30 Days of Comics, Day 27: The Fury of Firestorm #1
Okay, the full title for this one threw me off a little; admittedly a title like The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men doesn’t sound particularly deep. If anything, it just makes me think of Nuclear Man from Superman IV and that’s not a good association to make. I’m also completely ignorant about the Firestorm character outside of the old Superfriends cartoon. What surprised me about this book is that Gail Simone is the head writer. At this point, I would read just about anything if it was written by Simone; if she wrote Twilight fan fiction, I would probably read it. That being the case, let’s crack this sucker open and see if it’s worth reading.
Our comic starts with a group of mercenaries terrorizing a family in Istanbul. They’re trying to get the son in the family to provide the name of a man that was in communication with him. They manage to get the information from the boy after torturing his family and proceed to frame the boy as a terrorist in order to cover their trail.
After that bit of brutality, we’re taken to a football practice at Walton Mills High School. We meet Ronnie Raymond, the star quarterback; he admits to the reader that while he isn’t the smartest person, he’s good at what he does and has a bright athletic future ahead of him. Someone obviously neglected to tell Ronnie that being a successful athlete in the DCU is just asking for some personal tragedy.Next, we meet Jason Rusch, a top student and writer for the school newspaper. He’s doing an interview of Ronnie for the paper and isn’t too thrilled about it; he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder when it comes to jocks.
The interview doesn’t go well and turns into a heated argument between the two. Ronnie resents Jason making assumptions about his intelligence and gets angry when he makes claims of racism against the football team and Ronnie himself. This argument is later followed up when Jason and Ronnie discuss the incident with their parents at dinner that night. This angle works very well because we get a good idea of where both characters are coming from; we see that neither one of them is completely “right” in this situation. This is another step up from Mister Terrific #1’s approach to race; we see it as a more complicated issue and the dialogue reflects that it’s something bigger than the conflict between two teenagers.As the book advances we see more of the mercenaries and eventually learn that they’re searching for a group of “Magnetic Bottles”; these are vessels capable of safely isolating and containing a Higgs Boson particle. This particle is apparently capable of allowing transmutation and the mercenaries want it on behalf of their corporate employer to ensure that it does not become publicly available. There’s a lot of theoretical comic book super science involved which doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, but at least the writers have admitted to not taking it too seriously and just having fun with it.
Overall, this comic works very well as a first edition because we get great introductions to our two protagonists, the supporting cast and our villains. The dialogue and story are expertly written and the artwork is dynamic and well executed. I would highly recommend this book for new readers because we get a fresh start with the Firestorm character and the book requires zero previous knowledge to get into. I’d also recommend this for veteran readers because there’s also a lot of new concepts and developments for the Firestorm character that have not been previously explored. The book also throws us some nice foreshadowing when one of the mercenaries is also exposed to the opening magnetic bottle.
In short, this is a great book and I highly recommend it for new and veteran readers alike.