Regina, which promotes itself as the jewel of the Prairies, is the target of a devastating alien attack in the latest edition of the Avengers comic book, a plot line that has many in the city wondering, "Why Regina?"
"Things get really weird and it's kind of difficult to explain," comic book store manager Shane Hnetka said Thursday when asked about the story.
In Avengers No. 10, which was released Wednesday, the superhero team investigates what happened after an "evolution bomb" is dropped on Regina.
It's believed to be the first time a mainstream comic book has used the city for a principal location, but Tourism Regina won't likely use the result as a promotional brochure.
Regina residents left mutated
The bomb wreaks havoc on the Queen City, destroying buildings and apparently mutating its population of 200,000 into shrunken, yellow-skinned creatures with saucer eyes.
In the comic's panels, Regina's cityscape looks only vaguely familiar. There are also towering bone-like protrusions rising from the city, an apparent after-effect of the evolution bomb.
An all-Canadian superhero team called Omega Flight are the first responders, but the Canucks meet with disaster. That's when the Avengers — Captain America, Falcon, Bruce Banner and others — attempt a rescue.
While Regina does not fare well, Hnetka says it is a pretty big deal for the city to be featured so prominently in one of Marvel's most popular comics.
Regina called 'hidden gem'
CBC News contacted the publisher of the comic to learn more about the creative choices made for the latest edition, but the lead writer was not available for an interview.
In a statement, Marvel said it is trying to give a global perspective to the Avengers stories.
Regarding the choice of setting, the statement said, "In the city of Regina, we got to further flesh out the incredible Canadian landscape into the Marvel universe and expose our readers to a hidden gem from our northern neighbours."
When pressed, in a follow-up note the company said Regina was likely a random selection by the authors.
Premier weighs in
Meanwhile, people CBC talked to in Regina on Thursday appeared amused by the notion of superheroes coming to their aid.
Even Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was putting in his two cents, saying one green goliath is all that's needed.
"I grew up a huge Hulk fan," Wall said. "If you have the Hulk, you don't need any of the other guys ... he's big, he's green, it's perfect."