Thomas Fireheart was born to be the next heir of mystical powers. A Native American tribe used selective breeding and shamanistic magic to ensure the proper heir would be born. Although this tribe was never named, it is known that it is located in Hartsdale, Arizona. His mission was to defeat the omnipotent being that would be known as the Beyonder. The Beyonder’s coming was foretold in one of the tribe’s ancient prophecies which told that a powerful being would come and be capable of breaking the line of man for many generations. Fireheart was the last in line of men bred with the same mission, equipped with the power to stop the prophecy. To do this, His tribe endowed him with magical powers to compliment his considerable physical abilities. Through intense concentration, Thomas is able to transform his body to take on beast like attributes. He becomes larger and stronger as well growing a fine tan fur over his whole body. Along with razor sharp fangs and talons Thomas Fireheart resembles his name-sake the puma. While in this transformed state Puma possesses superhuman senses, strength, speed, stamina, agility, and reflexes. Thomas Fireheart studied under Master Muramoto and became an expert in numerous martial arts.
Puma was created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in 1984 and first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man issue 256 (1984).
Major Story Arcs
Tired of waiting around, Thomas Fireheart ran a lucrative business (Fireheart Enterprises) and also spent time as a mercenary for hire. Fireheart Enterprises became a multinational corporation with regional offices around the world, but it was based out of the tribe’s home of Hartsdale, Arizona.
Becoming a Mercenary
It wasn’t until his business became very successful that Thomas went on to become a mercenary selling his services as the were-cat known as Puma. Both of these ventures added the vast fortune he accumulated. It was as a mercenary that he first met the wall crawler. Puma was hired by The Rose to kill Spider-Man but was sabotaged by The Black Cat. He fought against Spider-Man, and learned his secret identity. He felt that he owed Spider Man an honor debt and soon they became allies. Puma offered Parker a job at Fireheart Enterprises as payment of this debt, but Spider-Man settled for Firehearts’s assistance in clearing his name on a crime he was wrongly accused of.
Fireheart when back to his business roots when bought fifty one percent of The Daily Bugle and made Robbie Robertson as publisher. Robertson went on to start a pro-Spider Man campaign. After an attack by Hobgoblin, Puma left the Bugle to join a super group known as The Outlaws. Members included Spider-Man, Sandman, Rocket Racer, and The Prowler. The Outlaws later clashed with the Avengers under the control of the manipulative shape-changer known as Space Phantom. After this shame, Puma felt that he owed Spider-Man an honor debt. He then payed it by selling the Bugle back to J. Jonah Jameson for one dollar. He later went on a vision quest into the desert of New Mexico and later was consumed by his “Puma” persona.
He attempted an assassination attempt on a US Senator, but was shot by the NYPD and ultimately stopped by Spider-Man. The Black Crow cast a spell removing all knowledge of Spider-Man's secret identity from Fireheart's mind, and he was nursed back to mental and physical health by Nocturne. Since then he has been a blood sport fighter and has even grappled with Wolverine.
His next adventure teams him up with Spider-Man and Black Cat against Stegron from turning the people of New York into his own image. Afterwards, Puma and Black Cat entered into a relationship, but he notices that she still have feelings for Spider-Man. During the Civil War, Puma helped Spider-Man escort Prowler from the wake of Stilt-Man. He later defeated Rhino with the help of Black Cat. When he was accused of committing a federal crime, his assets in his business were frozen. In order to defend himself in court, he needed money, so he joined MODOK's super-villain group. Because of this, his tribe stripped him of his powers, leaving him in his human state. When he was going to rescue Living Laser, he had an epiphany which in turn he got his powers back. But it was really Nightshade who injected him with a serum that gave him were-cat powers.
Powers and Abilities
As a Native American bred to be the perfect human being, Thomas' body is at its peak condition. When he is transformed into the Puma, he has increased attributes that consider him as a superhuman. He gains superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes and balance. He also gets an accelerated healing factor that allows him to recover from nonfatal wounds at a fast rate. Being in line with the Puma, Thomas have finely-tuned senses. He is also trained in martial arts and an expert in hand-to-hand combat. Thomas has access to technology and can investigate anyone that could pose a threat to him or to his tribe.Once he transforms into Puma, he becomes covered in a thin tan fur. He also gains razor sharp talons and fangs.
- Puma appears in the video game adaptation of Spider-Man 2, despite not actually being in the movie. He only appears in the GBA and PC versions of the game, where he is a boss character working for Doctor Octopus. He has a group of thugs lure Spider-Man into a trap by stealing a car, and engages in a prolonged fight and chase across the city. After being defeated, Puma admits that the entire trap was merely a distraction so that Doctor Octopus could kidnap Mary Jane. He attempts to escape, but is webbed up and left hanging by Spidey. He was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Puma was featured in Hasbro's Super Hero Squad line as part of a Spider-Man 3 two-pack with the movie version of Venom.
- Puma was featured in the HeroClix figure game as part of the "Web of Spider-Man" series.
- Puma was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the Kingpin Build-a-Figure wave.