Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Who's Who: Wildfire

by Russell & Siskoid 

Real Name: Drake Burroughs
Super-Power(s): Wildfire is composed of anti-energy that he can channel into bursts of high or low exposures.
Planet of Origin: Earth
Legion Seniority: Wildfire joined after Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy left the Legion to get married. He is Legionnaire #28. Wildfire was elected Leader in Year 10. 

Legion Log 
Wildfire had been a student at Metropolis University studying to be an astro-engineer when he was involved in a lab accident. Instead of being killed, however, his body was transformed into anti-energy. A specialized containment suit was created by Professor Vultan at the university which allowed Drake a semblance of life. In an attempt to bring some meaning to a derailed life, he applied for Legion membership, calling himself Erg-1. However, he was rejected because he could not show the Legion any unique abilities. Having nowhere else to go, Wildfire stowed away on a cruiser to the planet Manna 5, where he saved the life of Colossal Boy by unleashing all of his anti-energy at once. 

Although the Legionnaires thought that he was dead, in reality Wildfire's energy was simply dissipated. He found that he could re-assemble himself, and after doing so, returned to Earth. Intending to re-apply to the Legion, he ended up fighting the Molecule Master, whose atomic powers he was able to absorb. This increased his powers and his own control over them.  

Having no life outside of the Legion, Wildfire dedicated himself to the organization. It was this dedication, as well as the overall force of his personality, that led to him getting elected Leader in Year 10. Almost immediately, he did things differently. As he had been a member barely a year, it was inevitable that he would clash with various Legion traditions; in fact, some of the more traditional members, such as Saturn Girl, Superboy and Brainiac 5, were unhappy with his leadership style. Although it is generally believed that he did a competent job in a very difficult year, when his term ended, the Legion chose Lightning Lad as their new leader rather than re-elect him.  

From the beginning of his membership Wildfire spent much of his off-duty time working at the Legion Academy. He eventually became the official officer in charge of new applicants and training. 

He met Dawnstar while she was at the Academy, and it was his sponsorship that fast-tracked her membership. They then had an on again-off again relationship for several years. Because Wildfire has no physical body, there is no chance of any physical manifestation of their feelings. This has been a frustrating situation for as long as he's known her. 

After the pure-energy being known as Quislet joined the Legion, he and Wildfire struck up a friendship. Quislet was eventually able to help Wildfire manipulate his own anti-energy "body." For the rest of the time that Quislet was a member, Wildfire presented himself as a physical body, and not in one of his containment suits. Unfortunately, after Quislet's spacecraft/living quarters was destroyed by the Emerald Empress, he had no choice but to return to his home dimension. When he did so, the controls that he and Wildfire had put in place disintegrated. Wildfire then had no choice but to return to his containment suit.  

Although Wildfire comes across as hot-headed and abrasive, his snide comments are mostly to hide just how much he cares for his fellow members and about what they do. In a very real sense, the Legion and the Academy are the only family Wildfire has. However, comics continuity is not clear on what Drake Burrough's actual status is. Several stories seem to imply that the world knows who and what Wildfire is, such as when Drake's parents are kidnapped by a Legion villain. On the other hand, there are also instances that seem to imply that the world thinks that "Drake Burroughs" died in the accident that created Wildfire. Either way, it seems clear that Wildfire uses his sarcastic temperament as a dealing mechanism, and that he actually cares quite a bit about his teammates. 

Wildfire's Legion career came to an abrupt end during the unchronicled event known as Black Dawn, in which Doctor Regulus made the sun unstable. Drake merged his energy with the sun's to fix it and was presumed dead, but he reappeared 5 years later, shortly after Mordru's attempt at universal conquest. His anti-energy was still mixed with solar energy, and the only vessel he could find to contain his energies was Sun Boy's corpse. Wearing a containment suit to hide this depressing reality, he rejoined the Legion as NRG.

After the Reboot, Wildfire begins life as two separate individuals, both members of rival teen groups - Atom'x, a member of Xanthu's Uncanny Amazers, and Blast-Off, a Legion reject who joined the Workforce. In mystical battle with Mordru, Atom'x and Blast-Off apparently lost their lives, but actually survived as pure energy, forever merged as a single entity. To preserve this entity once detected, the Legion rushed to place it into a humanoid containment suit. The new, merged person chose to call himself Drake Burroughs, a synthesis of their two previous names, Randall Burroughs and Jahr-Drake Ningle, and adopted the code-name ERG-1 (Energy Release Generator). He was  awarded Legion membership after helping the team fight the Blight.

ERG-1 was one of the Legionnaires sent to the ends of the universe in Legion Lost, where he took the name Wildfire, on the suggestion of the Legion's new Kwai friend, Shikari, with whom he remained close after the team returned to Earth's galaxy. In this time line, his immortal energies have survived to become the inspiration for successive incarnations of the Legion, as far as the 75th century (in Legends of a Dead Earth) and the 863rd as Wildflame (in DC One Million). After the Legion of 3 Worlds event, this version of Wildfire would seek to explore the multiverse with other surviving Reboot Legionnaires as the New Wanderers.

After the Threeboot, E.R.G.-1 is a metahuman composed of antimatter. With the help of his brother, Randall, Drake gradually gained control over his energy form, but he used a containment suit for the energies and periodically immersed himself in an "enrichment tank" to maintain cohesion. At some point, he applied for Legion membership, but a stray stone shattered his containment suit and he was thought lost. He turned up on Lallor, where the Legion stopped him from killing the planet's president for the rebels. Atom Girl managed to turn him, and he was for a time considered for membership.

After Infinite Crisis, Wildfire's original history has more or less been reestablished. During a mission to the 21st century, he is found animating an old Red Tornado body. After completing the mission, he subsequently returns to his own time along with other Legionnaires and resumes a relationship with Dawnstar.

In the New52, Wildfire and a small group of Legionnaires are trapped in the 21st century while pursuing a time-traveling genetic terrorist. In the Future's End: 5 Years Later event, he is revealed to have joined, and left, the Justice League. As of Justice League United Annual #1, Wildfire seems to have returned to the 31st century under unknown circumstances.

Wildfire had cameos in an episode each of The Legion of Super-Heroes animated series and Justice League Unlimited.

Important Wildfire Stories: 

Superboy #195
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Wildfire makes his debut as Erg-1

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #201
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Wildfire returns to Earth

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #202
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Wildfire officially joins the Legion

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #214
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12)
Wildfire shows off his hot-headedness for the first time

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #217
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12)
Wildfire spends his free time at the Legion Academy

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #225
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
Wildfire is elected Legion Leader

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #226
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
Wildfire brings in Dawnstar

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #229
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
Wildfire leads the team to the Dark Circle to avenge Chemical King

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #239
Wildfire is involved in the Ultra Boy murder case

Limited Collectors' Edition C-55
Wildfire argues with Superboy regarding Legion responsibilities

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #251
Wildfire destroys the Legion HQ in an attempt to destroy Omega

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #263-264
Wildfire's parents are kidnapped

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #272
Wildfire is in charge of new recruits
Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #283
Wildfire's pre-Legion history is reviewed; first time we see Drake Burroughs' face 

DC Comics Presents #43
 (reprinted in Showcase: DC Comics Presents vol. 2)

Wildfire meets the Sun-Eater

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #298-299
Wildfire visits Dream World with Invisible Kid II

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #304
Wildfire is a strong supporter of the Legion Academy

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #311
Wildfire vows his love for Dawnstar

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #317
Wildfire visits Dream World with Invisible Kid II again

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #322-323
Wildfire is frantic worrying about the missing Dawnstar

 Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #7
Wildfire meets with Cosmic Boy to discuss future members

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #9
Wildfire is assigned to organize try-outs for new members

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #15
Wildfire has half-a-dozen replacement power suits available

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #21
Wildfire spends time trying to train Quislet

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #30-33
Wildfire travels to Tellus' home-planet of Hykraius

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #36
Wildfire spends time with Quislet, who helps him re-arrange his energy

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #37
The debut of "New Look" Wildfire

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #38
Dawnstar rejects "New Look" Wildfire

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #44
Wildfire travels with Quislet to his home dimension

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #48
Dawnstar decides to give it a go with Wildfire

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #60
Wildfire reverts back to his initial form after Quislet leaves our dimension

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #40
Five Years Later, Wildfire returns as NRG
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #58
NRG reconnects with Dawnstar
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #61
NRG reveals he's been using Sun Boy's corpse as a body
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #82
Atom'X makes his first appearance; he will become half of the Reboot's Wildfire
Legionnaires #43
Blast-Off joins the Work Force; he will one day become the other half of Reboot Wildfire
Legionnaires #49
Atom'X is turned into pure energy by Mordru and thought killed
Legionnaires #50
The same happens to Blast-Off
Legionnaires #73
Blast-Off and Atom'X souls are combined into an energy elemental
Legionnaires #76
The entity joins the Legion as ERG-1
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #125
After being lost in another galaxy, ERG-1's containment suit is compromised
and the hero is thought lost
Legion Lost (v2) #3
Brainiac 5 builds a new containment suit for ERG-1 and saves him
Legion Lost (v2) #4
ERG-1 is renamed Wildfire by a new friend
Legion Lost (v2) #10
An issue focusing on Wildfire
The Legion #34
Wildfire is taken by Qwardians who drain his energy
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) Annual #7
In the 75th century, Wildfire is still alive and acting as an inspiration to future Legions
Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #1,000,000
In the 863rd century, Wildflame is a less active member, but still acts
as the Legion's collective memory
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34-35
The Threeboot ERG-1 attempts to assassinate a planet's president
Justice Society of America (v3) #5
After Infinite Crisis, Wildfire is found posing as a statue in the Fortress of Solitude
Justice League of America (v2) #9-10
Wildfire reveals he is using one of Red Tornado's robot bodies
Legion Lost (v2) #1-16
After Flashpoint, Wildfire and other Legionnaires are trapped in the 21st century
Legion Lost (v2) #15
Wildfire's energy is thought lost once again; it's back by the next issue
Futures' End: Justice League #1
In the Futures End time line, Wildfire has been a member of the Justice League
Justice League Unlimited animated series
Wildfire only ever had non-speaking cameos in the Animated DCU,
like this one from JLU's Far from Home

1 comment:

  1. My absolute favorite Legionnaire.
    I played him in the Mayfair RPG!