It’s time for the fifth edition of The Character Spotlight! This week we turn our attention to a member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, the first of many that are sure to be featured in the Spotlight. Recently he’s gained some notoriety by debuting in the live-action TV show Arrow where he was depicted quite differently from his comic book origins. In fact, those not in the know wouldn’t even have recognized him as a Batman villain because he isn’t one of the Dark Knight’s most visible recurring menaces. Regardless, with this increased exposure I thought now was the perfect time to delve into his history. Garfield Lynns, the Spotlight is yours:
DebutDetective Comics (Vol. 1) #184 (Cover Date: June 1952)
Biography: Garfield Lynns made his debut in the Pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths continuity as a visual effects specialist that had fallen on hard times. He embarked on a life of crime to supplement his income and tried to rob a theatre by faking a fire but encountered Batman and Robin in the process. He managed to escape into the darkness and eluded Batman who chased after a distant firefly that he thought was Lynns’ lit cigarette. He was inspired by this event and dubbed himself the Firefly and continued his life of crime utilizing various lighting effects and optical illusions. Lynns’ origin was tweaked Post-Crisis and he was no longer a lighting effects artist but a pyrotechnic expert for the film industry with a slight case of pyromania as well. Falling on hard times due to Gotham City’s severe poverty, he embarked on a life of crime. He took up arson as a hobby but eventually become obsessed with it and turned into a full-fledged pyromaniac whom believed he could see visions in the flames. Inspired by fireflies, Garfield built a suit which included a flamethrower, grenade launchers, other various fire-creating weapons, and wings on his back that allowed him to glide on the updrafts from the fires he created. He became a professional arsonist and proceeded to become the protégé of fellow super-villain Killer Moth in an attempt to duplicate the success that the Dynamic Duo enjoyed. This team-up ended once Killer Moth came to the realization of just how disturbed Firefly truly was and thusly feared for his own safety. Firefly was eventually incarcerated at Arkham Asylum but managed to escape and concocted a sinister plan to burn down all of the places in Gotham that he didn’t go to as a child. He was eventually caught at the location of his third target, the Gotham Zoo. Firefly’s criminal career continued until a chemical factory he had targeted exploded and caused burns to over 90 percent of his body. He was sent to Blackgate Prison this time and encountered Nightwing who was captured trying to free the prison from the control of the villain known as Lock-Up. Firefly, demented as always, vowed to kill the hero and wear Nightwing’s skin over his own burned body. Their rivalry continued reaching a climax when Firefly torched Haley’s Circus, Nightwing’s former home when he was a child. His life of villainy marched on with him at certain points even being a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Firefly’s last major plot before the New 52 reboot involved setting fire to the citizens of Gotham instead of targeting buildings which brought his pyromania to a whole new twisted level.
Notable Series/Key Issues:
Detective Comics Vol. 1 (#184, #661-#662, #689-#690, #714-#715, #727, #798-#799)
DC 1st Issue Special #7
The Outsiders Vol. 1 (#12, #16)
Batman Vol. 1 (#495, #497, #560, #653, #698-#699)
Batman: Spoiler/Huntress: Blunt Trauma #1
Nightwing Vol. 2 (#35-#37, #88, #98)
Batgirl Year One #5-#9
Batman: Streets of Gotham #1-#2, #17-#18
Appearances In Other Media:
The New Batman Adventures (TV)
Justice League (TV)
The Batman (TV)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (TV)
Lego Batman: The Videogame DS (GAME)
My Take: Poor, poor Firefly. Here is a villain that hardly gets any face time, barely gets any storylines centred around him, and rarely gets any non-comic book appearances directed his way. It’s been 16 months since the New 52 rebooted continuity and we haven’t seen or even had a passing mention of Garfield Lynns in any series Batman-related or not. His depiction on Arrow was that of a former fireman that sought revenge by burning alive his fellow firefighters that left him to die. At the end of the episode, instead of engaging in an epic fight with Green Arrow he simply walked into the flames and killed himself. They took away his defining characteristic, his pyromania, and turned him into a lame villain-of-the-week. Why not have him be a fireman that decided he enjoyed setting fires rather than stopping them if they wanted to go the firefighter route? As for his other appearances outside of comics, Firefly was ignored in the successful Arkham Asylum/Arkham City games and couldn’t even get a spot in Lego Batman 2 which featured Killer Moth no less. Firefly can at times seem interchangeable with the Flash villain Heat Wave, but I find that he is even darker, even more eccentric, and potentially even more dangerous. I eagerly await the next time Firefly graces the pages of a DC Comic and hope one day he gets the respect he deserves.
Thus ends Issue #5 of Character Spotlight. Any thoughts/opinions on this character? Comment below!
6 thoughts on “The Character Spotlight – Issue #5: Firefly (Garfield Lynns)”
Reading the biography brings to light (I could not resist! 🙂 how Firefly has such a rich back story. Knowing what I know now, makes me wish Arrow writers would “borrow” more from the comics to add some depth to their villains of the week. I like it when comics/shows go to that dark or twisted place, like how you described Firefly wanted to wear Nightwing’s skin, which reminds of when Deadshot wore the Joker’s face skin in Suicide Squad.
I have to say this was the first time I was disappointed with a character adaptaton on Arrow. Hopefully this doesn’t become a trend. I can see why they didn’t go too dark but they could have handled him better. I also didn’t like how they killed him off after one episode. There’s only so many of the more “grounded” villains they can use and to toss one aside was a waste. They were better off not naming him Garfield Lynns and just using him as an original creation.
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