Episode Title: A Firestar is Born
It seems like just two weeks ago we started season two. Actually, it was only two weeks ago. Remember, this season only added three episodes to the rotation for Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Since we’ve already covered the origin stories of both Spidey and Iceman, that just leaves one more to go. This one, though, doesn’t have any roots on the comic book page. Since Firestar was a character original to this series, this origin was new territory. Here we go with A Firestar is Born.
Our story begins with Firestar and Iceman all excited because it is the day of a big X-Men reunion. Unfortunately, Spidey isn’t invited to this little shindig…mutants only. No sooner do Iceman and Firestar take off, though, than Spidey has a run in with an unstoppable mass known as the Juggernaut. In fact, the baddie ends up causing a building to collapse on top of the web head, trapping him beneath the rubble.
Meanwhile, at the mutant reunion, Firestar and Iceman get to see their old pals Angel, Cyclops, and, of course, Professor X. They also meet two “new” members of the team, Storm and Wolverine. Storm ends up asking Firestar about how she joined up with the X-Men and it’s time for an extended flashback.
We see how the young Angelica grew up in a poor household, raised by a single dad. Throughout her childhood she was often picked on, dubbed “Angelica Jinx” by a nasty rich kid named Bonnie. Occasionally, Angelica struggled to keep her powers in check. She even causes a disaster at the formal school dance by creating enough heat to set off the sprinkler system. Later, when Bonnie tries to frame Angelica for the theft of a school trophy, Firestar is finally born to set things right. Right about the time we learn about Firestar joining the X-Men, Juggernaut interrupts the story. It’s up to the X-Men to stop him…with a little help from Spidey once he gets out from under that crumbled building.
Watching this episode I was struck by how Firestar’s origin story has a little bit of a Carrie vibe to it. She’s picked by the richer, more popular girls, and is struggling to come to terms with her powers. Not to mention the fact that there is a prom scene where her powers end up causing problems. There’s no pigs blood and nobody dies…but hey, it’s a Saturday morning cartoon.
Getting another chance to see more of the X-Men in action is also a fun aspect of this episode. During Firestar’s flashback sequence we see her join in a fight with Magneto (which she for some reason pronounces “Mag-NET-o”) and we also get a glimpse of a battle with a Sentinel. However, a strangely distracting element of the X-Men scenes is the voice casting for some of the other mutants. Cyclops is given the most ridiculous overly-heroic sounding voice I think I’ve ever heard in a cartoon. For some reason, Wolverine, is given an Australian accent. I guess it’s somewhat prophetic considering that an Aussie has been playing the role for the last 15 years.
It felt like this episode spent a bit longer on the flashback sequence than the two previous episodes, so the Juggernaut storyline feels really abbreviated. It also felt like the animation style was slightly different for this episode. A few sequences felt like they had a bit of a manga influence happening. I’m not saying the animation was bad, just different. Overall though, the producers do a pretty solid job creating an origin story for Firestar and I can’t complain about getting more mutant action.
Well, that raps up the short season two. Next time we’ll do a combined overview of the first two seasons before moving on to the third and final go round for the Spider Friends.