John Proudstar was a member of the X-Men, recruited by Professor X for the mission to Krakoa. Hotheaded and brazen, he holds the distinction of being the first active member of the X-Men to be killed during a mission. His brother James later followed in his footsteps as the X-Man Warpath.
Disgruntled by the sad state of his Apache tribesman, John Proudstar spent his time using his enhanced strength and speed to blow off steam on the reservation. He was approached by Professor X who asked him to join the X-Men. Though he quickly refused, Xavier easily goaded him into joining by challenging his bravery and Proudstar accepted, becoming the seventh and final member of the "Second Genesis" team. Upon his arrival in the X-Mansion, he was given a costume and the codename Thunderbird.
He did not take to his teammates particularly well, though he still performed on the battlefield and aided the new X-Men in rescuing the old and defeating the island of Krakoa. Though several X-Men left the team following the mission, Thunderbird elected to stay. He was the first to enter the Danger Room at Cyclops' urging, serving as a demonstration to his teammates as to what the room could do if one wasn't ready for it.
Though grazed by a Danger Room laser just before, Thunderbird refused Cyclops' order to remain behind when the X-Men were called to Valhalla Base to defeat Count Nefaria. He and Banshee were ambushed by Nefaria's Ani-Men and left behind to recover while the others went to stop Nefaria's doomsday countdown. When the two came to their senses, they saw Nefaria attempting to escape in a Harrier jet. Thunderbird jumped onto the jet and began smashing his way into the cockpit, despite the pleas of Banshee to get off so he could bring the jet down with his sonic scream. Finally, the jet exploded and crashed, killing Thunderbird upon impact.
The X-Men returned Thunderbird's body to his family in Camp Verde where his brother James laid him upon a funeral pyre and put him to his final rest.
John Proudstar was the first of three to use the name Thunderbird. His brother James, blaming Xavier and the X-Men for his death, took his name and costume when he joined Emma Frost's Hellions. Eventually, James joined the younger Xavier students just before they became X-Force and changed his codename to Warpath. He eventually became a full-fledged X-Man.
Neal Shaara was the third Thunderbird, though he has no relation to John Proudstar outside of his codename.
John and the rest of his tribe was first resurrected by Eli Bard together with the rest of his tribe using the techno-organic virus. John was put into the service of Selene in her quest to become a goddess. Eli and Selene's servants kidnapped John's brother, Warpath and forced John to conduct the ritual that would transform Selene with Warpath's blood. John told his brother how to stop Selene however and Warpath was rescued by Vanisher. Warpath managed to defeat his brother and return him to the grave.
During the Chaos King's war on reality, John was once again brought back together with several dead X-Men when the boundaries between the world and the afterlife weakened. John and the other dead X-Men fought the Carrion Crow, a servant of the Chaos King in an attempt to protect Earth's laylines. John and the desceased X-Men succeeded in their task with the help of the Apache Thunderbird god. John and the others returned to their graves.
Powers and abilities
Thunderbird possessed heightened strength, speed, stamina and durability.