Apr 19, 2014

Firelord: Comics' Biggest Loser

I've been reading comics for a long time, and one of the first comics I ever collected was Silver Surfer. And one of the first things you learn reading Silver Surfer is this:

Firelord Is Comics' Biggest Loser
by Duy

Firelord is Pyreus Kril, a native of the planet Xandar. A graduate of the Nova Corps Academy, he's supposed to be a competent fighter. Pair that up with him being a herald of Galactus, just like the Silver Surfer, which imbues him with the Power Cosmic, and he should really be unstoppable. I mean, the Power Cosmic is right up there with Mjolnir and Silver Age Superman as "capable of whatever the plot needs," yeah? It grants the user superstrength, superspeed, the ability to function in space, the ability to transmute stuff, and all other sorts of powers that makes it sound like it was put together by a five-year-old.

And yet, he sucks. I wish I could find a better choice of words, but there really isn't any. He sucks. Firelord is an incompetent fighter. Here's him getting his ass handed to him by a souped-up Nova in New Warriors #42. And sure, Nova at this point is probably unstoppable, but no one else in this entire story gets their ass handed to them.

Here's Firelord getting called in to be part of the cavalry in Infinity Gauntlet #5.

They all get wiped out, though, so when Dr. Strange needs to bring them back, he brings back only three out of those five. Okay, I can see Strange not bringing Doom back, since Doom is evil and would probably be out for himself, but Firelord being omitted? The only reason for leaving him out would be because he'd ruin everything, right? Having him around is like negative points.

They got Starfox to replace Firelord. Starfox, whose power is being
really persuasive. And also, being a sleazebag. That's gotta hurt.

Recently, I was reading the Thor vs. Thanos trade paperback, and I was describing it to my nephew, and I said that Thanos has, in his corner, Mangog, with the power and rage of a billion billion souls. Thor, meanwhile, had Firelord, and my nephew laughed, because what, they needed to make things harder for Thor by teaming him up with Firelord?

Firelord's actually pretty useful in this one, though, mostly by staying out of the way.

"I can't possibly be of any direct help! At all!"

Here's Firelord from Silver Surfer #71, getting overwhelmed by a bunch of tiny aliens, from which the Surfer has to save him.

Several issues later, he's under mind control during the Infinity Crusade, and he has to fight the Surfer, who just kind of slaps him around.

Of course, the best example of how terrible Firelord is, is in Amazing Spider-Man #270, where Spider-Man just beats the crap out of him.

This isn't even Firelord's fault. A bunch of humans got on his case because he was eating pizza, which really was more of a reason for him to win the fight or at least not get his ass kicked, but no, he lost, pretty badly.

Lots of overly serious comics fans spend an inordinate amount of time talking about who would beat whom in a fight and assign rules to their arguments like "Bloodlust on" or assign acronyms like "CIS" for "character-induced stupidity" to disregard any character flaws, thus distilling every character to a mere collection of powers and arbitrary stats. Those fans like to take this story down and cite it as an example of bad writing, the argument being that Spider-Man shouldn't have been able to lay a hand on Firelord at all and that it was just an overreaching example of Spider-Man getting built up.

And you know what? Maybe they're right. I can kind of see where they're coming from... if Firelord were anything other than an incompetent, incapable, altogether terrible wielder of the Power Cosmic. No amount of power is going to make up for being an idiot.

Let's fast forward 1000 years into the future, where Firelord is the Protector of the Universe and Nikki from the future Guardians of the Galaxy has a crush on him.

 Wait, is he saying we have all been guilty of thinking we love someone because of an ideal we've built in our heads, or is he saying that we've all been guilty of loving Firelord because he's the best-looking man we ever saw?

Damn, Firelord, you're not just a loser. You're also a jackass!

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