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Brightest Day Speculation – What’s Going on with the Nuclear Man?

Warning… the following contains SPOILERS for Blackest Night and Brightest Day #0 – #2.








Firestorm - Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch in Brightest Day

Okay, we’re three issues into Brightest Day and we’re starting to get a picture of what’s happening with Firestorm.  I’ll start with what we know, then let’s delve into speculation on where it’s going.


  • Jason Rusch’s girlfriend Gehenna, formerly one-half of Firestorm, was murdered by the Black Lantern Firestorm.  The Black Lantern Firestorm claimed to be the resurrected Ronnie Raymond.
  • Later, Ronnie Raymond was resurrected by the light of the White Lantern with no recollection of the Black Lantern’s activities.  Ronnie quickly resumed his college partying lifestyle.
  • Jason and Ronnie don’t get along.  Ronnie is coping with the fact that he died and came back, as well as that someone else has had control of the Firestorm matrix.  Meanwhile, Jason blames Ronnie for the death of Gehenna.
  • When Ronnie and Jason touched in Blackest Night #0, they fused into Firestorm.  They have been unable to separate into their own individual bodies since.  They are stuck fused as Firestorm.  Ronnie currently controls the body while Jason is able to advise telepathically.
  • Ray Palmer, the Atom, shrank and entered Firestorm’s body in hopes of “disarming” the Firestorm matrix.  He commented that Firestorm’s flames are no longer just for show and that it was nearly 1,000 degrees inside his body.    When the Atom arrived at the Firestorm matrix, we saw three electrons circling the nucleus.  Two electrons were bright yellow, the third was a dark gray.
  • While waiting for the Atom to finish inside their body, Ronnie heard another voice telepathically that goaded him into an argument with Jason. Their body then suffered a very explosive reaction.
  • At the same time Ronnie and Jason are arguing, black tendrils begin to reach out from the Firestorm matrix towards the Atom.
  • The cover of Brightest Day #4 features Black Lantern Firestorm.


  • It seems a safe bet that the dark gray electron in the Firestorm matrix represents the Black Lantern Firestorm.  Somehow the Black Lantern Firestorm has survived inside the matrix.  That would explain the voice Ronnie heard which caused the argument with Jason.  That would explain the black tendrils chasing the Atom.
  • It also seems a safe bet that the Black Lantern Firestorm will take control of the body, which would explain the cover to Brightest Day #4.
  • What I’m left wondering is what exactly is the Black Lantern Firestorm.  Is it a dark reflection of Ronnie?  Is it now a dark reflection of Gehenna (which would be pretty clever)?  Is it simply a random malicious entity?
  • It also seems logical that the existence of the Black Lantern Firestorm will absolve Ronnie in the blame of Gehenna’s murder.  Jason may remain uncomfortable around Ronnie, he won’t be able to blame Ronnie directly for the death of his girlfriend any longer.
  • Without Nekron or the Anti-Monitor-powered black battery, where is Black Lantern Firestorm getting his power from?
  • Once all this business with the Black Lantern Firestorm is finished, who will be in the matrix?  I gotta believe the Ronnie/Jason combination will be Firestorm for the foreseeable future.
  • With the mention that Firestorm’s flames weren’t just for show anymore, are they going to incorporate some of the Elemental Firestorm concepts into this version?
  • There was a panel in Brightest Day #1 featuring several incarnations of Firestorm.  Perhaps that was foreshadowing (along with the temperature comment) that the current Firestorm will be an amalgam of all previous versions.  That was Geoff Johns’ move with Hawkman in JSA, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he did it here with the Nuclear Man.  See my analysis below of that panel.

Professor Martin Stein and Ray Palmer talk Firestorm in Brightest Day

  • The top left Firestorm was patterned after the Al Milgrom cover to Firestorm volume I #1.  This would represent the classic Firestorm.

Firestorm volume I #1 cover by Al Milgrom

  • The bottom left Firestorm was patterned after the Matt Haley cover to Firestorm volume III #8.  This would represent the early days of Jason Rusch as Firestorm.

Firestorm volume III #8 cover by Matt Haley

  • The center Black Lantern Firestorm appears to be patterned after the Ethan Van Sciver variant cover to Blackest Night #3.  If you look closely at Black Lantern Firestorm’s face, you can see the similarities.

Blackest Night #3 variant cover by Ethan Van Sciver

  • The bottom right Firestorm was patterned after the Tom Grindberg cover to Firestorm volume II #85.  However, they used the coloring from the later Tom Mandrake issues.  This would represent the Elemental Firestorm.

Firestorm volume II #85 cover by Tom Grindberg

  • I believe the top right Firestorm was patterned after the Steve Lightle cover to Extreme Justice #8.  While the facial expression is different and the pose is reversed, the coloring on the headgear is consistent.  This is the only drawing I’ve ever seen where the classic Firestorm has yellow accents on his headgear.  If so, this drawing would represent the years Ronnie flew solo with the Firestorm matrix.

Extreme Justice #8 cover by Steve Lightle

  • This leaves the “Blank Slate” era as the only major incarnation not represented.  It’s possible the top right panel represents the “Blank Slate” era of Firestorm, but I can’t think of a corresponding scene.

So what do you think is going to happen with Firestorm in Brightest Day?

Just a final note, my favorite scene in all of Brightest Day so far is the panel below:

Professor Martin Stein in Brightest Day

“Just take care of these boys.”  Instead, Martin may as well have said, “Just take care of my boys.”  After all Ronnie and Jason are like sons to him.  Some people may not realize that in comic book time, Jason spent a year working with Professor Stein as Firestorm.  This was during the One Year Later timeframe.  Love this panel!

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  1. Luke says:

    I have never read any Firestorm, and most of what I know of the character is from your blog, but this storyline is one of the most intriguing ones in Brightest Day. Nice rundown of what we know and what we think we may know.

  2. JasonTodd says:

    Hey, I was looking around your site after replying to your comment (nice site btw) and I LOVED this article. The fact you recapped everything that happened so far is definitely a nice touch and the speculation is awesome. If ir is in fact Jason’s Girlfriend, which would be a wonderful swerve, or any of the other speculated ideas you mentioned I could see me enjoying the storyline even more. This is definitely the best storyline going on currently in Brightest Day in my opinion.

  3. Shag says:

    JasonTodd – Thanks for the compliments. I was digging your site as well. Unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of the books you were reviewing so I didn’t have a lot of comments to share.

    Keep up the good work!


  4. JasonTodd says:

    Thanks for the compliments as well, I always appreciate comments, even if you wanna start a completely different topic haha, I’ll try my best to reply with something interesting. I a[reciate you taking the time to check it out and look around though, so thanks again.

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