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(You’ve been warned)

“Problems Multiplied Part Three”

  • Writer: Dan Jurgens
  • Pencils: Dan Jurgens
  • Inks: Norm Rapmund
  • Colors: Hi-Fi Design
  • Letters: Travis Lanham
  • Cover: Dan Jurgens & Ray McCarthy

I had not intended to review this book on this blog.  It is a Captain Atom blog, and the only reason I let myself get away with this whole “Firestorm Appreciation Month” was because each of the books I reviewed featured Captain Atom.  This book, this final issue of The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man, does not feature Captain Atom at all.  But it does introduce Major Force into the New 52 continuity.  And based on the fact that Force is working with General Eiling, it is a safe assumption that the New 52 Major Force is somehow tied in with the New 52 Captain Atom.  So I decided to slap this issue up on my blog after all.  I think that maybe that was Dan Jurgens’ goal all along, to trick me into reviewing his book.

Okay, probably not.

Anyway, this issue opens up at the Continuum, where Eiling is monitoring a battle between Firestorm and his rogues (Hyena, Multiplex, Killer Frost, Black Bison, Typhoon, and Plastique) on a monitor.  This is a battle continuing from The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #19.  An aide tries to tell Eiling he has a visitor but the General is far too busy.

Jason Rusch’s dad and Ronnie Raymond’s sort-of girlfriend Tonya drag Firestorm’s semi-conscious body into an alleyway (Ronnie and Jason, for the uninitiated, are the two dudes who combine to form Firestorm).  The three are attacked by Hyena (which Tonya says is a werewolf – sort of a running gag with the character).  Hyena is about to rip Alvin Rusch to shreds when a mysterious newcomer grabs his arm and throws him against a lightpost.

It is none other than Major Force.  Regular Captain Atom readers know Major Force all too well.  An anti-hero of the worst kind, the modern age Major Force was created as part of the Captain Atom project in the 1960s. Unlike his predecessor Nathaniel Adam, Clifford Zmeck (Major Force) was guilty of the crime he had been accused of.  And with his new-found powers he became even worse.  Remember Green Lantern’s girlfriend Alex?

(DC Comics can have a thousand “New 52″s and keep bringing back Major Force but they can never erase the stink of this act.  Ron Marz had Major Force murder Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend Alex and then stuff her dead body in the refrigerator. This act prompted Gail Simone to compile a list of dead female comic book characters and a corresponding web site.)

Major Force tells the now-conscious Firestorm that Eiling sent him to help.  Firestorm doesn’t trust Eiling and Mr. Rusch warns the boys to be careful what they say to the government.  Killer Frost attacks with a blast of ice.  Back at the Continuum, General Eiling’s impatient visitor punches in a thick metal door.

Major Force tells Firestorm to go see about the hostage (Ronnie’s mom) while he takes on Killer Frost, Black Bison, and Multiplex.  Down on the dock, Plastique is holding Ronnie’s mom.  As Firestorm approaches, he is body slammed by a tidal wave generated by Typhoon.  But Ronnie is super pissed and one good punch sends Typhoon flying.

At the Continuum, Eiling’s guest turns out to be Superman (who is younger and brasher in the New 52), and Professor Martin Stein.  Stein says “there are plans for Firestorm that supercede any notion of his falling under your control.”

(In the previous, Post-Crisis Pre-New-52 continuity, Martin Stein was originally the other half of Firestorm, along with Ronnie Raymond.  In this current continuity, he was the brains behind the Firestorm Protocols that gave Ronnie and Jason their powers, as well as Jason’s friend.  He was believed to be dead.)

Jason and Ronnie are formulating a plan to take down Plastique when Alvin Rusch clocks the villain from behind with a board.  Firestorm and Major Force then take out the other rogues together – except for Multiplex, who manages to skip away.  Major Force leads Firestorm to his ride, a military vehicle of some sort.  Force asks Firestorm to pose for a picture, but the “camera” turns out to be some sort of neural shocker that knocks the boys both out.

They come to (as Firestorm) at the Continuum, where Eiling, Stein, Superman and Major Force are arguing.  Stein says he came out of hiding when he learned of the military’s plans for Firestorm, and sought the help of the Justice League.  Major Force tells Superman that the two of them have no authority there.  Superman flicks Major Force in the chest, sending him flying through a wall.

Firestorm and Superman leave together, with Superman offering Firestorm a position with the Justice League.

And that is the end of The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man.  Beautifully drawn and inked by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund, the issue naturally left me wanting more.  The story was wrapped up far too quickly (but to be fair, Dan had to condense a whole storyline into just a couple of issues).  As much as I love Captain Atom and his universe, I think the New 52 could’ve done without Major Force.  His new costume is better than the old one, for sure.  But I never really was a fan of the character.  Taking into consideration the rush job on the story, I give this issue a B+.

That also wraps up Firestorm Appreciation Month at Splitting Atoms.  Thanks for joining me.  Thanks also to Luke Daab for the picture I used as an avatar this month, and a big huge thank you to The Irredeemable Shag for organizing and pulling off the social media event that was #FirestormFarewell.