Marvel Zombies’ use of a Liefeldian icon to send the X-Men to war

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In Marvel Zombies, two legendary mutants are forced to battle for their lives. Written by Doug Wagner, drawn by Juan Gedeon and coloured by Dee Cunniffe, “Warpath” in Marvel Zombies: Black, White & Blood finds the surviving members of X-Force finding it difficult to accept that their own Warpath is about to become one of the superpowered undead. Warpath declares his intention to fight through to the very end, refusing to waste time waiting for the inevitable. Warpath has no problem risking his life to find Cable, the one mutant zombie who has eluded the heroes the entire time, now that he has effectively forfeited it.

James Proudstar, better known today as Warpath, made his comic book debut in 1984’s New Mutants #16, written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Sal Buscema. Emma Frost’s Massachusetts Academy was a front for her Hellions and the Hellfire Club they eventually joined. After his brother John died young and tragically while under Professor Xavier’s care, James assumed the Thunderbird persona and vowed to fight back against the X-Men who had failed to save his brother. After James eventually left the Hellions, the time-traveling mutant hero Nathan Richards, also known as Cable, sought him out and invited him to become a member of his group of New Mutants. James eventually agreed to join the group and assume the role of Warpath, despite his initial denial. Cable grew to be Warpath’s confidant and mentor in the years that followed, and their close bond and common experiences prevented both characters from being repeatedly pushed past their breaking points.

For many years, fans have regarded Cable as a beloved character, since he initially made an appearance in the 1989 film New Mutants, which starred writer Louise Simonson and artist Rob Liefeld. Even though he had been revealed earlier as the young son of Madelyne Pryor and Scott Summers, this issue was his first as a standalone superhero. Nathan travelled to a distant future where, after contracting the Techno-Organic Virus as a young child, he could heal and mature before coming back to the present to become one of the greatest antiheroes of all time.

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