Firebrand

Rod created by Reed Crandall
Danette created by Rich Buckler & Roy Thomas
Created by Brian Augustyn and Sal Velluto

Firebrand I

NAME + ALIASES:
Rod Reilly

KNOWN RELATIVES:
"Emerald" Ed Reilly (father, deceased), unnamed mother, Danette Reilly (Firebrand II, sister)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron, Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Police Comics #1 (August 1941)

DEATH:
Canceled Comics Cavalcade #2 (1978)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #1, 4, 13, 50
  • Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, 9
  • Freedom Fighters #11–15
  • JSA #42
  • Justice League of America #193
  • Police Comics #1–13 (Aug. 1941–Nov. 1942)

Firebrand II

NAME + ALIASES:
Danette Reilly

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Ed Reilly (father, deceased), Rod Reilly (Firebrand I, brother), Terri Curtis Rothstein (goddaughter)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Danette Reilly:
Justice League of America #193 (Aug. 1981). As Firebrand:
All-Star Squadron
#5 (Jan. 1982)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #1-9, 11-22, 24-27, 31-35, 38-44, 46-51, 54, 55, 57-60, Annual #2
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, 2, 4, 5
  • Justice League of America #193, 207-209
  • Young All-Stars #7, 9

Firebrand III

NAME + ALIASES:
Alejandro "Alex" Sanchez (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed parents, Christina (sister, deceased), Javi (brother)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Firebrand #1 (February 1996)

APPEARANCES:

  • Firebrand, 9 issues (Feb.–Oct. 1996)
  • JSA Secret Files #2
  • Showcase '96 #4

Firebrand IV

NAME + ALIASES:
Andre Twist

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed parents

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #1 (Early June 2006)

APPEARANCES:

  • Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #1-6
  • DCU: Brave New World #1
  • Freedom Fighters v.2 #1-9
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.1, #1-8
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.2, #1-8

+ History

Firebrand, from Police #5 (1941); art by Reed Crandall.

“Firebrand” is a character better known to DC fans as the sister of the original, who was featured prominently in All-Star Squadron. The original Firebrand had everything going for it except, perhaps, more interesting adventures. Most of his stories were drawn by the rising talent, Reed Crandall. Crandall eventually moved onto “Blackhawk,” for which he is best known. Firebrand also held the cover spotlight through Police #4, soon conceding it to the more popular Plastic Man. And that fancy sheer shirt? It was preceded by the Red Bee’s by a year.

To the world, Rod Reilly was an idle playboy, son of “Emerald” Ed Reilly, who made his fortune in steel. But as Firebrand, Reilly held aloft his “blazing torch,” and stuck it to spies. Reilly’s own parents even expressed their concern about Firebrand’s vigilantism, but Rod only revealed his dual identity to one person, the ex-prize fighter “Slugger” Shea (later Dunn), who was Firebrand’s crime fighting partner. Usually they encountered mobsters and/or Fifth Column spies like the Baron Von Hanson. Once he put an end to Von Hanson’s collaboration with the mob, Firebrand left his signature torch for the police to find. Reilly was also engaged at this time to Joan Rogers. (Police #1)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC, and Firebrand II

In current DC continuity, Rod’s story picks up with the introduction of his sister, Danette, in All-Star Squadron (read below). But before this, he appeared briefly in the 1976 Freedom Fighters series. Those stories are no longer in continuity and in fact, Rod was intended to die in an unpublished tale. His current status in the DC universe is unknown.

Danette Reilly becomes Firebrand II. From All-Star Squadron #5 (1982). Art by Rich Buckler.
Alex Sanchez, from Firebrand #2 (1996); art by Sal Velluto.
Andre Twist, from Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #1 (2006); art by Dan Jurgens.

Rod Reilly’s wartime story picks up in the pages of All-Star Squadron. By this time, Rod and Slugger’s navy duties led Rod to doff his Firebrand duds for good. The two of them were stationed in Hawaii on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack, Dec. 7, 1941. They were nearby on Oahu’s Wheeler Field when Japanese planes arrived. Slugger was hit in the leg and Rod in the chest. Meanwhile, his sister, Danette (a geologist), was having her first encounter with a super-hero herself. She met the Shining Knight (Sir Justin) while studying a volcano, and they were attacked by Per Degaton. (All-Star Squadron #1).


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Firebrand III, Alex Sanchez

The 1990s reinvention of Quality characters continued under writer Brian Augustyn (who also wrote Black Condor) when he created an all-new Firebrand in 1996.

The third Firebrand was Alex Sanchez, who had no relation to his predecessors. His history was tainted by fire, having lost his baby sister Christina in a conflagration that he himself escaped. Then as an adult, while working as an NYPD detective, he escaped yet again, but not completely unharmed. An explosion left him in need of a walking cane for life. Noah Hightower offered him the chance to turn his misfortune around by becoming the Firebrand. Sanchez would don a suit that could download an energy surge from a satellite. This empowered him with 120% of normal human capacity, but he could only “fire up” the suit once a day for four hours, lest his body burn out. Also, the suit was designed with a horrific visage and claws, to instill fear in its opponents. (Firebrand #1-2)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Firebrand IV (Andre Twist)

A “firebrand” is a person with a penchant for militancy in speech and/or action. This description fits the most recent namesake to a ‘T.’

During the “Infinite Crisis,” the villainous super-group called the Society killed many of the Freedom Fighters and destroyed the city of Blüdhaven, though some of its inhabitants were transformed. That blast unlocked the metagene in Andre Twist, who found that he could generate great heat and flame. One year later, Twist remained on the scene as Firebrand IV to help the refugees camped outside the city walls. (Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #1)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Notes

Twist’s co-creator Justin Gray said they didn’t want him to look like the original: “Firebrand has been spared any connections to the previous costume, which would look right at home during an ice-skating competition with the sheer puffy sleeves, tights and bandana. This Firebrand is inspired by the youthful exuberance and his lack of an accurate world view. He’s passionate and often opinionated, a troublemaker like his namesake.” (“Uncle Sam…”)

+ Powers

Rod was an Olympic-level athlete and superb combatant. He had trained to the height of physical perfection. He was a good hand-to-hand fighter and accomplished swimmer. Special skills included high wire balancing, scaling buildings with suction cups, and using a lariat.

Danette was a metahuman who could project fire from her hands, surround herself in a field of fire, and fly. She could control any flame in her immediate vicinity, and could absorb fire into her body harmlessly.

Alex Sanchez had no super-powers, but wore a uniform that downloaded energies from a satellite. With it he possessed 120% of a normal human’s abilities. Each download lasted four hours, mostly for the safety of the person inside. The suit generated flames for show only, and was cooled internally. The suit made him more agile and strong, could withstand standard gunfire, and had infrared visibility.

Andre Twist, like Danette, was a metahuman with the power to wield flames. He often employed a staff used in martial arts-style fighting.

Appearances + References