ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Thunderbird #1

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 is written by  Steve Orlando & Nyla Rose, penciled by David Cutler, inked by Jose Marzan Jr. (with Roberto Poggi on pages 13-15, 20-22, 23, 25), colored by Irm Kniivila, and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham. It’s published by Marvel Comics. John Proudstar — aka Thunderbird — was the first member of the X-Men to die in action after a battle against Count Neferia went sideways. However, he was resurrected following the end of The Trial of Magneto. Struggling to find his place in a world that’s grown without him, Proudstar returns to his home in Arizona but learns that the Heritage Initiative has kidnapped his family, forcing him to go on the offensive.

The Age of Krakoa has seen multiple mutants in the X-Men mythos get a new lease on life, both in how they’ve been utilized across the array of X-titles and quite literally with the concept of resurrection being introduced. Rose and Orlando explore how the world has changed since Proudstar’s death. He doesn’t feel comfortable on Krakoa, despite it being a supposed paradise for mutants, and he worries that his grandmother has passed in the years since his death. He also wrestles with his place in mutant history: in the same way that Steve Rogers awoke to a world that only knew him as the living legend Captain America, Thunderbird became a legend in his death.

The issue also takes on a new dimension thanks to the involvement of Rose and Cutler, who both share an indigenous heritage. Cutler, a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, designs a new costume for Thunderbird that incorporates the colors of the “Four Directions” in Native American culture, as well as turquoise to represent the strength and invincibility that is his mutant gift. On a page that feels like a hand-scrawled letter, thanks to Lanham’s letter work, Proudstar explains to mutant designer Jumbo Carnation that he wants to craft a costume representing his mutant and native heritage, and I think Rose and Cutler succeeded in that effort. Kudos also go to Orlando, who reached out to Rose for help with the story.

Cutler also illustrates some great action sequences, including Thunderbird breaking into a police station to rescue his relatives and battling his old foe Edwin Martynec. Martynec can transform into a wolf-like creature, which Cutler shows in horrifying detail; it only makes it all the more satisfying when Thunderbird is able to gain the upper hand. Topping off the artwork is Kniivila, whose colors give the book a more naturalistic feel. The opening pages feature the sun beating down on Proudstar as he walks through the dusty plains of Arizona, and the ending has a reddish-orange sunset that’s the perfect background for him to reunite with his brother Warpath and his grandmother.

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 brings one of the classic X-Men back to the land of the living, with indigenous creators helping shape his new path in life. This is the perfect example of what the Giant-Size X-Men books should be going forward, and thankfully this isn’t the end of Thunderbird’s journey since he’s set to play a considerable role in X-Men Red.

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on May 4, 2022.


Giant Sized X-Men Thunderbird #1
4.5

TL;DR

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 brings one of the classic X-Men back to the land of the living, with indigenous creators helping shape his new path in life. This is the perfect example of what the Giant-Size X-Men books should be going forward, and thankfully this isn’t the end of Thunderbird’s journey since he’s set to play a considerable role in X-Men Red.