As the winner of the 2022 X-Men fan vote, fan-favorite character Firestar has joined the mutant team for the first time. And while there has been controversy surrounding his membership because he was chosen without volunteering, the longtime mutant is now officially an X-Man.
Now, in the December 21 X-Men Annual 2022, Firestar features a story from writer Steve Foxe and artist Andrea DiVito, which explores his place on the team, focusing on his experience as a hero with the New Warriors and the Avengers in the past. to be a member of the X-Men.
Newsarama spoke with Foxe ahead of the issue’s publication to discuss his own fandom of Firestar, and how he will fit into the X-Men and this featured story, as well as the reveal of the new inside pages.
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Newsarama: Steve, to begin with, were you a fan of Firestar before you picked up X-Men Annual #1? For many readers, he’s a cult favorite, but he’s been out of the spotlight for a long time. How do you relate to him as a character?
Steve Fox: I am a long time fan of Firestar! I’m a child of the 90s, and most of my early Marvel education came from VHS tapes of various cartoons, including Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, where Angelica made her debut. I was also the perfect age to immerse myself in New Warriors, and the George Pérez/Kurt Busiek Avengers was my introduction to Earth’s Greatest Heroes. Firestar and I go back.
The X-Men were (and are!) my first favorite in comics, so the mutant characters that weren’t particularly associated with Xavier and co. he always fascinated me. I liked the idea that some people with X genes went into the wider Marvel Universe and had completely unrelated events, occasionally crossing over into the X realm.
In fact, the antagonist of this issue is a mutant who has almost never interacted with any of the X-books…
Nrama: With that in mind, this is one of Firestar’s few X-Men appearances after decades in the Marvel Universe. What are your goals when focusing on his position on the team?
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Fox: Like Polaris before him, I think any character that makes it into a fan-voted book is going to cause a lot of controversy and debate as we’re all looking for our favorites. Heck, I voted for Marrow and Monet! The latter is probably obvious if you read the X-Men Unlimited series I did with Alan Robinson and Carlos Lopez. And since Angelica joined the team before such a big event, I thought that this year was overdue to cut back on the big plans and focus on her unique role on the team a little.
Usually, the “odd man” on the X-Men team is a young mutant who graduates to the major leagues, or perhaps an old enemy who fights for the side of good. Firestar is neither – he’s very experienced and ethical, he hasn’t written his superhero hours yet with the X-Men.
Obviously, he has huge fan support or he wouldn’t have won the election. But I think the fact that most of his print history isn’t on mutant teams makes some readers hesitant to embrace him as an X-Man, even though he’s never had stories of self-loathing or resistance to societal change, despite having a mutation that almost killed him.
So this is an opportunity to focus on Firestar in action as a member of the X-Men, explore how other people in Krakoa might feel seeing someone like him on a team that includes the mighty X-Men, and explore how Firestar relates to being. at the premiere of X-Squad at a time when mutants are more visible – and controversial – than ever.
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Nrama: Firestar has more experience as an Avenger than an X-Man. How does his completely different superhero career affect his attitude toward the X-Men here?
Fox: I think we’ve seen some of this with Gerry Duggan’s take on Angelica already, where she’s probably used to following orders from a leader who’s confident but doesn’t really know how the X-Men work with less rigid leadership. He also probably has very little experience saving a world that hates and fears him, as his tenure on the Avengers came at a time when the team was very public and full of beloved members.
But remember, too, that Angelica’s experience is not limited to being a rookie in the Avengers: she was also among her colleagues in the New Warriors when they all had a chip on their shoulders and a lot to prove, and she was something of. heads of state and Young Allies before focusing on a solo career, so he has been shown to be able to handle most team dynamics.
I think the conflict with Firestar stems from his ability as a hero, which has never been questioned, and more from why he has or has not chosen to remain among the ever-changing community. What? has it been a choice, or has he just followed opportunities to do the best he could at any given time?
Just as there are readers in the real world questioning his place on the team, there will be other mutants who wonder aloud (and even harshly!) if Firestar deserves to be one of Krakoa’s iconic ambassadors. Can he prove them wrong? Does he even need? That’s what we’re getting around in this issue.
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Nrama: This year will be Firestar’s first appearance on X-Men. Where does he stand with the team going into this story?
Fox: One of my favorite scenes in recent memory is Magik throwing Firestar in front of the Avengers Mansion, so there’s some mild abuse from his teammates. But this is not a squad of combat-prone mutants. Emma Frost endorsed Firestar for the team, and that alone will be enough for most of Angelica’s fellow X-Men. Plus, she has her friend Iceman to help her feel more welcome and cheer her through any awkward situations.
If anything, I’d say some of his teammates still hate him. Synch, Forge, Havok — they don’t have much head-to-head experience with him. But he’s not even the only former Avenger on this team – Havok had a controversial run in with Cap and his teammates., Magik was a Savage Avenger and of course has no qualms teaming up with mutant magic users, and even Scott was. Champion thanks to time travel.
Besides – fighting a judgmental Heaven and an alien attack at the same time is the definition of making friends in the trenches. In the short time they’ve been on the field together, Firestar’s fellow X-Men have seen that he can deliver when the very fate of the world is on the line. It might make them best friends for life, but I don’t think they doubt that he has their back.
Nrama: With that in mind, we here at Newsarama are fans of the classic Spider-Man and his incredible Friends. Are you taking advantage of having Firestar and Iceman in the same place for this story?
Fox: Just like me love Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, I’m always worried about re-watching the old ones. You have to play hits in superhero cartoons, but if you only play hits, you run the risk of becoming a movie band.
We’ve had some really fun moments for the three of them together, especially during the Iceman series, and you’ll definitely see Angelica and Bobby’s friendship embraced in that issue, but I wanted to make sure I was pushing Angelica forward here and keeping her. its in new situations and new trends.
As teased by Stefano Caselli’s excellent cover, Firestar actually spends most of the issue with Cyclops, which isn’t a head-to-head pairing we’ve seen much of so far.
But a leader needs to know his team, and Firestar is the biggest question mark Scott has right now. That doesn’t mean we won’t see the full team in action, though
– and maybe there’s a web slinging cameo!
Nrama: Most importantly, what do you hope readers will learn about Firestar from this year?
Fox: Well, now that I’ve seen all the finished art, I’m excited for readers to enjoy thirty pages of Andrea DiVito and Sebastian Cheng absolutely crushing it. I threw a lot of things at Andrea for a team fight in this issue, and she knocked every single one of them out. We’re sending the X-Men around the world (and beyond) and pitting them against a mix of familiar foes and characters they may never have shared page space with, and it all looks fantastic. Andrea has been a Marvel staple for a while now and I think she’s ready to keep getting bigger and better.
As for Firestar, I hope readers will come away with a new perspective on who he is as a hero and what motivates him to stick with the X-Men despite his lack of commitment to the area. Emma was not forcing Angelica to accept the role. No one would want him to join the team. He was pushed, but he rises to the challenge. As we root for our favorite candidates and cheer and tease the various superhero teams like a football match, Firestar is the ultimate superhero, from New Warrior to Avenger to Young Ally to, yes, X-Man. And I can’t wait to see what he does with that opportunity.
Will Firestar find a place among the best members of the X-Men forever?