Marvel's Texas Avengers and Their Weird Demonic Exorcism, Explained

Today, we look into the strange exorcism plot involving Texas' answer to the Avengers, the Rangers!

This is "Provide Some Answers," which is a feature where long unresolved plot points are eventually resolved.

This was a weird little Marvel Comics mystery and once I have this resolved, there's a very amusing follow-up that I'll do for a Comic Book Legends Revealed in the near future!

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WHO ARE THE TEXAS RANGERS?

Way back in Fantastic Four #177, Roy Thomas and George Perez introduced the Texas Twister as a seemingly throwaway character trying out to be a member of the Frightful Four...

Thomas later brought back Twister as a rival for the Human Torch and then also as a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Super-Agents, who turned out to be villains working for the villainous Corporation (except for a few of their members, Twister included). Okay, so Bill Mantlo (who sure created a lot of characters for Marvel, huh?) and Sal Buscema brought the Texas Twister back as part of a new team of Texas superheroes, the Rangers...

We see that the Twister now has a girlfriend, Shooting Star, and they are appearing as part of the rodeo...

They are then paired with the Red Wolf (from Roy Thomas' Avengers) with a version of the Phantom Rider and a new character, Firestar...

They fought against the Hulk (who hasn't?) and then pretty much went into character limbo.

HOW DID A DEMON GET INVOLVED WITH THE RANGERS?

Once the West Coast Avengers set up shop in Los Angeles, Steve Englehart brought Firebird into the series and started to develop her a bit (as she was rather a blank slate, well, they all were, really). In West Coast Avengers #8 (by Englehart, Al Milgrom and Joe Sinnott), Firebird's old team came to find her and presumably take her back to them...

However, right when Firebird was about to go back to her old team (this was during a weird period where Hawkeye was obsessed with both adding a sixth member to the team and being kind of weird about WHO it would be), she suddenly sensed that Shooting Star was possessed!!

The Avengers thought that the Rangers would try to resolve thins peacefully, but instead, they all attack the Avengers!

In the end, Firebird is able to get through and cancel out the spell that "Shooting Star" had used on the other Rangers to get them to follow her...

Here's the interesting thing about this story. Englehart clearly intended it so that he was revealing that Shooting Star was ALWAYS a demon. She says it right here to Firebird...

That, though, is not how things turned out in the end!

First off, in the next issue of the series (by Englehart, Milgrom and Sinnott), we learn that the demonic Shooting Star had been working with Master Pandemonium, an Avengers villain...

It is also interesting to see that Twister, who was obviously dating Shooting Star, didn't really seem to give a hoot that she was gone and had always been a demon, right? Very odd...

As it turns out, though, "Shooting Star" was actually Mockingbird in disguise and the Avengers show up and take down the villain...

And that was it for the story. It's interesting, looking back on it all, I actually don't know whether Englehart actually thought whether there WAS a story here to be resolved, ya know? I think you could argue that he always intended that this WAS the end of the story, ya know? However, it is worth noting that more than one writer intended to "resolve" this one, so I guess others thought otherwise.

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HOW WAS THE EXORCISM RESOLVED

Okay, so a few years have passed and Hawkeye and Mockingbird have split because Mockingbird let an earlier version of the Phantom Rider die after he had used drugs to rape her. Hawkeye was not a fan of this.

Well, around that time, in 1989's Solo Avengers #18 (in a story by Howard Mackie, Ron Wilson and Don Heck), Hawkeye is visited by the Texas Twister, who wants to see the demon...

Hawkeye somehow allows this for some reason and Twister then...KISSES SHOOTING STAR! And as it turns out, she literally WAS possessed and as it turns out, Shooting Star DID exist...

The Twister then explained how this had come to be, as it turns out that he had lost his powers and that he had basically sold his soul for his powers to return. He was way too happy to do this, and then, of course, it turns out that the demon wanted Shooting Star (I think the plan was for Shooting Star to get him to Wonder Man so that she could possess him)...

However, because she was no longer possessed, then that means that the possession had moved from Shooting Star... to the Texas Twister!!

I'm still a bit unsure of the logic of this possession, as you would think that Texas Twister would have been able to get close to Wonder Man just as well as Shooting Star would have. I guess the whole sex appeal, thing, but Texas Twister was an established superhero, so shouldn't he have been able to get close to notable superheroes if needed?

Anyhow, in the end, Shooting Star reveals that she would rather kill Texas Twister than let him remain possessed, so the demon agrees to possess a statue...

I don't know how possessing a statue would be better than death, but I'm no demon! I love Hawkeye's line about how vicious women are. This was during a period where he spent a LOT of time his time whining about Mockingbird.

If anyone else has a suggestion for a comic book plot that got resolved after a few years (I tend to use two years as the minimum, as otherwise, you're probably just in the middle of the actual initial reveal of the storyline, ya know? But I'll allow exceptions where a new writer takes over a storyline and has to resolve the previous writer's unresolved plots), drop me a line at [email protected]!

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Brian Cronin (15129 Articles Published)

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over a dozen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you'd like to see featured at [email protected]!

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