Publication Date: 20th Oct 2022
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Gremlin.


Growing up in a trailer park in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, Tabitha Smith hardly had an ideal life. One of her earliest memories is of holding her mother in her arms as she was dying. It wouldn't be until years later that Tabitha learned her mother had not actually died that night, but had left the family for some unknown reason and her father couldn't bear to tell her the truth, so he let her believe her mother was dead. Martin Louis "Smitty" Smith remarried  to another woman, but neither of them seemed interested in having Tabitha around, especially as she grew into her teens and began acting out. [X-Force (1st series) #49, X-Force #minus 1]

The final straw seemed to be when she manifested her mutant powers, and her father couldn't handle it and began beating her. Tabitha tried to get back at him by hiding a "time bomb" in his food, but of course that only made things worse. So she ran away, having heard rumors of a school for mutants up in Westchester County. Tabitha even gave herself a codename, calling herself Boom-Boom or Time Bomb.

On her way to Westchester, her train was deconstructed by the all-powerful being known as the Beyonder, who had taken human form to experience life on Earth and the mystery to him that was "desire." She figured him for being a mutant, and the two of them became traveling companions, wallowing in each other's misery for a time. Eventually, the Beyonder brought Boom-Boom to the secret school she had heard about – Xavier‘s mansion near Salem Center. Before she could really get the X-Men's attention, however, they noticed the Beyonder and flew right past her, ignoring Tabitha to try and stop the Beyonder's perceived threat.

In the midst of that rejection, Boom-Boom ran off into the woods and was ready to commit suicide with a giant time bomb she created until the Beyonder arrived just in time to stop her. They spent some time  traveling the universe, but soon the Beyonder's awesome power and blasé attitude towards life started to terrify Tabitha. He didn’t even understand her concerns and tried to make up by giving Tabitha what she was secretly wishing for, but she refused any of his gifts and just demanded to be sent home. As soon as she was back on Earth, Boom-Boom panicked and tipped off the Avengers that she knew of the Beyonder and could summon him if needed. Using his omniscience as a guide, she called out to him and deliberately led the Beyonder into a trap set by the Avengers. She regretted the decision soon after, though, and realized that her instinctive fear of the unknown may have cost her her only friend. [Secret Wars II #5]

Instead of going back to the X-Men or the Avengers, Boom-Boom made her way to New York City, where she stayed on the streets and did things she wasn't proud of. Though she's never elaborated much on this time of her life, it's been suggested she may have gotten involved in both drug use and prostitution. One incident we know of involved a man named Maurice "Tiger" Antonini, who was abusing the girls on the streets. He had already cut up Tabitha's friend, Gina, and was going after Tabitha herself when she got so scared she popped off a time bomb in his face, blowing his head off. This incident continues to haunt her to this day. [X-Force (1st series) #74, 94, 98]

Eventually, she was found by the Vanisher, who recruited her into his gang of thieves at their Beat Street clubhouse. He taught her how to steal, but Tabitha eventually got tired of the heavy commission he took out of everything she stole, and quit his gang. As a revenge gag against her former boss, Boom-Boom called the mutant hunters known as X-Factor and sic'ed them on the Vanisher. He  managed to find her and sweet talk her a bit before they showed up, though, and she time-bombed the X-Factor agents instead. When they became angry and started chasing her, the Vanisher left Boom-Boom to the mess she made herself and teleported out alone. Fortunately for Tabitha, the apparent mutant hunters were actually mutants themselves, and they chased her down in their X-Terminator identities of Beast and Iceman. After everyone calmed down, Iceman made Boom-Boom an offer to live at the X-Factor complex with them, and learn more about her mutant powers. Having already developed a crush on Bobby, Tabitha agreed to go with them. [X-Factor (1st series) #11-12]

Despite her attitude and habit for playing tricks with her time bombs, Boom-Boom began to fit in with her fellow residents well enough, especially the other kids, Rusty, Skids and Artie Maddicks. Her antics still got on people's nerves from time to time, especially Beast's. Having been on the receiving end of her jokes too many times, he assumed the worst of Tabitha when he saw her using one of her time bombs against Masque, one of the Morlocks who were staying at X-Factor’s base. However, she was actually acting in self-defense, as the Morlock leader had attempted to change Boom-Boom’s face with his flesh-altering powers. [X-Factor (1st series) #14-15]

A few days later, Boom-Boom interrupted one of the Beast‘s experiments to try and get his and Iceman's attention. When Hank shrugged her off, Tabitha dropped a time bomb in his beaker set. As they chased her through the complex, her old friend, Ariel, from Vanisher's thieves’ gang opened up a door and used her unique teleportation power to pull Boom-Boom out of the building and to the Beat Street clubhouse in Manhattan. [X-Factor (1st series) #17, Fallen Angels (1st series) #3]

[Note: Although both issues feature a scene about Boom-Boom causing the lab explosion and being chased through X-Factor’s base until she is rescued by Ariel, they are significant differences between them. Neither the clothes nor the interior of the building match; additionally Tabitha’s character is written quite different.]

The Vanisher had been busy recruiting other thieves in her absence, creating a group known as the Fallen Angels. Tabitha decided to hang out with the kids there for awhile, especially after setting her eyes on the cute new member, Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man. Even after Madrox made it clear his feelings were for Siryn, Boom-Boom tried to get his attention and hoped that one of his duplicates would fall for her. As it turned out, Ariel was actually an alien from a place called the Coconut Grove and the Fallen Angels were a ruse to gather up and capture a number of mutants for the aliens to study. They believed their own race at a genetic dead-end and wanted to perform experiments on the mutants and, if needed, extract whatever genetic material needed to enhance them- selves. In the end, though, the Fallen Angels escaped and returned to Earth, where Boom-Boom decided to make her way back to X-Factor. [Fallen Angels (1st series) #4-8]

Unfortunately, she arrived at the worst of times, when the complex was under siege by armored agents of the anti-mutant group known as the Right. Seeing the Right goons making off with her friends among X-Factor’s trainees, Boom-Boom fought against her own self-preservation instincts and snuck aboard their airship to try and find some way of freeing them. Landing in Arlington, she found their base was hidden in a science museum, and tried to blend in with the multitude of other school children there on field trips. Once she used a phone to call for help, though, the Right pinpointed her and sent soldiers to bring her in.

She held them off with her powers long enough to escape into the ventilation shafts. Wandering through the airducts, she came across the newest of X-Factor's students, Rictor, being tortured by the Right's experimenters. Setting off an explosion as a distraction, Boom-Boom managed to get him out of his shackles and the two of them tried to make a break for it. The Commander – Cameron Hodge – was able to recapture them, however, and they were returned to the holding cells with their fellow students. X-Factor was able to track them down on their own accord, and battled their way through the Right's complex to free the kids. [X-Factor (1st series) #22-23]

Boom-Boom and the rest of the kids were stranded in Virginia for a time while X-Factor was unceremoniously teleported away to Manhattan to battle Apocalypse. Still, by the time they returned to the New York, X-Factor had fought off Apocalypse's Horsemen, saved Manhattan and spent their time in the aftermath  putting out fires, saving trapped people, and so on. They also openly declared themselves as mutants, and discarded their former cover as mutant hunters. As a result, the media took a great interest in the kids and teenagers in X-Factor’s care, and Boom-Boom and the other trainees suddenly found themselves in the role of celebrities. Many people in New York took pity in the bunch of orphans and outcasts, and sent the X-factor trainees Christmas presents - so many, in fact, the others wanted to visit a children’s ward in a hospital to share their gifts with them. Wanting to keep the presents herself, Tabitha was not as easily convinced of this idea, but eventually agreed. [X-Factor (1st series) #27]

Fickle as always, Tabitha went right back to her crush on Iceman now that Madrox was out of sight, and so she was particularly upset when he stared dating Infectia, quite unaware of the woman being a mutant capable of rearranging the physical forms of all living things with a mere touch or kiss. Luckily for Tabitha, Beast agreed Infectia was up to no good, and he enlisted the kids' help in keeping Bobby and Infectia apart. One by one, the X-Factor trainees would interrupt them, whenever Infectia leaned in for a kiss. In the end, though, the Beast saved Bobby when he took Infectia‘s bio-genic power surge for himself, which left him bed-ridden for days. [X-Factor (1st series) #30-31]