Almost two years ago, I questioned the absence of the one of the oldest, deadest X-Men, John Proudstar – the original Thunderbird. Though pretty much every event dealing with ghosts or zombies had him show up, he had been one character who had never actually been resurrected and restored to his original form. And he died all the way back in 1975. With the Krakoan Era of mutants going, I wondered why he hadn’t been around.
Spoilers ALERT for Trial of Magneto #5.
The mutant resurrection process depends on backup copies of each mutant’s mind stored by Cerebro. It was said through an issue with a love of Sebastian Shaw’s over in Marauders that mutants who died before Cerebro came online couldn’t be resurrected, because their minds had not been backed up. I believed that would mean that would set that line around the earliest days of the original team in the Silver Age, since Cerebro was introduced very early in the run.
But I had forgotten about the origin of the plan, which used Shi’ar technology to house the massive amounts of data. That would mean the backups would not have begun until after Professor X started doing the horizontal space mambo with Lilandra, which began right after Thunderbird died. Thus, he had never been backed up, and thus he was not resurrected.
So why am I realizing this now? Because the entire Trial of Magneto mini-series was done to help redeem the Scarlet Witch from all the awful things Brian Bendis made her do to mutants. Using a big ol’ spell involving Legion, Proteus and herself, she made a system in which mutants who had not been backed up by Cerebro could still be resurrected, with their minds being drawn from the astral plane.
And the first candidate?
And thus, one of the last “dead is dead” characters has been taken off the list. For the first time in over 40 years, the original Thunderbird is alive and well amongst the X-Men. And of course, the first person to greet him upon his arrival is the teammate who had been haunted by his inability to prevent the death, Banshee.
What I wonder is what this new system means for the resurrection process? Thunderbird was brought back by Hope, not by Professor X. The Five have been growing more autonomous in various stories, realizing that they are essential to the whole process. And now perhaps even the Cerebro backups aren’t necessary, as Wanda’s spell allows resurrection directly from the Astral Plane. Will that stop the memory gap between backup and time of death? Does this move the whole of Krakoa away from the original plan set up by Xavier, Magneto and Moira X?
Oh, yeah. Moira. We’ll get to her shortly when we talk about Cypher.