Samuel Zachery Guthrie was the eldest son of a large farming Kentucky family on the 17th of October. Sam attempted to help out his family by working in a coal mine after his father had died there inhaling coal dust. Right on his first day, Sam and his father's friend, Lewis, were trapped in a cave-in. In his panic, Sam manifested his mutant blasting powers which allowed him and Lewis to escape the collapse.
This incident led to Sam being discovered by Donald Pierce, who recruited him in a plot to attack a young group of mutants Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men, had assembled. Sam eventually came to his senses and turned against Pierce. Professor Xavier saw the good inside Sam and invited him to join his New Mutants. Cannonball left his family to join the team.
At Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the New Mutants were tutored by Professor X and trained in the use of their powers in the Danger Room. Though the team was originally created because the Professor was possessed by the Brood Queen egg inside of him for future embryos, Cannonball remained with the team for its entire existence. He formed close friendships with his teammates, Wolfsbane and Sunspot, and a friendly rivalry with Danielle Moonstar (Psyche) who, along with Cannonball, was the team's co-leader.
Cannonball saved the life of international rock star and mutant teleporter Lila Cheney. The two became romantically involved, but due to the nature of Lila's career, their relationship proceeded slowly. Later, during a trip to Asgard Sam ended-up in Nidavellir, where he befriended Eitri, King of the Dwarves. After their adventure in Asgard, the New Mutants found themselves under the guidance of a new teacher, Magneto.
Sam briefly visited his hometown to introduce Lila to his family. His younger brother, Josh Guthrie (who didn't wish to become a mutant), enjoyed a ride on Sam's back and decided that being a mutant wouldn't be so bad if he would get to fly.
When Illyana accidentally separated the New Mutants through time and space Cannonball, Cypher, Mirage, and Warlock were sent to a future where mutants ruled and their former teammates, Sunspot and Magma, were chief Arbitrators who oppressed humans and even kidnapped their mutant children. They were captured and about to be brainwashed until Illyana returned with Professor Xavier, Lilandra Neramani, and Binary.
At a friendly soccer game Bobby da Costa accidentally ended-up giving Sam a concussion. Sunspot ran away, fearing he was a danger to his team. Warlock went after Sunspot and this left Sam and the team feeling deeply guilty and worried about Warlock and Sunspot's whereabouts.
Not long after Cypher's death, Sam was among the New Mutants captured by a demon posing as Baba Yaga. Alongside Warlock, Dani, Roberto, and Rahne, Sam would have been eaten had Illyana and Colossus not intervened.
Sam was allowed to attend another of Lila's concerts, where she was attacked by the alien Intergalactic Red-Tape Brigade. The New Mutants arrived and, after Lila was captured, they met Gosamyr, who offered to help get Lila if the New Mutants helped her save her family. While tracking Lila in space, Gosamyr began to play on the emotions of Sam and Bobby, but Warlock and the women seemed to be immune to her powers. After arriving on the planet Lila was on, the New Mutants battled aliens and themselves, until Illyana attacked Gosamyr with her Soulsword and broke her hold on everyone. The New Mutants were captured by Spyder and Gosamyr's family was forcefully matured until Gosamyr rescued the New Mutants and Lila seemingly sacrificed herself to teleport Gosamyr's family into a sun.
The mutants did not stay under the care of Magneto, as Cannonball and Mirage decided to move the team out from under Magneto's thumb. Magneto revealed that he joined the X-Men, led the New Mutants, and entered the Hellfire Club to build a foundation for control and peace among mutant kind. Magneto explained that the teams were to be his army against the coming war between humans and mutants. Magneto allowed the New Mutants to leave warning that, in time, they would find his ways right.
Cannonball and the other New Mutants left the X-Men's supervision and joined forces with the mysterious war hawk Cable to become the hard-edged X-Force. Cable made Cannonball Second-In-Command of that team.
It was early during this time that Sam was impaled and killed by the mutant Sauron during a clash with an incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. However, only a few minutes later, Sam was miraculously alive again. It was revealed that Cable had chosen to lead the New Mutants initially because he suspected Cannonball to be an External - a rare, particular type of mutant who is virtually immortal. Cable had come to train Sam to fight Apocalypse, another External who, in Cable's future time, had conquered the world. However, Selene later claimed that Cannonball was not an External, though an alternate explanation for his surviving the wounds Sauron had inflicted is unknown.
X-Force re-established ties with the X-Men and Cannonball accepted an offer to join the latter team. He began to spend a lot of time with Wolverine. During this time, Cannonball defeated the Superman-like Shi'ar agent, Gladiator in single combat--a feat no X-Man had ever matched.
During his time with X-Men, Cannonball found his relationship with Tabitha strained. It was so strained that Tabitha turned to Sam's best friend, Sunspot, for "support." Sam returned to the X-Men for a brief period until he left the team to help his ailing mother. During his time with the X-Men, he also infiltrated the presidential campaign of anti-mutant candidate Graydon Creed, using the alias "Samson Guthry." Despite the rather transparent alias, Sam was able to remain undetected until Creed was assassinated on the eve of the election.
Cannonball rejoined X-Force, now independent of Cable and operating in San Francisco. Cannonball eventually became team leader again, after Siryn sustained injuries. The team eventually found a new mentor, by the name of Peter Wisdom, who introduced the team to the world of espionage. During this time, Sam and Tabitha had gotten back together. After Wisdom's alleged death, Sam led the team again and attempted to continue Wisdom's crusade. Eventually, Sam and other members of X-Force had to fake their deaths.
Life after X-Force
After X-Force’s dissolution, Cannonball joined several of his former teammates and former members of X-Force and Generation, in the Paris, France branch, of Professor X's international mutant task force X-Corporation. His time with the X-Corporation wasn't a pleasant one. En route to one mission later found to involve the Weapon Plus program, his teammate Darkstar poked fun at him for eating a sandwich that would have rather distasteful consequences for "everybody who went out without an umbrella in downtown Beauvais." This moment of levity at Cannonball's expense did not last, as on that same mission, Darkstar died. At the funeral of Darkstar, Xavier gave Cannonball a note, with the whereabouts of Lila Cheney. Sam decided to take time away from the X-Corporation, as the strain of his life began to get to him.
While away, Sam rekindled his romantic relationship with Lila Cheney for a time. Sam couldn't find peace with his life so he was asked by Storm to join her X-Treme X-Men, a group of X-Men operating outside of Professor X's leadership. During his time with Storm's team, Sam found himself having a reunion of sorts with former teammates, Sunspot and Magma.
He and his teammates later rejoined the central X-Men. Sam eventually got injured on a mission and once again decided to take a break. He used the time to work on his own farm which he bought with his X-Corporation paychecks. While on the farm, Sam found himself teaming up again with Cable and a reformed X-Force against the threat of the Skornn. Later, Sam and former X-Force teammate Siryn went in search of Cable with the mercenary Deadpool. Deadpool derisively referred to Sam as "Cannonballs."
Sam once joined the active roster of the X-Men, whose team was co-led by Nightcrawler and Bishop. He participated in helping the 198 and fighting the Shi'ar Death Commandos. He soon suffered the death of his brother Icarus, who had been killed by William Stryker.
Cannonball served on Rogue's team of X-Men. After defeating the Children of the Vault, Rogue announced the departure of her team from the mansion. Sam felt the need to leave because his brother's death made him feel as if every time he walked through the mansion's doors, he felt as if he was stepping on his grave.
Following the disbanding of the X-Men, Sam returned home and was disgruntled and quickly left. Sam was the target of the Young X-Men after Donald Pierce posed as Cyclops and claimed that Sam had joined the new Brotherhood.
New Mutants X-Men Squad
Magik later returned, stating that she was from the not too distant future and that the world and New Mutants would die without her intervention. Cyclops allowed Cannonball to reorganize the original New Mutants squad. Their first mission was to subdue a recently returned Legion. After battling their resurrected teammate, Doug Ramsey, and the Hellions, Doug was freed from Eli Bard's control by Warlock wielding Magik's Soulsword and they both rejoined their former teammates.
Sam joined Wolverine's side and apologized to Dani saying that he couldn't lead anymore and needed to go somewhere else.
Jean Grey School
He was hired on part-time by Wolverine for the latter's new school. Cannonball taught a course in flying. Samuel took time to check in with his sister Husk, who worked for the school full-time. He, along with others, was worried about Husk's mental state.
Joining the Avengers
After the conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men, Captain America realized that the Avengers should have done more to help mutants, and not allowed the world to hate them due to their passiveness. As a result, he invited various mutants to be part of the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes as well as forming a team of Avengers lead by Havok. Cannonball, together with Sunspot joined the main Avengers team as part of Tony Stark's plan to make the Avengers bigger.
Their first mission was rescuing the main Avengers team, who had been captured on Mars by Ex Nihilo and Abyss. During the Builder War, Sam fell in love and started dating fellow Avenger, Izzy Kane, the Smasher.
Birth of Josiah Guthrie
Due to the distractions her heroic career caused, Izzy became pregnant with Cannonball's child. As soon as she discovered this, she was called to return to Chandilar, the Shi'ar homeworld, with the Imperial Guard. Via a very briefly holographic transmission, Izzy told Sam that she had to go. Cannonball decided to follow her to the Imperial Guard's ship, with the help of the Starjammer, unwilling to let go of Izzy. After saving their ship from enemy forces, Izzy confessed to Sam that she was pregnant. Months after moving to Chandilar, the baby was supergestated. And in less than 8 months was already born, and he was named Josiah.
Due to his progress on investigating the incursions, Bobby da Costa came to ask Cannonball to return to Earth, Izzy and Josiah went with him. Once again on Earth, Izzy and Sam presented the baby to Izzy's father.
Following the end of the incursion crisis, Cannonball started to commute, spending roughly five days of the week working with Bobby's Avengers Idea Mechanics on Earth and the rest on the Shi'ar planet colony K'rii-VI with Izzy and Josiah. Even though he wanted to spend more time with his family, he easily became homesick. When A.I.M. transitioned into a branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. working for the American government named American Intelligence Mechanics, Sam joined the U.S.Avengers.
Cannonball decided to quit the team so he could live with his wife and son. He returned to Earth only to discover the Alpha Flight Space Program, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Ultimates' battle against the Chitauri. He joined the heroes in battle until one of the Chitauri Dragons exploded, throwing Sam miles away into the proximity of Saturn, where he was found unconscious by alien scavengers and sold as a slave. Sam was purchased by a Skrull that went by the alias of Howard Mason, and was taken to Kral X. The Kral System constituted a peculiar portion of the Skrull Empire, a group of planets dedicated solely to the recreation of Earth's culture and media. In the case of Kral X, its prince used it to emulate the 50-year-old TV series The Ritchie Redwood Show.
Sam was imprisoned after trying to escape, and made acquaintances with a band of captured subversive Skrulls led by Bugface Brown, from whom he learned the history of Kral X. After escaping from captivity and freeing his new allies in the process, Sam confronted Kral X's prince, Ritchie Redwood, and meet up with the U.S.Avengers, who had travelled with Smasher to Kral X in order to save Sam since his Shi'ar medical bio-implants allowed Izzy to track him down. Following Ritchie's defeat at the hands of Bugface Brown, Sam, Izzy and the rest of the U.S.Avengers returned home.
In the wake of Cable's death Sam met at the Xavier Institute with the members of all the X-teams to discuss how to move forward. It was decided that each member of the time-displaced X-Men would be protected by one of the teams present and Marvel Girl decided to go with the former members of X-Force. It was later revealed that they were secretly going after the young Cable who had murdered his older self. When Ahab activated his new Hounds], Shatterstar was revealed to be one and Cannonball launched them both out of the X-Wing to protect the others. He eventually landed at the Xavier Institute battered and bruised with the unconscious Shatterstar, where he was questioned about the location of the others. Cannonball later arrived at the final battle against Ahab in X-Lantis alongside Angel, Storm, Glob Herman, Kitty, Rockslide, Armor, and Iceman.
X-Force later reformed in an effort to hunt down Cable's killer. They traveled to Transia after they had interrogated terrorists on young Cable's location, but were attacked by the Transian Armed Forces and framed for the murder of President Nicolae Brancoveanu. Sam questioned Cable on the situation and discovered that Transia had been receiving weapons from the future. X-Force, Cable, and Deathlok later rescued a group of mutant refugees, while Sam tried to convince them all to kill only when absolutely necessary. After bringing them to safety, Cannonball broke up a fight between Shatterstar and Cable, before they were attacked by Transian mechs. Following the battle, Sam questioned why they should trust Cable, and after receiving a satisfactory explanation, agreed to follow Cable to the prison Deathlok had discovered at the Transian Federal House. After arriving at the prison Cannonball helped dispatch the armed guards.
Before X-Force could finish wrapping up the situation in Transia, a young Stryfe and his Mutant Liberation Army arrived from the future to capture Cable. Cannonball, alongside the other members of X-Force fought the MLA, but they were quickly overwhelmed.
A few days later, he procured an ion engine alongside Shatterstar and headed into the future with everyone else after Deathlok used it to repair Transia's time-machine. Upon arriving in the future, X-Force were forced to defend Clan Askani from the MLA, and Cannonball was the first to notice that some of the fighters seemed to be in a trance. After the battle, he infiltrated the New Canaanite Headquarters and rescued Cable alongside Warpath and Deathlok. After Prestige defeated Stryfe and Clan Chosen were saved, Sam decided to return to the Shi'ar Empire to be with his wife and son.
Dawn of X
When the New Mutants ended up in a Shi'ar Criminal Processing Station, Sam arrived alongside Smasher to escort them out of court. Afterward their Shi'ar Dreadnought was rerouted in order to escort Deathbird back to Chandilar. While traveling to the throne world, their ship was ambushed by the Shi'ar Death Commandos and ultimately destroyed.
Cannonball is a mutant.
Thermo-Chemical Energy Field Propulsion: Cannonball possesses the ability to bodily generate thermo-chemical energy and release it from his skin. This energy is used as thrust to cause his body to be propelled through the air, like his namesake, at great heights and speeds with considerable maneuverability. He can control his speed and direction through sheer act of will. At first he could only release this energy from his feet, but now he can fire it from almost any part of his body, to a wide variety of effects, such as channeling it into bio-kinetic blasts from his hands. His power levels have varied over the years - but at his peak, he has been able to defeat the Shi'ar Imperial Guard leader, Gladiator, and devastate several city blocks by plummeting to the ground from high altitude.
- Blast Field: This energy also manifests itself as an impenetrable and virtually indestructible "blast field." He can use this blast-field to function as a personal shield or extending it to encompass others, shape the field around another person to imprison them, or absorb outside kinetic impact into his own energy supply and then re-channel it to increase the bludgeoning power of his blows or create explosive shock waves upon impact. Sam is also capable of generating the blast field without actually having to blast off, though it takes him extreme concentration to prevent himself from propelling into the air.
- Superhuman Durability: When he is using his superhuman powers, Cannonball possesses superhuman durability due to the energy field that forms around his body.
It had been theorized that Cannonball may have been one of the Externals, and therefore immortal, although evidence for this was somewhat questionable. Cable initially believed he was an External after a future Professor search revealed that Cannonball lived well into the 24th century. Upon his awakening, from his first death, the other Externals also sensed that Cannonball was one of them. Stryfe was positive that Cannonball was one of these immortal Externals. Selene, another External, would deny him ever having been one of them and called into question Cable's conclusion and the reasons for it. Cable would become unsure if Sam was an External or not, after all his younger brother, Icarus, had a healing factor; that could very well run in the family. Years later, when Cable was asked about Sam's status as an External, he chalked it up to a rumor.
- Sam was born on the 17th of October as shown by his license in Uncanny X-Men #503, at the time this comic was printed he was born in 1987 and was 21.
- According to original character designs by Bob McLeod, Sam's powers were supposed to be energy blasts from his hands and variants for his alias included Inferno and Holocaust.
- 755 appearance(s) of Samuel Guthrie (Earth-616)
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- 10 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Samuel Guthrie (Earth-616)
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