Firestorm

Created by Gerry Conway & Al Milgrom

Firestorm I

NAME + ALIASES:
Ronald "Ronnie" Raymond (née Rockwell) and Martin Stein

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Raymond: Edward Raymond (née Rockwell, father), Elaine Rockwell (mother, deceased), Felicity Smoak Raymond (step-mother), Richard Dare (Captain X, grandfather, deceased), Patricia Rockwell (grandmother, deceased), Ted Rockwell (grandfather, deceased)
Stein: Clarissa Clemens (ex-wife).

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League of America, "Extreme Justice," The "Justice League of Air," Power Company

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Firestorm v.1 #1 (1978)

Firestorm II

NAME + ALIASES:
Ronald Raymond & Mikhail Denisovich Arkadin (Pozhar)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Arkadin: Nina (wife), Irena, Sofia (daughters), Alexander, Dmitri (brothers), Sylvia (sister-in-law), Serafina Arkadina (Firebird, neice)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
none

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Arkadin, as Pozhar: Firestorm #62??.

Firestorm iii

NAME + ALIASES:
Ronald Raymond, Mikhail Denisovich Arkadin (Pozhar) and Svarozhich

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Svarozhich: None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
none

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Firestorm #83. In Firestorm matrix: Firestorm #85.

Firestorm IV

NAME + ALIASES:
Jason Thomas Rusch, Gehenna, and others

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Jason: Alvin Rusch (father), unnamed mother. Gehenna: Henry Hewitt (Tokomak, clone "father").

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
S.T.A.R. Labs, Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Firestorm v.3 #1 (July 2004)

+ History

The saga of Firestorm began at the opening of a new nuclear power plant just outside of New York City. Its designer was an ambitious physics professor named Martin Stein. Among those outside protesting the plant's opening was Ronnie Raymond, a student from a nearby high school. During the protest, a terrorist set off a bomb; in the blast, Raymond and Stein were fused body and mind into one being (or "matrix"), called Firestorm (version 1). Though Ronnie controlled the hero's movements, Stein supplied a strong conscience. Firestorm quickly encountered a wide range of super-powered menaces including Killer Frost, the Hyena, Multiplex and Slipknot. (Firestorm v.1)

When separated, Stein had no conscious memory of his activities as Firestorm, which led to feelings of guilt and Stein's descent into alcoholism. Ronnie retired Firestorm, but was persuaded by Superman to return. (DC Comics Presents #17) The young hero was so successful in these early cases that Superman sponsored him for membership in the Justice League of America. (JLofA #179) Determined to be more honest with his partner, Ron told everything to Professor Stein, relieving him of the burden of his mysterious blackouts. (Flash v.1 #289-290) For a time, Firestorm was one of New York City’s most well-regarded super-heroes.

Firestorm remained a member until the JLofA's dissolution. (JLofA Annual #2) He returned briefly aiding the League's during Legends, just before its ultimate demise at the hand of Professor Ivo. (JLofA #261; 4.87)

The Matrix, 2

Shortly after the "Legends" affair, Stein was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He convinced Ron that Firestorm should go out with a bang by demanding the world's total nuclear disarmament. This put Firestorm into conflict with the JLA, the Suicide Squad and the Russian hero, Pozhar (Mikhail Denisovich Arkadin). At the climax of this battle, Pozhar and Firestorm were caught in another nuclear explosion and merged to form a new Firestorm (II). This being contained Raymond and Arkadin. But although the two of them could communicate from within the matrix, Firestorm himself behaved somewhat independently, like a passionless third party. (Firestorm #62-64, Annual #5) Professor Stein was not a part of this matrix (though he’d unconsciously shaped the new Firestorm). He was eventually located in a Nevada mental institution, recovering from amnesia. His brain tumor had been cured by the explosion. (Firestorm #75)

Soon, the Russians tried to clone Firestorm and instead created a soulless creature called Svarozhich (pronounced "sah-VAHR-oh-zhich"). (#83) A mysterious man named Rasputin informed Firestorm that he was truly a fire elemental and the only way to beat Svarozhich would be to bond with it "permanently." This he did, and a new Firestorm (III) was made of Svarozhich, Raymond and Arkadin. The human hosts were submerged and sacrificed their wills to this new Firestorm; they were no longer capable of reverting back to their human forms. In the process, it was revealed that Firestorm was meant to be Earth’s fire elemental. Martin Stein had originally been fated for that role only to have the matrix corrupted by the unexpected presence of Ron Raymond. (#85)

This elemental Firestorm participated in an "Elemental War," teaming up with the Swamp Thing to stop the rampage of Red Tornado and Naiad. (#90-93)

During this time, Martin Stein became deranged. He convinced Firestorm to willingly dissolve its matrix when Earth's sun was threatened by the entity known as Brimstone. The professor suggested a desperate experiment to recreate the Firestorm entity with himself in sole command. Stein then took an experimental rocket into space and, with Svarozhich in tow, blew himself up. He succeeded in becoming the sole Firestorm (version 4) and Raymond and Arkadin resumed their normal lives. Stein defeated Brimstone, but was sucked through a black hole to the other side of the universe. (Firestorm #100, 1990) Apparently, this finally left Raymond with the ability to form Firestorm on his own.

Inexplicably, Martin and Ron were briefly united during a planet-wide crisis. Perhaps Raymond served as a conduit by which Stein returned returned to Earth. (War of the Gods #1-2, 4)

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Martin Stein returns from his "cosmic odyssey"
From Extreme Justice #5 (1995). Art by Marc Campos

Years later, Ron Raymond learned he had leukemia, presumably from his years of exposure to radiation. (Extreme Justice #0) He burst into flames and manifested his original Firestorm persona. Simultaneously, Martin Stein returned to ask Raymond to reunite with him; Stein sought to retain a sense of wonder at the cosmos but Raymond declined the offer and Ronnie convinced the Professor to leave. Before returning to outer space, a sympathetic Stein cured Ronnie of his cancer while allowing him to retain his Firestorm powers. Raymond then joined Captain Atom's branch of the Justice League ("Extreme Justice"), who were on scene throughout the entire incident. (Extreme Justice #3-5)

Firestorm remained with that group until its dissolution (#17). In between, Ron Raymond gained a fair amount of fame as a male model (#8) and was forced to confront his own alcoholism (Showcase ‘96 #6-7). Ron’s college studies fell by the wayside after his fusion with Mikhail Arkadin but he’s recently enrolled at Ivy University under Professor Ray Palmer, otherwise known as the Atom. He encountered Stein again, who still struggles to hang onto his humanity (Green Lantern/Firestorm #1). He has attended classes alongside Isaiah Crockett (Joto), late of the Teen Titans (Titans Secret Files #2), but it appears that that Ron now attends Eastern State University. (JLA #69)

He joined the unofficial Justice League Europe, only to watch as the Mist killed three of its five members. (Starman #38) Firestorm has had difficulty using his transmutation powers lately, which he tends to blame on Professor Stein’s absence. He has relied on other heroes like Oracle (JLA #40) and the Atom (Day of Judgment #1-5) to provide chemical data. The assumption was that he needed a conscious knowledge of chemical equations to use his powers, but this may have simply been a matter of his own insecurities. Ronnie now demonstrates great mastery over the elements. He remained a reserve member of the League, and was recalled to active duty when the main JLA was lost in time. (JLA #69) He also served for a brief time as an associate in the Power Company. (Power Company #10-16)

Stein remains at large in the universe. The status of Arkadin is unknown.

Notes

For the successon of the Firestorm title, I count a new version whenever a new person is added to the matrix for an extended period of time.

+ Powers

Firestorms's principal power is the ability to perceive and rearrange the atomic and molectular structure of matter, so as to change its form tor transmute it. He can alter the density of objects, including his own body, and render them intangible. Firestorm can project bolts of nuclear energy, fly at great speed, and absorb explosive force and radiation in to his body harmlessly. However, if he directs his powers toward organic matter other than himself, he causes a painful energy feedback. Also, he cannot project energy bolts while he is intangible.

At first, it appeared that it was Stein's knowledge of physics which enabled Firestorm to transmute elements. Since his separation from Stein, Ronnie has claimed that his knowledge is limited, but when the pressure is on, he demonstrates full control of the power. It is possible that his lack of atomic knowledge is only a perceived weakness. Regardless, this makes him an ideal partner to the Atom, who also possesses great physical knowledge and can "ride along" with Ronnie, much like Stein used to.

Firestorm's hair appears to be aflame, but this effect does not harm him, and he does not truly possess any flame-weilding powers.

When Ronnie was a composite being, either man could, though an act of will, fuse to become the composite super-human. When the merger occurred, the man who did not will the merger vanished altogether, and Firestorm appeared in the place of the man who willed the merger. Although the two men's bodies fused, their consciousnesses remained mostly separate. Because only Raymond was conscious at the time of Firestorm's creation, it was his consciousness that controlled the Nuclear Man. The opposite was true of Raymond and Arkadin. When Firestorm separated, the two men would appear next to each other.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Crisis #8
  • DC Comics Presents #17
  • Extreme Justice #0, 4-18
  • JLA #69, 71, 73, 75, 78, 80
  • Justice League of America #179-180, 183-185, 192-193, 195-197, 200, Annual #2, 3
  • Power Company #10-14, 16

 

» SERIES:

  • Firestorm, 4 issues (1978)
  • Fury of Firestorm/Firestorm the Nuclear Man, 100 issues (1982-90)
  • Extreme Justice, 18 issues (1995-96)
  • Firestorm v.3, 35 issues (2004-07)