- I know Banshee -- it wasn't your fault. I suppose it had to happen sometime. Hell, sooner or later it happens to all of us in this business...it comes with the uniform.
- -- Cyclops (after seeing Thunderbird die in an explosion)
Appearing in "Warhunt!"
- Beast (Hank McCoy) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only) (Only in flashback)
- Count Nefaria
Races and Species:
- X-Men Stratojet - (Only in flashback)
- Harrier Jump Jet
Synopsis for "Warhunt!"
The X-Men are plummeting towards the ground. Cyclops recalls in a flashback the events that led them to this scenario (basically, the plot of the previous issue). With only 90 seconds to go before impact, Storm manages to grab both Nightcrawler and Wolverine. Banshee snags Thunderbird and tells Cyclops he is coming back for him. Colossus metals up and hits the ground unscathed. Just as Cyclops is about to hit the ground, Banshee returns and saves him.
Nightcrawler teleports inside the base to open an access hatch and encounters Frog-Man. After a quick fight and a bit of teasing, Nightcrawler takes out Frog-Man and continues through the tunnel. Unbeknown to Nightcrawler, however, Nefaria is watching him via a security camera feed. Kurt opens a hatch for his fellow X-Men. As the team enter, a smoke cloud floats down the tunnel and overtakes them. They burst through a tunnel wall and are met by military soldiers who open fire on them. Colossus blocks most of the bullets. Storm generates a mini-typhoon and flash flood, washing the soldiers down the tunnel. Then the Ani-Men attack. After a long, hard battle in which Thunderbird and Banshee are rendered unconscious, the X-Men prevail and head towards Nefaria’s location. The two injured heroes are left behind.
A while later, Banshee and Thunderbird wake up and try to catch up with the rest of the team. By this time, Nefaria has snuck by his opponents and jumped into his own jet. Seeing him making a getaway, Banshee and Thunderbird pursue him. Thunderbird jumps onto the outer hull of the jet just as it takes off. Alarmed, Banshee tells Thunderbird to jump off the plane so he can blast it with a sonic scream.
Inside the base’s command center, Cyclops shuts down the Doomsmith device. Xavier then telepathically contacts him to to warn him that Thunderbird is in mortal danger. In the air above the mountains, both Xavier (via telepathy) and Banshee plead with Thunderbird to jump from the plane, but the overconfident hero continues his attempts to break into the cockpit. Suddenly, the plane explodes. Xavier screams and collapses as he telepathically senses Thunderbird’s death. Back at the base, the rest of the X-Men look on in horror. An unnerved Cyclops attempts to muster a stoic demeanor.
- This is a continuation of a two-part storyline that began last issue.
- Despite appearing to die along with Thunderbird, Count Nefaria survives his Harrier jet's explosion and appears next in Avengers (vol 1) #164.
- This is Chris Claremont's first issue as writer for the series (although the story was partially developed by Len Wein). He would be the principle writer and creative force for the X-Men for the next 17 years and create a staggering amount of the X-Men's, as well as the Marvel Universe's, mythos.
- Thunderbird’s death was a particularly audacious move on novice writer Claremont’s part. Major characters in comic book series had been occasionally killed off before. Professor X himself had been "killed off" for a while during the original team's run but that was retconned later with the explanation that he had faked his death and gone into hiding. This story ends with Xavier telepathically sensing Thunderbird's death, confirming that it indeed occurred and was not a fakeout. Having one of the heroes killed off after just barely introducing the new team (in only their third appearance), seemed to violate some unwritten rules of superhero comics. It was a genuinely shocking plot twist when it occurred and served to alert readers not just of the real danger of superheroics, but that this series would go in truly unexpected directions.
- The X-Men's mission here, as well as Thunderbird's death, would be referenced in Uncanny X-Men #194, the 100th issue of the new team's run. In that issue, Thunderbird's younger brother will adopt his superhero identity, kidnap the retired Banshee, and lure the X-Men back to the NORAD base in order to seek revenge for his brother's death.
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Links and References
- The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men #4 - See for further referencing
- The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men Vol 2 #2 - See for further referencing
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