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Superhero Origins: Firefist

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Thomas O'Connor
Written by Thomas O' Connor One of the most dangerous things in this world is power used without control or restraint, especially when that power involves fire and plenty of it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’ll be looking at a lesser-known hero, the flame-wielding mutant sometimes known as Firefist, who first appeared in X-Factor #1 in 1986. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Transcript
One of the most dangerous things in this world is power used without control or restraint, especially when that power involves fire and plenty of it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’ll be looking at a lesser-known hero, the flame-wielding mutant sometimes known as Firefist, who first appeared in X-Factor #1 in 1986.

Rusty Collins had about as normal a life as you can expect in the Marvel Universe, serving as a sailor aboard the USS Essex. After being pressured into joining one of his superiors on shore leave, Rusty found himself in a dive bar in a bad part of town and forced into a back-alley makeout session with someone he’d just met. In a scenario this stressful, we can’t blame anyone for panicking a bit, but instead of just giving him the sweats, the stress caused Rusty’s mutant gene to go off, engulfing him and his companion in flames!

The woman was badly burned while Rusty seemed fine, but that didn’t stop him from running screaming into the streets. After being rounded up by some Navy operatives, Rusty was thrown in a cell and confronted by the same officer who got him into this mess, an anti-mutant bigot intent on making poor Rusty pay for what happened. When his former comrade produced a gun and announced his intention to use it, Rusty’s powers went off again, resulting in him breaking out of his cell and going on the lamb.

It’s incredibly fortunate for Rusty that while all of this was happening, the original X-Men, including a newly resurrected Jean Grey, had gotten back together as a mutant search and rescue team. Rather than the X-Men, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Angel and Marvel Girl now went by X-Factor, posing as an anti-mutant task force while secretly sheltering the young mutants they were called in to contain. Rusty, now taking shelter in a cave after being pursued by the military, turned out to be the fledgling group’s very first rescue mission. After a brief scuffle and a near-fatal cave-in, the team brought Rusty back to their base to begin helping him learn to control his powers.

Rusty, unfortunately, chafed a bit while under the care of X-Factor, struggling to accept his new life as a mutant as many of the X-Men’s charges do. At one point, frustrated with having to remain confined to X-Factor’s facility, Rusty even ran away. It was during this incident that Rusty ran afoul of the supervillain Frenzy, an encounter he only survived thanks to the intervention of Artie Maddicks - a young mutant whose grotesque appearance forced him to live underground - warned the other members of X-Force. After being saved, Rusty and Artie both returned to X-Factor HQ, where the two bonded and became close friends.

Before long, Rusty had become the leader of a whole troupe of young mutants saved by X-Factor who eventually took up the name X-Terminators. This short-lived team of young mutants included Sally Blevins AKA Skids, with whom Rusty would eventually form a romantic relationship.

Rusty and his newfound friends had many adventures as X-Factor trainees, lending the primary team the occasional helping hand. However, throughout his early days as an X-Man, Rusty was continually pursued by forces seeking to put him behind bars, most notably Freedom Force, a group assembled to enforce the Mutant Registration Act. Eventually Rusty went voluntarily into custody in order to keep his friends out of danger, but after being busted out by his friends and helping to stave off a demonic invasion, he was taken into to X-Factor custody and allowed to live freely, later joining the ranks of the New Mutants.

After joining forces with Magneto and becoming one of the Acolytes alongside his love-interest Skids, Rusty met his untimely demise at the hands of the mutant Holocaust, who drained him of his lifeforce. He was briefly and unceremoniously resurrected along with many other deceased mutants during the assault of Utopia by Selene.

This fiery hero may not be the most famous or beloved of the many, many characters to appear in X-Men-related comics over the years, but he more than proved his value as a member of the team. You don’t choose the mutant life, the mutant life chooses you. And in this instance, it chose well.
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