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Firestar #2 (1986, April)

June 30, 2015

That’s right, two posts in one day. By DeFalco and Wilshire, “The Players and the Pawn!”

The Players and the Pawn!

I will never not enjoy seeing Wolverine get hurt.

Angelica, now 14, is having a good time riding her horse, Butter Rum. Her bodyguard, Randal, reminds her she has class with Emma Frost. Randal thinks that even though Angel’s been at the school for four months, Emma still keeps her apart from the other students. The two head down, and find Emma putting the Hellions through some training. Emma noticed Angel, and is glad to see her wearing the bracelet Emma gave her. After the Hellions leave, Angel starts her training.

She starts building up her power, and Emma notes that Angel might be one of the most powerful mutants alive. Once her power’s ready, a magnetic plate starts moving towards her. As Angel pushes her power against it, Emma activates the hallucination action on the bracelet, making her see Xavier’s face in the plate. Then, Wolverine appears, and attacks her, forcing her to kill him to defend herself. Emma comes down to let her know it was only a robot – a surprise test to see how she reacts to a life-threatening situation. After Angel leaves, we learn the robot blew itself up.

Angel heads back up to the regular school, and the Hellions invite her to see a movie with them. Angel declines, since Emma has her believing she’s too dangerous to be allowed to leave school grounds without permission. She goes back to her school and looks at the ‘M’ on her hand, and it makes her feel miserable and outcast and feared and hated and stuff.

At Xavier’s, the New Mutants have completed a training session, but Sam keeps going. The girls remark on him still having a thing for Magma. Up in the control booth, Xavier is thinking about Angel. Back in Massachusetts, Emma has a Skype conversation with Shaw, about Firestar. Emma explains she can absorb and project microwave energy, and Shaw thinks she’d be a natural assassin, able to fry people from the inside out and be gone before an autopsy can find the cause of death. Keep in mind, he’s talking to a telepath – a woman who can literally kill a person with a thought. And they think that cooking people is a cleverly subtle way of assassinating someone. Anyway, Emma goes on to say the hallucinator on her wrist is attacking her subconscious with images of people they want her to fear and hate – the X-Men.

Three weeks later, Angel sees a sign about an upcoming school dance, and Empath taunts her a bit about the fact that she won’t go. Angel is determined to go. The next day, Angel learns to use her power to fly. Emma’s pleased, so Angel asks if she can go to the dance. Emma agrees, and Angel runs out cheering. Randal asks if it’s a good idea, and she threatens to fry his brain. The New Mutants have received invitations to the dance. Storm thinks it would be fine, and Colossus volunteers to act as chaperone. Xavier lets them go.

The morning of the dance, Angel is talking to her horse, and notices all the other horses being removed. A groom explains that they’re being brought to a horse show for a few weeks, but that Butter Rum is staying behind, on Emma’s orders. Angel thinks it’s kind of Emma. That night, Storm and Colossus are at the dance with the Mutants, and chatting with Emma. Sam is ogling Angel, and Roberto shoves him at her. They’re terrible dancers and keep stepping on each other’s feet. So they go for a walk, instead, thanks to Emma planting the thought in their heads.

Angel tells Sam about herself. Her father apparently specialized in nuclear power plants. Though we don’t know what the hell that even means. It meant they traveled around a lot, for some reason. She tells Sam about the ‘M’ in her palm, and he notices he has one, too. Then they kiss. Aw, young love. Emma telepathically interrupts by telling Angel she’s putting Sam at risk, and Angel flees to the stable, which then catches fire. Angel leads Butter Rum out, but the horse collapses.

Emma goes to comfort Angel, even though Emma was the one who started the fire and killed the horse. Gasp! Who could’ve predicted that!

Another pretty good issue. I still think that grooming her as an assassin is a weird idea – I feel like cooking someone from the inside would actually be really conspicuous, since the victim would likely scream a lot, and an autopsy would reveal pretty quickly what happened. If anyone knew about Firestar, she’d be a pretty immediate suspect. And since anonymity is key anyway, it’s not like getting someone who can slip poison into a drink would be any less effective. So that’s a bit of a weird plan.

However. The way Emma is grooming Firestar is cool. It’s pretty effective, thanks to the sci-fi technology of a bracelet that makes someone hallucinate. Emma is pretty clearly evil here – this story takes place before she starts to become more nuanced. Angel herself can get pretty mired in self-pity at times, but she’s a teenager, so there’s nothing unusual about that. Wilshire’s art is good. Nothing special, but it works. Overall, this comic is enjoyable. Still, it’s probably actually one of the weakest comics of the month – Marvel was putting out a lot of great stories at the time. For example, Frank Miller was still in the middle of Daredevil Born Again. Thor finished up the Throg story. John Byrne was still writing Fantastic Four, and had started Incredible Hulk. Gruenwald was writing Captain America and Squadron Supreme. Peter David was doing Web of Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man. Lots of great books coming out back then. Firestar was good, but not a classic.

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