This here is Firestar. A C-list character if there ever was one. Unless you’re a big Marvel nerd like I am you probably have no idea who this is. Oddly enough Firestar is one of the earliest Marvel characters that I was exposed to and so I will always have a soft spot for her. Most of you are probably familiar with the Spider-Man cartoon from the 70s. Love it or hate it (I love it) it was a very good representation of the Spider-Man comic. A kid who discovered the character through the show could go pick up a comic book and understand what was going on pretty quickly with no confusion. Unfortunately that cartoon was a little before my time and the excellent 90s cartoon was a little after my time; I’m a child of the 80s. The 90s Spider-Man series was similar to the 70s version in that it was a very well-done adaptation of what was going on in the Spider-Man comic books at that time. A kid watching the 90s cartoon could pick up a Spidey comic book from the spinner rack at the grocery store and get right into the story with no confusion.
That is not the case with the past few modern animated takes on Spider-Man. Whether you’re watching Spider-Man Unlimited or Spectacular Spider-Man you’ll find that they’re rather far removed from the comics. The characters costumes are different, their ages are different, sometimes their race is different. Kids who enjoy the Spectacular Spider-Man show might be shocked to know that in the comics Peter Parker is not a teenager and that Gwen Stacy has been dead for years. I don’t know why they keep attempting to fix what isn’t broken but I suppose they have to re-invent the brand every few years to keep it feeling fresh. Now I could sit here like an old man bitching about how great Spider-Man cartoons were back in the good ol’ days and how crappy they’ve become to accommodate kids today but that wouldn’t be a fair assessment. The Spider-Man cartoon that I grew up with was actually one of the weirder ones. It didn’t take place on another world like Unlimited or cater to fans of the movies like Spectacular, it was just weird. The 1981 series was called Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and starred Peter Parker as Spider-Man along with Bobby Drake as Iceman and Angelica Jones as Firestar. The three of them were college aged roommates who shared an apartment in Aunt May’s house . When there was trouble they would transform their apartment into a headquarters/secret base/batcave type of deal full of computer consoles and other silly stuff with the push of a button.
Iceman was a well-established Marvel character who was a founding member of the X-Men. He was about Spidey’s age in the comics and I guess it would make sense that they could be friends. Still, they never really had a relationship in the comic books other than a few random meetings so it seemed an odd pairing to base a tv show on. Firestar was a new character actually created for the show. She was not an established Marvel character and had never appeared in a comic book. Apparently the creators originally wanted to use the Human Torch as the fire powered third roommate to serve as a counter-point to Iceman’s ice powers but they weren’t able to for legal reasons. Johnny Storm, the Torch, was also a teen in the comic books and he and Spider-Man had an established relationship. All comic readers knew that Peter and Johnny had a rivalry/friendship that began way back in Amazing Spider-Man issue one when Spidey tried to join the Fantastic Four. I think the cockiness of Johnny Storm would’ve added a lot to the show and made for a better group dynamic. However, I’m glad they couldn’t go that route otherwise we probably never would’ve gotten Firestar.
Similar to how Harley Quinn became part of Batman’s comic book world, Firestar proved popular with fans of the show and so Marvel decided to integrate her into the official Marvel Universe. She was established as a mutant with microwave based powers in an issue of X-Men before spinning off into her own 4 issue limited series in 1984. From there she just kinda kicked around the Marvel Universe aimlessly for a good decade or so. She finally got her chance in the spotlight again when Marvel started a new series called The New Warriors about a bunch of teen super heroes looking for purpose. A new character, Night Thrasher, recruited Firestar along with other has-beens Nova, Marvel Boy, Namorita and Speedball to join his new team. The book became a fast favorite of mine and Dougs. I never would’ve believed that a writer could make a lame character like Speedball cool but Fabian Nicieza did it. The book was a joy to read for the first several years before it eventually faltered and got cancelled. In the years since, Firestar has reverted back to being a background character in the Marvel U. She had a short stint as an Avenger but now she mostly just pops up during big events like Civil War and Secret Invasion. But I’m not worried about her, I’m sure she’ll be back in the spotlight again one day. Who knows, maybe a new Amazing Friends cartoon is on the horizon. The old series is on Netflix now and I got to enjoy an episode the other day for the first time in over 20 years.
The figure was released in a Toys R Us Marvel Universe exclusive 3 pack; an homage to the Amazing Friends cartoon. I actually couldn’t believe Hasbro did it when I first saw it on the shelf. I thought the show was long forgotten by everyone, even my memories of it were hazy at best. The Spidey in the pack was the same one we had seen before and was nothing special but the set also contained the first Marvel Universe versions of Iceman and Firestar. Considering all of the mainstream characters who have yet to receive an MU figure I would’ve thought a Firestar would be years down the road if ever. It was a nice surprise to get her so early in the line. I just hope we get the rest of the New Warriors before too long, what a great boxed set that would make. The figure is rather scrawny but well-constructed. I’m glad that she isn’t overly articulated as her solid yellow tights would not hide joints very well. She’s got the standard MU articulation which is fine and allows for a fair degree of posability. The head sculpt is quite nice with the separately sculpted hair and mask. The hair does tend to push her head forward more than I would like but it’s a small gripe. The pack is worth buying for Firestar alone. 7 out of 10.