Marvel; October 1975
Cover by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum
Synopsis: The all-new, all-different X-Men battle Count Nefaria and his Ani-Men at NORAD – with tragic results!
Writer (plot): Len Wein
Writer (script): Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Sam Grainger
Review: Then-new X-writer Chris Claremont continues to script over series co-creator Len Wein’s plots, with notably mixed results. While the banter between this international hodgepodge of mutant heroes is generally better than in the previous issue (see review of X-Men #94), Thunderbird remains an unlikeable character. Given time, back story could have tempered John Proudstar’s rage with pathos and understanding, but his shocking demise this issue reduced the character to belligerent plot device. Both the new X-Men and the book’s creative team crackle with energy and potential, but Thunderbird deserved a better fate.
Cool factor: The death of Thunderbird was indeed shocking…
Not-so-cool factor: … but also wasted of minority character with strong potential, during an era in desperate need of more diverse heroes.
Notable: Death of Thunderbird. … No. 32 on Marvel’s 2001 “Greatest Marvels of All Time” list.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “… I’m a man, Xavier. A warrior of the Apache – an’ today I’m gonna prove it!!” – Thunderbird, man on a mission
“(Len Wein) wanted to show, as dramatically as possible, that this team operated under a deadlier set of realities than their predecessors – or, for that matter, any other superheroes. Thunderbird changed that. It demonstrated to the new X-Men right off the bat that they were vulnerable, and suggested to the audience that this was a book where anything could happen.” – Chris Claremont, talking about the death of Thunderbird, in “Simple Survival,” a 1993 essay published in Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1 (2006)
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