The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #15
Review by Paul Bowler
Weakened by the battle at S.T.A.R Quantum Physics Lab, Ronnie and Jason ignore their injuries to become Firestorm, only to be attacked by in mid air by Daxaxen. Trapped by a mass of cables infused with quantum energy, Firestorm is drawn inside the giant robot, where the crippled Dr Megala uses a transfer device to take over Firestorm’s body.
As Dr Megala begins to experiment with his new powers, flying through a jumbo jet and defacing Mount Rushmore, Jason and Ronnie wake to find themselves in a black void where they must try and find a way to regain control of Firestorm from Dr Megala. Back at the ruined lab General Eiling encounters Captain Atom, who has returned to Earth to investigate the multiple Firestorms, but as Eiling confronts Captain Atom reports come in about Dr Megala’s possession of Firestorm and his recent incursion into Qurac airspace.
Captain Atom travels to the Continuum Facility as a Qurac Agent on board the U.S.S. Independence in the Pacific Ocean detonates a bomb in response to Megala’s attack on their missile test. On finding Dr Megala’s crippled from hooked up to the transfer device, Captain Atom teleports to confront Megala over Bikni Atoll – an old nuclear test site – where the two old enemies clash explosively. As Captain Atom disrupts Dr Megala’s structural integrity his control over Firestorm’s body begins to fail, and The U.S.S. Independence is caught in a Tsunami caused by the explosive aftermath.
Ronnie and Jason seize their chance to fight back as Megala’s mental barriers collapse, arguing with the bemused scientist as he struggles against Captain Atom, distracting him enough to finally let Ronnie take control of Firestorm again. However, at that precise moment Firestorm finds himself on a collision course with Captain Atom. Ronnie has only moment to explain what has happened before they collide in mid air, Captain Atom manages to absorb the brunt of the impact, but the energy he absorbs causes his powers to spiral out of control. He explodes, his body fragmenting into tiny pieces that rip through the quantum field and disperse into the timestream. Firestorm is knocked unconscious by the incredible shockwave generated by Captain Atom’s apparent demise, and he plummets into the Pacific Ocean.
The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #15 is another great issue by writer / artist Dan Jurgen’s that sees the story involving Dr Megala, Captain Atom, and the Continuum Facility really kick into overdrive as Ronnie and Jason struggle to wrest control of their Firestorm persona from Dr Megala. Realizing that some outside force has trapped them inside their own quantum field, Jason and Ronnie recall how similar this black void is to the one they experienced when they first transformed into Fury (Firestorm #2). I really like the way Dan Jurgen’s gets the two friends to work together against Megala, haunting the power crazed scientists thoughts and badgering him with inane chatter until they force him to relinquish control of Firestorm.
It shows just how far the series has come since it was launched as part of The New 52. Dan Jurgen’s has skilfully steered this title back towards the original concept of Firestorm, the characterization between Ronnie and Jason is central to this success, and Firestorm #15 clearly illustrates how Jurgen’s has brought a great sense of fun and adventure back to the series.
Firestorm #15 also sees a titanic showdown between Captain Atom and his nemesis Dr Megala. It seems that Captain Atom has retuned just in time as Megala is running amok as Firestorm, and their final confrontation over the Pacific Ocean ends in a spectacular fashion, offering some closure for the characters and their unresolved storylines. It’s also interesting to see how Ronnie manages to get through to Captain Atom before they collide, wisely taking Jason’s advice to try and avoid conflict, he reveals their identities in a bid to get him to break off his attack. In a sense, Captain Atom sacrifices himself to absorb the energies unleashed by their collision, his body overloading like a nuclear reactor before shattering into crystal shards of pure energy – one of which is flung through time to Metropolis in the 31st Century where it takes on the form of Adym; a character who has recently appeared in Legion Lost. Issue #16 will be the last issue of Legion Lost, so we will no doubt find out what role Adym will play in that series final issue when its released on January 16th.
The action sequences in Firestorm #15 are incredible. Dan Jurgen’s brilliant artwork is inked by Ray McCarthy and coloured by Hi-Fi, and I am constantly impressed by how much care and attention to detail Jurgen’s fantastic team has put into every issue of Firestorm. Hi-Fi‘s work in particular on this issue is outstanding, every scene featuring Firestorm and Captain Atom is richly coloured, giving you a real sense of the raw energies unleashed as they fight
Firestorm #15 brings this first storyline to a close with a suitably action packed finale. The additional cast may have been sidelined this issue, but the sight of seeing Firestorm and Captain Atom locked in combat more than makes up for it – even though Firestorm is possessed by Dr Megala for most of the issue. After waiting so long for Firestorm to live up to the potential offered by The New 52, its great to see this book flourish with its new creative team. Three issues in and I can’t wait to see what Jurgen’s, McCarthy and Hi-Fi have in store for Firestorm, long may they reign.