Fire & Water #201 – Aquaman Classic #42 and Fury of Firestorm Classic #s 33-36

The classic issue reviews return! Shag and Rob discuss the iconic "Is This My Foe?", from Aquaman #42 by Steve Skeates, Jim Aparo, and Dick Giordano, followed by the Killer Frost/Plastique epic from Fury of Firestorm #s 33-36 by Gerry Conway, Rafael Kayanan, and Alan Kupperberg. Plus: your listener feedback!

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19 responses to “Fire & Water #201 – Aquaman Classic #42 and Fury of Firestorm Classic #s 33-36

  1. My vote is to cover both. Switch back and forth. On time cover a classic the next time do the modern ones. Just cover the modern ones like you were when they were twice monthly.

  2. Lured by Dolphin and Stjepan Sejic’s art, I recently started collecting Aquaman for the first time. I couldn’t wait to hear your thoughts and actually comment, hopefully intelligently.

    That month you decided not to review the new series …

    My cosmic karma again on display!

    1. I agree with you Anj, Dolphin and Stejic art is what kept Aquaman on my pull list. I don’t have many on it these days. Aquaman, Harley Quinn, Doctor Strange, Harley Quinn and Veronica (so fun!), Batman White Knight (destined to be a classic), and the Batman Metal series which has been a hit or miss.

  3. Great to have you kids back together again.

    I say cover whatever the hell you want. This is your show, after all.

    I’ll second Rob’s suggestion to cover Kingdom Come. That King Arthur of Atlantis should cover about five minutes. Also, I’d love to hear Rob’s thoughts on the new Aquaman (Garth) and Shag’s thoughts on Phobos, who I believe to be the Firestorm replacement as elemental. I forget.

    Like the Shag, I’m confused by the physics and architecture of Atlantis. I don’t ever get why they’re sitting, walking, or more or less behaving like people on the surface would. that’s what always threw me in that Sword of the Atlantis book – when the gladiatorial fights took place on an x/y axis, as opposed to an x/y/z one. They gotta fight like Kirk and Spock, not like Khan!

  4. Great episode! I missed this series. You can cover whatever you like in Aquaman. However, the current issues are good. The art looks amazing and I really like the introduction of “Dolphin” who is my favorite costar now of the series. So I vote yes to cover the current series or just wait till the next creative team starts up.

    Btw at New York Comic Con I was at a panel Dan DiDio was hosting and he asked if there are any obscure characters that we would like to see. He put the mic in front of me and as a dope I said Mera. No reaction! I do have to say it would be an awesome time to do it. Maybe have Gail Simone write it.

    One other thing at NYCC they gave away pins at the DC booth featuring characters from the Justice League. Guess which one, after it was left out for an hour, pin was leftover? AQUAMAN! It is this reason I predict the movie will tank at the box office. I hope not but I kind of think it will.

  5. P.S. Of course Aquaman #42 is my top favorite cover. In third place is Aquaman #62 (“My Son is dead..and it’s all your fault Aquaman!”) . That one just has to much drama and Mera looks really fierce.

  6. I have a suggestion or two on the new releases of Aquaman:

    1) Wait for the trade.
    That biweekly schedule was kinda crazy for keeping up with new issues and discussing them on a monthly podcast. Maybe waiting for the trade and covering it then, rather than doing a report on the periodicals might be a better way to go?

    2) Invite Martin Gray (and maybe Dr. Anj?) to cover new releases.
    Martin Gray already seems to be covering new releases on his blog. Perhaps a spoken word version (with optional bongos as background music; interpretive dance might be tough to pull off on an audio podcast) could be added to the coverage of classic stories?

    1. That’s really kind of you, Sphinx, but I see the value of keeping the show pure Rob and Shag… the dynamic works, I’d only knacker the particular energy of the show. The boys must indeed find their joy!

      Fab episode. How interesting to be reminded that Arthur did the angry dance a long time prior to Peter David’s run. Happily, it wasn’t an ongoing thing. And it’s fascinating to see Jim Aparo’s work before his style really bedded in. From the Seventies he had his schtick and boy, did he stick with it. Aparo really was one of DC’s keynote artists.

      I’d love to see Mera’s linked back-up strip from the Seventies covered, to remind us that Paul Kupperberg gave us badass Mera a long time before Geoff Johns.

      Poor Louise Lincoln indeed. I liked that she didn’t have the nominative determinism thing going on. I prefer to think that she simply cracked, overempathise with Crystal Frost and pretty much became her. Love the works of Ostrander as I do, Killer Frost as a viral personality reeks of that period when he was overinfluenced by Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run. Too, too silly.

  7. Oh, a word about Pittsburgh:

    My missus and I spent about 5 years there as she went to school. (Eventually I went to school there too (at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh!) but that’s another story.) In my time there, I thought it’d make an excellent setting for a comic book hero.

    Sure, it was the butt of easy jokes by comedians, but it had a lot going for it. Especially as it seemed to have recovered from the loss of the steel industry in a way that other steeltowns did not. It had 2 major universities, a pretty nifty public transportation system, 3 major sports teams, museums, an international airport, a zoo, and a whole lot more. Not only that, but it was also the place where many scenes from the last Christopher Nolan Batman movie were filmed. (Pittsburgh was also used in the first Inspector Gadget movie. I’ll just let that bit of news sink in…)

    Ok, maybe that was more than one word about Pittsburgh…

  8. As much as I’d love to hear you guys discuss the current issues of Aquaman, I say follow your joy. The new issues will still be there, if you want to cover them at some later date. Heck, if you wait long enough, they may even be considered classics, as well.

    In regards to the issues you covered this episode, I generally don’t like seeing Aquaman (or any of my heroes, for that matter) acting like rage-machines, but I do think it works in this story. It speaks nicely to the depths of Arthur’s feelings for Mera. Besides, I imagine I’d feel a bit vexed, if someone knocked me out and abducted my wife.

    I’m also enjoying the Killer Frost story in Firestorm. I like (if that’s the right word) the tragic nature of the new Frost’s origin. I guess I prefer my villains to be human, rather than evil incarnate. It allows me to connect with them in a “there but for the grace of God, go I” sort of way. If that makes any sense. Art-wise, I really liked the left, center row panel on page 19 of issue 34, where Ronnie/Firestorm’s and ghostly Prof. Stein’s heads are shown in profile together as they talk. In general, I’ve begun to like looking for the creative ways in which the Ronnie/Stein/Firestorm gestalt is depicted.

  9. I swore I had left a comment on this episode. I guess I wrote it in my mind. Kind of scary, actually.

    But this episode was a lot of fun, and of course, “Find Your Joy” (TM Shag Matthews), because if you’d rather cover classic Aquaman than the new stuff, you’re new material shows are going to suffer. Besides, this run needs some love, because DC ain’t giving it none.

    That Aquaman cover is of course, iconic. Perhaps Black Manta’s most memorable comic visual?

    Glad to hear you guys talking about classic Aquaman and Firestorm. Most definitely the backbone of the entire network.


  10. So glad to be back to classic Conway Firestorm reviews!

    Shag, perhaps I misheard you, but at one point you seemed to reference the theory put forth in the Ostrander era that Killer Frost was “a disease you could catch,” but then suggested that they never did anything with it. Specifically, Ostrander had one of his scientist characters postulate an “intelligent virus” that was transferrable under certain circumstances, thus attempting to explain how Louise Lincoln become Killer Frost. I would beg to differ that nothing was done with the idea, since this was the mechanism whereby Lincoln was cured of being Killer Frost by the end of the Ostrander series.

    Now, admittedly, this idea may have been invalidated by later developments (I’m not as familiar with the circumstances of Killer Frost’s return around the time of Underworld Unleashed. Perhaps she had been established as not really cured after all before then), but it really does seem to me that Ostrander did exactly what he intended to with the concept at the time.

  11. Let me get real with you for a second: Covering individual issues of modern comics is tedious. I struggle with how much of a blow-by-blow to cover when doing my own shows, because I find that to be the least interesting parts of other people’s, and it only gets worse when reaching for plot elements to fill out coverage of anemic contemporary storytelling. Since any given recent trade paperback will take 6+ issues to tell a single Bronze Age story’s contents, why don’t you guys save up material and cover a trade or two at a time? Also, at their best, podcasts only go over the bare minimum of plot details; just enough to provide context for the opinions and conversations that we’re actually tuning into.

    As much as I love Jim Aparo, I never seem to purchasing his earier work on titles like The Phantom when given the opportunity, because he isn’t quite there yet. His other Charlton work like on Nightshade fares better, but it isn’t until the Neal Adams influence kicks in that I’m fully there for Aparo. Ditto this funky Cardy-riffing hybrid.

    I have liked Rafael Kayanan, and I have liked Alan Kupperberg, but they are a brisket banana split together. Dick Giordano is clearly superior with those cover inks. I should be way more interested in a story arc involving Killer Frost and Plastique, but the art kills it for me. Also, while Louise Lincoln is my favorite KF, this isn’t my favorite Louise Lincoln (#SuicideSquad.)

    Pittsburgh has come a long way from the nuked out husk populated by deformed mutants it was in the late 1980s. But to me, it will always be the epicenter of the George A. Romero Dead, far dearer to my heart than you people with your Trek Wars. If anyone is going to the DotD 40th anniversary reunion in Monroeville next year, I’ll see you there!

  12. Great episode, guys! Hearing you talk about Aquaman Vol. 1 really makes me want to collect this volume, especially after checking out the gallery post.

    I also enjoyed the Firestorm coverage, especially since I do have those particular issues, and agree that they would make a nice trade. Ronnie does have a hard time in #34, even inadvertently causing the Goodwear blimp explosion at the end when he punches Flambeau into the detonator switch! Fun fact about #36: I received it in a package with plenty of other comics from Ryan Daly when I won the Fire and Water Podcast Network listener appreciation contest he ran on the Secret Origins Podcast!

    I am picking up Aquaman at my LCS so I would be in favor of hearing your take on the newer stuff, but only when you feel like talking about it. As long as you guys are geeking out about comics from any era, I’ll be loving the show!

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