Firebird (Marvel Comics)


Firebird as an Avenger. Art by George Pérez.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #265 (November 1981)
Created by Bill Mantlo (Writer)
Sal Buscema (Artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Bonita Juarez
Team affiliations Rangers
Avengers West Coast
Notable aliases La Espirita
Abilities Pyrokinesis
Limited precognition
Immunity to poison, radiation and demonic magic

Firebird (Bonita Juarez), is a fictional superhero character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A former member of the Avengers and a member of the Rangers, she exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe. Firebird is a notable Latina superhero.[1][2][3]

Publication history

In the story "You Get What You Need!" published in Incredible Hulk vol.1 #265 (November 1981), writer Bill Mantlo and penciller Sal Buscema created the superhero team the Rangers. The team consists of western characters Bonita Juarez / Firebird, Victoria Starvin / Shooting Star, Drew Daniels / Texas Twister, Hamilton Slade / Phantom Rider then called Night Rider, and William Talltrees, the contemporary Red Wolf.[4][5] The two women of the team had not previously appeared in comics.

Not long after her first appearance, Firebird appeared several times in the West Coast Avengers title. She has appeared in several Avengers-related storylines since then.

Fictional character biography


Bonita Juarez was born in Taos, New Mexico. She was a devout Roman Catholic, who, while walking in the deserts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, came into contact with a radioactive meteorite fragment. The radiation altered her DNA, and gave her the power to generate flames and heat, and even fly. Believing her gifts came from God, she assumed the mythical bird's name, and donned a costume.[2][5]

As Firebird, she received a distress call from the Avengers, and mistakenly battled the Hulk. She joined with other Southwestern heroes (forming a team called the Rangers), and fought the Corruptor, rescuing Rick Jones, who had actually sent the signal.[5][6]

West Coast Avengers

Firebird was alone when she fought against the man called Master Pandemonium. Exhausted from her battle, she fell to the ground near the new Avengers Compound on the West Coast, where she was found by the Thing. She enlisted the aid of the Avengers in battling against Master Pandemonium.[7] She assisted the Avengers during the following adventures, and desperately wanted to be invited to join, something to which chairman Hawkeye remained oblivious, since he was trying to recruit the Thing.

Firebird accompanied the Avengers to the dimension of the Cat People.[8] She battled her former teammate in the Rangers, the possessed Shooting Star, alongside the Avengers.[9] She also battled Master Pandemonium again.[10]

When Mockingbird eventually found out Firebird's wish, she tried to coax her husband into inviting her, but he was consistently holding out for the Thing (who did eventually decide to become a member, but backed out before making it official). Frustrated, Firebird left on a spiritual journey. Hawkeye would later change his mind and the Avengers sought out Firebird, but could not find her.

La Espirita

Eventually, she reappeared as La Espirita and arrived in the nick of time to stop Hank Pym's suicide attempt. With the help of Espirita, Hank re-invented himself as the adventurer Doctor Pym, and he was able to move on from his past troubles.[11]

With Henry Pym and Moon Knight, she rescued the Avengers who were trapped in the past.[12] She aided the Avengers in battle with Dominus, and battled Sunstroke.[13]

The two also shared a brief romance, but Bonita left the team again after she helped them out on a few short adventures, to stand by Hank. One of those adventures involved the death of both the East and West Coast Avengers. It was then that she found out that she was seemingly immortal, when all of the Avengers died thanks to a poison by the Elder of the Universe Collector, except her, something that the Collector found fascinating.

Firebird again

Later on Bonita was captured by a group of aliens from the planet Rus, who revealed that the meteorite that gave her amazing powers was allegedly waste material from a discarded alien experiment of a pupil named Yoof.[14] Nonetheless Firebird (she had returned to that name after learning this information) herself believes that her powers are a gift from God. She was called in on various Avengers meetings since then, signifying that she had somewhere accepted their membership offer. At first, Bonita was not considered as an Avenger until she attended an all-membership meeting of the Avengers.[15] After that she was called in on various Avengers events. She assisted Hellcat, Monica Rambeau, Moondragon, and Black Widow in subduing the Awesome Android,[16] and encountered a small platoon of Atlanteans in Mexico getting help from a few Avengers.[17] Firebird largely acts as a reserve member, preferring to spend her time as a social worker.

Avengers return

After the return of the main Avengers from the pocket universe created by Franklin Richards most of them were trapped in a curse created by Morgan Le Fay where she served in a guard called Queen's Vengeance under the name Firemaiden[18]

Her immunity to radiation later made her indispensable when a mysterious energy field engulfed a small Russian country and turned everyone into zombies during the first blows of the Kang War. Firebird was one of the few individuals who could travel into the energy field without harm. Fellow Avenger Thor also surmised that Firebird may be immortal.[19] When Captain America is briefly transformed into an energy zombie, Thor, briefly believing him dead, begins to fear that he has become too close to his mortal comrades despite his knowledge that he would outlive them when forced to face such vivid evidence of his allies' mortality, and contemplates leaving the Avengers after the war was over. Firebird helped him to see that the bonds between him and the Avengers were so valuable precisely because they wouldn't last forever, and he shouldn't neglect them just because he would outlive them. In recognition of her advice, Thor toasted her when he arranged for Asgardian cooks to prepare a feast for the Avengers to celebrate Kang's defeat, commenting that she had taught a god a lesson by treating him as the fool he was.[20]


Firebird reappears in the limited series Beyond! along with other Marvel characters.[21] She is depicted as having changed to a somewhat more revealing costume that bares part of her midriff. She is also shown to have a romantic attraction to Henry Pym which manifests when she kisses him after he has an argument with the Wasp.

Civil War

After a vicious battle between Captain America's Secret Avengers and Iron Man's Pro-Registration forces during the Civil War, in which Bill Foster was killed by a clone of The Mighty Thor, Firebird, along with twenty other superheroes, joined the Secret Avengers in opposing the Superhuman Registration Act. Captain America's dialogue implies that the new members, including Firebird,[22] are registered heroes who have nonetheless turned against Iron Man's forces because of the Bill Foster debacle. Weeks after the conclusion to the Civil War, Firebird is seen as one of the members of the revived Rangers, as part of the 50 States Initiative Program.[23]

Bonita has been identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book Avengers: The Initiative #1.[24]

In Avengers: The Initiative #2 she is seen attacking HYDRA along with the Rangers.

Secret Invasion

During the Secret Invasion storyline, Firebird was with the Rangers when they, Delroy Garrett / 3-D Man, and Eric O'Grady / Ant-Man were fighting a Skrull that was posing as Lobo, Red Wolf's wolf.[25][26] The Rangers come into conflict with Kaine, alias Scarlet Spider in Houston,[27][28][29] then they joined forces with him to battle a monster made of pure energy.[28][30]

Powers and abilities

Bonita Juarez gained superhuman powers due to bombardment by radiation from a meteorite containing energy waste from an alien's scientific equipment. As Firebird, she has the power of pyrokinesis, which enables her to mentally excite the atoms in an object until it spontaneously combusts. By using her powers to ignite the air around her, she can surround herself with an aura of flames that often takes the shape of a bird, and if she focuses her flames downwards in a tight stream, she can propel herself through the air like a rocket. She can channel her powers through her hands to seemingly project searing thermal blasts from her body (actually from her mind), capable of melting steel. She can fly by riding wind currents stirred up by the nimbus of fire with which she surrounds herself while flying. Although she can propel herself at superhuman speeds, she cannot breathe at those speeds without skin protection and an oxygen supply. Fatigue impairs her performance after approximately one hour of peak expenditure of power.

She has also displayed a limited power of precognition, allowing her to have glimpses of the future.

Firebird also seems to be immune to most forms of radiation and poison (and even demonic possession) as well as the physical effects of her mental powers, and has displayed the ability to survive in the vacuum of space. Firebird may be immortal, but the precise details of this are unclear beyond the fact that she has twice survived apparently fatal attacks that only Thor - himself an immortal - could withstand.

Other versions


In the MC2 universe, Firebird was killed in the final mission of the original Avengers.[31]

Marvel Zombies

In the Marvel Zombies universe, Firebird is one of the heroes changed into a zombie.[32][33]


  1. Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle, p.4
  2. 1 2 A User's Guide to Postcolonial and Latino Borderland Fiction p.107-109
  3. Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture, Volume 1, p.182
  4. Green, Paul. Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns: Supernatural and Science Fiction Elements in Novels, Pulps, Comics, Films, Television and Games. McFarland. p. 168. ISBN 9780786458004. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 Aldama, Frederick Luis (2012). Your Brain on Latino Comics: From Gus Arriola to Los Bros Hernandez. University of Texas Press. pp. 31–33. ISBN 9780292749917. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  6. Sal Buscema (plot), Bill Mantlo (plot, script) (w), Sal Buscema (p), Sal Buscema (i), Bob Sharen (col), Diana Albers, Jean Simek (let), Al Milgrom (ed). "You Get What You Need!" The Incredible Hulk 265 (November 1981), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
  7. West Coast Avengers #4-5
  8. West Coast Avengers #6
  9. West Coast Avengers #8
  10. West Coast Avengers #9
  11. West Coast Avengers #17-21
  12. West Coast Avengers #23
  13. West Coast Avengers #24
  14. Avengers Spotlight #24
  15. Avengers #305
  16. Avengers Spotlight #27
  17. Avengers West Coast Annual #5
  18. Avengers vol. 3 #1-3
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  20. Avengers (vol.3) #55
  21. Marvel Previews: "Uncanny X-Men," "Beyond," "Marvel Westerns" & "Incredible Hulk"
  22. Civil War #4
  23. Civil War #7
  24. Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
  25. Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage (w), Harvey Talibao (p), Bong Dazo (i), Jay David Ramos, Chris Sotomayor (col), Chris Eliopoulos (let), Tom Brennan (ed). "V-S Day" Avengers: The Initiative 19 (January 2009), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
  26. "Preview: Avengers: The Initiative #19". Comic Book Resources. December 11, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  27. West, Scott. "Comic Book Review: 'Scarlet Spider' #8". SF. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  28. 1 2 Chris Yost (w), Khoi Pham (p), Tom Palmer, Chris Sotomayor, Rick Ketcham (i), Edgar Delgado, Antonio Fabela, Chris Sotomayor (col), Joe Caramagna, Clayton Cowles (let), Tom Brennan (ed). "The Second Master" Scarlet Spider v2, 7-9 (September–November 2012), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
  29. Zawisza, Doug (August 10, 2012). "Review: Scarlet Spider #8". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  30. Schedeen, Jesse (September 12, 2012). "Scarlet Spider #9 Review: Kaine plays the reluctant hero once more.". IGN. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  31. Tom DeFalco (w), Ron Frenz (p), Al Milgrom (i), Bob Sharen (col), Jim Novak (let), Bob Harras (ed). "After the Fall!" A-Next 7 (April 1999), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
  32. Victor Gischler (w), Bong Ty Dazo (p), Leonardo Ito (i), Matt Milla (col), Jeff Eckleberry (let), Axel Alonso, Sebastian Girner (ed). Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth 11 (July 2010), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
  33. "Preview: Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #11". Comic Book Resources. May 20, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2014.

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