Firestar Takes Center Stage: ‘X-Men’ Annual #1 Reviewed

by Tony Thornley

She was a New Warrior and an Avenger, an amazing friend and a diva. In X-Men Annual #1, Firestar finally gets her due as a member of the X-Men and a mutant.

Cover by Stefano Caselli & Federico Blee

Steve Foxe, Andrea Di Vito, Sebastien Chang, and Clayton Cowles dive into Angelica Jones’ head as the X-Men face an unfamiliar foe.

Cyclops can tell Firestar is struggling in her new role. So when she suggests a mission that her skill set and personality is a great fit for, he jumps at the chance to join her. While the rest of the team pops through a unique series of battles, the duo find themselves in over their head against a mutant foe that neither of them expected.

I really enjoyed this issue. Foxe is becoming a great pinch-hitter for the X-Men line, and fits right in with Duggan’s writing style on the series. He takes a character-heavy story, infuses it with a lot of plot without overwhelming it, and then delivers on the character arc it needs. The only thing that didn’t sit right with me was the use of the Hellions in the opening and ending- they were sort of superfluous. Otherwise, this issue was a lot of fun from beginning to end. Angelica grew, she bonded with more than Iceman, and she and Cyclops faced a great mutant villain that the X-Men don’t fight enough.

Something about this story brought out the best in Di Vito. He does fantastic superhero action throughout, something he’s always reliably good at. He creates pages with solid layouts, and good sight throughlines. But one of his weak spots is often character acting, which he does a fantastic job at here. He makes Angelica’s internal struggles clear in her face and her body language. He depicts a Cyclops that is down to Earth and empathetic to his teammate’s struggles. The issue succeeds on those moments, and Di Vito does them all perfectly.

Chang’s color art is very good throughout. It’s fairly straightforward, but he does a magnificent depiction of the tropical storm Scott and Angelica find themselves in. He balances the moody greys just right so it’s not muddy, and allows the action to pop off the page, while still being realistic. Cowles takes exposition heavy moments, and makes sure they don’t overwhelm the story, one of his strongest qualities as a letterer. He makes the dialogue patter feel natural and familiar.

This is a great standalone for anyone wanting to get a window into the book, while also serving as a treat to longtime readers of the series. This is an absolute must read for any current fan of the line.

X-Men Annual #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.


A joyful spotlight on the newest X-Man captures the spirit of the X-Men while showing how good a fit Firestar is. The story is very fun, the art is strong, and it’s a fantastic finished product for any fan.

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