Blackfire (DC Comics)
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|First appearance||New Teen Titans #22 (August 1982)|
|Created by||Marv Wolfman|
Blackfire (Komand'r) is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. She is the older sister of the Teen Titans member Starfire and Omega Men member Ryand'r, the former of which is her archenemy.
Fictional character biography
Komand'r is the firstborn child and eldest daughter of Tamaran's royal family. The first princess born in over a century, she should have been courted and showered with honors. On the day she was born, the Citadel Empire attacked and destroyed the western Tamaranean city of Kysarr and killed three thousand citizens in her name. Though she was in no way at fault for what had happened, Komand'r was, for all time, inextricably linked with that terrible day. To make matters worse, Komand'r was crippled by a childhood illness that left her unable to harness ultraviolet light into energy to fly like most Tamaraneans. Because of Komand'r's naturally grim disposition, a stark contrast to the royal family's generally contented outlook, the subjects of Tamaran hated her. As a result, though first in the line of succession, she was denied her birthright to be the next Crown Princess of Tamaran to maintain the respect and prestige of the royal family. Her privileges, honors, and her royal style and dignity were transferred to her younger sister, Princess Koriand'r (who would later become known as Starfire). Inwardly, Komand'r's rage grew and her resentment turned to hatred for her own world, her people, her family, and lastly her younger sister who, in Komand'r's eyes, made the fateful mistake of being born. Komand'r's hatred continued and intensified when she and her sister were sent, per Tamaran's warlike custom, for warrior training with the Warlords of Okaara. Komand'r's true feelings were exposed when during a sparring exercise she attempted to kill her younger sister. As a result, she was expelled by the Warlords. Humiliated by her own transgression, Komand'r swore vengeance and joined the Citadel, quickly rising through their ranks to become a warrior-maiden fighting against the forces of her own world and, ultimately, her own family.
Komand'r later betrayed her home world with detailed information about Tamaran's planetary defenses to the Citadel. They conquered Tamaran with ease, and the surrender conditions included the enslavement of Koriand'r. Koriand'r was never permitted to return, since that would mean the Citadel would devastate the planet for abrogating the treaty. Komand'r was her sister's master and made the most of her younger sister's bondage with years of horrific servitude and torture. When Kori killed one of her rapists, Komand'r decided to execute her as punishment, but not before the sisters were attacked and captured by the Psions. Psions, largely a species of sadistic scientists, performed a deadly experiment on both of the sisters to see just how much ultraviolet energy their Tamaranian bodies could absorb before exploding from the overload. During the procedure, Komand'r's forces attacked the Psion ship to rescue her and while the Psions were distracted, Kori broke free with her newly developed starbolts, highly destructive blasts of bright green-colored ultraviolet energy, which were a result of the experimentation. Against her better judgment she decided to free Komand'r, who was still absorbing more and more ultraviolet energy. However, far from grateful, Komand'r had struck her younger sister down with the same (but much stronger) lilac-colored ultraviolet energy and had her restrained for later execution. Kori escaped and stole a spaceship to planet Earth, where she met a young group of heroes-Robin, Beast Boy, Bumblebee, Speedy and Kid Flash- and helped form the new Teen Titans.
Komand'r appeared in the Rann-Thanagar War limited series, during which she killed Hawkwoman in her pursuit of a New Tamaran. She formed an uneasy alliance with the surviving players of the war in order to deal with more pressing concerns (Infinite Crisis). She was not seen during the Crisis series itself, but was featured in Hawkgirl and Hawkman comics as well as in JSA: Classified, attempting to kill Hawkman and Hawkgirl in order to further her own plans in the goings on & aftermath of the war. The Hawks defeated Komand'r, after which Hawkman used Psion technology to strip the villainess of her abilities.
Blackfire has later resurfaced in The Outsiders (vol. 3) #31-32 (Infinite Crisis tie-in issues) with her powers already having been restored by the Psions and enhanced to the point of gaining flight. Further along the line in R.E.B.E.L.S. (vol. 2), When Vril Dox moved the planet Rann into the location formally held by Tamaran in the Vega System, Blackfire arrived with her army in attempt to seize the planet for her own people. Dox was able to quickly stop the hostilities, however, and brokered a treaty allowing Blackfire and her people to settle on the uninhabited southern continent of Rann. During these events, Blackfire gained a newfound sense of respect for Dox, realizing his egocentric personality was very similar to her own. The two went on an unofficial date disguised as a diplomatic dinner and after Dox was captured by Starro the Conqueror, Blackfire joined forces with Adam Strange and other members of L.E.G.I.O.N. to rescue him. Blackfire then subsequently claimed Dox as her king consort.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), some people's origins and personalities have been changed to an unknown degree. While not at first refereed to by name, it is said Starfire's sister sold her for the safety of their planet. It is revealed that a parasitic race known as the Blight has taken over Tamaran, their purpose unknown and Koriand'r fears the worst for her sister. Komand'r appears via flashback as her sister talks about their relationship, saying that they rarely get along and that Kori is embittered toward Komand'r and the people of Tamaran for letting her be enslaved. After Kori fought her way free, she was praised as a hero and given a ship named the Starfire by Komand'r, but the rift between the girls was still there. Komand'r appears to a captured Roy Harper and appears to be working with or under the Blight. Roy's capture, however, was revealed to be a mission to rescue Komand'r, as he successfully teleported her back onto the Starfire. Kom and Kori reconcile in a teary conversation as Kori forgivers her sister and the issue ends with the sisters preparing to take back Tamaran by themselves. Kom and Kori fight through the hordes of the Blight with Jason, Roy and a few of the members of Kori's ship. Komand'r is stabbed in the back by a spear thrown by the Blight's leader. Kori's emotions send an energetic shock wave, wiping out everything around her. When the smoke clears she holds the defeated Blight leader. After the battle, Kori is next to the throne and Kom stumbles next to her. She asks Kori to stay, but realizes she cannot. They hug and Kom gives them a ship to get back to Earth.
Powers and abilities
Blackfire is a Tamaranean like her younger sister; her physiology is designed to constantly absorb ultraviolet radiation. The radiation is then converted to pure energy which enabled her incredible feats of strength, speed, durability and the like; all on par or possibly greater than those of Starfire, having fought and bested her many times. This is not the case for flight, however, as she suffered a sickness in her youth which stripped her of this ability, but she found other means of circumventing this handicap. Being of royal blood and having fought in many wars, Komand'r also boasts impressive mortal combat skills superior even to her sibling, be it unarmed or with weaponry on hand, having battled and bested the likes of her own sibling (who is also a veteran warrior) and Thanagarian heroes Kartar Hol, Shayera Thal and Shayera Hol either in single combat or in pairs and win, as well as holding her own against the likes of a weakened Starro in his humanoid form (with some assistance from Starfire). Having undergone the same experiments conducted upon her by the alien Psions, Blackfire too has the ability to release her absorbed energy into incredibly powerful blasts called "starbolts." Hers by comparison, however, are considerably stronger enabling the later to overpower her sister's starbolt energy. For a time Blackfire was stripped of all her powers by Hawkman using the same technology the Psions used in their experimentation upon her. Even without these strengths Komand'r is still a political activist and capable leader, being Queen of Tamaran she has access to a great many facilities, be it governmental or military in nature. Like any good politician, Blackfire is a skilled manipulator, able to utilize fear and misdirection to her advantage; even forging alliances with others despite her incredibly sociopathic nature.
When her natural abilities were restored in full, however, she not only regained all the Tamranean powers she initially lost, Blackfire even gained a capacity she lacked, namely faster-than-light aviary travel. This accommodates her resilience against heat, radiation and the harsh vacuum of outer space coupled with a solar powered self-sustenance eliminating the need to eat, drink, sleep or an atmosphere to breathe, which enables the evil queen to travel interstellar distances unaided, though she can take in sustenance if she desires too. She also has a unique ability her counterpart does not, which is the active absorption of stellar energies to further empower herself, even drawing off new abilities from another person, like when she drew energy directly from Starfire emulating her omni-directional energy burst; due to her greater stellar energy absorption abilities, however, Blackfire can recover faster than her sister when she uses her powers in such a way. Blackfire, like all Tamaraneans, can assimilate languages through physical contact with another person and is more fluent in the English language of humans than Koriand'r. She also does not need to eat or drink; though she can if unusually low on ultraviolet energy.
In both animated shows, Blackfire can project her lilac-colored ultraviolet energy reserves as optic blasts, revealed to be facet received after her changes phase, in the episode Betrothed she had come into possession of a mystical artifact dubbed the Jewel of Charta, which greatly magnified her abilities tens of times greater, turning her normally lilac-colored "blackbolts" a bright red. Her enhanced durability and invulnerability were amplified as well, to the point of withstanding a barrage of Starfire's bright green starbolts and appear unscathed.
She is also a master manipulator and deceiver, capable of using kind and friendly words to achieve her vile goals.
In other media
- Blackfire appears in the Teen Titans animated series, voiced by Hynden Walch (the voice actress of Starfire in the same series). In the series, this version is depicted as a young woman, yet is shown to be a few years older than her sister Starfire. In contrast to the other Tamaraneans shown on the series, all of whom have auburn or brown hair and bright green eyes with green sclera, Blackfire is shown to have black hair with purple streaks, and purple eyes with white sclera - likely a reference to her comic counterpart being born deformed by Tamaranean standards. She possesses superhuman strength, durability, reflexes, agility, endurance, FTL flight (a natural Tamaranian ability she lacked in the comics), as well as the ability to generate bright lilac-colored bolts of ultraviolet energy from her hands that are quite powerful and destructive, which are called "blackbolts". In a contrast with her comic book depiction, Blackfire has the natural ability to fly faster-than-light through the air at will. Presumably, she has all of the same abilities as Starfire, as the two are quite evenly matched in combat. Her clothes in the series are quite similar to Starfire's as seen in the prequel episode "Go!", but Starfire's was purple; whereas Blackfire's outfit is black and Starfire's skin showed while Blackfire's is covered by a metal plating of sorts. Blackfire's debut appearance came in the first-season episode "Sisters", where Blackfire comes to Earth to visit Starfire. However, it is soon revealed that Blackfire is actually an infamous galactic criminal, and she has actually come to Earth in an attempt to frame her younger sister for her crimes. Fortunately, her plan was thwarted and the result ended in an epic fight between sisters. Their battle is interrupted when Blackfire is arrested by Centauri police forces. In Episode 29 "Betrothed", Blackfire is revealed to have "got bored" and escaped galactic jail, and in control of Tamaran as the Empress. She used her authority to have Starfire married to a swamp alien in return for the magical Jewel of Charta, under the guise that Tamaran would be destroyed if Starfire did not comply. The Teen Titans soon discover that the elder sister's plan is a hoax, and Starfire proceeds to challenge Blackfire to a duel for the Tamaranean throne. The Jewel of Charta was shown to greatly enhance Blackfire's abilities (turning her starbolts from lavender to red at the time), until Starfire took the jewel from her sister by force and crushed it. After Blackfire was defeated by Starfire, Blackfire is then forced into exile. Blackfire hasn't been seen for the remainder of the show.
- The New Teen Titans animated short "Blackfire's Babysitter" depicts Blackfire as having quadruplets with the swamp alien she had attempted to force Starfire into marrying, but the animated short was created as a joke and is not considered canon.
- Blackfire also appears in the animated series Teen Titans Go!, again voiced by Hynden Walch. She first appears in the Season 2 premiere "Mr. Butt". After getting into trouble with the Galactic Police again, Blackfire seeks refuge with Starfire. After Starfire gave Blackfire delighted hugs, Blackfire is introduced to the rest of the Teen Titans, to which her little sister's teammates took an immediate disliking to her. After Blackfire flirts with Robin, the Titans try to tell Starfire that Blackfire was one of the most wanted criminals. Starfire then claims that she was going to give Blackfire one more chance, but if Blackfire crushed Starfire's sisterly feelings once more, a thoroughly enraged Starfire would destroy her. After Blackfire grudgingly does 'sisterly stuff' with Starfire (making Starfire look exactly like her), the Galactic Police find Starfire (dressed as Blackfire), and take her prisoner where Starfire, both heartbroken and revenge-torn, swears to destroy Blackfire once and for all. Blackfire is next seen silently watching Robin work out, while the Boy Wonder does not (but eventually does) notice, much to Blackfire's pleasure. After Blackfire tells Robin 'Did anyone tell you that you have a nice butt, Robin', Robin sees Starfire is gone but Blackfire is there, and angrily demands for Blackfire to tell where Starfire is. When Blackfire tells him to 'Relax, Mr. Butt', the Titans see that Blackfire was a horrible older sister. Cyborg gives her a list of items to pick up, because she was going to 'Sister School'. After learning to listen to a sister's problems (listening to Beast Boy whine and yelling to 'man up'), how to hug a sister (she refuses to hug the other Titans yet eagerly gives Robin a long seductive hug which Robin calls bad), and how to live with a sister (the Titans dress up as Starfire and pester Blackfire), Blackfire feels guilt for her horrible actions toward her younger sister, and becomes a better older sister. In the midst of this, a thoroughly enraged and revenge-torn Starfire breaks into Titans Tower, bent on destroying Blackfire once and for all. Blackfire tries to help with sisterly loving actions, but Starfire makes it clear (after punching Robin, causing Beast Boy to say 'Mr. Butt, are you okay?') that she would not fall for that again. Starfire slams Blackfire through many buildings (barely missing a window washer) and tears up a long stretch of street using her head before slamming her through a dress shop. Blackfire finally gets her sister to stop momentarily by showing the doll that she had stolen from Starfire as a five-year-old child, and apologizing for it, also stating 'I've changed, now.'. Starfire, momentarily touched by the apology, remembers herself, disintegrates the doll and says "So have I", before shooting Blackfire with a bright green laser eye blast. Later, in Titans Tower, Blackfire and Starfire appear in the main lounge, causing the Titans to jump up and ask how it went. After Blackfire faints from exhaustion and pain, Starfire cheerfully states that they had "worked things out". In Season Three, Blackfire made her second appearance in "I'm the Sauce" as one of the non-speaking villains who played seven-up with the Titans, after which she had chocolate milk with the others. In "Bottle Episode", she appeared in a brief flashback.
In "The Titans Show", she was one of the many villains who had watched the antics of the Titans' from afar. She fought Starfire in a one-on-one laser eye duel and was joined by Seemore and Dr. Light's energy beams and overpowered her sister. She was later caught off guard and was blasted by Starfire's laser eye beams. A blue portrait of her evil grin is seen in the attic in "Booty Scooty". She finally made her Season 4 appearance (as a cameo) in "Justice League's Top Talent Idol, Part 1" when Starfire was telling the audience about her backstory as future queen of planet Tamaran, and how Komand'r had double-crossed her by banishing her younger sister from their world.
- Blackfire (Komand'r) is set to appear as a minor supporting character in the 2018 live-action television series Titans's second season. Her actress currently remains unknown. Her looks are to be inspired by her comics version.
- Blackfire is referenced once in the Justice League vs. Teen Titans. When Starfire is complaining about Damian Wayne's negative behavior to Nightwing, she said that he reminds her of her sister.
- In Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Blackfire is again mentioned/referenced when Starfire was rescued from the Gordanians by Robin, Kid Flash, Arsenal, Beast Boy, and Bumblebee (in a flashback, which took place five years ago). She revealed that Blackfire had staged a coup and seized the throne, forcing Starfire to flee Tamaran. In the present, Beast Boy later told Terra that Starfire was "a refugee being stalked by her homicidal sister".
- Her first appearance in the DC Super Hero Girls franchise is in the Intergalactic Games movie, with Hynden Walch reprising her role. Unlike Starfire, her appearance is not modeled after her original comic looks; having straight waist-length dark purple hair. As one of the students at Koragar Academy, she came to Earth to beat Super Hero High School in the games, even her own sister. She expressed her dislike at Starfire's overly optimistic attitude and at her sister "lowering herself to help humans". She is offended of mere mortals passing themselves off as "superheroes" such as Batgirl. As the night wore on, she later stayed behind to help Starfire fight the robots created by Lena Luthor. She combined her stronger lilac blackbolt energies with Starfire's bright green ones and dismantled them with ease, to which Starfire said that they were at their strongest when using "the blast of togetherness". She combined her ultraviolet energy -projecting abilities with Starfire and several superheroes to supercharge Platinum.
- Hynden Walch reprises her role as Blackfire in the web series DC Super Hero Girls as a supporting character. Unlike Starfire, her appearance is not modeled after her original comic looks. She appears in "Day of Fun-Ship", where she and Starfire are having some sisterly fun, which she gets bored with. At the zoo, she and Starfire use a Tamaranian nursery rhyme to defeat King Shark. Blackfire is leaving to return to Koragar Academy, but promises to see her younger sister for Tamaran Sovereignty Day, and admitted that she did have fun hanging out with her "kinifster" after all. In the two-part Season 4 episode "Tamaranian Dance Club", she appeared as two cameos to do the traditional Tamaranian dance (refereed to as "dilatation battle in Tamaranian) against her younger sister Starfire, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl, who defeated her and her fellow Korugar Academy students.
- Blackfire is mentioned by Starfire in some of her intros battling various villains and heroes in Injustice 2. One villain had stated that "your sister's specter haunts you", to which Starfire replied that Komand'r had betrayed her and all of Tamaran. There was another duel, in which Starfire was fighting a fellow female Tamaranian whom she had called her "Komand'r" whose ultraviolet energy bolts were the same bright green color as her own, in contrast to being bright lilac. This version had said that she was from the multiverse.
- Blackfire appears in the online game of Teen Titans Go! called "Stellar Showdown." Angry that was not invited to her younger sister's birthday party, she arrived at Titans Tower and demanded that the Titans face her.
- Blackfire appears as a playable character in DC Unchained.
- While she does not appear in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Blackfire makes a cameo appearance in issue #9 of the tie-in comic book series to Batman: The Brave and the Bold as one of the villains defeated by Hawkgirl.
- In Teen Titans Go! issue #48, Wrong Place, Wrong Time there's an alternate universe where Starfire's evil counterpart is Blackfire of the Teen Tyrants. She also appears in the issues It's How You Play the Game! and Wildfire.
- Jimenez, Phil (2008). "Blackfire". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 55. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
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