First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.24: Firestorm #81 / Power of the Atom #8

An Atomic First Strike Double Feature as Bass and Siskoid tackle Firestorm #81 AND Power of the Atom #8, both part of Invasion Aftermath. Plus, more philosophical Robin discussion as part of your Letters from the Front!

Listen to Episode 24 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings may apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.24 Supplemental

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11 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.24: Firestorm #81 / Power of the Atom #8

  1. I’ll let Shag do what he does best re: your Firestorm questions, but having had this issue of Firestorm for years (I’ve had every issue of this series for over 20 years now), I don’t think I ever quite picked up on the end of this issue being the moment that the Gene Bomb went off. I’ve read Firestorm dealing with its effects (I’ll stay spoiler-free on that point for now), but assumed that all happened somewhere else (Invasion #3, I now assume). I now need to go back to the issue and see if the last panel is as explicit as the full page version from Power of the Atom, shared here, which would mean I simply haven’t been paying enough attention. As I said when you covered the previous Firestorm issue, this IS a low point in terms of the series (especially in regard to its art), and I’m sorry that this has to be your main interaction with the Nuclear Man for the time being.

    Either way, thanks for helping me connect the dots.

  2. I bought and read the previous Firestorm issue (First Strike) when it came out almost 30 years ago. I picked up this issue years later in a discount bin, and never read it. Now I, don’t have to read It! Thanks for helping me dodge that bullet, as that cover was always a turnoff.

  3. To be fair, I don’t think I started the Dick/Tim war. That was Bass with his “Tim is smarter than Dick”. Them’s fighting words for old Wingnuts!

    I could No-Prize Firestorm’s lack of chest symbol as his ability to rearrange molecules, but instead I’ll just paraphrase Michael Bailey and say :Because Grindberg.

    Ray’s total buffness explains Jean Loring’s bat-crap behavior in Identity Crisis and after. She wanted him back after he got all jungle-ripped!!!

    Great show as always fellas.


  4. How about that! Bass’ amazing scientific explanation on how the Atom’s white dwarf usage stopped aging! You guys never cease to amaze.

    Another great show, lads.

    1. Oh we’re thinkers alright.

      This is the kind of quality you get when the co-host doesn’t denigrate the other’s attempts at a no-prize. @Shagg 😉

  5. I generally like Tom Grindberg’s work–it’s like an out of control Neal Adams–but I have to say I think this is the worst Firestorm art job I have ever seen, in the history of the character. Shag?

  6. I have little knowledge of either of these characters stories in this time period. So it was great to hear all this stuff. The blank slate Firestorm is a blank slate for me!

    I have to agree with Chris. No wonder Jean Loring would kill (literally) to get the Atom back in Identity Crisis! Ray left the civilized world and came back a ripped barbarian! Who wouldn’t pose? Suns out, guns out.

  7. Great episode, Invasioners! I’m getting caught up on the previous episodes, and having a blast remembering this event.

    One of my great regrets was not buying Ostrander’s run on Firestorm as it came out. I did jump on just before the fire elemental began, but not so much the previous issues. I was in college, and getting monthly comic shipments from Dave’s Comics. (Remember their ads?) My pull list was huge, so I had to draw the line somewhere. But between shipments, I would browse the Food Lion rack, and pages through Firestorm. In hindsight, a lot! Almost to the point where I couldn’t remember if I’d bought the Invasion crossover issues or not. Thank goodness no employee pulled “This ain’t a library, kid!” on me, but I should have just bought those issues since the stories obviously had me hooked.

    The artwork? Ummmm…… plenty said about that already.

    PotA was a regular for me. I loved Stern’s run on Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers, and stuck with him. Stern certainly had fun finding creative ways to use Atom’s powers, and I enjoyed that. But yeah, I really didn’t understand Ray letting Chronos put the Time Touch © on him.

    In general, if you think about the things Ray does with his powers, the less sense they make. I completely agree that “gliding” is extremely impractical. It’s one thing when Wonder Woman or Wonder Girl with super-strength launches off to start, but a more-or-less ordinary man? And what if the wind isn’t blowing in the direction you want to go? “The bad guy is going that way! Come on, wind! Help me out!”

    Has anybody else read “The Physics of Superheroes”? Written by physicist professor based on a class he teaches, it has lots of humor and great science to explain and debunk superpowers. His opening chapter talks about Ray, paraphrasing:
    “A teaspoon of white dwarf matter weighs tons. Ray Palmer lifts a huge rock of it in his origin issue with barely a grunt. How? Because Physics professors are just that strong? Yes. Yes we are.”

    Oh that beefcake page. Are physics professors really that ripped? Yes. Yes they are.

  8. Since I was baited on this episode… to be honest, I listened to this episode the day it came out. However, it’s been an insane few weeks so I’m catching up on leaving comments.

    The Blank Slate era only lasted about two years, from issue #65 through #87. I’m somewhat in agreement with Mark above, this is a low point for the Firestorm series. Not entirely, but in some parts. Yes, the art is the worst the series ever saw during this era (Tom Grindberg – Yuck! Richard Howell – Yuck! Much of Joe Brozowski during this era – Yuck). But then there are some decently drawn issues during that two years also (Ross Andru for an issue; and I personally like the JJ Birch issues drawn by Brozowski).

    Regarding the story, the overall concept of the Blank Slate Firestorm was fantastic! A mysterious blank persona driving the hero, with Ronnie & Mikhail powerless except to watch (and sometimes advise). The Soviet Union and United States angles were also really intriguing. You take those great concepts, and then put them up against.. the Zuggernaut. Ugh.

    It was a very up-and-down period. Some great issues, some terrible. Because of that, I haven’t re-read those issues in a long time. So I don’t recall a specific instance where the Blank Slate persona did something absolutely unforgivable, leaving Ronnie & Mikhail to deal with it emotionally. The Blank Slate Firestorm did kiss Firehawk without her consent, which not surprisingly didn’t go well for him.

    So Siskoid’s concept of Ronnie & Mikhail dealing with the Blank Slate’s unforgivable actions didn’t really get explored.

    Now the Elemental version of Firestorm (the next incarnation) did almost wipe out mankind. Ronnie was part of that permanent merger, but not as a separate consciousnesses. If the Elemental had wiped out humanity, that could have provided some serious emotional drama for years. However, we wouldn’t really have any comics because everyone would have been super-dead.

    Another great episode of the podcast! Loving each episode!!

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