Rain comes down in the Danger Room. Cat-5 winds, which are more than 200 knots, pound the rain down so hard that it hurts him. John Proudstar can’t see his enemy and, because of her amazing ability to manipulate the weather, he can barely stand. However, he does not quit. Soon or later, he will find the woman who calls herself Storm, who from behind him sends a bolt of lightning to crack dangerously close to his back.
Suddenly, he hears the voice of the leader of the X-Men, Cyclops, calling out to Storm, telling her that it is enough. They should move on with the practice session. The weather returns back to normal for John, who finds himself soaked and battered. Before him are his fellow teammates, Cyclops, Storm, Banshee, Colossus, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler. While John dries his hair, Cyclops commends Storm on her excellent control over the weather. None of the men watching her evade Thunderbird were hit with a single drop. Now, for the next round, Storm and Thunderbird will engage each other without powers. Cocky, Thunderbird tells “one-eye” that he doesn’t fight girls.
An angered Storm runs up to Thunderbird and kicks him straight in the face, telling him that she is not a girl. Colossus is stunned and asks Wolverine and Nightcrawler if they just saw that. Nightcrawler comments on how Storm is really fast, to which Wolverine agrees. However, Nightcrawler goes on and tells Logan that, if he lost his teleportation powers, it would not affect his speed or agility. Wolverine asks him if he is sure, but Nightcrawler rather arrogantly assures Wolverine that he would do just fine. Usual stakes, asks Wolverine, as he challenges Nightcrawler.
“Absolu…” says Nightcrawler, as he is cut off my Wolverine quickly lifting his fist to Nightcrawler’s neck and popping out two of his claws, trapping Nightcrawler’s neck in between. Cyclops, who watches Thunderbird and Storm fight, turns to the two men and tells him to stop horsing around. He needs them focused. The two men comply, but Wolverine smirks and tells Nightcrawler that this is another case of beer that he owes him for losing. Nightcrawler sighs.
Thunderbird and Storm continue their fight without interruption. John thinks of how Storm kicks like a mule, as he tries punching her. However, she somersaults in the air over his attack, quicker than expected. Thunderbird then remembers his Uncle Jack and recalls how he kicked like a mule too. In fact, it was Uncle Jack who taught John how to fight.
Storm proves sneakier than expected too, as she wraps her cloak around Thunderbird’s head, ensnaring him. However, John thinks to himself that this was Storm’s first mistake. She slams his against the wall, which normally would have taken out anyone this side of Wolverine. However, he takes it in stride. Unfortunately, because Storm has grabbed him with her cloak, that means he also has a hold of her. Thunderbird quickly ducks out from under the cloak and gets a hold of it. He yanks it hard and sends Storm to the floor. He then leaps upon her. He does not know anything about Africa, where Storm comes from. However, he is Chiricahua Apache. Nobody is more cunning and tougher in the world. Storm retaliates just as hard as the kick, but it does not bother John. He is enjoying this.
Pinning Storm face first on the floor, John tells her that she is down and done. Angered and blood thirsty, Storm tells him that she will never be done. Worried, Wolverine turns to Cyclops, but the leader of the X-Men doesn’t act. Storm screams at the top of her lungs for Thunderbird to let her go. Wolverine rushes to her side and tells Thunderbird to let her go. He heard her; it is over.
Thunderbird gets up and Wolverine helps up the embarrassed Storm, who begins to apologize to Logan. However, Wolverine tells her to just take a few deep breaths for now. Thunderbird turns to Cyclops and asks if he did something wrong, but the disappointed leader of the X-Men tells him that John did nothing wrong; it was his leadership that was the mistake. Cyclops then leaves the Danger Room, as the training session is over.
Sometime later in Xavier’s study, Wolverine and Xavier have a drink in front of the fireplace. Xavier tells Wolverine that Cyclops felt undermined by him today at the training session. Wolverine informs Xavier that Scott was behind the curve. Another second and there would have been bloodshed. That is one of the reasons he turned to him, replies Xavier. Xavier wants Wolverine to help Cyclops lead the X-Men.
As Xavier fills Wolverine’s cup, the feral mutant tells Xavier that it won’t work. Xavier, however, has faith. Wolverine smiles and tells Xavier that he may be the most powerful telepath, but even he cannot sort out the mess in Logan’s head. He has been messed up by experts and he is more dangerous to the X-Men than the bad guys. Yet you’re here, points out the astute leader. What I am, replies Logan, is crazy. That too, jokes Charles. Xavier then becomes serious and reasons with Logan to have more faith in Cyclops. Why, asks Wolverine.
Xavier replies that Cyclops has the right instincts of a leader, but he doubts Wolverine’s loyalty and that causes him to second-guess himself. Cyclops needs to trust himself, so Wolverine can trust him. Your call, replies Wolverine, as he picks up a photo of the five original X-Men. He then comments that this team Charles has assembled is an interesting mix. It seems like a coincidence that he, Storm, and Thunderbird are what… damaged goods? Is Charles still bent on recruiting lost souls?
Xavier explains that it is his life calling. Wolverine adds that Charles should give Jean Grey a chance. She might be better at it than him. Unfortunately, replies Xavier, Jean has the left the X-Men and the school and Wolverine knows that… and she is also taken.
Unbeknownst to the two men, however, outside, John Proudstar has heard their entire conversation. He leaps away and climbs the side of the building, where he perches at an open window and stares down at Cyclops in the hallway… and seems to be talking to himself! However, what Thunderbird does not realize is that Cyclops is speaking to the astral projection of Jean Grey, the former X-Man known as Marvel Girl.
Cyclops holds Jean and tells her that the training session was a disaster, but Jean tells him not to beat himself up. Scott, however, argues that she wasn’t there. If Wolverine had not intervened things would have ended badly. Jean assures Scott that Wolverine did what all teammates would do for each other. He was just looking out for Storm. Scott is doing what all leaders do. He is trying to learn about his people. Not so sure, Scott tells Jean that he feel as if having Wolverine around makes him feel like a kid. Jean kisses Scott and tells him to give himself a chance. He is better than this than he will ever know.
Thunderbird is creeped out, as it seems as if Cyclops is speaking to a ghost. He didn’t think it would be so hard being around other people with powers. Thunderbird then reaches Wolverine’s room. He thinks that Wolverine is a slob, as he sees beer cans littered everywhere. However, he knows that there is a purpose. A person cannot cross this room without hitting a can and making a noise. However, Thunderbird considers this a challenge and gracefully leaps around the room to Logan’s desk, which is worse than the floor. John figures that Wolverine probably has everything on his desk memorized, so he won’t touch anything.
However, John spots something that he does touch. It is a photo of Wolverine in a war. Surprised, John comments to himself that Wolverine had a war of his own too. So did John. John tears up and tells his Uncle Jack that it should have been him. He should have been the one to save him. He should have been the one to die. Thunderbird leaves Logan’s quarters, unaware that Logan is in the next room meditating.
Thunderbird arrives in Storm’s room and calls out to her to talk to her, but finds the room empty. In fact, there are not even any decorations, except for a knife hanging on a wall. Suddenly, John is telepathically spoken to by Xavier, who tells him that Ororo killed a man when she was hardly more than a child. John is scared to see Xavier, but the founder of the X-Men quickly calms his student, telling him that it is only a projection. Storm’s history is why she freaked out in the Danger Room. He struck a nerve raw. Damaged goods, asks John. Something like that, replies Xavier. It is her greatest secret. John tells Charles that he doesn’t tell tales – Storm’s or Xavier’s.
Xavier offers his condolences for Uncle Jack. John tells Xavier that as a mutant he should have spotted the ambush. Wolverine came back into his room while John was snooping, didn’t he? John didn’t spot that either. Xavier tells John about mistakes, and how they all make them and learn. If we survive the mistakes, replies John; if they don’t get anyone else killed for their mistakes. Xavier tells John that he knows about war and wants to help him. He needs him to help him and the others. There are more mutants like them born every day and not all of them are nice. That is why Xavier founded the school and the X-Men.
Thunderbird looks around and tells Xavier that the room is too empty. Xavier reveals that Storm is not sure if she is staying with the X-Men. That makes two of us, replies Thunderbird. Maybe, just maybe… Storm needs something to show her how to put down roots.
Sometime later Storm flies back to her empty room, but finds it empty no longer. In the middle of the room is a cactus to her surprise and a note.
“Prickly on the outside, maybe even dangerous. But the meat and sweet water within can save your life.”
Signed, John Proudstar.
This story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #94, in which the X-Men battle Count Nefaria and the Ani-Men at Mount Valhalla.
This story is a reprint of X-Men (1st series) #95, in which the X-Men continues their fight against Count Nefaria, leading to the death of Thunderbird I.
This story is a reprint of the backup story in Classic X-Men #3, in which the X-Men put Thunderbird I to rest.
This is a reprint of Uncanny X-Men #193, in which John Proudstar’s little brother takes up the mantle of Thunderbird II to gain revenge against the X-Men.