Krakoa’s newest old hero Firestar takes the spotlight in X-Men Annual #1, forcing her to face her own worst enemy: herself.
As the winner of the most recent X-Men election, Angelica Jones —AKA Firestar— hasn’t exactly gotten much to do with the team since then. This happened with Polaris last year as well, but when the last slot on a team is “TBD” because the creators of an in-progress story arc know they’re adding a new character soon but not specifically which character, mild sidelining is to be expected. That’s where this year’s X-Men Annual comes in, finally giving Firestar her moment to shine (radiate?) like her fans have been clamoring for since the Hellfire Gala.
Firestar was an interesting choice for the team given her fraught past with not just the X-Men but the Hellions as well, saying nothing of her separate involvement with the Avengers, and writer Steve Foxe digs into this idea almost immediately. We find Angelica suffering from imposter syndrome and the snickering of her old (if brief) teammates from the other mutant school when she suddenly takes initiative for a field mission with the X-Men; an initiative that soon proves more demanding than she expected. As one would expect, shenanigans ensue.
The plotting of X-Men Annual #1 is, admittedly, a little simple —the X-Men go fight baddies— but as alluded to above, the hook of this issue is the Firestar spotlight that her fans have been desperate for. She’s not a character who usually gets a ton of focus, so when she does pop up somewhere and is somewhat relevant to the greater goings-on, naturally people take notice. Writer Foxe clearly has a fondness for her as well, giving her a rare triumphant moment when her character is historically wanting for those. Enthusiasm for an underserved character can really do a lot of heavy-lifting as evidenced by this issue, so with the added benefit of Andrea di Vito’s gorgeous art, this one is an easy recommendation for fans of Firestar’s and the X-Men in general. Plus, you’ll get a glimpse at a late-breaking contender for 2022’s weirdest comic book aside: the Zombie X-Babies! What else could you ask for?