Fire & Water #224 – Fury of Firestorm Classic #s 41-47

Shag and Rob concentrate on the “fire” part of the Fire and Water Podcast by talking about some classic Firestorm comics! They take a look at Fury of Firestorm Annual #3,  Fury of Firestorm #s 41-47, and Blue Devil #23! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Closing music by The Bad Mamma Jammas.

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35 responses to “Fire & Water #224 – Fury of Firestorm Classic #s 41-47

  1. Annual #3: Sparx— I always thought Lacey looked visually too much like Doreen, like they were sisters or something. I found that distracting. I like Lacey better; at least Lacey never betrayed Ronnie.

    Firestorm was almost certainly depowered because he was too powerful. He could easily, for instance, take out Superman by turning his costume into kryptonite. Anyone who can take out Supes is immensely powerful in DC logic. Particularly with Crisis coming up; can’t have Firestorm taking out Anti-Monitor in one fell swoop. His powers coming from the sun was indeed ignored ever after— particularly when we discovered Firestorm was the fire elemental, and that Firestorm got his powers from the earth *cough*retcon*cough*. (One more reason the fire elemental thing never completely floated my proverbial boat. It starkly contradicted well-established Firestorm lore.)

    An almost naked Firehawk burning in the sun? I hope she wore her sunscreen that day.

    Not everyone in Ronnie’s life came to Pittsburgh— Jefferson Jackson didn’t. He was obviously cryogenically frozen until the CW thawed him out in 2016.

    Apropos of nothing, as a kid I made up a superhero that was a female version of Firestorm (two women merging), and I named her Corona.

    FOF #41: It always struck me as funny how Prof. Stein becoming an actual teaching professor at a university with Ronnie as a student made Firestorm resemble the Firestorm I first met on the Superfriends cartoon series (where Professor was a professor and Ronnie was a student).

    Wendy Olsen (Jimmy’s cousin? She had red hair) should have been better developed. Long before Oracle, a well-represented portrayal of someone ordinary with a disability (i.e., not Professor X) was kind of rare in comics at this time.

    Who would win in a fight— Harbinger or Multiplex? Their powers are pretty much the same, aren’t they?

    FOF #42: Hotness and heroics. And Hostess cupcakes. Very alliterative.

    FOF #43-44: Typhoon returns. I certainly felt sorry for his kids in this issue, as I recall. I remember that comment “Who stole the kids from who?” that the cop makes. I remember how way out of line I thought that comment was.

    FOF #45-46: Firestorm and the Blooooooooooooooo Devil. Isn’t making fun of Slipknot sort of low-hanging fruit at this point? It’s organic rope, dammit! It’s no gimmick. Organic. Rope. Martin Stein dating his boss (Emily Rice). In today’s academic climate that would certainly be a no-no. As I recall, Martin was not exactly enthusiastic about it. A nice little gender-reversal of your usual sexual harassment scenario.

    I would think the plural of Multiplex is Multiplices.

    I remember a joke about Hyena finding Multiplex “cute” and the other villains saying, “are you crazy?” because they don’t realize Hyena is actually female. A “cute” little throwaway joke brought to you by 1980s homophobia (which was pretty much everywhere).

    Joe Bro swiping? Say it ain’t so, Joe! He traced Roy Raymond? At least he traced a Raymond. At least he didn’t trace a Carmichael or Doreen.

    More later. Gotta run!

  2. Whatever happened to Joe Brozowski? I must have missed you discussing his “work” on earlier episodes. It’s amazing he got away with as much swiping as you mentioned.

  3. Pre-crisis Firestorm could theoretically make Gold Kryptonite, which made him orders of magnitude more dangerous to Superman than any of the other kyptonite-themed baddies. Even powered down the damage a rogue Firestorm could do is, well, at least as much as a rogue Kryptonian. So what happens next year is, if anything, an underreaction…

  4. Bolt’s eyegear may prevent him from getting through doors, but Bolt can teleport. So no problemo.

    That this was not Gerry Conway’s best work is an understatement. I can’t wait to hear you guys take on King Crusher. Yeesh. Talk about a low point in someone’s career. Remember, kids, steroids are bad.

    Oh, and Moonbow, because a female archer character is not totally out of place in the adventures of a nuclear man. How weird is it that I can remember her alter ego— Bree Brandon— became Bree Daniels under John Ostrander’s run. I think Ostrander had said “enough with the alliterative names already.” And it would have been fair.

    I like (if that’s the right word) “like (if that’s the right word)”. Talk about damning with feint praise.

    Frank says “brisket banana split” like it’s a bad thing.

    I didn’t remember my own comment about Cliff Carmichael but I still agree with it!

    It occurs to me that Firestorm should have been subsidized by the U.S. Department of Defense as Cold War propaganda in 1977 to get people behind the safe, responsible use of nuclear power. Maybe then Firestorm would have survived the D.C. Implosion and lasted more than five issues. I blame Jimmy Carter for this lapse.

    I suppose if we have to have Doreen around in Pittsburgh, it ultimately made sense that the Doreen/Loraine rivalry was finally given a decisive winner when one of them had Ronnie’s back and one of them really, really didn’t. It was a good way to write Doreen out, actually, even though her departure probably could have come in issue 40. I’ll be interested to hear Shag’s and Rob’s take on the issue where Doreen finally finds out Ronnie is (half of) Firestorm. Her reaction is understandable, but it still has the “it’s all about me” one-note that Gerry had exhausted with the character. She’s not at least the least bit impressed with, say, how many lives Ronnie had saved as Firestorm, for instance.

    I really liked the Ostrander run on the whole… they were indeed “damn fine comics.” My only problem with Ostrander’s run is that I felt that he gave up too soon on the U.S./Soviet gimmick. Had he stuck with it, and not turned to the Elemental side of the force, he could have seen Firestorm through the disillusion of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. What would Mikhail Arkadin’s role be in a post-Soviet Russia? Would Stalnoivolk go crazy with the collapse of his beloved USSR and start wreaking havoc? Oh well. It could’ve been really cool. But I suppose the sales were not what had been hoped for during the Blank Slate (Russian) period.

    Until next time… and try not to let next time be next year… fan the flame and ride the wave!

  5. I’ve always wondered how a Shag-solo show would sound. Now I know.

    I hope Rob got a lot done during this episode. The gutters needed cleaning. Old food needed to get tossed out of the crisper tray in the fridge. I hope Rob managed to get his flu shot, too.

  6. Much like Gene Hackman in the Lester cut of Superman II, Rob never actually showed up for recording. Everything you hear is a body double and sound-alike. They couldn’t say “cal-lassic” correctly, so they won’t be coming back for future Firestorm episodes.

    Chris

  7. It was great to have a classic Firestorm review episode. I hadn’t realized it had been that long since the last one. After a year long hiatus, this was a good series of issues to review. Seeing the return of so many familiar villains helped to jog my memory regarding everything that had happened previously in the title.

    The blast-from-the-past listener feedback section was a lot of fun too. As I listened, I was trying to remember 1) if I had commented on either of those episodes, and 2) if so, had I said anything intelligent. For the record, it was yes on 1 and no on 2.

  8. As I was listening, I was trying to remember if I had these issues. I don’t think so. I know I stopped buying Firestorm around this time. There had been no consistency on the art for several issues, the stories were kind of blah, and, for me, the change in locale. I have nothing against Pittsburgh. I think that I would have been all for a change in Ronnie’s life that he initiated. (I just realized how passive a character Ronnie Raymond was!) However, the idea that he’s going off to college, with his girlfriend, AND his mentor, AND his rival, AND his father, AND his father’s fiancee, was too forced for me. So there’s .75 for another comic.
    One more thing! Regarding George Tuska, I admit I can recall being disappointed when I saw his pencils on a favorite book. Mostly because he was used as a fill-in artist. So, a lot of my disappointment was because the “real” artist’s work wasn’t in that month’s book! I am actually quite fond of some Avengers issues he did, and I appreciate what he could do. I imagine that he must have had a really short deadline for his Firestorm stories. And he wasn’t from the “fan generation.” When folks like us would become pros, we know how a character looks, who was blonde hair, whose costume has been updated, etc. Poor George must have had a script and a pile of reference material thrust at him! “We need it Tuesday! Make this guy look older than that guy!”

  9. Cool review.
    I definitely had these issues back then but somehow most of my Firestorm issues disappeared.

    I do have the Crisis crossover issues and will agree with Shag that Akins and Garvey give the art a sort of polish. Definitely liked the look of both those crossovers. And, as you say, both were true crossovers.

    I find the rare swipe to be fine but when entire issues seem to be swipes, sometimes artists plagiarizing themselves, it becomes distracting. I know this is probably a bad example (and I’m prepared to be ridiculed) but Greg Land’s art on CrossGen’s Sojourn is very good and clearly before he bought a lightbox. But I see Sojourn panels in almost every book he has done since. Annoying. Although, philosophically, can you swipe yourself? And is that less a crime than swiping someone else?

  10. And forgot to say that the ‘punch in the face’ tactic is always scary to me.

    What if she didn’t get knocked out and instead was still conscious but now with a broken jaw? How do you explain that?

    Anyways, you better be pretty confident that you can ‘one punch’ your father’s fiancée if you pull out that strategy!

    1. Thank you for pointing that out, Anj. I know it’s a trope from movies and comics forever, but the “knock them out to keep them out of trouble” thing is just scary dangerous in the real world.

    2. In the original panel this scene was swiped from (cited below), Roy Harper punched Oliver Queen, who rubbed his chin in the next panel saying, “What… was *that* for?”…

  11. Brilli episode. It’s so great to have some Firestorm talk after all this time, especially as the both of you found them engaging. Even though these issues weren’t quite as strong as the first couple of years, I still loved them.

    And I like Ian Akin and Brian Garvey’s inks – they were Rom’s secret weapon.

    How self-centred is Doreen Day that she assumes Firestorm has followed her to a new city. I hate her, with her stoopid Farrah wannabe hair. Have I mentioned that?

    I know I harp on about this a lot, but I really miss subplots in comics – few writers bother even trying to do them these days, and when they do, they can’t necessarily pull them off. They should look at the work to be done here, Gerry was the master of the soap. A plot, B plot that will likely become A plot, C plot with the supporting cast… how hard can it be? Seventies Marvel writers regularly did wonders in just 17 pages.

    Shag, you should really complain to DC and comiXology about the book colouring, you never know, it might do some good.

    I love that tentacle cover on #46 that Shag hates, especially the villains at an angle. Very infantino. And so what if the monster looks silly, this is comics… perhaps Mindboggler lacked imagination?

    I always liked Alan Kupperberg’s art, from the Invaders on. I hope he’s still drawing merrily in Heaven.

    So Brozowski swiped a Buckler Black Canary? The question now – from whom did Buckler nick it?

    Great research from the Shagster as regards the abandoned graphic novel Corona. i found
    one of those pics he mentions online – it’s just gorgeous.

    https://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=216232

    In the feedback Rob says ZANtanna. That’s such a common mis-speak. Even my chap Steve, not a comics reader, says it. I’m not having a go, I just wonder if anyone has any idea as to why an extra ‘N’ gets in there… it’s not like Zatanna is like any other word this side of Zatara. We need the League of Lunatic Lexicographers!

    1. Oh, and Mr. Brozowski swipes quite a number of Neal Adams poses from Green Lantern-Green Arrow and Deadman stories throughout this issue. The infamous scene of Ronnie punching out Felicity is actually swiped from the famous Neal Adams drawing of Roy Harper decking Oliver Queen in Green Lantern (Green Arrow) v2, issue 86, page 24, panel 3…

      From The Fury of Firestorm v1, issue 46, page 19, panel 4

      From Green Lantern v2, issue 86, page 24, panel 3

    2. We can play the “search for swipes” game for hours on end…

      FOF v1 46 + Flash v1 #219 + SA v1 # 209

      Joe Brozowski: Fury of Firestorm v1 #46, page 4, panel 4…
      Neal Adams: Flash v1 #219, GL backup page 2, panel 4…
      Neal Adams: Strange Adventures v1 #209, page 13, panel 4…

    3. Shag was also correct that the Firestorm panel in The Fury of Firestorm v1, issue 46, page 20, panel 2 was swiped from a Pat Broderick drawing…

      FOF 46, meet FOF 15...

      …which was from The Fury of Firestorm v1, issue 15, page 13, panel 6…

        1. The “Taking a Swipe at Joe Brozowski Podcast”…?

          Here are a few more:

          The Fury of Firestorm v1 #46, page 4, panel 2…
          Green Lantern v2 #80, page 7, panel 4…

          The Fury of Firestorm v1 #46, page 7, panel 6…
          Strange Adventures v1 #211, page 4, panel 4…

          The Fury of Firestorm v1 #46, page 7, panel 1…
          Green Lantern v2 #87, Green Arrow story, page 4, panel 2.

          The Fury of Firestorm v1 #46, page 20, panel 4…
          Strange Adventures v1 #209, page 20, panel 4…
          (He even swiped the same location in the book…)

    4. That previous panel had some additional swipes from The Fury of Firestorm v1 #12, page 14, panel 2, and Green Lantern v2 #76, page 18, panel 2, respectively…

        1. Martin,

          Previously I had pointed out the Edward Raymond swipe from the Strange Adventures Deadman tale. However, It was not just Edward Raymond that was a swiped pose, the Firestorm figure and the balding man held by the monster were also swiped from the panels below.

          …And given that the monster head is a mirror image of its only other appearance in the book, I suspect that is also a swipe, but I do not know the source off-hand…

    5. And speaking of Green Lantern v1 # 76, I am sure others had noticed the reverse-swipe from page 11, panel 2 on the cover of The Fury of Firestorm v1 #47…

    6. And not that I am ready to move into issue 47 as of yet, but regarding one of Shag’s favorite panels (page 5, panel 4)…

      Most of the Firestorm figure was swiped from The Fury of Firestorm v1 #2, page 14, panel 2…

  12. Lots of interesting issues covered here. And of course, my man Blue Devil in the mix made me very happy. So you can count on me to keep pressuring Shagg to start up Devilcast. Come on, you know you want to. Do it. Do it. DO IT!!!!!

    Thanks, guys! Fan the flame, and ride the trident! (um….)

  13. Great conversations, guys! Fun to catch up with our favorite flame-headed superhero. I want to read that Zahler letter now. Haha! Thanks for entertaining me on a cold gray day!

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