Publication Date: 27th Aug 2018
Written By: sixhoursoflucy, Monolith and Ruth.


Born in Cumberland, Kentucky to Thomas Zebulon and Lucinda, Samuel Zachery Guthrie is the older brother of Joshua, Joelle, Paige, Elizabeth, Jebediah, Melody, Lewis, Cissie and one other, unnamed sister. When Sam was eleven years old, his never-do-well Uncle Lucas was the driver of a warehouse heist gone wrong. When Luke’s partner died during the heist, he found that the corpse changed into something inhuman  and that their cargo was some kind of inanimate golem. Unsure what to make of it, he asked his brother, Thomas, for back-up, as he was going to bring the cargo to his employer, a man called Finn. Young Sam followed the two men to Finn’s headquarters, an abandoned roadhouse. Finn and his partners were actually Deviants, a genetic offshoot of humanity created millennia ago by the alien Celestials. These Deviants had been performing experiments on children in order to improve their own species. The Deviants had no intention of letting the Guthries go, but they were aided by the mysterious mutant, Sledge, who beat the Deviants’ golem and then erased that night from the memories of Sam and the other children. [X-Force (1st series) #96]

Working in the Kentucky coal mines, Sam's father inhaled too much coal dust and eventually died. Sam was an intelligent young man, an avid reader (especially of science fiction) who had gained a college scholarship. However, with the death of his father, the sixteen year old boy felt  that it fell to him to support the family and so Sam got a job working in the coal mines as well. One day, the mine collapsed on the workers and Sam manifested his mutant blasting powers in order to save himself and his partner.

The manifestation of his power was recognized by Donald Pierce of the Hellfire Club, who then recruited him to be one of his operatives. This occupation set him against Charles Xavier and the four young mutants he had met on his quest to stop Pierce's plot against both his X-Men and the Hellfire Club. They were captured, however, and Pierce ordered them killed. Sam refused and helped the mutants escape. Together, they defeated Pierce and Xavier decided to keep them together as a new team of mutants at his School for Gifted Youngsters. Along with Sam who was given the codename Cannonball, the original roster included Psyche (who soon changed her codename to Mirage), Sunspot, Wolfsbane and Karma. [Marvel Graphic Novel # 4]

Xavier named his team the New Mutants and nominated Karma as team leader. After she disappeared in a battle with Viper, Cannonball and Mirage took her place as co-leaders. Mirage was more of a field leader, whereas Cannonball, more or less, had the role of an older brother, being the reasonable one and the one others came to with their problems. However, being a proud, ambitious young man, it galled him that the other team members – most of whom were younger – had at an easier time at improving their powers, while he still had severe problems controlling his powers.

Though the New Mutants were only supposed to be a class, not a strike force, they continued to get into battle situations with the likes of robotic Sentinels, Cheyenne spirit-demons and their own counterparts in the Hellfire Club, the Hellions. Cannonball became best friends with Sunspot, the only other boy on the team in the early days - a tight but odd friendship since they came from completely different walks of life and had very different temperaments. Sam also was the oblivious object of Wolfsbane's affections.

On a trip to South America, the New Mutants uncovered a hidden civilization in the Amazon and befriended a young mutant named Amara Aquilla, who came back with them to Xavier's under the codename Magma. Sam had strong feelings for Amara but never managed to truly act upon them. Conversely, Amara was rather embarrassed by Sam’s attentions and chose to ignore them. [New Mutants (1st series) #7-16]

A little later, while on a rock concert with the New Mutants, Sam saved the life of international rockstar Lila Cheney. Lila,  who happened to be both an interstellar mutant teleporter and a thief (who planned to steal and sell the Earth), fell for Sam and took him with her to her home base – a Dyson Sphere in another solar system. The New Mutants followed and saved Lila from the aliens who intended to double-cross her. Lila promised not to pull another stunt like this again afterwards and it became quickly clear that she was serious about Sam. Since Lila's powers and occupation kept her bouncing around the galaxy, however, the two proceeded very slowly in their relationship. [New Mutants Annual #1]

Months later, the team was shanghaied to Asgard, mystical realm of the Asgardian gods. When Magik tried to teleport them away, their captor, the Enchantress, cast a binding spell that trapped Magik and scattered the Mutants across Asgardian time and space. Cannonball landed in Nidavellir, where he befriended the dwarf king, Eitri, and his daughter, Kindra, who developed a crush on Sam. [New Mutants Special Edition #1, Uncanny X-Men Annual (1st series) #9]

Back from the realm of the Norse gods, the New Mutants were surprised to find Magneto in charge of their teaching, as Xavier had been forced to leave with the Starjammers because of serious health problems. During Secret Wars II, all of the New Mutants, except for Sunspot, were killed and then resurrected by the cosmic entity known as the Beyonder. Because of this, the entire team lost all of the knowledge they had in using their mutant powers. What little progress Sam had made in developing his control and maneuverability was lost and he had to start all over again. [New Mutants (1st series) #37, Secret Wars II #9]

Also, the incident had left in some sort of zombie state, lacking any emotion or happiness. Magneto was puzzled how to get his young charges out of their lethargy. The New Mutants questioned the sense of life itself and most, like Sam, were apathetic. Unable to help the kids, Magneto asked the White Queen for help and the team was transferred to the Massachusetts Academy, where they joined the Hellions. The White Queen welcomed her new students at the Massachusetts Academy  and immediately started to erase their memories of the painful events. On a surface level, it seemed that the teenagers were themselves again, but Emma sensed that there still was something amiss. Meanwhile, Magneto found out that he had been tricked by Empath, who had increased his feelings of self-doubt and despair, thus prompting the decision to transfer the kids. Angrily, he tried to get his charges back, but Emma Frost called the local authorities, who, in turn, summoned the Avengers to detain Magneto. Luckily, the New Mutants learned about the fight and helped him. The White Queen decided to try another approach and offered to help the kids together with Magneto. This time, the New Mutants came out fine, her telepathic powers and Magneto’s emotional concern restored them to their old selves. With the Mutants deciding to return to Xavier’s school, Emma departed peacefully. However, she left her invitation open. [New Mutants (1st series) #38-40]

After things became normal again, Sam’s and Lila’s relationship intensified to the point where Sam asked Lila to his home in Kentucky to meet his mother. He was nervous about the meeting to come, afraid that Lila was too much of a free-spirit for his mother. He also fought with self-doubts at the time, wondering if there  was still a point for him attending Xavier’s when he could be helping at home or attending a proper college. His mother calmed his fears assuring him that she could cope as head of the household and that, unlike his brother, Josh, Sam was a dreamer and shouldn’t give up the adventurous life he loved. After a misunderstanding over a gift –a carved crystal - Lila intended to give his mother (as Sam believed she had stolen it, whereas she had actually taken pains to create it), Sam saved Lila’s life from a plane crash. He apologized and decided to start fully trusting her and, of course, she didn’t embarrass him in front of his mother. In fact, both women became rather fond of each other. [New Mutants (1st series) #42, X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #24]

When Xavier had left Magneto, his former enemy, in charge of the school, Cannonball had stayed in the shadows, not fully being a leader, simply the guiding voice for the younger mutants. However, in time, Magneto had joined the Hellfire Club and decreed that the team could not use their powers unless he told them to. The X-Men were believed dead and so Cannonball and Mirage disobeyed Magneto and began to take the New Mutants into action, striking back and protecting the world as the X-Men once did. They even used a different set of costumes in these occasions. [New Mutants (1st series) #61]