Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

spitfireEvery Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Spitfire, the super-fast Marvel Comics’ heroine. Spitfire first appeared in Invaders # 7 (July 1976) in her identity as Jacqueline Falsworth before debuting as Spitfire in Invaders # 12 (December 1976). Over the years, she’s been a member of not only the World War II-era Invaders but also of MI-13.

The daughter of the original Union Jack and the sister of the second man to use that identity, Spitfire was exposed to heroism and patriotism her entire life. As a teenager in World War II, she met the Invaders and was injured by the vampiric Baron Blood. Only a blood transfusion from the artificial lifeform that was the original Human Torch saved her, also endowing her with superspeed. After joining the Invaders, Spitfire operated throughout the war as one of England’s primary champions. After the war, she married Lord Crichton and bore him a son, Kenneth. Unfortunately, Kenneth would eventually be swayed to the side of darkness, becoming the second Baron Blood.

Spitfire eventually retired as a hero and focused on running Falsworth Industries, though a later second transfusion from the Torch not only restored her powers but also her youth. After this, she returned to active adventuring, working with both the New Invaders and MI-13. Unfortunately, the curse of vampirism that had claimed the lives of both her father and her son eventually played havoc on Spitfire herself as she manifested several unique abilities. She has vampire fangs that appear when she’s angered but she possesses no blood lust and does not need to drink it to survive.

I’ve always loved this character – not only because of her sleek costume design but because she’s such an old-fashioned hero. She wants to do the right thing so she does it! She’s a golden age hero through and through, with all that entails. I was a huge Invaders fan back in the day but I love seeing her in the modern world, as well — even with the darkening of her character brought about by the vampire business (which I’m not too keen on), she’s still a breath of relatively fresh air in what’s become a pretty seedy Marvel Universe.

Back in my fanfiction days, I wrote a LOT of stories featuring Spitfire, casting her as a member of the heroic Pendragons. Those were the days, eh?

Anyway, I’d love to see somebody treat Spitfire as a legitimate big gun in the Marvel Universe but I’m afraid that they’d just drag her through the mud like they have most of their heroes, so maybe she should just stay in the shadows for now.

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