Firestorm’s most antithetical foe (waitaminute, wasn’t that the Golden Glider? No, she went after Flash, didn’t she? Hey, team-up idea, DC!) gets a solid origin story in this issue that plays out from the effects of the Crime Syndicate moving on the Justice League’s territory. In an interesting take, not every villain in the world is overjoyed to have these outer-dimensional yoyos show up and gum up the works.
Especially not Killer Frost. Since, in this version, she exists to bedevil Firestorm because he’s the only being she’s encountered who can warm her up again. Sympathy for the villain is engendered by this origin story, because she never asked to become the heat vampire that is Killer Frost. Once she was Caitlin Snow, a gifted scientist working for S.T.A.R. labs at a remote northern outpost. Little did she know that her new team (subordinates, supposedly) were actually counter-agent traitors working for H.I.V.E., and interested only in her sabotage.
She’s the heroine of the first half of this story, the naïve Scully thrust into a seedy world for which she is unprepared, bringing her wide-eyed and bushy-tailed genius to the last place they’re wanted. It’s tragic when the betrayal occurs, really upsetting that her world-view of talented, gifted and intelligent scientists working to improve human life is shattered so irrevocably.
These creeps only want money. They killed her too-talented predecessor, and they try to do the same to her. But super-hero origin story fate intervenes, and the result isn’t one poor frozen intrepid girl popsicle. Instead, the result is Killer Frost, and she is ruthless in her vengeance. That you kind of get where she’s coming from greatly improves the story.
Sadly, heat vampire means she needs to drain the energy from living beings to survive. And who has more energy than Firestorm? No matter which personality is residing in his head, the powers are impressively useful for countering Frost’s deep freeze, and unendingly attractive to her.
So when the Syndicate intimates that they’ve killed the Justice League, including Firestorm, they’ve done the unthinkable as far as she’s concerned. She wanted him to always be there, she’s even tried to replicate him artificially to solve her own plight. Who knows if this story will go anywhere from this point, but Gates’ one-off tell is competently told and compelling, making you want to see whatever act two will follow. The art by Santacruz is 100% DC house-style, in that it’s never flashy, but it is carefully delineated and gets the job done. Tony Daniel’s cover, however, is the really killer part, taking full advantage of the 3-D luxury to send shards of ice in your face!