Firebrand (DC Comics)
|First appearance||Police Comics #1
|Alter ego||Rod Reilly
Alexander "Alex" Sanchez
|Team affiliations||(Rod, Twist)
Superb hand to hand combatant
Peak physical condition
Ability to control heat
Enhanced strength and speed and green flame generation due to surgical implants and advanced armor
Control over fire
Firebrand is a name that has been used by four heroes by DC Comics.
Published by Quality Comics from August 1941 to November 1942, Rod Reilly was the bored and wealthy socialite son of a steel tycoon, who decided to fight crime with his servant and friend, "Slugger" Dunn. Originally drawn by Reed Crandall, Firebrand appeared in Police Comics, issues #1 through 13, at which time his series was canceled. Firebrand's costume consisted of a transparent shirt and red pants, with a bandana mask covering the top half of his face.
After DC purchased Quality Comics, Firebrand was largely left on the sidelines until 1981, when DC collected most of their '40s characters into the All-Star Squadron. At this time it was retconned that Rod had been injured in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and replaced by his sister, Danette Reilly. Rod Reilly later recovered and joined the Freedom Fighters. He was killed in a fight with the Silver Ghost, but that occurred only in a photocopied issue of Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, which was never released to public and thus unsure as to whether it is considered part of the current DC Universe. In Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #12, it is strongly implied that Firebrand was killed by the Dragon King.
In All-Star Squadron No. 5 (Vol. 2, 1981), Rod's sister Danette discovers that Rod is Firebrand while staying at his penthouse. Musing about Rod's relationship with his bodyguard, Slugger Dunn, she wonders "though what a confirmed bachelor playboy like my brother needed with a bodyguard, I never understood", and then finds a hidden closet that leads her to think that "from the look of these clothes, I didn't know my brother quite as well as I thought I did!"
Powers and abilities
An Olympic-level athlete and superb hand-to-hand combatant, Firebrand possesses no true super-powers, but he was personally trained by ex-heavyweight boxer "Slugger" Dunn to the height of physical perfection.
Volcanologist Danette Reilly is the sister of Rod Reilly, the first Firebrand. First introduced in a special "All-Star Squadron" preview in Justice League of America #193 (August 1981), Danette was studying volcanos north of Hawaii in the 1940s when she was kidnapped by the time travelling villain Per Degaton and one of the JSA foes he had pulled back in time, the powerful sorcerer Wotan. During her escape, she was struck by a bolt of lightning and fell into a pit of mystical lava. The combination of the lightning and magic lava not only allowed her to survive, but to develop the power to control heat and project plasma blasts (first seen in All-Star Squadron #5 (January 1982)). Her powers surfaced after she discovered her brother Rod's costume and put in on. As Rod had been injured during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Danette decided to become the new Firebrand. Due to Per Degaton going back to 1947 when he was defeated the All-Star Squadron forgot his attack. Originally she was quite racist towards the Japanese. However she visited her brother in hospital and he revealed he had been saved from death by a soldier whose parents were from Japan, and who later died from his wounds. Firebrand realized she had been racist and should show more respect towards those from Japan.
Danette appears in Crisis on Infinite Earths, wherein she was briefly rejoined by her former lover, the reluctant supervillain Cyclotron. Cyclotron, although deceased, phased into her time to assist her. Danette assumed partial custody of his daughter Terri, along with fellow hero the Atom. This makes her technically the godmother of Terri's son, Atom Smasher. Her later adventures during World War II have thus far been unchronicled.
Her name is a homage to creator Roy Thomas' wife, Danette "Dann" Thomas.
The Quality Comics heroine Wildfire was originally intended to play a major role in the All-Star Squadron but DC objected on the basis of her name, which she shared with the Legion of Super-Heroes member. Instead, Danette Reily was introduced into the series.
Firebrand made a cameo appearance in the Young Justice: Invasion episode "Cornered." She was depicted as a statue alongside other golden age heroes in the Hall of Justice. In yet another episode of Young Justice, Young Justice "Humanity", it is revealed the she was secretly an android who was sent to infiltrate the league but was 'too heroic for her own good' causing her death.
In February 1996, DC introduced a third Firebrand, former police detective Alejandro 'Alex' Sanchez. After nearly dying in an explosion that destroyed his apartment, Sanchez underwent experimental surgery to restore his mobility. The surgery was paid for by local philanthropist Noah Hightower, who later approached Sanchez with a special opportunity. Hightower offered Sanchez a suit of advanced armor which, when combined with the implants, would give Sanchez enhanced strength and speed for a period up to four hours. After Sanchez's partner was attacked during an investigation, he agreed to become the superhero Firebrand. In addition to enhanced strength, Sanchez's armor emits a greenish flame, giving him a demonic appearance.
Sanchez's tenure as Firebrand lasted only nine issues of his self-titled comic. He reappeared in JSA: Secret Files #2, where he is stabbed in the throat and apparently dies in Roulette's underground gaming arena, the House, at the hands of a drugged Checkmate knight.
The latest Firebrand, Andre Twist, was introduced in The Battle for Blüdhaven. He gains control over fire after his exposure to Chemo being dropped on the city. He also appears in the limited series, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, as a member of the new Freedom Fighters. Andre carries a bo staff, and has some measure of athletic and martial arts ability. In The Battle for Blüdhaven #5, Andre hears a voice in his head, asking him to come to the Mississippi River and fight for liberty, claiming that Andre is pure of heart and will be his Firebrand. The voice is that of Uncle Sam.
After joining forces with Uncle Sam, Andre is captured and tortured by Father Time after attacking senator/presidential candidate Henry Knight, who is really Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard. He is freed from captivity by Phantom Lady, and joins the rest of the Freedom Fighters to recruit the new Black Condor.
He and the rest of the Freedom Fighters manage to defeat Gonzo, and are offered positions as the new leaders of S.H.A.D.E.
In the 2007 Freedom Fighters series, Firebrand strikes up a relationship with Red Bee, and is distraught when she had been taken over by an alien insectoid race. Together, the Freedom Fighters are able to save Red Bee, and repel the insectoid's invasion. However, in the 2010-2011 mini-series, Twist was first paralyzed during a fight and later killed in action.
In other media
- The Danette Reilly Firebrand appears in the Young Justice episode "Humanity", voiced by Vanessa Marshall. In the show, it is explained that Danette was an android created by T.O. Morrow in order to infiltrate the JSA back in the 1930s. However, Danette overcame her programming and was damaged by Dragon King after being hit by an energy blast meant for Flash. Decades later, she was rebuilt as Red Inferno and was ultimately destroyed after helping her siblings (Red Tornado and Red Torpedo) destroy Red Volcano.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Firebrand I", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 122, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Freedom Fighters", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 131, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Geoff Johns (w), Lee Moder (p), Dan Davis (i). "Dragon Food!" Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. 12 (July 2000), DC Comics
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Firebrand II", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 122, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Thomas, Roy (January 2002), "The All Star Squadron Chronicles Part III: Hail, Hail, Now the Gang's Really All Here!", Alter Ego (TwoMorrows Publishing) 3 (12), retrieved 2007-04-30.
- Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 45. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Firebrand III", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 122, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #2