Comics have a long history of representing characters of different origins, and many aren’t as well known as they should be. One of my favourites is Warpath of The X-Men. James Proudstar is an Apache, and one of the few Native American superheroes. He originally blamed The X-Men for the death of his brother John before becoming part of the team.
John Proudstar, the original Thunderbird was a member of The X-Men and died during one of their missons. Seeking revenge, James was recruited by Emma Frost onto her Hellions. James clashed with the New Mutants and disobeyed Frost by kidnapping Banshee and took him to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex where John was killed. James had the chance to kill Professor Xavier but found he couldn’t. Xavier offers him a spot on the New Mutants by James declined until he found out his tribe was murdered by the Hellions.
Changing his codename from Thunderbird to Warpath, James joined up with the militant X-Force and developed a much calmer personality. He took part in battles against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and eventually joined the X-Men on Professor Xavier’s request.
He received a lot of exposure during the 2008 – 2010 run of X-Force, written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost. Warpath was part of Wolverine’s black ops team that used lethal force to stop threats against mutants. James was uncomfortable with killing, but joined out of a desire for revenge for the death of his friend Caliban at the hands of The Purifiers.
James played a crucial role during the events of Necrosha, where Selene has resurrected dead mutants in her quest to become immortal. James is forced to fight his brother in the process. With the help of ancient rituals from his tribe and Selene’s knife, James kills Selene and frees his brother’s soul. He quits X-Force after, claiming he’s made his peace.
At a height of 7’2, Warpath is an imposing character with super strength and enhanced senses. He’s been able to stand toe to toe with The Hulk and Juggernaut for a time. He’s also a skilled hunter and possesses two vibranium knives given to him by Storm.
He was introduced to a wider audience in the X-Men: Days of Future Past film. Warpath was played by Booboo Stewart, who did an admirable job considering his smaller role.
Warpath is an example of the strength of Native Americans and how they shouldn’t be overlooked in mainstream media.