John Proudstar was born on the Apache reservation in Camp Verde, Arizona. During his childhood and adolescence, John proved to be an exceptionally strong and vigorous athlete. Proudstar, however, regarded himself throughout his life as a loner and an outcast. John wished to prove himself to be a warrior in the tradition of his ancestors and was dissatisfied with what he regarded as the complacent lives led by his fellow Apaches on their reservation. Although too young to join the armed forces, Proudstar lied about his age and entered the United States Marines, intending to lead the kind of active life he desired. Proudstar became a corporal and earned a number of medals, but still was dissatisfied with his life once his tour of duty was over and he had returned to the reservation.
Proudstar's mutant superhuman strength first manifested itself when, at the age of twenty and using only his bare hands, he wrestled and threw a charging bison to save an endangered little girl. This feat earned Proudstar fame among his tribes people on the reservation, but the true nature of his abilities remained unknown, until Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men, a team of superhuman mutant adventurers, discovered him. Through the use of his mutant-detecting computer Cerebro, Prof. Xavier located Proudstar, whom he invited to join the X-Men. The first mission that Proudstar and six other new recruits undertook was the rescue of the original X-Men from the "living island" of Krakoa in the South Pacific. With the exception of Sunfire, all of these new recruits, including Proudstar, decided to stay on and became the "new" X-Men. Prof. Xavier gave Proudstar the code name "Thunderbird". This third group of X-Men were mostly adults and required no tutoring from Professor X, but trained in the use of their powers in the Danger Room.
On their next mission, the new X-Men went to Cheyenne Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, the location of a North American Air Defense command center, which had been taken over by Count Luchino Nefaria as part of an international extortion scheme. After the X-Men foiled his plans, Nefaria attempted to escape in a small aircraft and Thunderbird managed to climb onto the plane as it took off. Defying Prof. Xavier's telepathic warnings to get off the plane, Thunderbird asserted that he was finally going to prove he was a true Apache warrior. Using his superhuman strength, Thunderbird ripped open part of the plane and wreaked havoc on its internal systems. Furiously, Thunderbird pummeled the aircraft until finally it exploded, killing him instantly. Nefaria, however, survived by using a teleportation device.
During the events of Necrosha, Thunderbird was resurrected by Selene Gallio and Eli Bard with the Transmode virus after years of rest. However, after X-Force and his younger brother, Warpath, defeated Selene, John was returned to the land of the dead while telling his brother that "he can let go now."
During the events of Chaos War, Thunderbird was one of the many returned heroes from the Underworld when the gates opened. He, along with his fellow resurrected X-Men Banshee, Moira MacTaggert (or her Shi'ar golem), Esme, Sophie Cuckoo, as well as three Multiple Men, battled the forces of the Carrion Crow: Eater of the Dead who was a minion of the Chaos King. John used the power of the god of his people, the Thunderbird, to defeat the Carrion Crow and repair Earth's ley lines. He returned to the grave, this time contemplating that his life finally meant something and hoping that next time he was resurrected, it would be with Sophie.
Powers and Abilities
Thunderbird is a mutant.
Superhuman Strength: Thunderbird was superhumanly strong and could lift approximately 2 tons under optimum conditions.
Superhuman Stamina: Thunderbird's muscles produced less fatigue toxins than the muscles of ordinary humans. He could exert himself at peak capacity for several hours before fatigue began to impair him.
Superhumanly Dense Tissue: Thunderbird's muscle tissue was three times as dense as that of a normal human being's and was distributed in such a way as to give Thunderbird massive shoulders, arms, and thighs. His skin was several times as dense as that of a normal human being's and included an additional layer of leathery epidermis.
Superhuman Durability: Due to the increased density of his skin and muscle tissues, Thunderbird's body was somewhat more resistant to physical injury than an ordinary human. Although far from invulnerable, he was capable of withstanding impact forces and blunt trauma that would have severely crippled or killed an ordinary human with only mild to moderate discomfort.
Superhuman Respiration: Thunderbird's lungs were oversized, and his respiratory system was developed in such a way as to allow him maximum wind and endurance with a minimum of oxygen intake. These features made Thunderbird a natural outdoor fighter and athlete.
John was an experienced hand-to-hand combatant. Thunderbird also possesses enhanced tracking capabilities.
Conventional knives and rifles
- John Proudstar's younger brother, James, would go on to become a member of the Hellfire Club's Hellions, and a member of the first incarnation of X-Force.
- After John's death, his genetic material was reclaimed by Mister Sinister and used to give himself a Mutant gene.
- Although Len Wein and Dave Cockrum don't exactly agree on the events that led to that decision, they eventually decided wanted a character to be killed off quickly during the beginning, so that readers would see how serious the new series were. Thunderbird was chosen because they thought he was too similar to Wolverine.
- Thunderbird appeared in one episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, but, instead of super strength and stamina, Thunderbird possessed the ability to call upon the power of certain animals and manifest them, something that even surprised Iceman, as he muttered "I didn't know you could do that!".
- 47 appearance(s) of John Proudstar (Earth-616)
- 26 minor appearance(s) of John Proudstar (Earth-616)
- 30 mention(s) of John Proudstar (Earth-616)
- 73 image(s) of John Proudstar (Earth-616)
- 4 quotation(s) by or about John Proudstar (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #14
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #20
- Marvel Directory - Thunderbird
- uncannyxmen.net Spotlight On... Thunderbird