Welcome to the very first installment of The Whole 52. As we’ve mentioned before, DC’s reboot of their entire universe is a great time to get back into titles you love and check out titles you’ve never read before. At this point in the game you’re only 12 issues behind (and that’s not very many considering Action Comics and Detective comics were at #904 and #844, respectively, in August of last year). If you were really committed, and had the cash on hand, you could catch up on a new title in only a day.
I’ve decided to make the most of this opportunity and try titles outside my normal pull list. I’m going to read the whole New 52, every single title (even the canceled ones), and share my adventure with you, the reader. So, today we kick off The Whole 52.
When I was a kid, I remember having a Firestorm action figure. The torch looking flame coming off the top of his head is an image that stuck with me. However, in spite of owning this action figure, I came into The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men knowing absolutely nothing about the characters or the series. I did come in with a healthy curiosity and excitement to read up on this character from my youth. The comic, however, quickly killed that enthusiasm.
The beginning of The Fury of Firestorm #1 is pretty gripping. The cover looks cool, and the opening panels are of a couple of bad looking dudes torturing a family for information. “Whoa,” I thought to myself, “this is could be a decently compelling comic. Who are these guys? What are their searching for? I’m not sure, but apparently after they get the information they need they just kill everybody. Those are some bad dudes. Okay, I think we’ve established the villains.”
Gail Simone (of Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, and Deadpool) and Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern, Superman/Batman, New X-Men) should be commended on their great opening writing. Yildiray Cinar (Noble Causes) art is pretty great too. It’s a good start, and I was ready for this thing to be a permanent part of my pull list. Good job, everyone. Let’s keep this thing moving.
However, the scene changes from Istanbul to a high school football field. I wasn’t expecting this, because I assumed the main character would be an adult. Maybe this is his early years? Sadly, no, it wasn’t. By the time I got to the jock and the “cool, brainy kid” arguing in a locker room, I felt like I was watching an episode of Glee. And no matter how many times they cut back to the bad guys torturing physicists I just couldn’t shake the Glee vibe. And by the way they were feeding me these two high school kids’ inner monologues I figured they were our protagonists.
Eventually everything comes to a head at the high school. The Glee cast is arguing about how brainy kid was too mean to jock guy in the school newspaper, but before they can break into song the bad guys show up and start shooting janitors. Apparently brainy kid was given a cylinder that the bad guys want. Why do they want it? Well, because apparently when you yell “Firestorm” you turn into a superhero. And if you yell too close to someone, they will turn into a superhero too. We find this out when brainy kid yells too close to jock guy. Whoopsie dingle, now we go two torch-headed heroes. Except that since they are teens, and their brains aren’t fully formed yet, jock guy is ticked that he is now wearing a onesie and is covered in fire. So, instead of going after the bad guys he starts fighting brainy kid, now in his own onesie too.
This is where I took a moment to say, “What the heck is going on?”, and I went to Wikipedia. It turns out that this comic has a weird premise. In the original creation, Firestorm is apparently the combination of a high school kid and a physicist. The two live separately by day, but when one yells “Firestorm” they combine into a nuclear powered superhero in a single body. I’m sure there was a good reason for coming up with such an off premise, but I don’t know what it was.
In this incarnation, we lose a physicist and gain another high school kid. Instead of combining into one body, they each have their own body and can combine into a big nuclear hulk. So what happens when two people turn into a nuclear hulk? Well, apparently they float around in purple.
Through two issues I really had two many questions. How did brainy kid know to yell “Firestorm?” Why in the world did yelling “Firestorm” even do anything? And why won’t these two kids stop arguing with each other? After two issues I had enough. I’m fine with weak explanations, but The Fury of Firestorm didn’t even both with that.
Even as a comic lover I couldn’t buy that some random kid was so smart that a scientist entrusted him with some nuclear superhero making whatever. It was just all too ridiculous. Plus, they wrote the teenagers like teenagers, and they were getting on my nerves. I mean, seriously, you just turned into a nuclear monster, fought some terrorists, and when it’s all over you’re worried about sports practice and the concert you have tickets to? Pass, pass, pass (and I’m not talking football).
Better luck next reboot, Fury of Firestorm. I’m sure there are people out there who are into this comic, but I’m just not one of them. In the end, I think that the creative team is doing the best with what they have to work with. It’s just a shame that the premise of Firestorm isn’t great.
I wonder if I can find that Firestorm action figure on eBay…
~ Jim Tenkins ~
DO YOU THINK THAT FIRESTORM IS LAME TOO? DO YOU THINK THAT JIM IS CRAZY AND THAT FIRESTORM IS THE BEST!? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION