- Written by: Steve Orlando, Nyla Rose
- Art by: David Cutler, José Marzan Jr., Roberto Poggi
- Colors by: Irma Kniivila
- Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
- Cover art by: Ken Lashley, Juan Fernandez
- Cover price: $4.99
- Release date: May 4, 2022
Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 follows John Proudstar aka Thunderbird post-resurrection after being dead for decades. When he returns to his native home to reconnect with his Apache family, he finds old problems wearing a new coat of paint.
Was It Good?
Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 is okay. Thunderbird has been absent for a looonnnngg time, so it was a surprise when Marvel announced his return, especially via the Krakoan resurrection protocols which were enabled after Thunderbird’s death. The continuity error was explained away in a previous X-issue, but not here, which was an odd narrative misstep in an otherwise okay issue.
John heads back to his home to reconnect with whoever may be still around or alive since his death all those years ago. When he gets back to the reservation, he finds most people are missing after an old enemy used government influence and tons of cash to “purchase” Apache DNA for experimentation. John, of course, won’t accept the treatment of his people as property without a Proudstar-class butt whoppin’.
Thunderbird’s return is, again, a surprise, so it was impossible to tell where the creators would go with the story. The route taken here could reasonably be described as a revenge fantasy for indigenous peoples against government injustice wrapped in a paper-thin X-Men tale. There’s nothing wrong with revenge fantasies, and if you enjoy those types of stories, you’ll enjoy this issue just fine.
That said, the down point is the lack of focus on Proudstar as a character within the X-Men universe and the potential for storytelling as a man out of time. Here, he’s effectively used as a prop. The weapon of revenge on behalf of the Apache, and that’s a down point because, with a few tweaks, you could tell the same story using any generic badass at the center. In other words, in an effort to put Proudstar into an Indigenous Peoples’ revenge story, they forgot to leave what would make him stand apart as a mutant, watering down what makes Proudstar special in the first place.
The art in this issue is fine. You’re not going to find the best art in the world or the worst. It’s serviceable to very good, depending on the panel.
Bits and Pieces
Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 is a serviceable return for the legendary mutant. The paper-thin resurrection conflict takes a backseat to a generic revenge fantasy about Indigenous people striking back against government injustice. There’s nothing wrong with telling that type of story, but the creators tried so hard to make Thunderbird fit in, that they forgot to make him stand out.