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Deadpool Legends
by yo go re

So what's a more insensitive name? Thunderbird, or Warpath? (Either way, they both come in behind Apache Chief.)

A powerful mutant with superhuman strength and speed, Warpath is a formidable warrior with a proud and noble heart.

Yeesh, that "proud and noble" stuff is verging on insensitive itself! We've been over James Proudstar's history before, so there's no need to repeat it here. After deciding to give up on his quest for revenge against Xavier, he opted to quit the "heroes and villains" game altogether - but when he got back home, he found everyone he knew had been killed. The only clue was a Hellfire Guard mask, so now he swore a new revenge against Emma Frost. He travelled to the X-Mansion looking for help, which is where Cable recruited him for X-Force.

Initially, James was big and muscular, but not what you'd call a "huge" guy - the same had been true of his brother John before he died. As time went by, however, James just kept being drawn larger and larger, in part because Rob Liefeld was the first one to use him extensively. Put it this way: Thunderbird would work using Hasbro's medium body; at this point, even the big body would be too small for Warpath. Obviously Hasbro agrees, because they found one that's even bigger! This isn't a new mold (the holes in the shoulders are a dead giveaway) - it was first used last year for Omega Red.

Warpath wore the same costume as Thunderbird at first, choosing it as a way to honor his brother. Heck, he even went by the same supranym at first, not changing it until his family was killed. Rob's adjustment to the costume was to add the giant shoulder pads that would define his style and the era. Those are separate pieces here, plugged into holes on the tops of the toy's shoulders. The underside is even sculpted with an appropriate ribbed/padded look, even though you'll never see it unless you take them off! (And no, removing them doesn't turn this into Thunderbird. His costume had short sleeves and a different belt.) The suit is blue, with red stripes doesn the insides of the legs and a stylized bird figure forming the stripe on the chest.

Liefeld didn't draw Warpath with long, straight hair like this - it was shorter and wavier, and the headband he wore went over the hair, not under it. Except when it didn't. Two white feathers stick out of his hair, of course, and he's wearing a small red domino mask with blank white eyes. The figure's skintone is darker than most of the characters we get, but thankfully not "red." The comics would sometimes color him that way.

Weirdly, Warpath comes with an alternate set of hands: ones open to hold something, despite the fact that he doesn't come with anything to hold. This was way before James started using knives so extensively, and he didn't use any guns either, so... huh? Was punching things not enough for him? Is he supposed to take his shoulder pads off and hold them?

He's got the right leg of this series' Build-A-Figure, Strong Guy, too. But that makes more sense than the empty hands.

For what it's worth, Thunderbird was given his codename by Professor Xavier, while Warpath chose his own. So that's probably a little less racist, since the character had some agency in picking it (though in the real world it was still given to him by a white writer, which is why it's still kind of skeevy)? Heck, while thunderbirds are part of the legends and stories of various Native American peoples, the Apache are not among them. Meaning Chuck just gave John the first "Indian" word he could think of, regardless of whether it had any connection to the man he was talking to. Which would be like if he'd recruited a Spanish mutant and assigned them the codename "Nessie." Still, the release of this figure means we just need a Feral and a classic Domino to complete the original X-Force lineup, and Hasbro did a better job on him than they needed to.

-- 09/27/20

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