For some strange reason, few X-Men fans know who Angelica Jones is. True, she hasn’t starred in half as many series’ as Cyclops or Wolverine, but the few series’ she has starred in have given her an undeniable spot among the X-Men elite. Angelica first appeared in 1981, during an episode of the animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Her unique ability to generate microwave radiation immediately allowed her to stand out in the crowd of other masked superheroes. After finding success with the character on the show, Marvel decided to introduce her to the comic world, first through UNCANNY X-MEN and then through her first solo series — FIRESTAR.
Within the span of that one short series, Angelica went from being a scared young girl to a powerful mutant, capable of taking down Emma Frost. Unlike most of the X-Men, Angelica didn’t get to learn about her mutant gifts under the gentle (but firm) tutelage of Charles Xavier. Before the Professor could get to her, Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club swooped in, stealing Angelica for their own. At the time, Angelica was naive and susceptible to Emma’s manipulative charm. The mutant telepath mentally abused Angelica through some of the most intense training ever seen in an X-Men comic. Fortunately (or unfortunately for the Hellfire Club), it is ultimately Angelica who gets the last laugh.
In FIRESTAR, Angelica proves to be the kind of character that the X-Men don’t usually feature. She balances weakness and power, naivete and confidence, and, in later series’, sickness and health. I think Firestar gets lost in the mutant crowd sometimes because she’s young and, a lot of readers assume, inexperienced. But what readers don’t always realize is just how powerful and complex Angelica really is. This “girl” had the opportunity to kill Emma Frost and she let her live. She’s more than a teenage superhero. She’s a strong character with a complicated, well-written past and, if Marvel does the right thing, an equally compelling future.