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Sunfire (comics)

Art by Alan Davis
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #64 (January 1970)
Created by Roy Thomas
Don Heck
In-story information
Alter ego Shiro Yoshida
Species Human Mutant and Human Mutate
Team affiliations Avengers Unity Squad
Horsemen of Apocalypse
Death's Champions
Pacific Overlords
X-Corporation Mumbai
The Twelve
Big Hero 6
Notable aliases Famine

  • Flight
  • Plasma blasts
  • Ability to view infrared
  • Radiation immunity

As Horsemen of Famine:

  • Ability to emit hunger-inducing light

Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida (吉田 四郎 Yoshida Shirō?)) is a fictional character, a mutant superhero in the Marvel Comics Universe and former member of the X-Men.

Sunfire is a temperamental and arrogant Japanese mutant who can generate superheated plasma and fly. Not suited for teamwork, Sunfire was only briefly a member of the X-Men and has kept limited ties to the team since. He has had some presence in the greater Marvel Universe.

Concept and creation

Roy Thomas recalled that, during his first run on X-Men,
I wanted to add a young Japanese or Japanese-American whose mother had been at Hiroshima or Nagasaki, as a corresponding character to the X-Men, whose parents were, at that time, assumed to have been at the Manhattan Project. Stan [Lee, X-Men editor/co-creator] didn't give me any good reason [for rejecting the character] - he just didn't want to, I think... I didn't bring it up again, but when I came back to the book, with Neal Adams, I created Sunfire, who is pretty much the character I had wanted to do some years earlier. I didn't make him an X-Man right away. By that time, Stan gave me a little more free reign [sic]. In fact, he was included in Giant Size X-Men #1, along with Banshee, precisely because I had gone around creating some 'international mutants,' with the goal of expanding the team at some time. I thought the X-Men shouldn't all be white Americans.[1]

Publication history

Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Don Heck, he first appeared in X-Men #64 (January 1970).

In 1998, Marvel published a miniseries entitled Sunfire and Big Hero Six about Sunfire's brief membership in a new superhero team sanctioned by the Japanese government.

Comic book writer Rick Remender revealed in an interview that Sunfire would be a member of the Uncanny Avengers, starting with issue #5.[2]

Fictional character biography

Shiro Yoshida was born to a mother who suffered radiation poisoning due to exposure to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. As a result, he was born in Agarashima, Japan, a mutant possessing solar radiation powers.

Shiro's mother died of radiation poisoning when he was young and Shiro grew to hate the United States, despite the influence of his father, an ambassador to the United Nations more tolerant of the US.[3] His greedy uncle Tomo inspires Shiro to take the identity of Sunfire and engage in a one-man battle against the U.S. As Sunfire, he attacks the United States Capitol and battles the X-Men. Later, he sees his father killed by Tomo. Distraught, Sunfire kills Tomo and surrenders to the authorities.[4]

Later, Sunfire battles Namor the Sub-Mariner, but then alongside Namor he battles the Dragon Lord.[5] He also battles Iron Man, but is abducted by the Mandarin and used to power one of his machines. When he is freed, alongside Iron Man he battles Ultimo.[6]

Months later, Professor X recruits Sunfire to a new team of X-Men to rescue the originals from Krakoa, the Living Island.[7] However, afterward he denies that his assisting Professor X in this way constitutes his becoming a member of the X-Men.[8]

Sunfire later battles Iron Man and the second Guardsman.[9] With the X-Men, he helps stop Moses Magnum from sinking Japan.[10] He is later among the heroes summoned by the Grandmaster for the first Contest of Champions, in which he battles Darkstar.[11] With the X-Men, he battles an alien dragon.[12] Alongside Cable, Wolverine, and the New Mutants, he battles Stryfe, and the MLF.[13] Sunfire later battles the Corruptor and Deadline.[14] Sunfire is later hypnotized by Doctor Demonicus into joining his Pacific Overlords. Alongside Pele, Sunfire battles Hawkeye, Namor, and Spider-Woman.[15] Sunfire receives a new set of armor, and with the X-Men battles the inhabitants of the Void.[16] Alongside Gambit, he later battles the Hand.[17]

Sunfire becomes involved with the X-Men once again when Apocalypse kidnaps Sunfire, as he is one of the Twelve, a group of unique mutants Apocalypse requires to obtain the power to warp reality.[volume & issue needed]

Later on, Sunfire becomes a member of X-Corporation, a non-government organization devoted to the protection of mutant rights. Sunfire joins the Mumbai branch of X-Corp.[volume & issue needed]

During the early story arcs of the latest edition of Marvel Team-Up, Sunfire attempted to combat the powerful villain known as Titannus, a reject of the Super-Skrull program who had made his way to Earth after being brainwashed by an alien race to serve as their ultimate weapon. Attempting to contain Titannus, Sunfire summoned practically the entire Japanese army to confront him, but the powerful foe defeated Sunfire and the army with ease, and was only barely defeated by a new team that had been hastily assembled by Doctor Strange to combat this threat.[volume & issue needed]

Later, it was revealed that Sunfire had worked with Rogue and Mystique back when Sunfire was still working with Tomo and Rogue was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Working with them was a girl called Blindspot, who at the time was allied with the Brotherhood and who had the power to erase and restore memories. The four were on a mission to steal Lord Dark Wind's (the father of Lady Deathstrike) adamantium bonding process. Mystique would later cut her ties with Blindspot, who she did not trust. Since she always erased her tracks once a contract ends, Blindspot wiped the minds of everyone who was involved so no one would remember her.[volume & issue needed]

Later, Blindspot discovered Lord Dark Wind wanted all four dead for trying to steal his adamantium process. Realizing how the others would be in danger, with no memory of the mission to steal Dark Wind's adamantium process, Blindspot went back to Japan to erase his memory of the ordeal. When she got there, she discovered that his daughter, who later became Deathstrike had already killed him. Blindspot was able to erase Deathstrike's memories as well.[volume & issue needed]

Yet as Deathstrike was more machine than woman, she was able to restore her memories the same way one would a hard drive. Deathstrike kidnapped Blindspot, who released a photo of Sunfire, Rogue, and Mystique to attract their attention to save her. Though Mystique never came, Rogue joined Sunfire, whose reputation had been ruined by the photograph, in Tokyo to discover why they were framed and who was responsible.[volume & issue needed]

A weakened Sunfire, with Rogue and Blindspot. Art by Derec Donovan.

The two ran into Lady Deathstrike, who in a heated battle cut off Sunfire's legs, leaving him in critical condition. Rogue surrendered to Deathstrike, who imprisoned the two. There, Rogue met Blindspot, who restored Rogue's memories and explained to her what was going on.[volume & issue needed]

When Deathstrike discovered that the three were not actually responsible for stealing the adamantium, she went to kill them to destroy any evidence of what she had done. A weak Sunfire asked Rogue to absorb his powers so she could properly battle Deathstrike. Rogue had previously lost the powers of Carol Danvers that she had taken and was hesitant. She worried that she would harm Sunfire, but Blindspot pushed her on Sunfire's face, causing her to absorb all his powers and possibly killing him. With it, Rogue now also contained Sunfire's personality, similar to how she also once had Danvers' personality within her.[volume & issue needed]

Sunfire's personality controlling her, Rogue went out to get revenge on Deathstrike, severely injuring the woman. The X-Men arrived in time to intervene, but Blindspot erased Rogue's memories of being an X-Man causing her to see her teammates as her enemies. After a brief altercation, Rogue's memories were restored and she told the X-Men what had happened to Sunfire. They went to where Rogue last saw Sunfire, but his body was missing, leading some of the X-Men to believe he was somehow still alive.[volume & issue needed]

Sunfire as Famine, one of Apocalypse's Horsemen. Art by Salvador Larroca.

Sunfire lost his powers before M-Day and his X-gene during that moment.[volume & issue needed]

It is revealed that Sunfire had been rescued by a mysterious group of ninja, and taken to a hospital in Aspen.[18] After being revived from his coma, the world's leading specialist in prosthetic limbs, Masanori Kuzuya, offered him his services. Before the reasoning behind the rescue could be revealed, Apocalypse appeared and offered Sunfire the chance for vengeance, as well as the recovery of his lost limbs and power, in return for his service as one of Apocalypse's new Horsemen.[volume & issue needed]

Sunfire accepted, but after being chained away and locked in a prison while listening to the tortured screams of Gazer (another of the new Horsemen), Sunfire tried to escape. Unable to leave Gazer to his fate, Sunfire went back to free him. However, Gazer's transformation to the Horseman 'War' had already been completed and War attacked Sunfire. Captured again, Sunfire was transformed into the Horseman of Famine. When Apocalypse launched his attack on the X-Men, Sunfire caused an intense feeling of hunger and weakness in the mutants and humans on the institute grounds. As he was fighting the X-Men, Havok shot him down and Rogue, who recognized him, caught him as he fell. He was taken to the Medical Lab and Emma Frost entered his mind in an attempt to help him. When Apocalypse departed, he sent War to retrieve Famine, but Shiro broke free from Apocalypse's control and attacked War.[volume & issue needed]

Sunfire was last seen running off with the unconscious body of Gambit, like him a former X-Men turned Horseman. At the temple where Sunfire first took Gambit, Mister Sinister told them "I am glad you both feel able to move on from the past... for I am your future!".[volume & issue needed]

Sunfire is shown as a member of the Marauders still in the form of Famine.[19] Alongside Gambit, Sunfire attacks Cable, who destroys Providence. He subsequently attacks an escaping Cannonball and Iceman, but is taken down by Cannonball and is taken prisoner. Though Cannonball and Iceman consider interrogating Sunfire for information as to who he is working for, Cannonball decides against it, knowing that Sunfire would never confess. Instead, Iceman neutralizes Sunfire's artificial mutant abilities on a sub-atomic level using his own mutant abilities, while Cannonball fights him.[volume & issue needed]

Sunfire is later held captive in the Blackbird and is rescued by his fellow Marauders.[volume & issue needed]

After being rescued by the Marauders, Sunfire joins fellow members Gambit, Prism, Blockbuster, Malice, Lady Mastermind, and Scalphunter when they travel to Cooperstown, Alaska to find the Messiah baby but instead come across the Purifiers and they come to blows.[20] He then participates in a battle alongside the Marauders and Acolytes against the X-Men.[21]

The next time Sunfire is seen, he is with Gambit, Vertigo, and Malice at Eagle Plaza, Texas, taking on Bishop for the Messiah baby.[22] He is involved in the battle at Muir Island over the mutant baby's fate.[23] He is apparently knocked unconscious at some point, as it is revealed later that Bishop cauterized the wound of his severed arm by pressing it against Sunfire's unconscious but still flaming form.[volume & issue needed] After Xavier was injured by Bishop, everyone went their separate ways, including the surviving members of the Marauders.[volume & issue needed]


Years later, Wolverine finds a drunken and disheveled Shiro in a Tokyo alleyway. Shiro is offered a spot on the new Avengers Unity Squad, with Wolverine stating that Professor Xavier always thought he had potential. He is initially hesitant, but agrees to join the Avengers after learning that the Red Skull has stolen Xavier's brain.[24]

Following a confrontation with the Celestial Exitar, who had come to judge Earth due to the machinations of the Apocalypse Twins, Sunfire was apparently killed by Kang the Conqueror, but he was able to use his power to transform his body into a state of pure energy that he could use to absorb most of the Celestials' energy.[25]


Shiro Yoshida (Sunfire) is the brother of Leyu Yoshida, alias the superheroine Sunpyre, who shares his flame-based powers. He is also the cousin of Wolverine's late fiancée Mariko Yashida and her half-brother the Silver Samurai.

Yashida and Yoshida seem to be different spellings of the same name. While in his first appearance Sunfire was called Shiro Yoshida, in the story arc that introduced his cousin, Mariko, his name was spelled Yashida and this version of the name was carried on in Mariko's next appearances.

Powers and abilities

Sunfire is a mutant with the ability to absorb solar radiation, and convert it to ionize matter into a fiery plasma state which bursts into flame when exposed to oxygen. Referring to his plasma output as "solar fire", he can release this energy through his hands as blasts of searing heat, deadly radiation, explosive concussive force, or simple flames. By ionizing the air around him, he can surround himself with an aura of heat intense enough to melt steel, or fly by focusing his aura downwards in a tight stream of ionized gas to propel him though the air like a rocket. Sunfire can see heat, by shifting his vision from visible light to infrared. Sunfire has the ability to form a psionic force field while using his plasma as protection from heat and radiation, both that of his own generation and that from outside sources. In a similar fashion to the Human Torch's nova burst, Sunfire is capable of increasing his plasma output to temperatures around 1,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and emitting it as an omnidirectional blast.

Sunfire transferred his powers to Rogue in order to defeat Lady Deathstrike who had just cut off his legs. This (like Ms. Marvel before him) left him still a mutant but powerless.[volume & issue needed] After his transformation into Famine, a Horseman of Apocalypse, his powers and legs were returned, and he could now also use them to create flashes of light that affected the sections of the human brain which control hunger, causing any people who saw his light flashes to feel as if they were starving.[volume & issue needed] Due to further genetic enhancement from Apocalypse, Sunfire is also able to secrete a specialized bio-oxygen from his skin, which allows him to breathe and conjure his flames even in in the vacuum of space.[26]

Shiro also seems to be quite an accomplished martial artist. He has displayed impressive hand to hand skills on several occasions and stated that he didn't need to employ his powers in order to defeat Hand ninjas.[volume & issue needed] He is trained in karate, judo, and kendo (Japanese Samurai swordsmanship). He is also an expert in the combat use of his superhuman powers. He has at least peak human physical ability.

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In Age of Apocalypse, Japan was destroyed by Holocaust, one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Shiro, a survivor of the massacre, was captured and given to Maximus (the Horseman of Death), as a test subject for his experiments. Shiro's powers were pushed to their limits, causing his whole body to be set aflame, injuring him as a result. Shiro was rescued by the X-Men and joined them, taking on the codename Sunfire. Sunfire wore a containment suit to control his powers, although he was constantly on fire. Haunted by the destruction of his nation, Sunfire joined Rogue's task force of X-Men when they were sent to Chicago to fight Holocaust, who had begun a new series of Cullings. The character design of the original Sunfire as Famine (see above) is virtually identical to the Age of Apocalypse incarnation of the character.[27]

After the regular reality's X-Force crossed over into the Age of Apocalypse, Shiro was one of the few X-Men to return in order to prevent the destruction of Earth-616 by Archangel. Though he fought valiantly against the traitorous Iceman, seemingly killing him for his treachery, Shiro was killed while attempting to siphon energy from Holocaust's weapon of mass destruction, though he managed to buy X-Force precious moments with his sacrifice.[28]

House of M

In House of M, Sunfire became the Emperor of Japan. Under his rule, the country had prospered, though the poverty levels were extremely high among the baseline human population. In secret, Sunfire was one of the masterminds of Project: Genesis, a project sanctioned by the Japan branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the goal of forcefully mutating baseline humans. When the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives-in-training dubbed the Hellions investigated a terrorist attack, they discovered the existence of Project: Genesis and its link to Emperor Sunfire. Sunfire lied to the Hellions and told them that Project: Genesis's purpose was to recycle organic waste into food for poor baseline humans.[29]

Marvel Zombies

In Marvel Zombies, a zombie version of Sunfire and Silver Samurai can be briefly seen slaughtering civilians, while the Silver Surfer travels the globe, as a result of Quicksilver being infected and thus able to spread the zombie plague all over the world.[volume & issue needed] The zombie version of Wolverine traveled to Earth-Z, where at Marvel Zombies Return, seeks an uninfected Sunfire that battles Zombie Wolverine, but was killed instead.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Sunfire

In Ultimate X-Men #94, Sunfire appears as a member of Alpha Flight. His power levels enhanced by Banshee, the Ultimate Marvel version of the Mutant Growth Hormone, he squares off against new X-Man recruit Firestar.

In other media


  • Sunfire guest-starred on the 1980s animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the episode "Sunfire", voiced by Jerry Dexter. In the episode, he and Firestar fell in love amidst their adventures with Firestar's friends Spider-Man and Iceman. His uncle Jin Ju plotted to use Sunfire and Firestar in his plan to hatch his fire monster. Sunfire and the Spider-Friends stopped the fire monster and Sunfire returned to Japan to have his uncle recover in a hospital.
  • Sunfire makes many appearances in the X-Men series, however most of those were non-speaking cameos merely serving the purpose of a stock character. However, when Sunfire speaks, he is voiced by Dennis Akayama. He briefly appeared in the adaptation of The Dark Phoenix Saga in the episode "Child of Light" as one of the many Marvel heroes saving different parts of the world from catastrophe due to the corruption of the M'Kraan Crystal. He also had speaking roles in the episodes "Slave Island" and "Graduation Day" (where he had become a follower of Magneto).

Video games

File:Sunfire in X-Men Legends II.jpg
Sunfire as a playable character in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
  • Sunfire is briefly mentioned in The Punisher video game. He is talked about in the second to last level of the game. Two guys are talking about who would win in a fight between Sunfire and Captain America. He is mistakenly called "Captain Japan" by the Yakuza.


  • In an interview in Wizard Magazine, Alex Ross has mentioned that Sunfire's mask served as the inspiration for Kyle Rayner's (Green Lantern) original costume mask (which debuted in Green Lantern #51 (in 1994).[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ O'Neill, Patrick Daniel (August 1993). "'60s Mutant Mania: The Original Team". Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. pp. 76–77. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 62–63. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6. 
  4. ^ X-Men #64
  5. ^ Sub-Mariner #52-54
  6. ^ Iron Man #68-70
  7. ^ Giant-Sized X-Men #1
  8. ^ X-Men #94
  9. ^ Iron Man #98-99
  10. ^ X-Men #118-119
  11. ^ Marvel Super-Hero Contest of Champions #1-3
  12. ^ Uncanny X-Men #181
  13. ^ New Mutants #93-94
  14. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #32
  15. ^ Avengers West Coast #71
  16. ^ Uncanny X-Men #284-286
  17. ^ Wolverine #55-56
  18. ^ X-Men vol. 2 #182
  19. ^ X-Men vol. 2 #200
  20. ^ X-Men Messiah Complex (2007)
  21. ^ X-Men Vol.2 #205 (2008)
  22. ^ Uncanny X-Men #494 (2008)
  23. ^ X-Men Vol.2 #207 (2008)
  24. ^ Uncanny Avengers #5
  25. ^ Uncanny Avengers #22
  26. ^ Uncanny Avengers #9
  27. ^ Astonishing X-Men #1-4 (1995)
  28. ^ Uncanny X-Force #18 (Feb 2012)
  29. ^ New X-Men: Academy X #19
  30. ^

External links

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