"Old Gods and New"
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artists: Ken Lashley (p), Rob Stull (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
The problem with a series that is scheduled to be cancelled is that as intriguing as the current story might be, one can’t help but get the "Why bother?" feeling. Such is the case with Firestorm: The Nuclear Man, currently DC’s second lowest selling ongoing, (ahead of Manhunter which recently got another lease of life). This is the last arc for this series, one which has a new (or depending on how you see it, "guest") creative team on it. On the writing front is Dwayne "DCAU" McDuffie and on the art Dan Jurgens (Layouts), Ken Lashley (Penciller), Rob Stull (Inker) and Brad Anderson (Colorist). There is even a new editor. Whether this addition is due to Siglain’s being busy on 52 or whether it is due to whatever cosmic buildup is going on in the various new and/or low selling series, whatever the reason, Nachie Castro joins regular Firestorm editor, Michael Siglain.
Speaking of cosmic buildup, did we really have to see even more of this Scott Free? Didn’t he get knocked off in Seven Soldiers? And while we are at it, where is the real Mister Miracle? Did he get the same "tossed away like last Crisis’s character growth" treatment, a la Wally West and Wonder Woman, or at least who she was before she got turned into whatever it is that she is supposed to be now. Oh yes, now I remember, a glorified secretary lackey for a foreign country, one which was more than ready to bomb her island nation. Anyways, the purpose of having this Mister Wannabe Miracle here is, apart from making for a cool introduction, to have him either sit around talking ad nauseum or just stand around spouting about the physical strength of Orion.
Moving onto Orion (don’t worry, I’ll get to Firestorm…eventually), it’s nice to see him back and as hotheaded as always. Fans of both his comic as well as his JL/JLU cartoon version will recognize and appreciate McDuffie’s portrayal of Orion and his hit before you speak approach. Even though he gets a beat down by both the "whelp" and the Female Furies (who take advantage of his "tied down" position and knock him out), Orion makes his mark on this issue. As for why he is here, go read the issue. I won’t spoil this secret.
And speaking of mark, Gehenna (Firestorm is just round the corner) continues to make her own. Not only has this character been almost single handedly carrying the "light n’ comedic" flame of this series, she is fast becoming her own individual, as illustrated by the last two pages. As with Stuart Moore before him, McDuffie too does not fail to bring us some interesting, and dare I say cutesy, moments between Gen and her boyfriend.
About Mr. Boyfriend a.k.a. Jason Rusch a.k.a. Firestorm, (finally!), with him too McDuffie is developing from where Moore left off, and that is a good thing. No, I am not channeling Martha Stewart but just stating a point to illustrate that every incoming writer doesn’t need to do a fresh reboot to get his/her stamp on the series and the characters in it. Not only does Jason show the confidence he has gained, both as Firestorm and as his civilian-self, one can even see the hopefulness he gained last issue. Even though he is still a bit rough around the edges and a bit too quick on the draw, he is maturing and making Firestorm his own. Too bad DC isn’t as benevolent on his series as it is on Manhunter.
Lastly, the artwork, and even though it is a departure from Jamal Igle, I for one liked Ken Lashley’s first outing with Firestorm, even more so when compared to my previous experience with him (on Flash: The Fastest Man Alive). For this I would give equal credit to Rob Stull’s tight inking as to Brad Anderson’s lively colors.
Conclusion: Come on DC, give Firestorm a chance too! After all as the saying goes, "What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!"
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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