The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 10 (March 1983)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #10

The issue opens with the Hyena hunting a bunny rabbit; Broderick and Rodriguez do a great job on the bunny rabbit, but it looks like there are some problems with the Hyena. So the issue starts right off with some questionable art and then it just gets worse.

Broderick does fine with the action scenes, does fine with all his composition but he and Rodriguez’s detail on the regular folks this issue is terrible. And the Hyena is a problem throughout; it’s too slick to be convincing as a giant were-hyena. Not enough fur detail, I guess.

There’s also way too much detail on teenage Doreen’s sheer nightie. It’s a weird choice; someone should have caught it.

Otherwise, the issue’s fine. Not Conway’s finest hour–the Hyena’s backstory is too convoluted and tied Peter Parker style to Ronnie’s civilian life–but he’s still got some nice character moments and Firestorm action throughout.

B 

CREDITS

Prowl; writer and editor, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Adam Kubert; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 7 (December 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #7

For his debut as writer and editor, Conway turns in the weakest Firestorm script to date. Worse, Broderick and Rodriguez are really off with the art too. There’s a lot with Ronnie and his father being held hostage–the issue’s way too contrived as far as plotting–and Broderick flops on drawing regular people here.

Except Professor Stein. He’s trying to sneak into the building to turn out the lights so they can turn into Firestorm without it being videotaped for the news. His story is actually rather good and Broderick’s art on his panic and determination is ambitious stuff.

The villains are lame too. Québécois terrorists. One guy terrorist totally covered up, one girl terrorist scantily clad. Silly stuff, very silly.

Maybe if Conway split the story across two issues… and better thought out the villains. But he also rushes the scenes between Ronnie and his father.

It’s unfortunate.

B- 

CREDITS

Plastique Is Another Word for Fear!; writer and editor, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Adam Kubert; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 6 (November 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #6

The first two-thirds of this issue is rather good. Conway resolves the cliffhanger–Firestorm versus the Pied Piper–and has time to work the romance between Firestorm and frequent supervillain victim Lorraine Reilly before developing the friendship between Ronnie and Professor Stein. It leads into further character development and then it's Firestorm time again.

Oh, wait, forgot–the Pied Piper grows hooves. Again, it's Conway's formula for the comic but it works. He acknowledges the time between story arcs well; it lets him get away with so much action in an issue. The characters do have passive development between issues.

Only, the big battle scene at the end–Firestorm against a bunch of satyrs–is a mess. The art's good, but Conway reveals the villain's evil scheme in third person exposition. It would have been a lot more effective from Firestorm's point of view, not the omniscient comic writer.

While problematic, it's entertaining superhero adventure.

B 

CREDITS

The Pandrakos Plot; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Adam Kubert; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 5 (October 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #5

Conway appears to have a formula for two-part stories. He opens with some action for Firestorm, then moves into the personal drama of Ronnie and Martin while working the villain subplot. Then Firestorm gets together, so to speak, and encounters the villain just in time for a cliffhanger.

Oddly enough, it works great. This issue has a visiting villain–The Flash’s Pied Piper–and the personal drama for the characters is rather amusing too. Ronnie’s having girlfriend troubles and decides to pursue a girl interested in Firestorm, dragging the Professor into it. Conway doesn’t slow down for their conversation about being a composite personality pursuing romance; instead he has it while they’re flying around. It’s an amusing conversation though.

At the same time, it relates back to their individual character development. Conway’s very concise in the character stuff.

Plus, the Broderick and Rodriguez art is fantastic this issue. It’s much more finished.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Pied Piper’s Pipes of Peril!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Phil Felix; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 4 (September 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #4

Conway has got his plotting down again with this issue. He gives Broderick a lot of varied action–it’s an all action issue, but set over a few hours (they just skip the quiet moments)–and Broderick’s ambitious in visualizing the different scenes. There’s the battles in a frozen New York, a fight between Firestorm and the Justice League, a visit to Hollywood and then a stop-off at the JLA satellite.

The art’s especially important since Conway quiets down the narration quite a bit. He’s letting it play out visually so he can keep some plot twists secret until their respective reveals. Rodriguez does a nice job with the inks too. Can’t forget the inks.

Playing Firestorm off the other superheroes also gives Conway a chance to develop that character, who’s somewhat different than his two human alter egos.

The big resolution is fantastic too. It’s great superhero stuff.

A 

CREDITS

The Icy Heart of Killer Frost!; writer, Gerry Conway; pencillers, Pat Broderick and Rodin Rodriguez; inker, Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 3 (August 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #3

Conway lays on the melodrama a little thick this issue with Ronnie getting cut from the team, slapped by his dad (in front of his best friend) and dumped. Why? The same reason every other superhero got dumped at one time or another–significant others just don’t understand a person disappearing in the middle of a crisis. Well, for the last of that list. The other two are just the time constraints.

Except Conway hasn’t shown enough of Ronnie’s regular life to get away with these big events. Maybe if he’d opened the series with them, starting one of his characters down, it would have worked.

But the rest of the comic–again, especially the interplay between Ronnie and the Professor–works great. The villain–Killer Frost–is a little talky, but her ice kingdom version of New York is when Broderick gets creative again.

He’s the other problem–he tries, but doesn’t succeed with melodramatics.

B 

CREDITS

A Cold Time in the Old Town Tonight…; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 2 (July 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #2

This issue of Firestorm is a perfect example of how to do superhero action. Even with Broderick’s questionable handling of the human, male cast–he does a lot better with the female characters–he does great with the superhero action. There are some really ambitious fight compositions at the end and Broderick and Conway open with a fantastic visualization to recap the previous issue.

There are some oddities, of course, given the somewhat strange subject matter–the villain, Black Bison, is a Native American shaman inhabiting a descendant through magic. While Conway tries to be culturally sensitive, he often will go for a bigot character to make a slight joke.

But the balance between character development and the heroics is perfect. The alter egos get just enough time on their own–and Conway’s working hard to develop Ronnie and the Professor’s rapport outside their Firestorm outings.

It’s outstanding superhero comics.

A- 

CREDITS

Rage; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 1 (June 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #1

Writer Gerry Conway oscillates between serious and sort of bemusing throughout the first issue of the second Firestorm series. He’s got to recap a bunch–the original series, then the backups in The Flash–and he comes up with a few narrative devices to get it done with brevity.

He’s also got to establish his characters for this series, which leads to a lot of brief introductions, but he gets the A plot up and running fairly soon (he’s got a great juxtaposing of early morning routines). The main plot involves a Native American high school teacher getting possessed by an angry shaman and running amok. Oddly enough, one of Firestorm’s alter egos just happens to be in this guy’s class.

There’s an excellent action sequence in the museum; Penciller Pat Broderick isn’t always successful–usually with depth–but he’s always ambitious; it’s a great looking sequence.

The end’s a little heavy, but otherwise….

B+ 

CREDITS

Day of the Bison; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Flash 304 (December 1981)

The Flash #304

I think Bates must have just learned the word “erg” before writing this issue because he uses it ostentatiously.

He also seemingly anticipates Tron–maybe the previews were already out–and puts Flash inside a really lame video game. The coolest part of the issue is how Bates doesn’t worry about resolution, just telling the best story he can… even if Barry’s involvement with it is contrived. There’s finally what make be taken for character development–Barry hanging out with his neighbors–and it’s lousy.

Not to mention there’s no resolution with his parents from the previous issue, which might have been nice.

Still, it’s not a terrible story and Infantino has room to break out the action. Maybe even too much.

The Firestorm backup is packed with content–there’s a diary flashback device–and decent if abrupt art from Broderick and Rodriguez. The feature should’ve donated them some space.

B- 

CREDITS

One More Blip… and You’re Dead!; writer, Cary Bates; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Bob Smith; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, John Costanza. Firestorm, The Heart Is the Hunter!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Pierre Bernard Jr. Editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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