Written By Desi LaSalle
Back in the early eighties when I was starting to read comics, there was one super hero that caught my interest. He had a great costume and a particular look, flames coming out of his head and he looked naturally powerful. This comic book title was none other than The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man (1982), written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Pat Broderick. Firestorm was created in 1978 by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom, his identity was an amalgam of two people, high school student Ronnie Raymond and University Professor Martin Stein. In a nuclear accident, both Ronnie and Martin are fused into one being with amazing powers. He could re-arrange atomic matter, had fusion blasts, phase through objects and fly. Wow!
For an interesting twist, Ronnie was the one who physically controlled the body of Firestorm and Professor Stein acted as the voice of knowledge and reason. I loved reading this comic because I liked the interaction between Ronnie and Professor Stein while fighting crime, arguing most of the time and sometimes even joking. The back and forth banter was very entertaining. The art in this comic book title was very good and the stories were solid. I also liked the fact that he had very cool villains to attend to, such as Killer Frost, Hyena, Multiplex and Typhoon; they were all very interesting with very good origin stories, which again, is crucial for the success of any comic book.
Ronnie Raymond was a very relatable character struggling in school and having teenage problems with his girlfriend. Professor Stein had an alcohol problem, marriage difficulties and an intense desire to share his knowledge with his college students. At one point Firestorm’s popularity was such that he joined the justice league for a brief time, drafted in by Batman. The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man lasted for 65 issues before becoming Firestorm The Nuclear Man and becoming a fire Elemental ending in issue #100. The comic was later revived in 2004 for a brief stint and later on in the new 52, having Ronnie Raymond with high school student Jason Rusch become separate nuclear men and different versions of Firestorm. None of these comics could match the popularity and success of The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man.
Unfortunately DC Comics has not found a way to make Firestorm a mainstay character in the DC universe. In the new 52 The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Man lasted only 21 issues, in part to weak stories and art in my personal opinion. I have always said that when a comic has a certain formula that works you should not change it, just evolve it to its ultimate expression. Firestorm is just another great superhero character that deserves another shot and a fresh new outlook with a great writer and a great artist. He has a great origin and great villains. DC Comics, that is now in its “Rebirth” stage, should take advantage and take Firestorm to the next level, because he has a great background and plenty of history in the DC Universe. All he needs is someone with the appropriate vision to reboot him, so I guess we just have to wait and see if our favorite nuclear man shows up again hopefully in his own series someday, I for one will keep my fingers crossed.