Black Bison, Dan Jurgens, DC Comics, Firestorm, General Eiling, Hi-Fi, Hyena, Jason Rusch, Karl Kesel, Killer Frost, Multiplex, Ray McCarthy, Ronnie Raymond, The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man, The New 52, Travis Lanham, Typhoon Plastique
The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #20
Review by Paul Bowler
The final issue of The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man begins with General Eiling monitoring events near the warehouse in Pittsburgh, where Firestorm had been beaten to within an inch of his life by Multiplex, Hyena, Killer Frost, Black Bison, Typhoon, and Plastique. As he prepares to issue more orders to his special operative in Pittsburgh, the General receives a very special visitor, and its someone who wont take no for an answer.
With Firestorm unconscious Jason’s dad and Tonya have to drag him to the safety of an alley, but Hyena suddenly leaps from the shadows and attacks them. Fortunately for Al and Tonya the General’s operative, Major Force, is on hand to deal with Hyena and give Firestorm enough time to recover from the explosion. After a few quick introductions Firestorm and Major Force are attacked by Killer Frost and Black Bison.
Major Force holds off Killer Frost and Black Bison while Firestorm leaves to rescue Ronnie’s mother, who is still being held captive by Plastique at the dockside. Typhoon attempts to stop Firestorm by engulfing him with a tidal wave, but Firestorm makes the water boil and defeats him. As Firestorm rushes to save Ronnie’s mother, Al sneaks up on Plastique and knocks her out to rescue Joanne.
With everyone safe, Firestorm rushes to help Major Force, who has been knocked out and frozen in ice. Firestorm smashes the ice and frees Major Force, who takes out Black Bison while Firestorm uses his transmutation powers to trap Killer Frost in the concrete pavement. He then faces Multiplex who threatens Firestorm’s family before fading away, warning him not to try and follow him.
Major Force arrives and renders Firestorm unconscious with a Neural Shock so he can take him to General Eiling at the military base. Firestorm recovers as the General’s guests arrive, Superman and Professor Stein, who are here to stop the militaries plans for Firestorm. It seems that Professor Stein faked his own death to escape his enemies, now he has returned to help Firestorm by contacting Superman and the Justice League.
Superman is pleased to meet Firestorm, as they fly away he asks if Firestorm would like to join the Justice League, and Firestorm is happy to accept Superman’s invitation to meet with the rest of the Justice League, and a new era for Firestorm the Nuclear Man begins…
This incredible final issue brings Dan Jurgen’s brilliant run on Firestorm to an end. With a story featuring nearly every member of Firestorm’s rogues gallery, we really get a sense of how well Ronnie and Jason work together now, and see just how vital a role their parents, Al and Joanne, and Tonya have to play in helping him. There are some wonderful scenes after Joanne is rescued by Al, where Ronnie and Jason have to assure both of them that he is ok, and that he has to return to help Major Force to deal with Multiplex and his allies.
Dan Jurgens art for Firestorm #20 is as spectacular as ever, the intense action is inked by Norman Rapmund, along with Hi-Fi’s vivid colours, and lettering provided by Travis Lanham, each explosive set-piece is perfectly intercut with some great personal moments between Firestorm and his parents. Every one of Firestorm’s enemies also gets showcased in Firestorm #20, with their unique powers and abilities being creatively used. It’s also interesting to see how quickly Ronnie and Jason are now able to formulate strategies against each individual threat, tailoring their abilities, and using their unique shared conspicuousness to outwit their enemies.
There is a fantastic scene where Superman takes out Major Force with just a flick of his finger that really puts General Eiling in his place. It was a real surprise to see Professor Stein return as well, having faked his own death to escape from his enemies. With this final issue Dan Jurgens has really excelled himself, by brining Professor Stein back into the fold; it offers a wealth of potential for the future. As we watch Firestorm and Superman fly away into the distance, this great moment is tinged with sadness, but I am really pleased that the series has ended on such a positive note.
Firestorm returned in September 2011 as part of The New 52 reboot of the DC Universe, it was co-written by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver, with art by Yildiray Cinar. The immense power of Firestorm was divided between physics student Jason Rusch, who acquired the ability to transmute matter, while the football team’s quarterback Ronnie Raymond was able to throw flaming bolts of nuclear energy. After Simone and Sciver left the title Joe Harris took over, resolving the ongoing storylines involving Rogue Firestorms, before the Zero issue of Firestorm brought Harris and Cinar’s run to an end as Firestorm became a fused entity again.
The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man took an entirely new direction when Dan Jurgens took over as the new writer / artist for the series, recapturing the essence of fun and adventure that was welcomed by fans of Firestorm as it brought the series closer to the original premise created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgron during the 70’s. As Firestorm continued to learn about his powers, with Ronnie providing the brawn and Jason advising him from within their shared conspicuousness, Dan Jurgens also had the chance to develop the supporting cast. Dan Jurgens assembled a great team to work with him on Firestorm: with inks by Ray McCarthy and Karl Kesel, Hi-Fi’s colours, and lettering by Travis Lanham, the explosive action set-pieces that graced the pages of Firestorm were perfectly complemented by Ronnie and Jason’s everyday lives as high school students.
The news that Firestorm was going to be cancelled came as something of a shock. Although sales were not still not as good as was hoped, Firestorm still had a very loyal fan base that had supported the title since it debuted at part of The New 52. Fortunately we have Dan Jurgens and his team to thank for taking Firestorm in a new direction, thereby raising the characters profile in the New 52 DCU, with Captain Atom and the Teen Titans guest staring in his own title while Firestorm went on to appear in the Throne of Atlantis crossover event as a reserve member of the Justice League.
To mark the final issue of Firestorm many fans have taken part in an event organised by The Firestrom Fan Website (After the idea was suggested by Keith G. Baker and Hector Negrete), where fans changed their social media avatars to say goodbye to Firestorm’s ongoing series and show their support across various social media platforms. Those participating used a brilliant drawing of Firestorm provided by Luke Dabb , which summed up how many fans felt about the cancellation, using it as their avatar on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Printrest, and Blogs along with hash tags and comments including #FirestormFarewell in their tweets and messages. By changing their Social Media avatars in this way fans wanted to show how much Firestorm means to them, and to celebrate the fantastic work done by everyone who has been involved on the title to ensure that Firestorm ends on a high.
The flame may have flickered slightly, but it will never die. It’s been brilliant to see Firestorm appearing in so many comics over the last few months, and I’m really looking forward to seeing even more of Firestorm’s adventures with the Justice League. I’ve had tremendous fun reviewing Firestorm and sincerely believe that he will have his own title again one day. You can also keep up to date with all things Firestorm over at Firestrom Fan , and enjoy the Fire and Water Podcast made by Firestrom Fan and Aquaman Shrine, it’s a brilliant podcast and I urge all of you all to go and give it a listen and check out their twitter pages and websites. Finally I’d just like to thank all the readers of Sci-Fi Jubilee who have also enjoyed reading Firestorm with me and shared my reviews, be sure to support Firestorm over in Justice League #20 as well, cheers everyone!