Monday’s Mutant is Thunderbird (John Proudstar)

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Monday’s mutant is Thunderbird, a Native American named John Proudstar who was created to fail.

Thunderbird was the brainchild of Len Wein and Dave Cockrum for the new X-Men team back in 1975. It was their idea that some of the applicants for the new team needed to be turned away after trying out. They had already decided Sunfire and Banshee would not make the cut, but they wanted a new character to fail as well. However, after creating Thunderbird, they like the character and decided to have him make the team.

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Thunderbird was a Native American from the Apache tribe who came from Camp Verde, Arizona. He possessed enhanced athletic ability in speed, strength and stamina. Unfortunately he was also obnoxious and temperamental, often clashing with team leader Cyclops. Since there was already a loudmouth X-Men who did not get along with Cyclops (the Wolverine), it was decided very early on to kill of Thunderbird.

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Thunderbird would die during the second mission of the new team as he disobeyed orders and attacked a fleeing jet plane. As he tried to tear it apart, it explodes, killing the young X-Man. I’m pretty sure this is how Bucky from Captain America also died.

However Marvel found out that killing one of its few minority characters, Thunderbird being Native American and all, might not have been one of its better moves. So it solved this issue by creating Warpath. John Proudstar’s brother James Proudstar who happens to have exactly the same powers and Thunderbird, only perhaps a little better.

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