Published: Dec. 1987 by DC Comics
Writer: John Ostrander Letterer: John Costanza Penciller: Joe Brozowski
Inker: Sam Delarosa Colorist: Shelly Eiber Editor: Denny O’neil
Well, its been a long time since i wrote a review of a comic, so bare with me. So this book kind of found me randomly as i was chatting with one of my local LCS owners. I was glancing through a box of Firestorm comics and spotted this cover. Now let me preface this by telling you that as a kid, this is how i found comics, I’d spot a cover and id have to have it! Now we all did this at some point in our lives, but covers are designed to draw you into and make you want to read the stories with in. This is how my obsession with comics began all those years ago.
But back to the book; I saw Hal Jordan going toe to toe with firestorm and said to myself, “Self, you have to have this cover!” After i got home tonight i realized a major flaw in my plan to review the story…. it is part 3 of a prelude to DC’s MILLENNIUM crossover event. Firestorms story starts in Annual #5 and issue #65 and since i have never read this book before today…. it was a bit confusing.
-One million years ago- As the planet Cytothex 3 is destroyed by a race of aliens, it seems they feared that an entity known as Zuggernaut would some day leave Cytothex 3 and destroy their home world. (Whats 3 or 4 billion alien lives worth in 1987?) As luck would have it, Zuggernaut survived by clinging to a part of the planet as it flew off into space. (seems unlikely but im still on board!) Needless to say this star Trek esc creature arrives on earth six years before this story takes place.
-A Medical Lab near Kiev – Comrade Arkadin is being checked out by a not so happy Russian scientist and their boss. A surly old man that isnt too happy about Arkadin loosing his powers and his in-ability to kill Firestorm. (Wish i had read issue #65) Quick jump to Ronny who apparently is having plenty of issues dealing with his Firestorm persona – Feeling like something is controlling him… hhmm(Maybe its Zaggernaut?)
Wow! this book moves quickly into a racially violent sequence of events. Three African american gentlemen stop at a gas station for directions and one of them gets soaked in gasoline. The guy lights a cigarette and threatens to throw the match at him. The man runs for his life as 20+ people chase him down the street toward the freeway. At this moment Ronny sees the man run into traffic on the freeway and Firestorm takes over. Firestorm rescues the man and returns him to his friends who have been beaten and left for dead.
The crowd turns even nastier and they pull guns out and start firing at Firestorm, which he stops by creating a shield. Only the bullets ricochet into the gas pumps causing them to explode! –Enter Green Lantern- Spotting the explosion GL flies toward the explosion to try and help out. The next couple pages have the man Firestorm saved telling him to let the town burn to teach them a lesson and to stop Green Lantern from putting out the fires.
I will say that this was not what i expected from an issue of Firestorm and the social commentary regarding racism is a very interesting direction to go with the story. Not having read any of the preceding stories or the ones that follow has me a bit perplexed as to how i want to proceed. I accept that stories like these are designed as filler for the larger story arc are quit common for this era of comics. But as the casual reader it always drives me a bit crazy, now dont get me wrong, public commentary on racism is necessary if done correctly. Even if it makes some people uncomfortable or angry, i get that. But as usual my love of a comic book cover has kind of lead me astray.
Cover – 3 out of 5 I love the imagery of these two iconic characters going head to head, it has a very Super Powers feel to it.
Story – 2 out of 5 I generally list John Ostrander in my top 10 writers of all time, but im not quit sure what this was meant to be. Clearly he wanted to make a comment on racism and how Rage is most peoples first reaction to it and how that isnt the correct way to handle it. But this issue could have been served better by diving into Ronny dealing with Zuggernaut, or trying to find someone to help him figure it out. Like i said, i have no idea what happens next, so maybe he does figure it out. lol I really wanted a longer head to head battle between these guys!
Art – 3 out of 5 Over all the art is pretty good, I think the colors and inking helped the pencils a lot.
Thats it for my first comic review in 3 years, I hope you enjoyed coming along with me as i rediscover these old school comics. Agree with me? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter or facebook! Get involved! lets talk comics!