Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

42 – A Firestar Is Born

Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 2/1/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.
Art by David Wynne. Prints and cards available until 2/1/2015 in the shop, or contact David for the original.

In which Miles has a brush with nostalgia; Angelica Jones is secretly a Thomas Hardy protagonist; it doesn’t need to make sense if it’s awesome; and Emma Frost really needs a mustache to twirl.


  • Trevor Fitzroy
  • Firestar (Angelica Jones)
  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
  • Nostalgia
  • X-Men, if sometimes the main characters were bears
  • Inexplicably Australian Wolverine
  • Ms. Lion
  • Marvel Divas
  • Sudsy fun
  • Superhero sitcoms
  • Firestar #1-4
  • Basic palmistry
  • Generic mean girls
  • Coen Brothers YA
  • The reinvention of Emma Frost
  • Some epic gaslighting
  • Butter Rum
  • Mutivac
  • Miles’s favorite star-crossed ‘ship
  • Why Thunderbird I has stayed dead
  • Contextual definitions of “organic”

NEXT WEEK: Secret Wars

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  1. I love that the last three episodes of story-recap have all been about New Warriors-related characters. 🙂

    You two mention Firestar potentially encountering Emma Frost again, now that Emma’s a hero. That’s actually happened two times already, in Generation X #59 (while Firestar was on the Avengers) and in Young Allies #6 (when Emma tried to talk Firestar into moving to Utopia). I haven’t read the Young Allies one, but from what I remember of the Generation X one, Firestar basically told Emma that if she ever heard about Emma mistreating her current students, Firestar would come after her.

        1. Ryan, it would be Jay, now. Same person, came out as transgender some episodes before 100 and changed their name.

          I didn’t even know Emma had a sister.

          1. Kinda infrequent.

            But yes Emma’s family are NOT nice people. Her father’s an abusive monster (when Emma was involved in a ransom scheme he told them “do what you will she’s dead to me.”)

            Her sister Adrienne is also a monster. She gets Emma’s kids to claim the katana she used to murder her husband…..so that she could relive the moment. She also caused the breakup of Generation X. After Synch died to a bomb she set up

            1. There was also her other sister, Cordelia , and her brother Christian.

              Don’t know much about Cordelia (Not sure how much there is to know) but she’s manipulative and has tried her hand and mutant power games, without much success.

              Christian was the only one in the family Emma ever actually LIKED. He was also the only one to walk away from their father and mother. Christian is not a mutant and is gay. He refused to give in to his father’s attempts to make him dump his boyfriend and be “normal”, but then had to deal with his father basically crapping all over his life (having the boyfriend be framed and deported etc). Christian turned to substance abuse and was basically institutionalised by his father and hasn’t been seen in a long, long time, which seems a shame.

    1. I first became aware of Firestar as a member of Busiek’s Avengers (I think I did see one episode of Amazing Friends, but I didn’t know who she was). I loved her, and it was great seeing her improve her confidence and her mood in the more optimistic, less misery-based atmosphere of that Avengers team. (Unfortunately a side effect of the arc is it made Justice look like a dweeb, which he really wasn’t on the New Warriors.) When they get to the famous Ultron story, she’s totally believable fighting side-by-side with the big heroes, and Black Panther even takes time out from his robot fighting to comment on what a great Avenger she is.

      And then of course no writer ever used her as an Avenger again, for reasons I still can’t understand.

      I’ll stick up a little for Amazing Friends, having no nostalgic attachment to it. Yes, it’s a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon, but it has some of the same cheesy vitality as JEM, which was written and drawn by the same Marvel animation people. I enjoy it more than the X-Men cartoon.

    2. The Young Allies issue was mostly Emma giving her sales pitch for Utopia and Angelica throwing shade at her about EVEN NOW trying to manipulate her into doing what Emma wants her to do. Just with sincerity and compliments instead of horse explosion and isolation. The issue actually ends with them on the best terms possible (they are not exactly “good” terms).

  2. Spiderman and His Amazing Friends was my first introduction to the X-Men! This brought back so many memories. And watching it 30 some years later… I still love Kitty Pride. Thanks!

  3. Mutivac is a dumb-sounding name, but I expect it’s meant to be a take on the early computer UNIVAC (which was awesome technology for its time, but is now eclipsed by the gadgets that we all carry around in our pockets).

  4. Marvel Diva’s promise of “Sex and the City with superheroes” was actually done well five years before with the Luna Brothers’ Ultra from Image. Highly recommended if that kind of story appeals, even if it has nothing to do with X-Men.

  5. Also, random side-note? I keep thinking about the terrible non-consentual creepshow it’d be if Mastermind and Empath ever teamed up…


  6. After listening to this podcast, I watched “A Firestar is Born”. It was pretty much as I remembered it, but I had a lot of unintended laughs watching it.

    I swear Bonnie makes Empath look like a nice human being by comparison. Seriously. Girl needs help.

      1. How about Kymellians? Are Kymellians okay?

        (…Are the Kymellians and Korbinites related? Or are they two completely different varieties of space-horse?)

        1. They’re presumably not related because Korbinites aren’t really a space-horse race. They needed a champion, so they did a bunch of engineering to make Bill more equine. Apparently Korbinites think horses are badass.

          The early experiments giving Bill a cough and making him yell a lot were failures, as they only made him more hoarse.

          1. IIRC Korbinites think horses are bloody terrifying. Bill was designed to have the most frightening appearance they could think of, in order to hopfully to impress the bad guys. It was one of the poignant aspects of Bill’s transformation in that he gave up everything to became the Korbinites greatest hero, but he saw their expressions each and every time they looked at him, and there was always fear there, always (Which was why he was so grateful to be given the transformation magic that Thor had formerly used to transform into Donald Blake.

  7. Did Rachel see a horse beat a clown to death as a child?

    Here’s my thing about Emma Frost: I started buying X-Men month-to-month in the late Dave Cockrum era, and the idea of kidnappy, brainwashy, murdery Emma Frost got stuck in my head as a more or less permanent fixture of the X-Men universe. I stopped reading X-Men a few years later, and I gave up comics entirely in the 1990s. I started picking up comics again around 2006. When I picked up my first issue of X-Men (I forget which exact title) in nearly twenty years and I saw Emma Frost, still dressed like a hostess at a sex club and talking like a super villain, but now apparently a member of the X-Men and sleeping with Scott Summers. I looked at it and said to myself, “Nope.”

    I was still familiar enough with comics to know that, over time, whoever had had charge of the X-Men had done whatever they had to do to make her non-kidnappy, non-brainwashy and non-murdery. But making myself comfortable with her in the book was going to need a lot of back-issue hunting, and since I never actually liked the character that much, it seemed like more effort than it was worth. I haven’t been back to the X-Men since.

    1. No, but mad props for the Leverage reference.

      I am pro-Emma Frost, and soundly of the opinion that she is sufficiently awesome to be worth giving a second chance. FWIW, my narrative background was pretty similar to yours, and she is, at this point, one of my favorite characters.

  8. Thank you once again X-Perts, for a hilarious stroll down memory lane. Best S-M&hAF moment in my life that had been forgotten after all these years: At age 7 I would sneak into my little brother’s room while he slept, and he’d awaken to me staring off into nothingness going “Swaaaaaarm. Swaaaaaarm. Swaaaaaarm.” Looking back now, kind of a dickish move, but his reaction was funny as hell at the time.

  9. It might be worth pointing out now that the Ultimate universe had a short arc which alluded to SM&HAF, mostly by being named Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. There’s no Angelica Jones, so no ponies are exploded in the course of the story. Instead it was Liz Allan, a character that had been in the book since the beginning, whose powers started to activate right around the time Bobby and Kitty were hanging around.

  10. Speaking of the Spiderman and his Amazing Friends Universe, was there a Jean Grey in that Universe? I keep thinking that they had Jean Grey in the “Capture of Captain America’ and “Triumph of the Green Goblin”, but those were the Spiderman cartoon, not the “Amazing Friends” cartoon. In the episodes where we see X-Men Flashbacks, we never see a Jean Grey. We even have the 4 original boy X-Men kind of recruit Angelica, but we don’t have any Marvel Girl with them.

    With this premise, I always wondered if this was the reason, let’s say, that we have Thunderbird still around (maybe Firestar was able to fly out and catch him at the right time in this reality). Although does this mean that Angelica will be the one to gain the powers of the Phoenix at some point?

    I remember that SahAF was my introduction to all things X-Men. I loved Bobby and thought that spin-off mini-series in the 80s was fun when I was a kid. The same thing with Firestar. That series got me into the X-Men Marvel Universe RPG (with that awesome Children of the Atom sourcebook and the “Days of Future’s Past” modules where you basically got to play a concentration camp survivors in bondage gear battling Sentinels…nope…didn’t think that was strange part of my childhood until I wrote that little bit), and eventually into X-Factor and the Australian X-Men.

    1. Jean Grey appears briefly in the “Origin of Iceman” episode. Unlike the later appearances of the X-Men, that episode features a relatively faithful cameo by the original team in their black and yellow uniforms, looking just like they did in the early comics. Although Scott uses his optic blast to turn a dumbbell into powder, so it’s not exactly impeccable.

  11. Waaaaay late for the party, but also worth mentioning perhaps is the actual first post-mini-series confrontation with Emma, 1991’s New Warriors #10, where she brought the Hellions, including the first appearances of Bevatron and Beef to confront Angelica’s then current team, the New Warriors.

    Apparently the NW’s had hacked the Hellfire Club’s computers and Emma wanted to know why, and also to try and get Firestar back. The Warrior’s inevitably eventually evil mentor Tai (slightly problematic Vietnamese mystic crone) and Emma resolve to have the teams duel, with the victor being allowed to “keep” Firestar. IIRC (and it’s ben a long time since I’ve pulled this issue from the longbox so I might be in error) the Hellions ultimately win, but Firestar tells both Emma and Tai to bog off (I’m paraphrasing slightly) and she’ll stay wherever the heck SHE chooses.

    It was a satisfying, done-in-one little issue, with a few nice Hellion moments.

  12. Okay, disregar previou comment regarding Wolverine’s inexplicable Australian accent. I will henceforth refrain from commenting until I catch up.

  13. WAY late for this one. I know Miles is super excited for Sam/Angelica, but I totally noped at that pairing because at that point in the story Sam’s involved with Lila Chaney! I can totally buying Lila Chaney demanding an open relationship but even though I can see Sam being fine that she’s not monogamous, I can’t see him as anything but exclusive to her.

  14. Wow. That publicity description for Marvel Divas is an appalling embarassment. If I’d read that before it came out, I probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it. (Although I’m a big fan of Hellcat, so I might still have bought it.) But the miniseries itself, much like the released-at-the-same-time mini Models Inc., was absolutely nothing like the description. I remember enjoying it at the time, but should really dig it out for a fresh assessment.

    It also bears mentioning that the writer (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) is a gay man whose work doesn’t generally fit into the regular “dudes writing women” stereotype referred to in the podcast.

  15. This episode gave me an idea for a new limited series:

    Hellfire Incarnate – the bodyguard rises

    The Phoenix force, on the quest for a new warrior of justice, resurrects Randal the body guard, along with Butter Rum the horse – to serve as Randal’s cosmic steed.

    Initially, Randal and Butter Rum have one clear quest. Rapid and radical revenge on Emma Frost. They quickly achieve their goal

    But this misadventure fails to quench their thirst for justice. They set about enthusiastically eliminating all evil doers on earth.

    Before long, they are corrupted by power. Every hero who stands in their way is destroyed. Eventually, the remnant super begins of earth realise that only two worthy warriors have a chance of defeating the body guard and his steed – Janet and Harvey.

    The two new champions of earth recognise that their friend and colleague Randal has lost touch with his humanity. With the aid of Longshot and his weird object telepathy, they gather together all the gifts that Randal gave and revived during Hellfire club secret santas.

    They present them to the ravishing Randal. His blood lust subsides as he remembers that he was once loved, appreciated. He wasn’t always a fiery, cosmic being of vengeance. He was Randal: Hellfire club bodyguard and co-chair of the Christmas committee. Even now, he has a choice. He uses the phoenix force to resurrect all those whose lives he extinguished. His own life, is the price he pays. With his final, dying breath he whispers to Harvey and Janet: “it’s better this way – quick, clean, final. A part of me, will be in every Christmas jumper competition forever.”

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