The Plot: Lexcorp is working on an extra-nasty atomic weapon and explodes it outside a bunker in the Nevada desert. For reasons unexplained, Firestorm happens to be in the area and sucks down the radiation. Inside the bomb is a man in a capsule, which everyone thinks is odd. Leaving the area, we find that Firestorm is now, One Year Later, made up of college student Jason Rusch and Lorraine Reilly, who is also Firehawk and who happens to also be a US Senator. Rusch and Reilly are separated from each other, which triggers an explosion and this issue’s cliffhanger.
The story: This issue brings up a lot of questions. Why is Lorraine attached with Jason, instead of Professor Stein, as happened in issue 22? Is Firestorm working for Lexcorp? Who came up with that insane idea for a bomb? Who is the dude in the middle of the bomb? And how in the world can Lorraine handle being a US Senator and a super-heroine at the same time?
Lots of questions are presented by Stuart Moore, but not many answers. I guess that’s the point of the OYL comics, but there sure are few answers.
The art: Igle and Champagne are a really nice team together. I loved the various effects they drew of Firestorm’s costume, and it’s cool how he seems to flow with his powers. Firestorm’s entrance on page four is especially cool – he looks like a primal force of nature, walking out of the nuclear explosion. Igle and Champagne also draw the Nevada desert really nicely, with looming canyons everywhere you look.
And what about the hero with the puffy sleeves: Yeah, it’s true that Firestorm has a puffy sleeve shirt back. It looks kind of dorky, but at the same time, it’s the character’s trademark, even more than his flaming hair or that bizarre symbol on his chest. You know, now that I think about it, nothing about Firestorm’s costume makes much sense… was it ever explained in the comics?
Anyway, this is an interesting enough issue, but readers are given too many questions without answers. It gets frustrating that so many unexplained things keep happening without any answers. I felt like I want some sort of certainty to hang onto as this story kept hurtling along; without that, the comic felt a bit empty and without resonance.
The bottom line: Lots happened One Year Later, but I’m still not clear why I should care a lot about it.