Sometimes I send comics and graphic novels to friends who, for one reason or another, love comics but have gaps in their reading. Recently, I sent Jenny a copy of the original Infinity Gauntlet story just before the Infinity War movie came out. That’s a really good cosmic crisis type of story where Thanos got the title glove, wiped out half the universe, and Adam Warlock, back after an extended absence, gathered heroes and cosmic entities to fight the Mad Titan long enough for him to do the real job. Much of the heroes gathered were the big name Marvel heroes from the mid-90s, many of whom are still running around.
But among the ones who aren’t, there’s Firelord.
Who is Firelord? He’s one of the former Heralds of Galactus. There are a lot of those guys. Starting with the Silver Surfer (at least as far as publishing goes since storywise some Heralds might predate Norrin Radd), Galactus, Eater of Worlds, takes some random alien, infuses him or her with the Power Cosmic, and sends whoever it is on ahead to scout for planets full of life or energy or whatever for Galactus to consume. Some Heralds, being more benevolent souls, tend to guide Galactus to places with at least no sentient life. Galactus doesn’t care. He just wants to consume planets to survive.
Anyhoo, Firelord was one of the benevolent ones.
Firelord, real name Pyreus Kril, began as a Xandian, the race of aliens that started the Nova Corps. Heck, he trained in the Nova Corps Academy and during his tenure, he befriended one Gabriel Lan. Gabriel was his commanding officer, but after a run-in with Galactus, Gabriel disappeared. Pyreus took it personally, and once he was elevated to the Gabriel’s old rank, he went searching for his friend. He did eventually find Galactus, and when he discovered his buddy was still missing, agreed to become the new Herald to find out what happened. Pyreus agreed and became Firelord.
What could he do as Firelord? Well, like all Heralds, he could fly through space without a problem, he was massively strong and fast, and he could do stuff with the electromagnetic spectrum. Additionally, he carried a flaming staff weapon and could shoot and control cosmic fire. Seriously, with a name like that, he better be able to control fire in some way.
Oh, what happened to Gabriel? Well, he had been another Herald by the name of Air-Walker, but he was killed off. He’d come back as a somewhat robotic Herald, and even served for a period as the consciousness in Galactus’ Worldship, but he and Firelord actually remain friends.
Also, from what I’ve seen, if the Silver Surfer needed to gather the other Heralds to take on a bigger threat, he often went to Firelord if not first, than close to it. Sure, Firelord occasionally found himself on the wrong side due to being Herald of Galactus, where even Spider-Man smacked him around once or twice, but he was one of the good ones, and as such, when he requested Galactus let him go on his way, the World Eater agreed on the condition that Firelord find his own replacement, something he did with help from Thor, giving Galactus the Destroyer armor from Asgard.
After that, Firelord became something of a guy who pops up sometimes for big cosmic stories, but not all the time. As a Herald, he’s a very powerful figure and was one of the handful of heroes to actually survive the fight with a Gauntlet-powered Thanos.
By the by, a note from me: George Perez was the artist on the first half of the Infinity Gauntlet six issue story, starting the fourth issue but not finishing it. He was replaced for the rest by Ron Lim, who himself would go on to be the main artist on the two Infinity sequels. Want to know where in the book Lim took over in issue #4? Give Firelord a look. Lim gave Firelord flaming eyebrows, something Perez didn’t do.
So, while Firelord was hanging around for a lot of those mid 90s cosmic stories, you’d think he’s still be hanging around now. Well…nope. He pops up here and there, but he hasn’t been much of a presence in the grand scheme of things. He didn’t even rate a membership in the revamped Guardians of the Galaxy. Why? I don’t know. Maybe someone finally pointed out that fire wouldn’t burn in the vacuum of space. He does appear when there are group team-ups of the Heralds, but by and large, he hasn’t done a whole lot since the 90s.
Flame out, I suppose.