- Thunderbird (comics)
Dave Cockrum, artist and creator
Giant-Size X-Men#1 (May 1975)
Len Wein Dave Cockrum
X-Men United States Marine Corps
powers=Superhuman senses, strength, speed, stamina, sturdiness|
Thunderbird (John Proudstar) is a
fictional character, a Marvel Comics superherowho was briefly a member of the X-Men. Created by writer Len Weinand artist Dave Cockrum, he first appeared in "Giant-Size X-Men" #1 (May 1975).
Apache, Thunderbird possesses superhuman athletic ability. He was a short time member of the "Second Genesis" group of X-Men gathered together in "Giant-Size X-Men" #1 but died on their second mission.
Fictional character biography
John Proudstar was born into an
Apache tribeon a reservation in Camp Verde, Arizona. As a teenager, Proudstar discovered he possessed the mutant abilities of superhuman senses, strength, speed, stamina, and sturdiness.
Proudstar was drafted into the
United States Marine Corpsduring the Vietnam Warand earned the rank of corporal. He returned to his tribe after the war, but he was unhappy and listless.
He was then recruited by Professor Charles Xavier to join his third group of X-Men. Although Proudstar was reluctant to join another white man's crusade, he agreed and assumed the superhero codename "Thunderbird."
After successfully completing his first mission with the X-Men, Thunderbird turned out to be so volatile and ill-mannered that he constantly disrupted the team's synchronization. It should be noted that he often found himself going head to head with Cyclops, the appointed leader of the X-Men. This attitude would not change, and ultimately led to an untimely end for Thunderbird.
Thunderbird had a short career as a hero. During the new team's second mission, he leaped onto an airplane that was carrying the
supervillain Count Nefaria. Despite the urging of Banshee, Thunderbird refused to get off the plane, stating that he would show that he was a true Apache warrior. The plane exploded, killing Proudstar ["X-Men" #95 1975] . While Count Nefaria is later revealed to have survived the crash, Thunderbird has so far been considered dead as the result of his headstrong action.
Even in death Thunderbird's legacy carries on. His brother, Warpath (James Proudstar), has similar powers, although to a much greater degree, and is also an X-Man.
He was recently seen in a flashback during the psychic battle of Xavier vs. Exodus as the third student to ask Xavier "Why did you kill us?"
Powers and abilities
Thunderbird possesses superhuman strength (sufficient to rip apart a fighter jet with his bare hands), speed (he is fast enough to outrun a bison, possibly much faster), stamina, and durability. His senses are also enhanced, enabling him to become a highly adept tracker.
Age of Apocalypse
In the so-called
Age of Apocalypse, Proudstar provided safe passage to Avalon through the Infernal Gallop. Eventually he met the X-Man Nightcrawler who had the mission to travel to Avalon and bring the mutant known as Destiny. Proudstar refused first only to get his finger taken by Nightcrawler when he accused Nightcrawler's mother Mystique of stripping refugees of everything of worth for her services of transporting refugees to Avalon. The finger was later restored and bandaged, possibly sewn back on.
The Madri discovered Proudstar and the Infernal Gallop's location at Ghost Dance and died from a shot in the back when the Madri infiltrated Greenpoint.
An alternate version of John Proudstar is an original member of the Exiles, a group of superhumans tasked with fixing damaged realities. This Thunderbird is captured by Apocalypse during his time with the X-Men and unwillingly transformed into one of his Four Horsemen, namely War.
Thunderbird's time with this group is relatively short, several months at most. He serves mainly as the powerhouse of the group. In the third story arc he meets another alternate version of himself, who has become the shaman of
Alpha Flight, and this arc is largely centered on his internal conflicts. In issue #10, Thunderbird sacrifices himself to hold an anti-matter bomb within the body of Galactus, which forces the world-devourer to leave Earth after the massive injury the bomb causes.
Although his physical body heals from the damage caused by the detonation, his mind is not so fortunate. At the least he has been put into a coma, at the worst he might be brain dead. The Exiles never get a chance to find out, as he is replaced by Sasquatch and the team are forced to leave him behind. His body is later discovered in the Panoptichron, a crystal city that lies between realities, but has yet to be returned to his home reality.
During his time with the Exiles, he develops a romantic relationship with fellow teammate Nocturne, who is pregnant with his child when he becomes comatose. (However, she later loses the child for unexplained reasons.) This relationship was revisited in issue #16, where we see flashbacks of previously unseen scenes between the two characters that further develop it.
This version of Thunderbird is considerably more powerful than the mainstream one, due to Apocalypse's augmentations. His skin is covered by retractable armour plates that harden when he enters battle, considerably increasing his durability, and even at base level his power statistics are above his 616 counterpart. His power increases with his rage, akin to the Hulk who he once defeated in close combat, and his appearance becomes more bestial as he does so.
Another side effect of Apocalypse's modifications is that Thunderbird no longer has a sense of taste. But he does enjoy smelling things.
Thunderbird seems to have woken up and escaped the stasis wall at the end of "Exiles" #97. He helped Psylocke and Cat regain control of the Panoptichron during Doctor Doom's assault, and was later reunited with Nocturne when the Exiles and New Excalibur teamed up to save Roma and the
Captain Britain Corps, in "". Thunderbird leaves the team shortly after to be with Nocturne on Heather's earth.
House of M
John Proudstar appears as a police detective for the NYPD and as the leader of the strikeforce known as the Brotherhood. ["House of M: Avengers" #2] Proudstar eventually made a deal with Wilson Fisk, to bring in Luke Cage's gang as both a matter of pride and to end his criminal activities. ["House of M: Avengers" #3] Thunderbird's efforts resulted in Cage's Avengers battling the Brotherhood, in which their defeat caused Magneto to disband the Brotherhood. ["House of M: Avengers" #5]
In other media
* In the 1980s cartoon television series "
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", Thunderbird/John Proudstar (voiced by John Stephenson) appears briefly as one of the X-Men. In this incarnation, he possesses the ability to become a variety of North American animals (and seems to lack the physical abilities of the comic version), much resembling Alpha Flight's Snowbird in that respect.
* [http://uncannyxmen.net/db/spotlight/showquestion.asp?faq=10&fldAuto=109 UncannyXmen.net Spotlight on Thunderbird I]
* [http://www.iespana.es/apachepride Apache Pride Fan site of Thunderbird]
* [http://marvel.com/universe/Thunderbird_%28John_Proudstar%29 Thunderbird on the Marvel Universe Character Bio Wiki]
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