SUNFIRE: Page 2 of 5

Publication Date: 30th Aug 2018
Written By: Peter Luzifer and Monolith.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Douglas Mangum.


When the inhabitants of an entire Japanese village died because their water supply was poisoned with a new designer drug named Sleet, the government  asked Sunfire to investigate. The clues led him to Madripoor, where he met with Cable and the New Mutants, who were tracking down Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front at the time. The Sleet was actually the MLF’s doing, employed for a terrorist attack on the world’s leading capital cities. Despite his famous arrogance, Sunfire agreed to work with the New Mutants faster than he normally might accept help, thanks to an old and respectful relationship between Cable and his father, Saburo. The heroes soon discovered the MLF hideout in Madripoor and, while they could not capture the villains, at least their supply of Sleet was destroyed in an explosion. [New Mutants (1st series) #93-94]

Back in Japan, Shiro was struck from behind and rendered unconscious by Dr. Demonicus and his Pacific Overlords. He was then brainwashed and forced to serve them, like several other of their operatives. Shiro and a young woman who had been given similar pyrokinetic abilities, codenamed Pele, were sent to Hawaii to provide a distraction for the Overlord’s other schemes. They crashed in on a ceremony during which Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was honored for his activities in World War II. That and the fact that it was the anniversary date of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor made it look as if Sunfire had gone back to his anti-American views. However, having fought him before, Namor realized that Sunfire was mesmerized and, after he defeated him with the help of two of the Avengers, Sunfire shook off the influence. Wanting to avenge himself, he then aided the Avengers West Coast in their final victory against the Pacific Overlords. [Avengers West Coast #71, 74]

The Japanese government was proud to have its own hero, and they even provided Sunfire with a team of scientists to help Shiro improve the use of his powers. A special armor was designed for Sunfire, and the new suit withstood its first test of power when Sunfire was asked to take part in an experiment on the Sakhanin Island, located between Russia and Japan. Shiro did so just as a favor to the government, and his snappy remarks to the Russian scientists showed that he carried the same grudge towards their homeland that he did towards America. On the island, there was a strange pit, with some unknown black substance at its bottom, but when Sunfire used his powers on it, it seemed that the void fought back.

Apparently, the void functioned as a dimensional warpgate to another Earth-like plane, and it had been purposely sealed off. Now rupturing open again, the void was sucking in substance from Earth to that other place, endangering both worlds. A group of X-Men arrived just in time to be sucked in along with Sunfire. Once inside, the mutants needed some time to figure out who among the rival factions living there they could trust, and they also found Colossus’ older brother, Mikhail, an exile from one of the pit’s earlier eruptions. By working together with Mikhail and Iceman, they were able to return safely home and re-seal the Void, once and for all. Rasputin couldn’t help but point out the irony of a Japanese, a Russian and an American working together. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #284-286]

When several weeks later some other X-Men had some trouble with the Japanese police (Jubilee had been arrested), Sunfire didn’t hesitate to check whether he could help them. No sooner did he arrive at the police station of Tokyo’s Ropongi district, than the X-Men were attacked by dozens of Hand ninjas. Although he offered his help to avoid the X-Men causing any mass destruction in Japan,  it was actually Sunfire who caused the entire building to crash down during the battle, as he accidentally blasted at its interior load-bearing cantilever beam. Apparently, there was a war between the Hand and Clan Yashida and Wolverine’s presence (to bail out Jubilee) made it look like he was there to help his lover Mariko Yashida, which is why they attacked him first. Unfortunately, the gang war was brought to an end when Mariko Yashida was poisoned by her enemies. A few days after her funeral, Sunfire was given the unpleasant task to ask Logan to leave the country, as the Japanese government feared he would try to hunt down the killers and try to avenge her. Despite his acting cold and arrogant, Shiro too mourned the death of his cousin, but as a true samurai and warrior he would not allow himself to show a weakness. [Wolverine (2nd series) #55-56, 60]

At one point, Sunfire was asked to accompany the Japanese whaling fleet to the Antarctic, for they had been attacked several times by Atlantean soldiers, led by Attuma. During their unavoidable confrontation, the former Prince of Atlantis, Namor, showed up as well, having been informed by one of the whales of their slaughtering. Face to face with his old enemy, Sunfire saw red and attacked Namor, believing him to be responsible for the attacks on the Japanese fleet.  Attuma used their battle to his advantage and struck the distracted Namor from behind, though Sunfire disregarded this as an act without honor. Once Attuma sunk the Japanese ship, Sunfire finally understood that it was Attuma who was the real foe, albeit too late. Sunfire and Namor then worked together to save the Japanese sailors, who were about to die in the ice-cold waters, but they couldn’t save all of them in time. Namor then communicated with the nearby whales and had them save the men who had been hunting them. Overwhelmed by this generous act, the whalers stopped the hunting. When Sunfire reasoned that they had just been doing it to ensure that the Japanese people had enough to eat, Namor gave him a history lesson to correct him on that error. While originally, during the war, indeed whale meat was fed to the children because of it being a cheap source for protein, it became a delicacy catered only to the rich in the decades afterwards. Having much to think about, Sunfire parted ways with Namor. [Namor the Sub-Mariner #45]

When Magneto triggered a powerful electro-magnetic pulse wave on a global scale in order to demonstrate his might to all of Earth, it affected Sunfire in an unpredicted way. The Japanese hero was flying high over Tokyo with no protection when the EMP wave hit him, causing his powers to flare out of control. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the uncontrolled release of atomic fire in the skies over Japan was enough for the Japanese government to classify him as a danger. Although their scientists realized that Sunfire’s condition had been caused by the EMP wave, they wouldn’t take any chances, and Shiro was locked up in a military station, his powers held in check with an inhibitor collar.

Rather unexpected help came from his cousin, the Silver Samurai, who was running Clan Yashida since the death of Mariko. A mutant himself, the Samurai was concerned about the Japanese government taking action against mutants in general, as they were about to upgrade the Red Ronin battle droid with mutant-hunting technology. The Samurai surmised that the problem needed to be addressed on two angles – the Red Ronin project had to be stopped, and Sunfire was needed as a public hero to portray mutants in a positive light. Together with Wolverine, the Samurai broke into the military compound and, after freeing Sunfire, they three together wrecked the Red Ronin. During the fight, Sunfire experienced yet another power burst and, if not for Wolverine helping him to calm down, he might have reduced all of Tokyo to nothing but ashes. [X-Men (2nd series) #25, Wolverine Annual ‘96]

Afterwards, Logan pointed Shiro to Canada’s Department H and Alpha Flight, specifically his close friends James McDonald and Heather Hudson, for help in getting his power back under control. Considered a national fugitive, Sunfire accepted Logan’s offer and went to Canada. However, Logan didn’t know that, in his absence,  Department H had changed, and Alpha Flight were regularly brainwashed in order to forget about all the unethical practices going on at the Department. Dr. Aldus Huxley, one of the scientists of Department H, had no intention of helping Sunfire. To him, he was nothing more than a “lab rat.” Unaware of this, Shiro let himself be subjected to several tests and experiments, and he was soon diagnosed positive for radiation poisoning. As he was placed under quarantine, Shiro only rarely interacted with the members of Alpha Flight, other than a few training sessions. Before long, the effects of his radiation poisoning started to show, with a black, cancerous lump growing on his right thigh. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1-3, 7]

Over the following weeks, the black spot grew, eventually covering the entire right half of his body. There was also no progress in Sunfire’s condition, as he would still release uncontrollable bursts of plasma energy from time to time. Frustrated with this, and annoyed by the scientists who apparently could not help him, Shiro pondered to return to Japan. Even if it meant that he would be arrested, he wanted to be in his homeland when he died of the effects of his “radiation poisoning.”
By the time Department

H was invaded by the villainous Zodiac, Sunfire had reached a decision. He helped Alpha Flight to fight off the criminals but, as General Clarke, the head of Department H, was killed in the fight, there was nothing or nobody holding him back anymore. Against the protests of Dr. Huxley, Sunfire departed – by blasting a hole into the exterior wall of Department H’s main building and flying away. [Alpha Flight (2nd series) #8-9, 13]