John Proudstar returns as Thundbird.

Giant Sized X-Men: Thunderbird #1 Review

Written by: Steve Orlando, Nyla Rose

Penciling by: David Cutler

Inking by: Jose Marzan Jr, Roberto Poggi

Coloring by: Irma Kniivila

Lettering by: VC’s Travis Lanham

How Thunderbird originally looked when he first appeared in the original Giant-Sized X-Men.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen John Proudstar.

John Proudstar was before my time. By the time I was born, he was long dead in the universe and out. The magical thing about Giant-Sized X-Men: Thunderbird #1, is that you learn so much about his character and why he is worth bringing back without knowing him. All I’ve ever known about John Proudstar is that he died and his brother took up his mantle. With Krakoa, we get to undo that and finally see his character.

He is steeped in his Native American culture and their justified rage over their treatment. They are one of the many minorities the United States constantly turns its back on. Now, he won’t let it happen to what remains of his tribe while he still lives. It’s cathartic to see him tearing apart the corrupt police and government institutions that prey on his tribe, but that doesn’t change what has happened to them.

The youth have lost hope, and the brave elderly are dying off. When Thunderbird comes home, the kids know his name, but don’t care for him. He doesn’t mean anything to them, but without showing him breaking down, the issue creates so much empathy for him. There’s subtlety in how it breaks his heart and enrages him to see his tribe like that. It parallels a feeling many Native Americans likely feel after leaving the tribe and returning.

Thunderbird brings a table down on a cop.
There is so much to love in the action scenes of this book.

Another thing to note, this creative team did their research. I can’t help but think that the government taking Native Americans from the tribe without due process parallels how they were treated some time ago. The United States used to take Native American children to “civilize” them, and destroy the culture of the tribes by taking their young. The adults refusing to give up their mutants feels like a direct response. Here, the Native American parents and grandparents fight back, but we also see how they may not fair much better.

This comic shows the potential of stories that we can tell when companies expand who they let be the creatives behind their stories. Thunderbird’s issue of Giant-Sized X-Men is not one to miss.

Leave a Reply