Friday, December 28, 2012

"The End" Week: Firestorm #100!

Huh, Firestorm, the Nuclear Man ran for a hundred issues. Weird, huh? Perhaps not as eyebrow-raising as this issue, though: Firestorm the Nuclear Man #100, "Blaze of Glory" Written by John Ostrander, art by Tom Mandrake; with special guests Gerry Conway, Al Milgrom, Joe Brozowski, J.J. Birch, and Tom Grindberg on the flashbacks!

Previously, the current Firestorm defeated Darkseid's creation Brimstone (best known from the Legends miniseries) and threw its "technoseed" heart into space. Unfortunately, the seed then fell into the sun and Brimstone reformed there, where Brimstone now plans on destroying earth to regain Darkseid's love. (Really? Good luck with that...)

This is a one-two punch to Firestorm, who was already feeling like a failure, since the earth spirit Maya told him he was a mistake: Professor Martin Stein, and he alone, was always intended to be Firestorm. Firestorm then wants to try to get to the sun and fight Brimstone, but he explains as an elemental, he's tied to the earth, and would not be able to survive the trip.
Meanwhile, the recently-returned Martin Stein (he had been believed killed in a nuclear explosion, that took him out of Firestorm) his apartment. He reads a forwarded letter from his original Firestorm partner, Ronnie Raymond; that recaps the last 100 issues. Originally, Ronnie was caught in an atomic accident while tried to rescue Stein; and the two were fused into Firestorm. But when they unfused, Stein would have no memory of it, experiencing only blackouts. Ronnie eventually told Stein what was happening, and charitably Stein is just happy he isn't insane.

Stein was later diagnosed with a brain tumor, and before he dies, he and Ronnie decide to pull a Superman IV and get rid of the earth's nuclear weapons. This leads to a battle with the radioactive Russian Polzar, Mikhail Arkadin. Polzar didn't really want to be there either, but ends up getting nuked with Firestorm. Stein is apparently killed, with Mikhail and Ronnie now forming a Firestorm with his own personality. That personality was actually an amnesiac Stein, and Mikhail and Ronnie then bond with a Russian clone of Firestorm, permanently, into the new fire-elemental Firestorm, freeing Stein again.

But, since Stein was apparently always meant to be Firestorm alone, he has an idea: guessing that if a Firestorm were to be created in space, it would then be able to travel to the sun, Stein plans on Firestorm taking him into orbit, then they set off enough explosives to kill the old one and turn Stein into a new one. As preparations are made, Stein has Firestorm split again, freeing Ronnie and Mikhail (who returns home to his family, apparently no longer radioactive as well) and then persuades the Firestorm clone into going along with the plan.

With Firehawk's help, Stein gets into orbit, and the Firestorm-clone explodes. Blowing his jet, Stein then reforms as the Firestorm he was always meant to be. Fighting Brimstone on the sun, FireStein manages to beat the creature, but that creates a black hole. Forced to go through the black hole, he closes it from the other side, but is then trapped either on the other side of the universe, or another one entirely. As Firehawk recovers, Ronnie visits her, and he knows Firestorm is still alive...

Even with like seven splash-pages, this is a remarkably dense issue, hitting a lot of points from the entire run of the series. "FireStein" was floating around out there for a while, but DC didn't get a ton of use out of him. Ronnie would get his own cancer, but become a more-classic Firestorm again in Extreme Justice.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I should probably look into this series, especially the last issues, but I did have those Extreme Justice issues with Ronnie. They were ok for the time, but the main draw was getting the original Firestorm back, and Captain Atom trying not to be so obvious in trying to recruit him it hurt.