Thomas Fireheart was the result of ten generations worth of genetic engineering performed by the Kisani Native American tribe. Fireheart can transform into Puma, a half-mountain-lion being with senses far more acute than that of a normal human. He is the traditional protector of his New Mexican tribe, although Fireheart himself often questions the traditional rituals that his uncle Joseph Threetrees, the tribe's Shaman, espouses. In his Puma identity, Fireheart is an internationally known professional assassin and mercenary who sells his unique skills to the likes of the Rose and the Kingpin. As the CEO of Fireheart Enterprises, he is also internationally known in his civilian identity.
Puma first crossed the path of Spider-Man when he was hired by the Rose to "remove" the Web-Slinger. The Rose later changed his mind, so the continued existence of Spider-Man is not considered a blight on Puma's professional record.
Puma reached a state of "harmonious enlightenment with the universe" and was imbued with immeasurable power. However, doubting his own senses, Puma lost the mystical power just as he attacked the Beyonder. Puma sought Spider-Man's help when he discovered that he was destined to fight the Beyonder; Spider-Man refused, making Puma doubt himself and, eventually, fail in his quest against the Beyonder.
When the mutant powers of Charles Little Sky, a kinsman of Fireheart's (and the man later known as Portal), first manifested, Fireheart tried to help his fellow tribesman better understand them.
Rejecting Fireheart's offers of aid, Portal fled to Ellis Island where Fireheart caught up to him. When Portal's powers activated again and returned the U-Foes to Earth, Fireheart teamed up with the Avengers as Puma to protect Little Sky, helping to defeat the villains.
Puma publicly confronted Spider-Man over a story in the Daily Bugle that made it seem as if Spider-Man was a thief; when the story turned out to be false, Puma felt as if he had lost face and was now honor-bound to clear Spider-Man's name. To this end (and much to Spider-Man's annoyance), he purchased the Daily Bugle and began a campaign of positive promotion which was largely responsible for changing the public perception of Spider-Man to a hero.
Several other heroes and allies of Spider-Man were involved in the accusation that Spidey was a thief. Puma and these heroes reunited as a group known as the Outlaws on several occasions.
Despite his honor bound defense of Spider-Man in the media, Puma personally despised the wall-crawler and being in his debt. This internal conflict eventually led to renewed hostilities between Parker and Fireheart, overseen by the mysterious Black Crow, leaving Puma broken as a man. Puma's animal side became dominant after this contact with the Black Crow. He was seriously wounded in a fire fight with the New York City Police, but nursed back to health by Nocturne, who was eventually able to restore his human psyche.
Fireheart later teamed up with Spider-Man and the Black Cat to stop Stegron from "de-evolving" the population of New York. After this Puma began a relationship with the Black Cat although he noticed Felicia may still have feelings for Peter Parker aka Spider-Man.
Puma has been seen at the bar with the other supervillains after the death of Stilt-Man. He has also been seen helping Black Cat from the sidelines. She has decided to help Peter Parker, who is on the run after the events of the Civil War. Together, Puma and Black Cat neutralize the drunken rampage of the Rhino, mostly through sheer bluffing. He became one of the trainees of Camp Hammond.
Fireheart was later accused of federal bribery (which appeared to be a frame job) and his assets frozen; forbidden by his tribe from taking any contract kills, he had joined MODOK's 11 to get the cash he needs to defend himself in court. However, this meant disobeying the tribal council's order to remain on the reservation and so he had his puma powers stripped from him, leaving him a regular human right in the middle of their mission. When deciding to rescue the Living Laser, who had earlier saved his life, he had an epiphany that defending one's own people is what the Puma Totem was meant to do, and he regained his powers in the process. Or so he thought — actually Nightshade had secretly injected him with "werewolf serum" designed to 'swap out' a previous form a person might have had imprinted on their DNA, such as Thomas' Puma form. Puma gained his cash from M.O.D.O.K. and had taken up an offer from Nightshade to help his legal defense; any long term effects from the serum are unknown.
Powers and Abilities
Transformation: Fireheart undergoes a physical transformation through intense concentration that includes an increase in his height and weight, his body becoming covered with a fine tan fur, and razor sharp fangs and claws. It also grants him superhuman physical attributes.
- Superhuman Strength: While transformed, Puma possesses superhuman strength sufficient to lift up to 12 tons. His great physical strength also extends to the muscles of his legs, enabling him to leap to a height of 35 feet.
- Superhuman Speed: Puma is capable of running and moving at speeds that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete, reaching a peak range of 36-65 mph.
- Superhuman Stamina: Puma's advanced musculature produces less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a normal human. At his peak, he can physically exert himself for several hours before the build up of fatigue toxins in his blood begins to impair him.
- Superhuman Durability: Puma's body is harder and more resistant to certain kinds of injury than the body of an ordinary human. While he isn't bulletproof, he can withstand great impact forces, such as falling from several stories or being repeatedly struck with superhuman force, that would severely injure or kill a normal human with little to no discomfort.
- Superhuman Agility: Puma's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are similar to those of the cat he takes his name from and are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Puma's reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those of the finest human athlete.
- Superhumanly Acute Senses: Puma's senses of sight, smell, and hearing are heighten to superhuman levels. Puma is able to see objects with perfect clarity at much greater distances than a normal human. He retains this same level of clarity at night, even in near-total darkness. He may also be able to see into the infrared edge of the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing him to detect a person's body heat in the absence of any light. His sense of hearing is similarly enhanced, enabling him to detect sounds ordinary humans can't and sounds that they can, but only at far greater distances. Puma is able to detect the slow, steady rhythm of a normal human heartbeat within a short distance. His sense of smell is particularly acute, enabling him to track an individual by scent over great distances, even if the scent has been eroded over time by certain natural factors. His heightened senses detected Black Cat's bad luck superpower as a distinct aura, more active when she was under attack, but failed to identify its specific effect.
- Claws and Fangs: Puma's nails are actual short, hardened retractable claws. These claws are razor sharp and are capable of easily rending flesh and bone. Coupled with his great strength, Puma's claws are capable of rending most conventional materials, including some types of metals. On occasion, he has been known to tip his claws with poisons. He also possesses razor sharp fangs that, while they serve little practical use, can be used as highly effective weapons in very close quarters combat.
Fireheart is an extraordinarily capable financial manager with an above average IQ. He also spent some years in Japan training in the martial arts and is an excellent hand to hand combatant and acrobat. Even without the use of his superhuman senses, he has proven himself to be a skilled and capable tracker.
- Puma was planned to star in his own four-issue mini-series, set to premiere in November 1994. The book would've been written by J.M. DeMatteis, penciled by Sal Buscema, and inked by Tom Palmer. Even though DeMatteis got to plot out the first couple of issues, and Buscema even had begun to draw it, the book wasn't finished in part due to Buscema's departure. DeMatteis became too occupied with other projects before a replacement could be found, and the project fell apart.
- 71 appearance(s) of Thomas Fireheart (Earth-616)
- 12 minor appearance(s) of Thomas Fireheart (Earth-616)
- 5 mentions of Thomas Fireheart (Earth-616)
- 37 image(s) of Thomas Fireheart (Earth-616)