The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #18
Review by Paul Bowler
After Ronnie discovers his mother has been kidnapped he calls Jason for help. They transform into Firestorm and begin searching for Joann, going after their prime suspects Skull Crusher and Relay first, who are about to break into Q-Core’s New York research facility to steal the companies latest mobile phone design. The battle is short, Firestorm quickly defeats them, but it soon becomes clear they had nothing to do with the kidnapping of Ronnie’s mother.
While Firestorm returns to Ronnie’s house Joann finds herself trapped in a room inside a derelict building with another prisoner, a man called Rick, who helps her escape from the locked room. Their escape is short lived as the duplicate forms of Multiplex are guarding the building; they quickly overpower Rick, but Joann manages to reach her mobile phone and call Ronnie for help.
Back at Ronnie’s house Firestorm is discussing the situation with Jason’s dad and Tonya when they receive Joann’s frantic call, Multiplex knocks her out and the line goes dead, but Firestorm is able to trace her phone to the disused warehouse. A quick flight later and Firestorm burst into the warehouse where the Multiplex duplicates attack him. Firestorm manages to beat them off only to find Joann and Rick shackled to a strange machine that suddenly begins to drain his powers. As he struggles to break free Multiplex reveals his true identity, and Firestorm can only watch helplessly as Joann writhes in agony as the machine reaches full power…
The Fury of Firestorm #18 is another action packed issue from Dan Jurgens that heralds the debut of The New 52 version of Multiplex, a classic Firestorm villain, whose powers were derived after Professor Stein’s assistant, Dalton Black, tried to steal the professors secrets and inadvertently turned himself into an army of duplicates. Dalton Black’s first appearance was in Firestorm #1 (1978), and then as Multiplex in issue 2, after he was caught up in the same explosion at the power plant that transformed Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stien into Firestorm. Although this new Multiplex has a very different outfit from the original, his origin is essentially the same, although this time it was the experiments he carried out on himself that turned him into Multiplex.
The art in Firestorm #18 by Dan Jurgens brilliantly conveys the non stop action, with inks by Ray McCarthy and Karl Kesel, together with vibrant colours by Hi-Fi and Travis Lanham’s letting, this issue makes great use of the supporting cast as everyone works together to help Ronnie save his mother. There are some fun moments as well when Firestorm tackles Skull Crusher and Relay, leading to Ronnie humiliating Skull Crusher yet again, this time by turning his costume into a baby’s nappy! The flashback sequence where Firestorm recounts the events leading up to his search for Ronnie’s mother is also well handled, playing out across two sumptuously illustrated pages that reflect the nuclear man’s thoughts as they blaze around his head.
I would have liked to have seen a bit more to the fight between Firestorm and Multiplex, which did feel like it was resolved a little too quickly, but there is still the mystery of the shadowy group of figures surveying events from afar to keep us guessing until the next issue. There may only be a few new issues of Firestorm left for us to enjoy, so let’s celebrate each and every one!