Most comic book superheroes and villains killed in action don't stay dead permanently, but sometimes they stay dead longer than expected. And after nearly five decades of an unusually long death (with two brief exceptions), Marvel's John Proudstar (AKA the original Thunderbird) returned December 22 in the finale of Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck's X-Men: The Trial of Magneto.
The first X-Man ever to die in service to the team early in the 'All-New, All-Different' era, his return decades after his death will be immediately expanded on in the April 2022 special Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 written by the duo of All Elite Wrestling star Nyla Rose and Steve Orlando along with First Nations artist David Cutler.
Cutler has provided a design variant cover featuring Thunderbird's new costume/look, while Ken Lashley illustrated the main cover.
The creative team will deal with the repercussions of Thunderbird's resurrection while setting him up for his future in the Marvel Universe.
Marvel will be playing with the unusually long period between this comic book character's death and his return to the land of the living, giving him a Captain America-like 'man out of time' quality. According to the publisher, the Marvel Universe Thunderbird returns to is one completely different than the one he is familiar with and seeks out familiarity and comfort from his past at an Apache reservation only to uncover a "horrifying threat to the Indigenous mutant community."
Proudstar must overcome his rage to save his people.
"At last, the news is out! Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird is coming, and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of it!" Orlando says in an announcement. "But this book wouldn't exist without the incredible work of Nyla Rose and David Cutler, who are joining me on this blockbuster to tell a Thunderbird story that's as raw, real, and riveting as possible.
"With their invaluable help, we're taking Thunderbird on a two-fisted quest to reunite with his family and carve out a place for himself in this brave, new, Krakoan era. The world has changed while Thunderbird was away. The threats might've gotten more complex, but Thunderbird's still sure there's not a problem out there he can't solve with his own two hands."
Like many of the small handful of comic book characters that have stayed deceased for long periods, Thunderbird has been resurrected twice for short periods of time: in 2009's 'Necrosha' crossover, and then a year later in the 'Chaos War' crossover. In both occasions, his return to the land of the living was brief - but in the latter he spoke wistfully of being resurrected sometime again in the future.
John Proudstar/Thunderbird shouldn't be confused with two other Marvel characters who took up the 'Thunderbird' name after him. The first was James Proudstar, his brother, who adopted the Thunderbird name for his own superhero career but who later changed his name to Warpath during his time on X-Force. The second was Neal Shaara, an X-Men member in the early '00s that recently re-appeared as a minor character in the X-Corp limited series.
Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 goes on sale on April 27.
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