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Abandoned Love: How The Nuclear Men Became the Nuclear Man

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

This time around we’ll take a look at the abrupt change in direction DC went in with Fury of Firestorm last year.

You know what’s weird? Despite the cover of the book always being “The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men,” the indica for the comic actually reads “The Fury of Firestorms: The Nuclear Men.” That’s very strange.

Anyhow, when Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar launched the book, the concept was as follows: two high school kids (one a brain and the other a jock) are transformed into superpowered beings (Ronnie the jock could shoot nuclear fire blasts while Jason the brain could transmute stuff)…

firestormS-3

The two Firestorms then merged into a composite being known as Fury…

They rarely merged into Fury, though, and mostly the went on various adventures as two separate Firestorms and met a bunch of other Firestorms from different countries. Then Gail Simone left the book with issue #6 and Ethan Van Sciver left after issue #10, as well, and it fell to Joe Harris (who co-wrote the book from #6-10) to abandon everything and get it ready for incoming writer/artist Dan Jurgens. He began with a story in #11-12 (still penciled by Cinar, with inks by Marion Alquiza), where Harris wrapped up the multiple Firestorm idea by more or less having them die in a major battle where just Jason and Ronnie survived, but back in their regular bodies.

Then Harris wrote his last issue, #0 (art by Cinar and Alquiza). He had Jason and Ronnie seem to slowly get their powers back until a bad guy who they thought had died showed up again. They were then forced to take action…

They destroyed the bad guy in a battle that ended on the verge of outer space and then they crashed back to Earth…

So basically, Harris dropped the change on the classic Firestorm format and returned the book to the standard pre-New 52″two people combine to form Firestorm” format. Incoming writer/artist Dan Jurgens now had the classic set-up to work with. The change was too late to save the comic, though, as it was recently canceled.

28 Comments

yes even with all the changes made this time around by firestorm like its last book wound up on the dc chopping block again though did love the need two people classic concept and they kept at least ronnie to be the new one a mixture of the old firestorm and the new with jason to be one firestorm

Stuart Moore and jamal igle did it better anyway and their book lasted longer.

@Ben, I am sooooooooooooooo with you! I loved Moore/Igle on Firestorm.

Ben…Gerry Conway, Pat Broderick and Rafael Kayanan did it best and their book lasted the longest.

I didn’t mind the concept of multiple Firestorms. Truthfully I think the original Firestorm concept of two people merging to form one super-hero is a little ridiculous at this point — try explaining that to the average non-comic reader. It’s just not accessible.

My issue with the book, like several other Nu52 titles, was mostly in execution. I think Van Sciver is a talented artist. I think Simone is a talented writer. But the writing on the few issues I read of this was pretty terrible. Not even the dialogue was good, and that tends to be one of Simone’s strengths.

Additionally, the art by Cinar was never better than C-grade. He is one of those artists who continues to get high-profile work and I simply can’t fathom why. At his very best I would deem him competent, but often his work looks rushed and sloppy. Rarely any background detail. Characters are stiff and faces malformed. It’s fill-in artist work, not the kind of stuff that’s going to move copies. And characters like Firestorm (and Atom, and Hawkman, and any of the other B- or C-list heroes) really need artists who can pull or at least retain readers.

I didn’t think the change would last very long, but I never would have guessed it’d be as short as 12 issues.Kind of a shame, considering how short it lasted, they’d have been better off sticking with the old premise, it might have kept the book around a little bit longer.

So basically, their big idea to save the struggling book was to make Firestorm white 100% of the time and downplay the black co-star. It’s not that this idea came too late to save the book. It was a weak idea at any time and totally not what the Ne 52 was supposed to be about.

One of the things that drove me battiest about the hastily-launched New-52 was the fact that only 3 months earlier, BRIGHTEST DAY had spent a year getting us to this point. Jason and Ronnie were re-merged as the singular Firestorm at the end of BLACKEST NIGHT, and the next year solidified their new status quo as a reluctant pair…who were going to explode in 90 days.

Then all that got dropped in the reboot. Which left BRIGHTEST DAY in this really weird position in the DCNu. Out of the five major plotlines running through that book, it appeared that only Aquaman’s and Hawk/Dove/Deadman’s were kept. The ones involving the Hawks, Martian Manhunter, and Firestorm apparently were not. (Not clear on the first two–I didn’t track their Nu52 adventures.) I had overall really liked BRIGHTEST DAY, but there really wasn’t a way to reconcile the changes with the DCNu. I ended up selling my collection of it as a result and haven’t looked back.

It is ironic, though, that not long after the DCNu launched, things have started to slowly gravitate back towards their familiar “defaults.” You can’t fix what isn’t broken, so some of the DCNu’s “fixes” do seem to be correcting. Firestorm’s status is just one example. I see that Power Girl is about to flip back to her pre-Nu52 costume, and I’ve heard that Beast Boy is going back from red to green.

Out of all of the New 52 books that I was hopeful for when the titles were announced, this one I couldn’t even stomach picking up to try out once I saw the art. The story seemed even more odd and slapped together rather than thought out. Sure the concept of having other Firestorms for other countries was a different addition to the basic idea of the Firestorm mythology, but it just felt like the whole book was an afterthought to everyone involved. Another way I described it, sadly, when I checked out the first issue online was it felt like DC New 52 Amateur Hour. Here’s hoping the next reboot will make Firestorm worth reading again…

I’ll keep it short…(this Nu52 version, bugs me to no end)..

I got burned (again) by this series by the fine folks at DC. What was setup to be a beautiful relaunch of Stormy out of Brightest Day for the mess they did with Firestorm Vol 3…they launched with this crap-fest mess.

I gave it 5 issues and i dropped it lock a rock. I want to support a Firestorm book, but when they made the change from Nuclear Men to Nuclear Man, i saw that as nothing more than an another insult to me. Then Ethan’s halfhearted plea on the DC Boards, “we’re asking for a second chance” and “DC said we can make the change” as far as i’m concerned he can blow it out is blow hole.

I fathom how this Nuclear Men concept got approved, especially after coming out of Brightest Day, do they not know there was going to be a existing customer base that was going to be mad and aggravated? Then there was the gaudy dialog, a Trap Jaw Super Firestorm (what was the point of him?), no reasonable explanation what Firestorms Origins are, who was Ashra Kahn, who made all the terrorist Firestorms, Killer Frost not showing till issue 19 (really?),and what happened to Prof Stein (why even in sam-hill does Stein have to be dead anyways?!?).

DC wonders why I don’t care to support the other lower tier books besides Batman, maybe once I get a new Firestorm series that’s put into the hands of someone competent and also an apology…I’ll start throwing out more support…till then…DC can suck it.

So what your saying is you want the old Firestorm. With no changes and the same status quo as the original series. And comic fans say they want new things. Ha. :)

I miss all the pre-new52 universe the blackest night ending with that huge LIVE! for every character was a a great hope for me, i really felt exited, how they had to change that i cant think of any good posible reason.

I dropped it because it was just pointlessly mega-violent.

The recent Dan Jurgens issues have been decent and enjoyable.

I read the last issue featuring the Teen Titans. it was so bad, so ugly, pointless and absurd, it made me laugh so loud!!!!! XD

I picked up this book based on the Firestorm thread in the Brightest Day mini only to be horribly disappointed by two creators that I really do trust. If they had started with this, I wouldn’t have dropped the book around issue 6 or 7.

I really liked the relationship Stein and Raymond had. It reminded me of Doc Brown and Marty in the Back to the Future movies.

I like Firestorm fine as a character concept, and I’m fine with shaking up the status quo, but this was a lousy book from the start. I usually like Simone’s stuff, but this was.. well, not one of the worst of the New 52, because there’s a lot of stiff competition for that, but lord knows it wasn’t good. It didn’t help that both Ronnie and Jason were complete jerks.

So basically, their big idea to save the struggling book was to make Firestorm white 100% of the time and downplay the black co-star. It’s not that this idea came too late to save the book. It was a weak idea at any time and totally not what the Ne 52 was supposed to be about.

What is the New 52 supposed to be about? I’ve often wondered if DC has any idea. If the implication here is that it’s in any way supposed to be more diverse, they’re doing it wrong. And on the creators’ side it’s way less diverse than DC was before the relaunch–which takes some doing, because it certainly wasn’t great before.

drooped this once they made it a black/white thing
I have a lot of fond memories for Ronnie, but let’s face it, he was a loser and was always created to be one
at least Jason had some sort of promise of a future
I would like to see a book with Stein and Jason as Firestorm, because that could work
as long as they insist or pushing Ronnie back on us the book has no future

If Ronnie was a looser as you say, so what can be said from Peter Parker ? He was a great looser too, he lived with his aunt! he was the nerd at school, an so what? In the end he grow up as a person in multiple aspects. He is THE example of a real Hero Alter Ego and maybe the best of them all so if Ronnie is a looser then i accept that with open arms.

I loved The Fury of Firestorm in the eighties and early nineties but feel that DC really struggled with the character after that period. I had high hopes for the New 52 Series but could never get truly into it and found that issues would often lay around for weeks in my house before I would finally read them. It had some interesting ideas (other countries using the Firestorm matrix to make their own soldiers) but seemed to lack a rogue gallery that I cared about.

I stopped reading the current Firestorm series after the first issue because it didn’t have the fun or excitement of the old stories from the 70’s and 80’s, but Dan Jurgens made the book (and the character) fun again. Shame it got cancelled before he could really do anything with the character. The book was already headed for cancellation and DC didn’t give the new direction any kind of promotion at all.

The book wasn’t good. I stopped after the fourth issue. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

I think they should take a page from The Brave and The Bold cartoon. Having Ronnie and Jason but play Jason with a bit of Professor Stein to him.

To
Lukas

They killed Peter Parker
He is currently dead and the replaced him with a villain who is doing the job better than Peter ever did

I meant “they” him
Sorry

Type to fast
Thirds the charm
I meant “they” replaced him

Not exactly helping my cause

I liked the DC Universe we had at the end of Brightest Day, and I was eager to see Firestorm and Aquaman launch from the end of that series. Then, we got the New 52–such a disappointment.

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