The resurrection of Thunderbird following the Magneto Test The storyline has been something of a wildcard since it happened. The long-dead mutant has a lot of storytelling potential now that he’s back in the world of the living, and it looks like Marvel has a plan for him that doesn’t necessarily involve the X-Men.
Giant Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 (by Steve Orlando, Nyla Rose, David Cutler, Jose Marzan Jr., Roberto Poggi, Irma Kniivila, and VC’s Travis Lanham) gave Proudstar a mission statement for the future that’s the perfect opportunity to show who he is as a character outside of his ties to the X-Men.
John Proudstar has a unique history within the Marvel Universe. Introduced in Giant Size X-Men #1 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, Thunderbird quickly proved a powerful but conflicted ally, standing up against the commands of the rest of the team’s nominal leaders like Charles Xavier’s Cyclops. This would end up costing Thunderbird dearly, as in x-men #95, he ended up refusing to back down from an attempt to stop Count Nefaria and was killed in the process. For decades, Thunderbird stood out as one of the few major mutants to never have a resurrection, with multiple teasing over the years never leading to a true return for the character.
But now Proudstar has the perfect chance to define itself for a whole new generation. Thanks to the Scarlet Witch’s help in expanding the Five’s potential, Proudstar was one of the first long-dead mutants to be resurrected. This gave the hero the chance to make a name for himself outside of his place in X-Men history. Giant Size X-Men: Thunderbird served as the perfect showcase for this, with the mutant taking the opportunity to leave Krakoa and return home. There, he uncovered a plan to harvest mutant DNA from the local native population, which led to Proudstar dressing up on his own and taking on the Heritage Initiative. Using his strength and stamina, Proudstar defeated them and even seems to earn a new mission statement as a result.
The issue ended with Thunderbird and her brother Warpath sitting with their grandmother, after planting a Krakoa Gate near her home. As they all caught up, John figured he was both an Apache and a mutant and would serve as the protector of both against the likes of Martynec and their allies in Orchis. Proudstar’s plan seemed to be to become the “consequence” for those who target these communities and that he intends to pick many fights ahead of him. It’s an interesting position for Proudstar to occupy, placing him firmly in the universe without tying him directly to the X-Men. Due to his relatively few appearances, Proudstar’s true role after the resurrection was somewhat up in the air.
Given his attitude in the past (and how quickly he started a fight with Vulcan on Arakko in X-Men: Red), it’s no surprise that Proudstar is turning away from a place among the heroes of Krakoa. But it would have been a waste for Marvel to resurrect him and not use him, so having Proudstar more or less become an independent hero is a great idea. This puts him in the perfect position to work with or disagree with the X-Men in the future. It also gives him great motivation to work alongside the growing Storm Brotherhood.
This gives him a complete sense of agency in his actions, preventing him from becoming another cog in Krakoa’s great machine. He’s perfectly placed to bring a fresh perspective to the Marvel Universe and would be an ideal character to throw up alongside someone like Captain America for meaningful drama and speech. It also allows Proudstar to find out who he really is and who he wants to be on his own, something the character has long deserved.
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