Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All-New, All-Different X-Men, X-tra: Thunderbird

The ultimate also-ran and short time member of the "Second Genesis" group of X-Men gathered together in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975), John Proudstar was created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum.

Proudstar was born on an Apache reservation in Camp Verde, Arizona. As a teenager, Proudstar developed the mutant abilities of superhuman senses (enabling him to be a highly adept tracker), strength (enough to rend the metal 'skin' of a jet with his bare hands), speed (he was fast enough to outrun a buffalo, but potentially much faster), stamina, and durability.

John was drafted into the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and earned the rank of Corporal, but after he returned home, he was unhappy and listless. It was at this point that Proudstar was reluctantly recruited by Professor Charles Xavier to join his new X-men and he assumed the codename “Thunderbird".

After successfully completing his first mission with the X-Men, Thunderbird turned out to be volatile and ill-mannered and he constantly disrupted the team's synchronization. Thunderbird often found himself going head to head with Cyclops, the designated leader of the X-Men. His attitude never wavered, and this ultimately led to Thunderbird’s untimely end on the teams second mission.

During a confrontation with the super-villain Count Nefaria, Proudstar leaped onto an airplane that was carrying the fleeing Nefaria. Despite the urging of his teammate Banshee, Thunderbird refused to get off the plane, stating that he would show them that he was a true Apache warrior. However, the plane soon exploded, killing Proudstar. Count Nefaria was later revealed to have survived the crash, but even in death Thunderbird's legacy carries on. His younger brother, Warpath (James Proudstar), has similar powers, although to a much greater degree, and he is also an X-Man.

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