There's some unsurprising overlap between Transformers names and Marvel Comics superhero names. For the first seven years, Transformers toys were named BY Marvel. (Bob Budiansky in specific.) It's why Transformers have super-hero-y names to begin with, setting aside the weird Latin folks like Optimus Prime or Omega Supreme. It wasn't until Transformers left Marvel that we got guys named stuff like, uh, Cheetor and Waspinator and Rhinox. So, uh, yeah.
But in the grand tradition of Marvel superhero comics-y names, there were Transformers named things like, say, "Venom." And, no, the Spider-Man villain didn't exist yet at the time -- he'd be a few years later than the Deluxe Insecticon, but Venom was also the name of a Black Panther villain. And there's "Ravage," who's also an Incredible Hulk villain. When you have to name 20 Transformers in a day, you might start having to pull from the archives.
And there was Firestar.
(left to right: botcon 2005 flare up, botcon 2014 flare up, novastar)
Transformers Firestar was just a character in a single Transformers cartoon episode about lady Autobots, who'd appear just this once and never be seen again. Obviously the Marvel Superhero Firestar who shared a starring roll on a cartoon show with her Amazing Friends one year earlier would have both the clout and the seniority. But it meant that, well, a toy of Transformers Firestar would always have some complications. When BotCon tried to make a toy of her in 2005, rather than rename her, they decided to instead make a Firestar look-alike who served as her protege. Her name was Flare Up. And Flare Up went on to do some things in lieu of Firestar for a while. Flare Up got to show up in Transformers Animated, for example, in a form obviously based on her BotCon toy rather than the original Firestar's design. And ten years later, BotCon would give Flare Up a second toy. For a while, it seemed Flare Up might just up and replace Firestar in general.
But here we are, three more years later, and we have Novastar. A rename attempt, even though a Firestar appeared in IDW comics not long prior. (You don't have to abide by toy trademark rules in comics, especially not in interiors, especially especially if you don't claim trademark rights.) An actual toy of the original Firestar character, for the first time ever, just with a name that sidesteps the trademark issue.
The toy itself is Moonracer with a new head, new gun, and new deco. It tries to do some different things with its deco that sets itself apart from how Moonracer's presents itself -- there's less translucent plastic visible in vehicle mode, for example. And all of the original Female Autobots were shaped pretty same-ily that this toy can mostly get away with being Moonracer's body with a Firestar head. It passes the squint test.
I liked Moonracer's toy, despite it being pretty backpack heavy, and that means I like Novastar's, too. I do regret that her plastic color breakdowns mean she can't have her pale yellow hands. Her hands and thighs are tied to the same plastic tree, and that tree is the unpaintable nylon tree, so they either both have to be orange or they both have to be pale yellow. Orange is probably the better choice. The vehicle gives her a pale yellow stripe down the side, which helps.
She's the only toy in wave 4, and (short wave 3 Optimal Optimus actually showing up in North American stores) the last major retail Power of the Primes toy release. Novastar comes two per case, so at least she isn't shortpacked. I was worried about that. But I see lots of reports for her across the United States (only at Walmarts so far) so hopefully she won't be too hard to find in general.
Now if only they made toys of Greenlight and Lancer to be Elita Infin1te's legs. Not holding my breath on that.