do anything, Lex was the President of the USA for a bit and heads a mega-corporation. And since Westmount is its own city seperate from Montreal, its sphere of influence is held by its community alone.
Xavier and Luthor differentiate when it comes to how people outside of Westmount view the area. Some see the City of Westmount as a rather beautiful area on the island that has a rich history, which would liken it to Xavier (and couldn't you imagine the X-Mansion in Westmount, too?) or as a 'hood filled with too-rich people looking out only for themselves (Luthor).
Take your pick, because both can work.
HoMa as HARLEY QUINN
Depending on where you are in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, the borough can look warm, welcoming, and perfect for families or it can seem like a rusted-out, downtrodden area of the city that has far too many deps. HoMa, then, is simultaneously gritty-dangerous and hospitable.
Harley Quinn is the exact same.
Perhaps better known as the Joker's gal (at least to some), Harley is cute, sweet, cunning, and completely insane. Depending on her mood, Harley can be an adorable prankster or a deadly adversary. And with her acrobatic skills and penchant for oversized hammers, Harley is definitely not one you want to anger. In fact, she's come closer to killing Batman than Joker has on several occasion.
With that dual-nature in mind, one that is sweet or worrisome depending on the context, Harley Quinn is pretty much HoMa in a comic-book-character-nutshell.
Saint-Henri as SPIDER-MAN
Back in the day, Spider Man was just a poor high school kid trying to get through the struggles of adolescent life while being a radioactive-spider-powered superhero. As the years went on, Peter Parker/Spider-Man became more of an esteemed adult. Ditching his low-paying freelance photographer gig, Spider-Man became a legit scientist, went on to own his own company (Parker Industries), and even became an Avenger (not to mention a member of the Fantastic Four).
All in all, Spider-Man went from the underdog to one of the top players in the Marvel Universe, with the character losing the core elements that made him so relatable in the first place. Saint Henri followed a similar path.
Once an area known for low rents and being a littler underdeveloped, Saint Henri is now a haven for hipsters and yuppies. Gentrified to the max, Saint Henri lost its slightly-seedy charm that gave the neighbourhood its unique character. Just like Spider-Man.