CCC logo Cancelled Comic Cavalcade:
Firestorm



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FIRESTORM #6
Dec. 1978/Jan. 1979
Originally posted to rec.arts.comics.dc.universe on 12/18/95
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* * * WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE * * *

Firestorm is the new kid on the block; this would have been only his 6th appearance. In order to impress his girlfriend Doreen Day, new kid in high school Ronnie Raymond gets caught up with the wrong crowd, and winds up at the experimental Hudson Nuclear Power Plant, designed by Martin Stein. The bad guys want to blow up the place, and knock out Martin. Ronnie and Martin are caught in the blast, which doesn't kill them but rather fuses them into Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. While combined, Ronnie controls Firestorm's body but Martin shares the mind (issue #1).

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Martin doesn't remember being Firestorm after they separate. Firestorm can alter atomic structures, but not organic material. Ron's dad is a newspaper editor in New York (issue #2). Among Firestorm's enemies are:
Meanwhile, the Hyena stops a robbery by "Spit" Shine, son of "Shoe" Shine, a mob boss in New York, but then also stops the cops who show up to help. Also meanwhile, Ronnie is getting chewed out by his dad for disappearing, and Martin hires a private detective to find out where he goes during his blackouts (both caused by merging into Firestorm). Ronnie's dad has a tragic secret he can't tell his son. Ronnie later meets his girlfriend Doreen Day's sister, Summer (ha ha). Ronnie's prinicpal Wallace Hapgood notices "Spit" Shine outside the school, and he's got a secret too (issue #4).

Multiplex escapes, and fights Firestorm while the Hyena is captured by and escapes from the Shine family. At the end of issue 5, Multiplex meets the Hyena, and they plan to take down Firestorm soon... (issue #5).


* * * THIS ISSUE * * *

Firestorm is in Prof. Stein's lab, where they are testing the limits of their powers. Why Stein has the Danger Room in his lab is another question; Firestorm zaps devices, flies through a maze, and passes through a steel shield. Apparently Firestorm gives off "a power outlay in the millions of volts" every time he does something. While charging a set of solar panels, the private investigator Stein hired (Liam McGarrin) waits outside the Hudson Nuclear Facility; Stein theorizes that Firestorm's seemingly limitless power comes from tapping into cosmic rays, which are constant throughout the universe.

Meanwhile, aboard the research vessel "Neptune" in the stormy South Pacific, Jonathan Shine is an expert in deep-sea submersibles, and wants to take the "Nautilus Two" down. The N2 is the first atomic powered vessel of its kind. Despite all kinds of warnings, he takes it down. See, he's become an expert to overcome his family's reputation. Topside, the crew is antsy due to the weather, so they head off for calmer seas, leaving Shine on his own with 24 hours of air. Must be a hell of a storm, though, since it tosses the N2 around, the sea "heaving like a stricken beast, its convulsions reaching even to the depths where they find a callous intruder..." Shine hits his head in the turbulence (yeah, right), and the N2 sinks for two hours, descending to a depth never before reached by a man-made craft. The pressure causes a crack in the hull, breaching the atomic reactor, but instead of killing Shine (OK, all together now), the pressure and the radioactive water cause him to change...

Back in New York, "Spit" Shine wants to atone for letting the Hyena trash Ma and "Shoe" Shine's operations. Seems he was trying to kidnap Ronnie's principal Hapgood to find out what happened to "Shoe's" enemy Rockwell. And back at Stein's lab, Firestorm tries to turn a lab bunny into a dog, but is "ZWHAMMed" by feedback. Darn it, they can't change anything organic. Maybe it's a mental block, suggests Stein. After Firestorm splits, Ronnie is followed by the PI McGarrin. McGarrin thinks something is fishy, but "the kid looks more normal than Donny Osmond!" Ronnie meets Doreen for a date, and she tells him that her sister Summer was missing for a day and a half. Something feels wrong with Summer, she thinks.

Back in the Pacific, the "Neptune" returns to pick up the N2, now that the weather is OK. But a tornado shows up; no, says a crewman, "not in the South Pacific! That's no tornado, it's a typhoon!" The typhoon hits the ship, shattering it, but they notice what looks like a person inside...

And at school, Ronnie sees Principal Hapgood being abducted by "Spit" Shine, and summons Firestorm, which makes Stein disappear from McGarrin's office. Meanwhile, the typhoon has made it to San Francisco Bay and continues eastward... The Shines show Hapgood a picture of the mysterious (to us, at least) Rockwell, who looks just like Ronnie's dad! Just before they can work him over, Firestorm bursts in, followed immediately by Typhoon (only in the comics, folks, does this kind of timing ever occur!). Firestorm fires some blasts at Typhoon, which hurts the wet guy, so he shoots lighting in retaliation. His spinning is lowering the air pressure in the room, and the walls cave outwards (bad science: lowered air pressure causes an implosion, not explosion) blowing both combatants out.

Stein theorizes that since a storm is formed by two temperature systems in conflict, if Firestorm can raise the temperature inside the typhoon, it might stop him. The Shine family is following the battle; Ma recognizes little Johnny inside the typhoon. Suddenly the typhoon breaks due to the increased heat, and as the storms subside, Firestorm brings the weary Johnny to his family. See, once he got the power, Johnny explains, he wanted to get his family, 'cause he's hated them all these years, hated what they are and what they made him. "Wow, and I thought *I* had problems with *my* dad," Ronnie thinks.

Next issue: The Reptile Man!


* * * COMMENTS * * *

Issue #5 contains a letter from Dan Chichester of Stamford, CT.

After being cancelled, Firestorm briefly retired, then helped out Superman (DC Comics Presents 17) who asked him to join the Justice League of America. Shortly thereafter, he joined the JLA in 1980 (JLA 179, which not so coincidentally was being written by co-creator Gerry Conway). A few months later, he showed up as the backup slot in "Flash" for 15 issues in 1980-81. He got his own book back in 1982 as "Fury of Firestorm", which became "Firestorm the Nuclear Man" in 1987 and changed to "Firestorm" in 1990. Conway wrote all his adventures until 1987, when John Ostrander took over and turned him into a Fire Elemental. Finally, Martin Stein was left in solo command of the Firestorm persona (with a new personality and costume), and was seen wandering space at the end of his series. Recently, Ronnie returned to Firestorm status in the old costume, after the Stein-version cured him of leukemia in the pages of "Extreme Justice", where he was a member. Thanks to Alphonso Mason for filling in some blanks.

Eventually, Ronnie told Martin about their being Firestorm together.

The Reptile Man never appeared (fortunately).

This issue never appeared, but elements were used by Conway in a 3-part backup story in "Flash" 294-296. In this story, Stein was aboard the Neptune Explorer, where Captain Hammer decided that David Drake should go down in the nuclear powered bathyscaphe Manta, despite the weather. Hammer orders the lines cut during the storm, and Stein summons Firestorm. Firestorm brings the Manta up, but Hammer shoots Drake to prevent him from telling the company directors how Hammer forced him down. The rain from the storm comes into the Manta, and causes it to explode once the water hits the electronics. Drake becomes the Typhoon as a result, and is driven mad. Drake destroys the Neptune Explorer, but Firestorm saves the crew. In a battle over Sydney, Australia, Stein advises Ronnie to raise the air pressure and lower the temperature. Typhoon blows out, leaving Drake himself. He returned later as a villain.

The Hyena turned out to be Doreen Day's sister, Summer, who was infected while on a trip to Africa. Rockwell was really Ronnie's dad, who was in the witness protection program.

I asked if the Shine family ever reappeared. Here's one response:

From: Kenneth DeWitt [oakdist1@earthlink.net]
Subject: Firestorm
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 1997 15:11:28 -0700

The Shine family did appear in the new Firestorm series. Ronnie's dad was in protective custody hiding from the Shine family after they killed Ronnie's mother. The entire Shine family was wiped out in a gun battle with the police but "Shoe" Shine's ghost possessed Firestorm and forced him to battle the Phantom Stranger. The Stranger excorcised the ghost from Firestorm and the Shine were never heard from again. Most of this happened in Fury of Firestorm #13 - 20.

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