Characters Appearing: Avalanche, Bart Jones, Blob, Firestar, Mystique, Pyro, Spiral, Super Sabre, White Queen (Emma Frost)
Marvel Comics Presents #82-87 (Firestar)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #82, Marvel Comics Presents #83, Marvel Comics Presents #84, Marvel Comics Presents #85, Marvel Comics Presents #86, Marvel Comics Presents #87 (Firestar story only)
The story opens with Emma Frost contemplating "retribution" for Firestar's rebellion after the events of the Firestar mini-series.
So she submits Firestar's name to Freedom Force so that she'll be hunted down as an unregistered mutant. Angelica Jones had actually been considering registration anyway.
The people lurking in the bushes, though, aren't there about registration, and aren't even after Firestar at all. They're after her friend, Meg Fallon. Angelica hesitates briefly, but then uses her powers to help her friend.
Uzis for hands or not, the kidnappers are pretty gross, talking about touching the teen Angelica's vital parts.
Meg passed out during the excitement so Angelica's secret ID is safe for now. But Mystique did get the file from Emma Frost's submission. It turns out that Destiny had predicted that she would get it, before she died.
Firestar goes home and confesses to her father that she broke her promise to not use her powers. Then Mystique, disguised as Meg bursts into the home in a really unsubtle attempt to get Firestar to leave with her. Instead of screaming at her "We have to leave now!" in front of her dad, if she had maybe just called and invited her out somewhere, or just showed up and patiently waited, the ruse might have worked. But obviously subtlety is not on the menu.
Firestar instinctively flees with her father, but her father actually advises her to not turn herself into a fugitive. However, Freedom Force's lack of subtlety again bites them in the ass, with Spiral impaling Angelica's father with a sword.
So Firestar flees again, bringing her father to a hospital, where it turns out that he will need a lung transplant. Meanwhile, the two goons that wanted Meg kidnapped, Cross and Fitch, decide that they'd like to kidnap Mystique instead.
And it turns out that they coincidentally have an agent in the hospital where Angelica's dad is. So Cross and Fitch decide to use Firestar as a patsy, telling her that they can get her father his lung if she'll kidnap Mystique for her.
There's like five reasons why this is all too convenient, but it's Marvel Comics Presents so i guess we shouldn't expect any better.
Cross and Fitch have a sophisticated operation, which they call Arms of Salvation. They even arrange for Firestar to train against duplicates of Freedom Force.
They claim that they just want a tissue sample from Mystique, and Firestar agrees to bring her to them.
Firestar finds Mystique pretending to be her, trying to get information from her father at the hospital. Firestar attacks, but Mystique is protected by Blob and Pyro.
While Firestar fights Freedom Force, Arms of Salvation attack Meg's family and capturing Meg's father to get a fresh lung for Firestar's.
Firestar succeeds in capturing Mystique and bringing her to Arms of Salvation, but she's unaware that Mystique has a tracker in her belt that the rest of Freedom Force can use to track her. Meanwhile, Cross tries to convince Firestar to join the Arms. When she declines, he attacks her. So she's lucky that Freedom Force shows up.
In the confusion, Firestar discovers how the Arms of Salvation really intended to get that lung for her dad.
So, big messy fight.
But it ends with Mystique deciding not to bring in Firestar.
In fact, she arranges things so that the government pays for her father's surgery (as they should), and Firestar is reported dead.
I guess there's some value to this continuity insert in explaining why the White Queen didn't bother with Firestar any further or why the government didn't go after her for not registering. But it might have been more interesting to pursue the idea that Firestar was actually considering registering; i do see her as a goody goody type that would comply with the registration act. It also might have been better to not have Meg conveniently pass out and see her react to finding out that her friend is a mutant.
More importantly, this story is a mess. The art is messy. The plotting is full of contrived coincidences. Freedom Force is poorly depicted, both in terms of their tactics and in terms of contrasting their views on the registration act with Firestar's. And Cross, Fitch, and the Arms of Salvation are wholly uninteresting.
It really does boggle my mind how much Marvel struggled with and/or neglected Firestar. She was an Amazing Friend. Probably one of Marvel's most popular or at least recognizable characters in the 80s. She should have been a gateway into the comics world for kids. Instead she was buried throughout the 80s. I don't know if Marvel's creators or editors had a bias against her for being a cartoon character or what. Eventually putting her in the New Warriors was a good move. But it's amazing that she didn't have her own book, and that when she did get solo stories they were like this.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: The death of Destiny is mentioned in this story, placing it after Uncanny X-Men #255. And this story is meant to take place before Firestar joins the New Warriors. That causes a cascading effect for the New Warriors, because Uncanny X-Men #255 takes place after Wolverine #19-20, which were Acts of Vengeance issues. And the New Warrior's publication debut was during Acts of Vengeance, in Thor #411-412. And New Warriors #1, although published afterwards, takes place prior to Thor #411-412. So that means that this story and New Warriors #1 must take place after Acts of Vengeance has already begun. Super Sabre is said to be flying a helicopter shown flying in the background of issue #86, but the rest of Freedom Force (after Mystique is captured) say that they want to keep him out of it, since they intended to seek violent revenge against Firestar for kidnapping Mystique and they think he would try to reign them in.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
This story is weird- the art in some places makes it look like Destiny was supposed to be alive. (What is that- a Destiny statue next to Mystique?) So maybe the story was done before Destiny died. But if that's the case, why did the story change from 8 parts to 6?
Posted by: Michael | March 23, 2015 8:55 PM
Wow. If they had just had Destiny alive (which, as Michael mentions, the art suggests was originally the case), a huge amount of continuity headaches would just disappear. This does look like it was meant to take place much closer to Firestar's limited series.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | March 29, 2015 12:13 AM
Firestar was a missed opportunity. I actually thought she was a proper part of the Marvel universe because of the cartoons but then completely forgot about her due to the lack of exposure in the comic books. You're more likely right, Fnord, the writers probably didn't like her because of the animation but perhaps Shooter should have forced someone to write it longer. Even Alpha Flight lasted longer than it should.
Posted by: JSfan | September 4, 2016 5:24 AM
The title "Life During Wartime" might be a reference to the Talking Heads song of the same name.
Posted by: Enchlore | March 15, 2017 1:19 AM
The weird thing is during Civil War Angelica quits the super-hero life rather than register. So the idea that she would be considering registering seems incongruous with her character.
And of course as Michael already pointed out, The White Queen does NOT give up chasing Firestar in this arc. That happens in New Warriors (Incidentally, I "love" that the first shot we see of Emma is her wedgied backside. Hee!) In addition we'll also get a different "muggle" reacting to Firestar being a mutant.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | March 15, 2017 1:32 PM
I think the sad thing about Firestar is that what she could have had is what exactly happened with X-23: she started off due to the animated series "X-Men Evolution" and is now well established, being a Wolverine herself (post-Secret Wars '16) and even having a prominent appearance due to the "Logan" movie. To her advantage, Laura's a clone of Wolverine, one of the most notable characters in Marvel; while Angelica is just some character created since they couldn't use the Human Torch with "Amazing Friends"...but really it shows what could have been.
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 15, 2017 4:17 PM
Why is Spiral here now when she wasn't around for the fight on Muir Island?
Although I have no evidence, I would suspect that Marvel didn't use Firestar precisely she was created for a kid's cartoon. They probably had to show her a few times to maintain (or assert) the rights. Wikipedia says that "Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends" had stopped producing new episodes but was still in reruns until 1986. She'd appeared in "X-Men" the previous year - the same year Shooter included Circuit Breaker in "Secret Wars II" to capture those rights from Hasbro - and they had to do something with her, so they gave her a miniseries. Who knows if that was an attempt to give someone not on the X-titles inroads to X-characters?
Based on the info on this website, the New Warriors must have been in development for a while - debuting in 1989 issues of "Thor" - well before their first issue. Wouldn't surprise me if this story was developed just to keep copyright and trademark to Firestar and someone got the idea of having her join the New Warriors. This story was probably chopped up to cut her loose from the mutie titles and updated for changes like Mystique's death. I never read "New Warriors," but I admit I was tempted to see what Angelica was doing lately. She was certainly a neat character.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 15, 2017 8:39 PM
Spiral is said to be on another mission with Super Sabre and Crimson Commando in X-Men 255.
Posted by: Michael | March 15, 2017 9:33 PM
Late 1983 would place it at the time when "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" went into reruns. It doesn't really qualify as evidence for my theory, but it does provide reinforcement. Claremont wasn't going to have her join the X-Men or New Mutants - and where was Angelica during "New Mutants" 39 and 40? - and wasn't interested in developing her otherwise. No other Marvel creators could or would do the miniseries until Tom Defalco took over the project, possibly to make his boss happy. [He might have just wanted an extra paycheck, or thought Firestar was a character worth developing. Or something completely different.]
Which may explain how she joined the New Warriors, if that letter is true. [Not saying it isn't true or that you're lying, I just haven't paid much attention to the New Warriors or Defalco's career.] What new characters can they create and put into a group with older characters who aren't getting enough attention? Firestar would be a valid choice and Defalco would know it. Especially if the point is to make a young/teen group. With Nita, they can cross over with the Sub-Mariner and Atlantis, with Firestar they can cross over with the X-titles, with Kid Nova, they have access to whatever Nova did - I really don't know as much as I used to think I did about the Marvel Universe - with Speedball they keep a Ditko character prominent and maybe make Ditko happy enough to play nice with Marvel. And the characters are young and kewl!
Posted by: ChrisW | March 15, 2017 10:17 PM
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