Sunfire & Big Hero 6 #1

Issue Date: 
September 1998
Story Title: 
Land of the Rising Sun

Scott Lobdell (writer), Gus Vasquez (pencils), Bud Larosa (inks), Leeann Denham (colors), RS & Comicraft (letters), Jaye Gardner (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Hiro and his bodyguard, Baymax, are praying in a shrine in honor of the deceased Sunfire. After taking goodbye from his idol, Hiro and Baymax leave. Hiro remembers all the things that happened, and what changed his thirteen year old life forever. After giving an impressive presentation about Sunfire’s powers to his class, his teacher asks him to visit the superintendent’s office. Once there, Hiro is approached by none other than the Silver Samurai! The Samurai reveals that, since almost every other country on the world has its own super-hero team, Japan wishes to have the very same thing. Therefore, they are starting up the group known as Big Hero Six. So, the Samurai is here to recruit Hiro because of his intelligence. However, since Hiro’s mother has already rejected the offer, he does the very same thing. Later at home, a homing signal he installed goes off. Hiro and Baymax travel to a deserted temple, and discover that, finally, Sunfire has returned home. But, half of Shiro’s body is still infected with the Zero Fluid, and he is dying. His powers even go out of control and he almost accidentally hurts Hiro. Shiro and Baymax almost fight because of this, but they are interrupted by Big Hero Six. A brawl ensues, until Shiro demonstrates his powers, though he no one is injured. Everyone calms down after this and the Samurai, Honey Lemon and GoGo Tomago convince Shiro to follow them to their base so they can find a cure for him. As Hiro and Baymax travel back home, they make the startling discovery that Hiro’s mother has been killed! The culprit, Everwraith, reveals he has learned Hiro is a candidate for Big Hero Six and doesn’t want that. Instead, he wants the boy to work for him.

Full Summary: 

His name was Shiro Yoshida. He was the super-hero known as… Sunfire! Some say he was Japan’s greatest hero of them all. He was. At least, when he was still alive, that is. Like all men of great power, Shiro was misunderstood. Maybe more so, for his power did not come from the wielding of politics, or from his place in the economic hierarchy of the Japanese government, or from an age of old lineage forged from centuries of family honor. No, Shiro’s power came from the very sun itself. His was the power from the raging heart of the atom. Sunfire also was a mutant. And, in a way, the people of Japan never forgave him for that fact.

A young boy, Hiro Takachicho, prays in a temple, which was built in honor of Shiro. His bodyguard, Baymax, approaches him. Baymax informs his master that it’s time to go. Hiro admits that Baymax is the best kind of friend anyone could ever have, but he just wants one more moment to say good-bye.

While doing that, Hiro reminds himself how amazing it actually is that a humble child like himself would ever be in a position to meet Sunfire, his role model, let alone to be given the sacred honor of eulogizing him. Though, Hiro is aware that in many ways, he has been preparing for this moment almost since he was born. You can even see it in his bedroom, which is more like a monument to his idol, as lots of posters and other Sunfire memorabilia are installed there.

Today, Hiro recalls that’s the way how his room used to look. Before his thirteen year old life changed. For that matter, before the entire world – as we pretended it to be – changed forever.

earlier, 7:00 AM…

Hiro’s alarm clock goes off, but he is still sleepy. Baymax takes the sheets from his bed, demanding that Hiro gets ready to go to school. Hiro doesn’t want to, reminding Baymax that he demands that every day. Baymax jokes that’s not true: he only says it Monday through Friday mornings. But, when he does say it, he means it. Hiro refuses to budge, but Baymax picks him up and literally gives him a very cold shower.

Hiro admits that it’s not like he doesn’t like to go to school. After all, what’s not to like? It’s just that… well… sometimes, he feels a little pressure. Really. Let every adult you know tell you you’re a genius and see how you feel like it.

later, at the school entrance…

Baymax drops Hiro off and tells him to perform well. Hiro promises to do that, and tells Baymax to work on his syntax. One of his classmates, Sam, notices that Hiro has a limo and asks if it’s really a new one. Hiro jokes that it is, as he received it as a gift from Sam’s mother. Sam smiles that his mom will apparently get some competition, by the looks of it. Hiro doesn’t understand, so Sam tells him to look behind him. He does, and Hiro notices a beautiful, blond-haired girl looking at him. He immediately likes her. But Hiro doesn’t stop walking and bumps into the door. The others laugh at him, and push him into the class.

Looking back now, Hiro admits he should have realized something was going on. The girl was looking at him, and smiling. But that was the last thing he saw before he was swept away by a sea of his peers on their way to class. Science class, actually. Where he was delivering his oral report on Sunfire – what else?

With a very detailed schedule he made himself, Hiro explains to his teacher and class that, in summation, he thinks it should be clear to anyone that, based on the holistic evidence using the Langkowski scale of bio-atomic actualization, even accommodating for a slight curvature of the Pym spectrum’s compensatory effects on the human body, he believes that Sunfire could not be held responsible for the damage that resulted from recent flare-ups of his atomic flame, any more than a tornado or a monsoon can be held accountable for the tragedy left in their respective wakes. He trusts that everyone can agree that, in many ways, Sunfire is, in essence, a force of nature. Hiro asks if anyone has any questions.

Like always, there never are any. However, the class claps its hands triumphantly for his beautiful presentation. The teacher is hesitant about what to say. Hiro asks if it was enlightening. She confirms that. She also mentions that the superintendent would like to see him in her office. He agrees to go, hoping that there won’t be a problem with the home security system he wired for her house. The teacher denies it, mentioning that hers still works fine and thanks him again for installing it.

Today, Hiro remembers that his teacher always said she found his presentations enlightening when she didn’t knew what he was talking about. It didn’t take him long to get to superintendent Roshi’s office. He knows the way. He explains that another of the disadvantages of being the smartest kid in school is that everyone is always looking for favors.

Hiro enters the office, but the door gets immediately shut behind him! A man explains that the superintendent won’t be joining them today. Still, he calms Hiro down, promising he doesn’t have to be afraid of him. Hiro knows he doesn’t have to, because he already pressed his wristwatch to summon up Baymax’s aid. Hiro warns the mysterious man that he’s in deep trouble if he doesn’t tell him right away what he did to Roshi.

The man is impressed to see that Hiro has some form of courage. Hiro is pleased that the man is pleased. But, that still didn’t answer his question. The man gives his word that Roshi is safe. He asks Hiro if he recognizes him. Hiro does. He jokes that he’s seeing a man who’s going to get his butt kicked if he doesn’t tell him this instant what he wants to hear.

The man is impressed that Hiro is not easily dissuaded. They are all excellent attributes. He warns Hiro to stand ready, and the man transforms into… the Silver Samurai!

Today, Hiro realizes that he was seeing an energy backlash while the Samurai was transforming. He remembers how amazed he was when standing eye to eye in another great, Japanese hero.

Hiro recognizes the Samurai, remembering that he is perhaps the second most famous citizen in all of Japan, second only to Sunfire. The Samurai jokes that, actually, some might say that, with Sunfire out of the country, he is Japan’s premier citizen. Hiro isn’t one of those “some.” The Samurai doesn’t care about that, and instead cuts to the chase. He reveals that, on behalf of the Japanese emperor, he is extending a very sacred and honored invitation to Hiro. Baymax enters, asking Hiro if there is a problem. Hiro promises to let Baymax know that in a moment as the Samurai was about to extend some kind of offer.

The Samurai continues. He believes that a boy of Hiro’s alleged brilliance has no doubt taken note that through there are relatively few so-called super-beings on this planet, like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers for example, that most of them are located in the United States. Also, the former Soviets, and in the Samurai’s eyes unbelievable enough, even the Canadians play host to their own state sanctioned super heroes, in the form of the Soviet Super Soldiers and Alpha Flight.

Hiro refuses to miss History class for this. The Samurai asks him to be patient. He further explains that Japan, however, only has him as its humble servant. Until now. Hiro tells the Samurai has a real mental block on the Sunfire thing, but since he’s not in the country he’ll let it slide. He wants to know what the Samurai’s point is. The Samurai is getting irritated by Hiro’s irreverence. But be that as it may, the Japanese government’s scientists have identified Hiro as a potential operative in service of its people.

Baymax explains he can’t allow his master to be placed in a situation where he might be in jeopardy. Hiro explains to the Samurai that he isn’t a mutant, but just a really smart kid. Smart enough to know that, if the government wanted him, they would have talked to his mother first and she’d be having this conversation with him instead. Shamefully, the Samurai admits they did talked to Hiro’s mother, but she said “no.” That’s all Hiro had to hear, and mentions he’ll be going back to class. The Samurai asks Hiro to think about the offer, as both Japan and Big Hero Six need him. Hiro doesn’t like the group name, but the Samurai smirks he dislikes Baymax’ name, but he lets that slide.

Looking back at that first meeting today, Hiro admits he always thought the Silver Samurai would be taller. Later at his house (the biggest one on the block) he asked his mom flat out. Talking honestly has always been a big thing in Hiro’s family, even before his father died.

Hiro’s mom tells her son that, even if Emperor himself might have asked for permission for Hiro to join his team, her answer would have been the same. She knows that Hiro is a very special young man, and both she and his father are proud of him. She reveals that, before he died, both she and Hiro’s dad spoke of the type of offer that would be made to him. They realize that the life these people are proposing is of the highest honor, as the world has witnessed the dangers of Onslaught, Galactus and the Mandarin. And though she knows the day will come that Hiro will indeed be called on to serve the greater good, for now she mentions that it was Hiro’s dad’s heart-found wish that he enjoys a normal youth. Hiro hugs his mom.

Today, Hiro still doesn’t know what he could have said on that moment. Except for maybe, “I have the best mom in the world.” He believes that mothers are the greatest accomplishment of creation. Later, as it was, Hiro wasn’t asleep for more than ten minutes when he heard a beeping sound, which could only mean one thing!

Hiro summons Baymax, who’s there for his master, as always. He asks why Hiro is staring at his Sunfire poster, especially this late when he should be sleeping. Hiro explains that the alarm Baymax is hearing is a bio-atomic parcel detector he created last week. With all due respect to Hiro’s massive intellect, Baymax believes the scientific community at large insists that a B-APD is a theoretical impossibility at best. He thinks it’s technologically impossible to construct a device capable of tracking down what is essentially a human-sized nuclear reactor.

Hiro defends it isn’t “impossible.” He even wonders who bothered to invent such a word. He presses a button, and reveals a map of Japan. He has put signals on it, which have Hiro happily declare that… Sunfire… is back! Today, Hiro had no idea that, several blocks away, a meeting was taking place in a building without an address.

The Samurai’s boss doesn’t accept the current status of things. The Samurai understands that and tries to explain, but his boss doesn’t want to hear about it. Mr. Oshima explains that the very fate of Japan’s homeland rests with the success of Operation: Big Hero Six, and believes that the desires of a thirteen year-old boy and his mother are irrelevant. He doesn’t want to remind the Samurai that there was more than one member of the consortium who was ill at ease with the Samurai’s appointment as field commander of Big Hero Six. He reminds the Samurai that his former ties with the Yakuza and his less than stellar performance against the threat of Red Ronin were among the things Oshima had to argue against when he insisted the Giri so that the Samurai could assume the mantle of leadership. He simply doesn’t want to end up embarrassed.

The Samurai is aware of that, and promises he’ll make Japan proud of Big Hero Six, and the operatives behind it. Oshima hopes so, and leaves. Tomago is upset, shouting that she never liked Oshima. Lemon jokes that, in the entire two months since she has known Tomago, she hasn’t known her to like anyone or anything. Tomago doesn’t want to apologize for having standards. She warns Lemon to back off, shouting that this is between her and Mr. Big Hero Six himself.

She also doesn’t understand what’s up with the Samurai, because if he’ll bow any lower he’s going to end up with his nose stuck in the carpet. The Samurai doesn’t understand why, but he’s beginning to suspect that team leader was not as a revered position he imagined it would be.

Today, Hiro admits that he wasn’t thinking about those guys at that particular moment, as all of his attention was directed right in front of him: an abandoned, ancient monastery in the Quonon province.

Hiro and Baymax enter the monastery. Baymax asks his master if he’s certain this is the place. Hiro tells Baymax that he would think, of all people, Baymax would not judge the merit of something strictly of appearance. Baymax defends that he was simply referring to the fact that this temple – this entire neighborhood – was severely ravaged as a result of recent earthquakes. It doesn’t strike him as the type of place where they would find that which Hiro’s experimental construct indicates. He defends that his statement was purely practical, and not aesthetic.

Hiro doesn’t want to talk anymore, and instead scan the place. Baymax admits he has some bad news on that matter: his internal scans aren’t picking up anything. Hiro is still confident that Sunfire is there, and tells Baymax he only needs to have a little faith. Suddenly, a voice demands that Hiro and Baymax don’t take another step. Hiro doesn’t understand.

Today, Hiro admits that he saw the most amazing thing of his life on that very moment. For years, he had dreamed of meeting the man he admired most, and there he was, only twenty feet away. But even at first glance, even though Hiro never met the guy before, he sensed that something was terribly wrong. He remembers he kind of rambled.

Hiro is proud that his machine worked. He explains that Sunfire’s bio-signature is unique, making his bio-atomic cellular fluctuations would register on a modified Langkowski wave scale. That’s how he knew he could locate Sunfire if he would ever come back to Japan.

Almost without breath, Sunfire asks Hiro what he would have done if he would only come back, wishing not to be found. Hiro never thought about that. He asks Shiro why he wouldn’t want to be found, as he is Japan’s greatest hero and they need him. Shamefully, Shiro admits that he isn’t feeling well. Baymax thinks they should listen to Sunfire, perhaps even move away from this place. Hiro refuses, wanting to help Shiro if he’s sick. Shiro is afraid that isn’t possible, and reveals the Zero Fluid on half his body, making it partly black.

Today, it still hurts to Hiro to think of Sunfire that way. It was almost like Shiro’s body was being charred from within.

Sunfire is confident that nobody can help him. He admits that he’s dying. He explains that, since the moment his mutant power first manifested itself, when he was forced to live within the cold and barren Tomika Caverns for weeks, until he could expert control over his atomic flames, he knew that this day would come. He knew that his body would someday betray him.

Hiro freaks out, refusing to accept that his hero is dying. Baymax tries to calm his master down, but without much success. Hiro refuses to lose Sunfire, since he already lost his father. Sunfire warns the boy to stay back, but on that moment, his flame powers go out of control again and he releases a blast. He tries to apologize for it, but Baymax doesn’t want to listen to it and instead fight. Hiro orders him not to, but Baymax doesn’t think so. He reminds Hiro that he, better than anyone else that, first and foremost, was designed to both serve and protect him. And, while one of his forms is more conducive to attending Hiro’s daily needs, Baymax thinks his lizard-dragon form is certainly better suited to defend him in combat.

Hiro doesn’t argue with that. Baymax warns Sunfire that, if he ever threatens his master again, even unintentionally, he’ll promise Shiro his death will be the least of his problems. Sunfire defends that he doesn’t mean to harm anyone. He believes Baymax should know that there are few men who have challenged him and still live today. Hiro does his best to calm them both down, but fails.

Today, Hiro remembers that he is the one who installed Baymax’s programming. He mentions that Baymax is actually a Synthformer. He started out as a science project but, halfway through, after Hiro’s father died, he simply wanted more than just a project.

The Silver Samurai, GoGo and Honey Lemon enter. The Samurai orders both Baymax and Sunfire to stop fighting, believing they’ve arrived just in time. Tomago defends only the Samurai thinks that way. She on the other hand thinks it would be fun to have shown up after the soft and gushy parts started flying across the room. Lemon tells Tomago to be quiet, remind her that they need to act like professionals now. Tomago reminds Lemon that she isn’t a professional. She’s just here because it beats rotting in prison.

Sunfire warns the group that, if they want to fight him, they’ll have to wait their turn. Tomago refuses to play the waiting game. She shouts her codename, and transforms into an actual “cannonball” and strikes at Shiro and Baymax, creating a way between them and Hiro.

Today, Hiro still doesn’t know if GoGo shouted her name for effect, or because it triggers her transformation into whatever it is that she is, but either way it was effective at separating the two combatants. Even though Tomago talked tough, it was clear to Hiro that she was concerned about his welfare. Or… maybe she was just following orders.

While Tomago flies Hiro into safety, the Samurai and Lemon are left alone. The Samurai reveals that Sunfire is still wanted for questioning in an incident involving his power flares. Unfortunately for the team, they were only following Hiro to keep tabs on him. Otherwise, they would have thought to bring along a radioactive dampening blanket. Honey smiles and digs into a purse. She smiles that she just happens to have a radioactive dampening blanket in it. The Samurai wants to know if there’s anything Lemon doesn’t have in that purse of hers. She just laughs.

Today, Hiro is still impressed by Honey Lemon’s beautiful smile. He remembers what started out as a teeny scrap of material, expanded as she tossed it in Sunfire’s direction. He wonders if that meant Lemon’s purse was some sort of doorway to a pocket dimension. Or if that perhaps everything she kept inside it was made of a variation of Reed Richard’s unstable molecules. Till this day, he still doesn’t know. He only knows that as opposed to GoGo’s explosive style, Honey Lemon is poetry in motion. And who knows. That might even be what kept Sunfire distracted long enough.

Lemon gracefully throws the blanket at Sunfire, which grows larger on impact. Shiro struggles to pull it off himself, but fails to do so. Lemon wants him not to struggle, reminding Shiro that he is the very reason she seeks to serve her country, and she would be devastated if she brought him harm. Sunfire finally manages to release himself. He admits that he doesn’t know who most of Big Hero Six are, but he wants them to leave this instant.

The Samurai points his sword towards his cousin’s throat, smiling that he’s as arrogant as ever. The Samurai admits that, if it would be up to him, he would simply lop Shiro’s head from his shoulders, but his superiors have other ideas. Sunfire angrily orders the Samurai to retreat his sword. Just as Hiro frees himself from GoGo’s grip, the impossible happens. Sunfire releases an impressive amount of fire upon the Samurai, causing him to fall back and rescuing himself out of danger.

Today, Hiro believes that he needs to define the word “impossible.” By that, he means that, until it actually happened, he did not believe it was possible that Sunfire could wield his flames with such precision. For those of the group to stand in front of Shiro, it appeared as certain death. But Shiro knew better.

Everyone is still alive, and unharmed by Shiro’s flames. Hiro is impressed. The Samurai mentions that, if he didn’t know his cousin so well, he would say Shiro was merely showing off. Shiro admits he doesn’t want to impress anyone. Baymax mentions that, nonetheless, everyone is still impressed. He adds that Shiro’s flame was hot enough to crystallize the entire room, but instead he contained the heat from evaporating them.

Sunfire orders them for a final time to leave this instant. However, he becomes exhausted and almost collapses, out of breath. Hiro walks towards him. Hiro mentions he would never tell Sunfire what to do, but he begs him to follow him and the rest of Big Hero Six. Sunfire laughs at the name. Hiro does too, but he doesn’t doubt they’ve got access to resources that might help him find a cure for his condition. Shiro mentions that he has spent the last several months under the care of Department H when he was in Canada, and has been assured there is no cure for his illness.

He reveals that he has come home to die, but instead he discovered he has spent so many years in service of his country that he has no true home to speak of. There was nobody to great him upon his return. There were no relatives there to embrace him, and those that were had nothing but fear in their eyes. He informs Hiro that, if he goes along with the group, it’s only because he wants to die as himself: a simple, human being, and not because of a disease. His days as a hero are officially over. He bows and agrees to travel with Big Hero Six to their base.

Later, as Hiro and Baymax travel home again, they talk about what happened. Hiro thinks this was a sad thing to happen, as he always saw Sunfire as a hero. Now, he only sees him as a sick man who has given up all hope. Baymax tells his master to never judge someone’s life until he has lived it himself. Hiro thinks that’s impossible. Baymax admits that, because that was his point. Hiro is glad that at least Sunfire is trying to get better and went along with the others. Baymax is glad as well, joking that Hiro had enough excitement for a school night.

They arrive back home. Baymax transforms back to his casual form, as he doesn’t want to scare Hiro’s mother. Speaking of his mother, Hiro asks Baymax if they should tell her the truth. Baymax thinks that someday they should, but not right now. Hiro enters his house, but smells something. Like his mom burned dinner again. They enter the living room, and only find his mother’s clothes, and her body has vaporized! The culprit welcomes Hiro and Baymax home. He introduces himself as Everwraith, and mentions he understands that Big Hero Six have approached him to become a member. He refuses to see that happening. Everwraith mentions that, instead, he wants Hiro to from this moment on work for him!

Characters Involved: 


GoGo Tomago, Honey Lemon, Silver Samurai (all Big Hero Six)

Hiro Takachiho



Mr. Oshima (Big Hero Six liaison)

Mrs. Takachiho (Hiro’s mother)

Sam and other students and teachers at Hiro’s school (unnamed)

as images on the Silver Samurai’s hologram:

Flex II, Guardian IV, Manbot, Murmur III, Puck, Radius, Sasquatch II, Vindicator II (all Alpha Flight)

Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar, Vanguard (all Soviet Super Soldiers)

Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, Sersi, Thor (all Avengers)

Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Daredevil (other American hero)

Story Notes: 

Sunfire’s powers started to go out of control in Wolverine Annual 1996. In that issue, Logan advised Shiro to travel to Department K so he could find a cure for his condition. He arrived in Canada in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1 and was later on told he was infected with the deadly Zero Fluid disease. After months of being experimented upon with no success, Shiro angrily left Department H in Alpha Flight (2nd series) #13. This mini-series is to be read after that issue.

The entire story is told from Hiro’s point of view.

First appearance of Hiro Takachiho and his mother, Baymax, Everwraith, GoGo Tomago and Honey Lemon.

Before he started to redeem himself, the Silver Samurai had, besides several other crime organizations, ties to the Yakuza, which is Japan’s criminal underground movement.

The “Langkowksi” person Hiro mentions during his presentation is Walter Langkowski, better known as Alpha Flight’s Sasquatch. Reed Richards is better known as Mr. Fantastic, and leader of the Fantastic Four. Both men are well-known scientists throughout the entire world.

Issue Information: 
Written By: