THUNDERBIRD (EXILES)

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25th September 2014
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THUNDERBIRD (EXILES)

Real Name: John Proundstar
Former Aliases: War
Height: 6' 2" (variable)
Weight: 1,000 lbs. (variable)
Hair color: brown
Eyes: blue
First appearance: Exiles (1st series) #1
Known Relatives: unnamed grandfather
(deceased), Neal
Proudstar (father,
deceased), Maria Proudstar
(mother, deceased),
James Proudstar (brother,
deceased)
Profession: none
Group Affiliation: Exiles,
Horseman of Apocalypse (home reality),
X-Men (home reality)
Powers: • mutant bio-cybernetically engineered to augment his powers, possessing superhuman strength, speed, endurance, reaction time, and sense of smell, second skin of living armor protects him from physical injury and morphs with his body to increase his overall size, strength, foot speed, and armored resilience, while manifesting hooved feet, hardened armor plating, spinal spikes, and a bladed tail


BIOGRAPHY

John Proudstar of Earth-1100 shared a very similar early life to his mainstream counterpart. He joined the US army and then later the X-Men, taking the name Thunderbird. At some point in his past, his brother James was killed, leaving the noble warrior devastated. More strife was to come when John was targeted by Apocalypse and turned into his Horseman of War. As well as numerous other modifications, his skin was augmented with armor plating that would become harder when he went into battle mode. Although his mind and body had been twisted, John managed to break free and rejoin the X-Men. However, the horrific ordeal he had been though left permanent scars, both mentally and physically.

Thunderbird remained with the X-Men until he was plucked from his universe by the Timebroker. The mysterious man explained that there were ripples in time that had altered his past, along with the pasts of a group of other mutants. Whereas John had originally broken free of Apocalypse’s control, the new timeline indicated that he never had and he was still a slave. The only way to fix this would be by travelling from reality to reality, putting things back to the way they should have been. Thunderbird and his fellow mutants banded together and formed the Exiles. They were soon put to work when they travelled to a reality where all superhumans and Homo superior were either killed or jailed. Blink, one of Thunderbird’s new teammates, had a device on her arm that told the Exiles what they needed to do to fix the reality. The device told them to find their greatest teacher and they immediately assumed it meant Professor Xavier. After breaking him out of prison, it became obvious that he was the villain of the world when he wiped the minds of an entire city. The Exiles had to team up with that reality’s Magneto in a bid to take down Xavier. The world was eventually put back on the right track, but at a cost of one of the Exiles’ lives. [Exiles (1st series) #1-2]

As soon as they had finished their mission, the Exiles were on their way to a new world, with a new team member in tow. Their new task was to make sure Jean Grey died at the trial of the Phoenix. Many of the Exiles, including John, had an obvious problem with this. Being the strong, silent type, John tended to stay out of the main decision making. Instead, he was more inclined to wander off on his own, away from some of the stronger personalities on his team. Chief among these was the shapeshifter Morph, whom John didn’t really get on with. However, he did start to bond with Nocturne, even though she seemed to be harboring a secret about him. With a heavy heart, they saw their mission through and made sure Jean Grey perished on the Moon like she was supposed to. [Exiles (1st series) #3-4, 16]

John got a shock on the next world they visited. After being dropped in the Canadian wilderness and going head-to-head with the Hulk, the Exiles met up with Alpha Flight. John ended up coming face to face with an alternate reality version of himself. This John Proudstar had trained under the mystical hero Shaman and then took up the mantel when his mentor retired. John was quite put out by how calm and centered this version of him was. Shaman had become everything Thunderbird had strived for on his own world. He opened up to Shaman and showed him the extent to which Apocalypse had altered his body. Their heart-to-heart was disturbed by the Hulk, though, and after briefly connecting with the green giant, a fight ensued. Thunderbird was taking a beating until he gave over to the rage inside him and became everything he hated. His entered a berserker rage in which his body changed to show the full extent of Apocalypse’s modifications. He knocked out the Hulk but was thankfully brought back round by Shaman, who managed to help him find a little bit of peace inside. After defeating the Hulk, Nocturne and Thunderbird got to talking again. She revealed that she had been dating an alternate version of his brother, and that John reminded her of him. This may be why she passionately kissed John moments later. [Exiles (1st series) #5-6, 16]

After finishing their mission on another world, the team checked into a hotel for some rest and relaxation. Both John and Nocturne were feeling quite vulnerable about various things and ended up sleeping with each other. After that, their relationship started to blossom, despite John having some reservations. He eventually revealed to her that he saw himself as a monster and he thought she wouldn’t be with him if they weren’t in the situation they were in. [Exiles (1st series) #7, 16]

The team continued to bounce around from reality to reality. They were starting to become complacent about the whole situation which could be why they were caught off-guard when they landed on a version of Earth ruled by the Skrulls. Some of the team were immediately taken prisoner and forced into gladiator-style games to please their new overlords. Over the course of a month, John was forced to fight fellow super-humans again and again. He was always reluctant to give in to his animalistic side, and as such he lost many of his fights. He began to sink into a depression and take his frustration out on his teammates. The whole situation quickly changed though when the Skrulls realized that Galactus was headed for Earth. They released all the fighters and then abandoned the planet to its fate. After defeating Galactus’ herald, the heroes of Earth were banded together by the Exiles to form an army against the world devourer. Things became a little more complicated when Nocturne revealed she was pregnant. Thunderbird was delighted at the news but also worried for Nocturne and the unborn child. He tried to make her sit on the sidelines as they fought off Galactus but she was needed too much for the fight. When Galactus reached Earth, the heroes put their plan into action. The Hulk was supposed to detonate an anti-matter bomb next to Galactus, but he was unfortunately taken out of the fight before he could do so. Thunderbird knew he was the only one strong enough to get close to the cosmic giant and deliver the bomb. With a feeling of inevitability, he gave over to his apocalyptic side and dealt the winning blow. Galactus fled from Earth but John was severely injured in the process. He fell into a coma and was hooked up to life-support machinery. Nocturne was devastated and she wanted to stay with him, but the Timebrokers sent a replacement for John and the team was forced to continue on to other realities. [Exiles (1st series) #8-10]

It’s unknown how long John stayed in the hospital but it couldn’t have been for too long. After months of subsequent missions, the Exiles ended up at the Crystal Palace, the trans-dimensional base of the Timebroker, where they learned that, in fact, the Timebroker didn’t actually exist. Sometime before the Exiles’ formation, sentient bug-like creatures had discovered the Crystal Palace and caused the ripples in time. To fix their error, they had duped the Exiles into fixing realities for them, using the Timebroker construction as their guide. The Exiles were also astonished when they found a crystal wall within the palace that contained every past member of their team, including Thunderbird, all trapped like ants in amber. One by one, the Exiles freed and sent them all home, with the exception of Thunderbird, whose injuries were too severe to risk removing him from stasis. One the bright side, though, it was discovered that he wasn’t as brain-dead as originally thought, as he had alpha wave patterns, which meant he was dreaming. As he remained in stasis, Thunderbird dreamt that he was fighting Apocalypse to save Nocturne and his unborn child. Oddly enough, the constant dreaming allowed him to work through many of the issues he had with the villain and put his past to rest once and for all. [Exiles (1st series) #62, 83, 89]

Eventually, John woke up and broke free of the wall, ironically just in time to help thwart an invasion on the palace by some soldiers sent by a version of Dr. Doom. A lot had happened in the time he had been in stasis and he had woken to find a whole new team of Exiles were now using the palace. One of these was Psylocke, who hailed from the universe in which Nocturne had retired. Thunderbird went with her back to her reality and reunited with a very surprised, but delighted, Nocturne. Unfortunately, in the time he had been gone, Nocturne had lost their baby and also had a stroke. Their troubles took a back seat for a while when the Exiles and New Excalibur had to join forces to stop Merlyn from taking over the Ominverse. Afterwards, Nocturne left Earth and returned to the Exiles to be with Thunderbird. [Exiles (1st series) #97-99, X-Men: Die by the Sword #1-5]

After spending some quality time with Nocturne, Thunderbird decided to take some extended leave from the team so that both he and Nocturne could properly recuperate. They left the team to live on the home world of their fellow teammate, Heather Hudson. [Exiles (1st series) #100]

Nocturne has since resumed her duties leading a team of Exiles to fix broken realities. Whether Thunderbird has also taken up the task or has simply retired from active duty permanently remains to be seen.


ALTERNATE VERSIONS

All alternate versions of John Proudstar can be found in the Spotlight On… for Thunderbird I.