First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.5: Firestorm #80

Bass and Siskoid tackle Firestorm the Nuclear Man #80, in which Flame-Head, Firehawk, Power Girl and Will Payton – Starman team up against, well, no one yet. It’s all about getting there.

Listen to Episode 5 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.5 Supplemental

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15 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.5: Firestorm #80

  1. I wasn’t a big fan of Tom Grindberg’s art on the issues of SECRET ORIGINS he pencilled, but the samples you included from this issue of FIRESTORM… Wow, that looks really bad!

  2. Probably my first Firestorm issue and I was cool with it.

    I really appreciate that Siskoid and Bas sound like they’re talking through huge smiles the entire episode.

  3. As I have said, I am learning all about Invasion from this podcast. I skipped this one and only have a couple of crossover issues.

    My introduction to the character happened in DCCP 17 and I followed him to the Bates/Dillin JLA. I liked the idea of the young kid surrounded by the legends of the League. So when his solo title came out I collected. I got the first 50 issues of Firestorm but dropped off afterwards. So I basically missed the blank slate and elemental phases of his career. So it was interesting to hear about it. His stroking of Power Girl’s hair is, indeed, pretty creepy.

    My favorite part of the episode though was the brief segue into the Red Tornado. I have never really liked the character because in all the stories with him I read as a kid, he seemed like such a sad sack. Every story … EVERY ONE … he questions whether he should live with humanity. Then his hot girlfriend Kathy Sutton gives some tear-soaked speech about how he is the most human being in her life. Then her kid, Traya, runs up to him and hugs him. And he smiles and nods. EVERY SINGLE ONE!! Enough!!

    Hmm, perhaps the Red Tornado’s love life is a topic for Lonely Hearts?

    Thanks for the show!

  4. I 100% agree with you about Grindberg, as sloppy Neal Adams clones aren’t my thing. To put it in context, though, Grindberg was a breath of fresh air after slogging through years of Brozowski. It’s a shame, because those John Ostrander stories are really quite good and ambitious.

  5. Another good show, Siskoid and Bass. As I mentioned on my comment in the last episode, I had not read this Invasion crossover episode and from your synopsis, it sounded like an interesting issue, although probably need to hear the Starman half (another issue I have not read) to get the complete story, especially where Starman got the spaceship from.

    Re the Firestorm and Power Girl, I believe that in the pre Crisis era, Firestorm and Power Girl had the ultimate long-distance relationship (Earth 1 to Earth 2!) and maybe Bob Greenberger was referencing that in that part of the book (Although, come on Firestorm, have you not heard of personal space!!)

    Really hope that they may start to collect the Fury of Firestorm issues in some manner, as it was a series I never read – would love if they did a Showcase Presents volume on this, but alas, it looks like that line is discontinued.

    Look forward to the Flash episode – keep up the good work and keep watching the skies!

  6. I struggle with Tom Grindberg. He’s definitely a Neal Adams disciple, and sometimes his stuff looks fantastic. But it’s often muddy and characters morph from one panel to the next (like you’re spot on identification of Power Girl as Laura Dern in one panel), and then there are those HEAVY, heavy blacks. Overall, it’s unsatisfying, despite some nice stuff here and there.

    I think Jimmy’s right: the Firestorm/Power Girl one-sided flirting is a continuation of their spark in the JLA/JSA crossovers, although PG was more into it back then. Plus, they are both Gerry Conway creations!

    Great show as always!

    Chris

  7. Terrible, terrible, terrible! Oh, not you guys. This danish. Blech!

    Another excellent episode. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen Power Girl in that costume with the longer hair before. It seems…odd. I’m sure everybody already knows, but just a reminder that Firehawk got her “new” costume right around Crisis on Infinite Earths, but I don’t recall if there was ever an explanation given for it.

    Also, just as a side note, over on the Supplemental page you list the theme from Captain Planet and the Planeteers and Captain Planet and the Privateers (which actually sounds like a hell of a show). I shall assume autocorrect happened.

  8. Great episode, Siskoid & Bass! I’m not sure who this Firestorm character is, but he sure sounds interesting! 😉

    Oh, the Tom Grindberg era on FURY OF FIRESTORM… I’m so conflicted. At the time he was basically a fill-in artist who stayed around too long (he did 6 issues). Like when a late night party breaks up and that one guy just won’t get the hint to go home. The word that always came to mind to describe his art was, “muddy”. Hearing him referred as a Neal Adams disciple makes a lot of sense. However, he does it very, very badly.

    The reason I’m conflicted about Grindberg is that his final three issues are very good. Not necessarily artistically, but Ostrander’s writing. Issues #83-85 set up the creation of the Elemental Firestorm. Great story in those issues, and the art was a little better. However, the crazy hair and ugly faces continue to be a problem through all Grindberg’s issues. I will say he does pretty good with shadowy characters, like the character of Rasputin in those issues I referenced.

    Michel Fiffe and I will have to chat about Brozowski some day. I’ve got a serious love-hate relationship with Broz artistically.

    As others mentioned above, the Firestorm/Power Girl pre-Crisis romance is worth discussing. I disagree with the commenters above that suggested the romance was an undercurrent in this issue. However, it should have been! I wonder if Ostrander was even aware of that pre-Crisis romance. Since it was never referenced in the Firestorm comic itself (only JLA), he may not have even known about it. In fact, I’ve always felt references to the romance missing from this issue stuck out like a sore thumb. How could they NOT reference it?!? If Power Girl is going to randomly blurt out facts like she’s an orphan, then a previous romance certainly would have been brought up. It would have been a perfect way to make Firestorm’s awkward advances even more awkward.

    Again, great job by Siskoid and Bass! It was really fun listening to someone else talk about Firestorm!! I felt like it was a podcast recorded just for me! :) Thanks for playing the FIRE & WATER promo during your show.

    I’m not forcing myself onto your show for the next Firestorm episode (in fact, I’d rather just listen), but if I can answer any questions in advance of your recording, feel free to reach out to me.

    The Irredeemable Shag

    1. I’m pretty sure that mentioning anything that happened during a JSA/JLA crossover was extremely off-limits post-crisis. I mean, sure, it’s possible to reskin the concept of the JSA/JLA crossover as a time travel story rather than a parallel worlds one, but very few of the actual particular stories work that way, since most of them involve the 70s legacy JSA characters like, say, Power Girl. So the Firestorm-PG romance takes place entirely in stories that probably can’t have happened in any way, shape, or form, and ignoring them seems like the prudent authorial choice.

      1. If I were trying to include JSA/JLA crossovers in post-Crisis continuity, I wouldn’t have even considered “reskinning” them to be time-travel stories. I would simply have assumed that the JLA and JSA both operated on the same Earth (the JSA having existed for much longer, of course), and once in a while came together to fight a cosmic (although no longer multi-universal) threat. Many of the characters featured were NOT direct alternate-Earth analogues, and so with some tweaking, it could have been made to work.

        Of course, that WOULD be a lot of headaches, and so I hardly blame the authors for not attempting it at this point in DC history, when most of the JSA was out in limbo, anyway.

    2. In looking to chat about Tom Grindberg, I found this neat interview (http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2009/12/looking-back-with-tom-grindberg.html) which shows some of his other artistic interviews. But, yeah, his main influence in the images posted seems to be latter-day Neal Adams, which I always associated with his Continuity Associates comics line. Maybe that’s the association which throws people off.

      I mean, artists like Rich Buckler, John Byrne, Alan Davis, and Bill Sienkiewicz (sic?) started off emulating Neal Adams. I mean, as an artist, it was a great way to get work because Neal Adams had stopped drawing comics regularly even though there was a real thirst for his work. The thing was we fans got to see them all develop as artists to get their own styles, while Grindberg’s output sort of trickled away in mainstream comics. The link above shows some of his other influences and some really nice pencil sketches.

  9. As a long-time Firestorm fan, allow me to compliment you guys. For admittedly not knowing much about the character prior to reading this issue, you got all the major beats right (and nitpicks would be exactly that, so I won’t belabor the point further). It’s a shame that THIS was the issue you had to feature, although given that this is an Invasion podcast, it couldn’t very well be otherwise.

    Even for the “blank slate” era (itself an anomaly within Firestorm’s history), this book is an oddball. Not even written by the main author of the time, and drawn by one of the lesser artists of the book’s run. It’s really not a good way to get into the character at all. I doubt this crossover did either Firestorm fans OR those who were following the Invasion storyline any favors. Still, you have to take what you’re given, and you were more than fair to this story.

    For my money, Power Girl was surprisingly kind to Flamehead for his romantic overtures. She was usually so quick to put Wally West in his place, but here she treats Firestorm like the lost and confused child that, admittedly, he is. It’s not a bad thing, out of context, but it seems out-of-character for Power Girl.

  10. Point of order; this is not the original Power Girl costume; she had the boob window in her debut. After Wally Wood had some fun with her breast size, DC made the artists pull back and she was in a white bodysuit, with no window. Eventually, Joe Staton nudged it into the scoop-necked look you see here. Then we get that Bart Sears look…………Uuuuuugggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

    I liked Grindberg on a few things, like Batman: Bride of the Demon. I can understand the comparison with Frank Robbins; but, I would disagree a bit. Frank Robbins was a very seasoned veteran, by the time he was doing Batman and Invaders. he had had many years on his adventure strip Johnny Hazard. He was an excellent storyteller, which is part of what was great about his Batman stories, where he was the writer. I loved him on Invaders from the first issue I got my hands on. He had a dynamic feel to his art, with characters moving about, like those Alex Schomburg covers, from the 40s (which inspired the Invaders concept). he also had a feel for the period and captured the details, in his own stylized way. Grindberg is still developing as an artist, in this period. Liefeld, on the other hand, had an extremely poor grasp of anatomy and storytelling. Robbins and Kirby’s figures were stylized, but, the anatomy was basically correct and his figures were consistent. Liefeld couldn’t maintain a look from panel to panel, let alone page to page. He never learned the basics, so that he could get away with breaking the rules. The other examples had a firm grasp of the basics and then evolved into their later styles.

    I’ve never heard it said; but, I always wondered of Firestorm was inspired by Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human.

  11. An event tie-in passed off to a substitute creative team? I’ve read a few issues of Firestorm in my day, but I dare say I will live and die without ever bothering with this one.

    Hair length is like the Mason-Dixon Line between Power Girl and Supergirl. I can tolerate a voluptuous Maid of Might or a petite Karen Starr (not at the same time,) but as soon as blonde hair touches shoulder we’d better be looking at Kara Zor-El. Iconography and the lack of consistent detail in comic book lady-features demands it. Then again, maybe the point was to have Power Girl replace the deceased and dismissed Supergirl?

    Tom Grindberg was an artist I was pleased to see in the credits of ’80s DC books that might otherwise have hosted someone like Curt Swan or Alex Saviuk or Steve Erwin (unless Al Vey was inking them.) Distorted, extra-stilted Neal Adams aping was still desirable by comparison, though I wouldn’t call myself a legit fan. Later, Grindberg borrowed heavily from Mike Mignola, which was an interesting if inorganic amalgamation of two great comic artists’ styles.

    I strongly suspect the IRA story was scuttled after a tale in Web of Spider-Man a year or two earlier led to a bomb threat and the removal of Jim Owsley as editor of that line. I think you guys were thinking about a short-lived un-cola style cover blurb selling Spider-Man as ‘The Non-Mutant Super Hero” during the McFarlane run.

    The Red Tornado discussion reminded me of the ’80s novelty song “Marvin I Love You” from back in my Dr. Demento listening days, before I knew anything about Hitchhiker’s beyond the omnipresent paperback dumps at mall bookstores.

    I always feel bad that DC Bloodlines didn’t offer Anj much of a platform to promote his essays on off-topic DC oddities. I keep trying to talk that guy into doing some podcasting. Maybe we’ll get his dramatic reading of Beowulf someday.

    In my comics retailing days, I got stuck with a lot of unsellable restocks when someone would flake out on their pull box. Far too much gross weird niche porn, bandwagon hopping wannabes, bad girls, amateur hours and mere overstocking of the usual super-crap. Getting burned with Fantagraphics and other hip indies wasn’t very common, but I appreciated the opportunities they gave to expand my own reading and class up the joint.

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