The Fury of Firestorm Volume 1: The God Particle

The Fury of Firestorm Volume 1: The God Particle
The Fury of Firestorm The God Particle review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 978-1-4012-3700-4
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2012
  • UPC: 9781401237004
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

When DC rebooted their universe in 2011, it wasn’t just the major characters reimagined. Firestorm had been around since the 1970s, but the only time he looked like becoming a headliner was a decade later under John Ostrander. Rather strangely, his longest run to date is about the only Firestorm series not available in collections. In 2011, though, he was one of a number of dormant heroes given another chance.

It’s a complete reboot, starting again from the beginning with high school student Ronnie Raymond star football player and high school journalist Jason Rusch butting heads. Co-plotters Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone provide a smoothly functional set of circumstances over the first chapter leading to the big departure from the original concept of both protagonists becoming separate Firestorms. Yet there’s also a nod to that original concept of the intellects of two people guiding the superhero.

As The God Particle continues Van Sciver and Simone supply an equally efficient balance mixing the shock of two students at what they’ve become, the involvement of another, a scientific mystery, and an ongoing threat. It’s with the threat that sound judgement is discarded. That otherwise competent opening chapter features a horrible start of a Turkish family being tortured and then killed when they can’t provide information required by terrorists who’re later revealed to be US agents. It’s grim and tasteless, and although not drawn as explicitly as it might have been, should it have any place in a standard DC superhero series? While the terrorists inevitably face a reckoning, their continuing excess strikes a very wrong tone. The excuse of terrorists largely being blinded by their own concerns doesn’t cut it here.

Artist Yildiray Cinar supplies everything necessary on a superhero title. His action is dynamically choreographed, and the people drawn out of costume are credible in whatever circumstances they’re shown. Many artists would have simplified the Firestorm outfits to make them quicker to draw, but Cinar isn’t one to fudge the fiddly details.

Over six chapters Van Sciver and Simone reconfigure Firestorm, reintroducing new versions of old enemies and dropping further names familiar to those who’ve followed the character over the years. Professor Martin Stein, so integral to the previous iteration of Firestorm, isn’t ever seen, but his presence is all over The God Particle via the results of his work and his interesting ethical decisions. These tie into the global politics ensuring Jason and Ronnie aren’t the only Firestorm variants out there.

If you find the excess to your taste, you’ll find this a completely successful reconfiguration pressing almost all the right buttons. The writers are deliberately vague about Firestorm’s capabilities, flying, energy blasts and party tricks being the order of the day so far, but not everything has to be explained at once, and the mysteries ensure anyone who reads it is going to want to head straight for The Firestorm Protocols. However, others will find the opening pages gratuitously objectionable and it will kill the series for them. If that’s you, you’re best skipping straight to the more traditional Takeover.