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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Dang, if this girl had some connection to Shang-Chi, she'd have tied in to all three of this month's theme weeks!

Angelica Jones soars into battle harnessing the power of microwaves to combat evil as Firestar.

That's "the power of microwaves" as in the type of energy, not the small kitchen appliance. She's not just, like, hucking microwave ovens at villains from the rooftops. Though that would be a pretty effective way of detering crime: admit it, you'd think twice about robbing a bank or stealing a car if you knew there was a better-than-average chance that somebody was going to swing a 55 lb. block of metal at you. Even if the sharp corners don't get you, that's just a heavy lump of steel! She wouldn't even have to throw it very hard, just handing it to a criminal would be an awkward inconvenience for them that would keep them from criming so much.

Firestar was created for the 1981 Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon when they needed someone to offset Iceman but couldn't use the Human Torch. The show said she'd been an X-Man, but when she was introduced to the comics, it was as a member of Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy (and thus a Hellion, rather than a New Mutant) then after that became a New Warrior and eventually a main line Avenger - 616 Angelica didn't join the X-Men until 2013!

John Romita Sr. was the art director for the cartoon, so he's the one who designed Firestar's costume (and also her civilian identity, which is why she looked 100% exactly like Mary Jane Watson). To tie in with the whole "flame abilities" thing, she wears a yellow jumpsuit with red boots and gloves and orange borders in between. The colors are painted in a jagged manner to look like fire, naturally. She uses the body with the strong hips and the natural tummy, but gets a new chest - not like in the cartoon, where NBC requested her figure get toned down through the seasons, but just because she has a fairly wide collar.

The figure includes two heads. One has the hair down and a mask that's mostly straight lines and simple angles, its simple design being easy to animate; the other has the hair blowing out to the side a bit, and the mask is rounder and has three little points coming off the outer edges, because drawing something on a comic page once is easier than drawing it multiple times on an animation cel. Both heads look pretty awesome, though the popped collar does conflict with the hair when it comes to the neck's range of motion. Plus, the cartoony one has these dark stripes running down it (an attempt at shading?), and that doesn't look too great.

Like so many Marvel Legends ladies, Firestar gets her choice of gesturing hands or fists, and her accessories include those little energy wisps molded in translucent red-orange. But she also gets something better: no, not just the cardboard insert that shows the crime lab Tony Stark built for them; a second character!

Angelica Jones and Bobby Drake weren't the only ones who began rooming with Peter Parker at his aunt's house - there was also Angie's pet dog. NBC's Vice President of Children's Broadcasting, Mickey Dwyer, requested the show add an animal companion, so co-creator Dennis Marks took inspiration from his wife's Llhasa Apso. ("Angelica Jones" was also the name of his ex-girlfriend, so it's a wonder the Spider-Friends didn't fight the evil Dr. Desk Lamp or Typewriter Man.) This is a more comicbooky version of Ms. Lion than the last one we got, white and shaggy with a more realistic sculpt. His only articulation is a balljointed head. Yes, comic Ms. Lion is a boy.

With Firestar, we finally complete the team of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. And if you put Ms. Lion with Lockjaw, Zabu, Redwing, and Lockheed, and we'll only be two charaters short of completing the Pet Avengers. One, if you want to pretend Goose is Hairball the cat. Give us our Throg, Hasbro!

-- 05/31/21

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