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Unresolved Issues – The Behind-the-Scenes Spat Between Aquaman and Firestorm

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues

We’ve got a special treat for you today… a crossover!  Everybody loves a crossover!  Today we’ve teamed up with our good friend Rob from THE AQUAMAN SHRINE to tackle some unresolved issues between Firestorm and Aquaman that have been festering for nearly 30 years.  As I’ll demonstrate below, the problems between these two heroes really resulted from the Flash’s unnecessary interference.  With Arthur Curry, Ronnie Raymond, and Barry Allen all alive and kicking again, we thought it was high time we brought these issues to light.  Since all three heroes are involved in Brightest Day, it’s only a matter of time until these deep-seated frustrations boil over.

Justice League of America #193

It all started back in 1981 in Justice League of America #193.  Red Tornado’s creator, T.O. Morrow, had stolen the android and the JLA had spread out looking for him. Aquaman managed to locate Morrow’s hideout and leapt in to rescue Reddy.  Unfortunately for the Sea King…

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues - Justice League of America #193

Not only did Morrow blast Aquaman through the wall and into the harbor, he left the Sea King encased in some sort of crystalline prison. Green Lantern recovers Aquaman and the team brings him to the JLA Satellite where they set about trying to save him.  Wonder Woman takes the lead on freeing Aquaman from the crystalline before it’s too late.

While the team observes Wonder Woman’s progress, Firestorm speaks his mind and offends the Flash…

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues - Justice League of America #193

Flash’s rant continued for another half-page.  Flash’s main argument was that JLA members should give everything they have for their teammates, all the while implying that Firestorm wasn’t doing so.  All of this because Ronnie expressed his doubts about Aquaman surviving Morrow’s attack.  Flash’s superior attitude about service to the JLA falls flat because in the middle of a crisis a few pages earlier Flash was doing speed tricks with a Rubik’s Cube to impress the team.  Nice Barry, real nice.

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues - Justice League of America #193

Considering the power of Morrow’s blast and the resulting lack of oxygen inside the crystalline, I don’t think Ronnie’s suspicion was that unreasonable.  Sure he had a “glass half-empty” perspective, but the worst his comment could have done was bring down morale a little.  It seems to me that Mr. “I started the Silver Age” was taking out his frustration about Aquaman’s situation on the new guy.  It’s the equivalent of a playground bully having a bad day and taking it out on a younger child.  FLASH FACT: it’s called transference, Barry.  Look it up.

This probably comes as no shock to you, but Wonder Woman managed to free Aquaman and save the Sea King’s life.  Oh yeah… did I mention the rest of the JLA got knocked out at the end of the issue and Firestorm SAVED THE DAY?  Hmmm… stick that in your winged booties twinkle-toes.

Justice League of America #203

Now let’s jump forward ten issues to Justice League of America #203.  The issue starts with Firestorm and Aquaman on a training mission, but then the Sea King decides to teach Ronnie a lesson.

I managed to get my hands on an early draft of the script for this issue. I’ve included here the bits that ended up on Editor Len Wein’s cutting room floor.

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues - Justice League of America #203

Here is a bit from the original draft that didn’t make into the final product…

Page 1 – Splash Page (no pun intended)
Firestorm thought balloon: Oh geez, Aquaman is trying to show me how cool he is again. This guy is seriously suffering through a mid-life crisis. Old people are always trying to prove they’re still hip to us teenagers.  I mean, seaweed reins and two dolphins? C’mon, a real Sea King should be riding a great white shark.

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues - Justice League of America #203

More thought balloons that didn’t make it into the final product…

Page 2, Panel 1
Firestorm thought balloon: I wouldn’t even be here if Martian Manhunter hadn’t made me promise to be nice to Aquaman.*  Apparently, Martian Green-Genes has a soft spot for the Sea King.

* NOTE: Martian Manhunter and Firestorm met recently in JLA #200 – Editor Len

Page 2, Panel 5
Firestorm thought balloon: Hmmmm… If let Aquaman think he’s teaching me a lesson, maybe he’ll invite me around his place more often. Then I can make some time with his super-foxy wife, Mera.  Yeah… I’ll pretend like this wave surprised me.

Aquaman and Firestorm - Unresolved Issues - Justice League of America #203

… so it appears that Aquaman managed to take down Firestorm with a bunch of flying fish.  However, in reality we know the Nuclear Man took a fall in an effort to get closer to Mera.  I mean, who wouldn’t right?

When you look at both events together, it becomes clear that Aquaman dunked Firestorm in #203 because of the Nuclear Man’s pessimism about the Sea King’s survival in #193.  Now think about this for a minute… Aquaman was unconscious in #193, so how did he find out about Firestorm’s comment?  Yup, that’s right.  Flash must have ran to Aquaman like some troublemaking schoolgirl and tattled on the Nuclear Man.  I’m sure Barry spun the story to his liking, making Firestorm out to be a terrible person.  So the deep-seated frustrations between Aquaman and Firestorm are actually all Flash’s fault.  These incidents together have caused three decades of uneasiness between these two great heroes, and neither realizes it’s all due to Flash’s busybody nature.

What should we take away from this?

  • Firestorm speaks his mind and isn’t always sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • Aquaman can hold a grudge.  Don’t cross the Sea King.
  • Flash is a troublemaker.  If you’re going to say something about one of your co-workers, be sure Barry isn’t within earshot.

Now this is just my take on the situation. Be sure to head over to THE AQUAMAN SHRINE today to read Rob’s take on this super-drama.  My thanks to Rob for suggesting today’s crossover!

Support Firestorm and Aquaman, but not Flash! Fan the flame!

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  1. rob! says:

    Yes, everyone loves a team-up. Great job, Shag!

  2. rob! says:

    “It’s called Transference, Barry–look it up.” Best line from either post!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Widgett Walls, Irredeemable Shag. Irredeemable Shag said: Aquaman Shrine/Firestorm Fan Blog Team-Up Today – Fun look at old JLA issues! and #comics […]

  4. Luke says:

    Maybe if Firestorm had some respect and wasn’t 1) prematurely declaring Aquaman to be dead and 2 ) trying to make time with Aquaman’s WIFE, he wouldn’t have needed to be punked out by a REAL HERO like Flash or Aquaman. 😉

  5. Tommy Bat-Blog says:

    They should just kiss & make-up already!

  6. […] Fan have teamed up for “Unresolved Issues” – the behind-the-scenes spat between Firestorm and Aquaman. But what role does the Flash have? The answer may shock you! (Okay, not really, but the promo […]

  7. Guardian7 says:

    That post was laughable at best.

    They knew Aquaman was alive… More than likely due to Superman or Green Lantern… Which is why Wonder Woman was freeing him…
    What they didn’t know was what state he was in…

    Your little rant against Flash is equally laughable considering the fact that Prof. Stine agreed with Flash… You know… The adult half of Firestorm…

    Your posting of the non-canon potion of 203 is again laughable.

    1) it was unlike Flash to stir trouble… Unless a person was Russian.

    2) Aquaman could have easily been told by both Superman (unlikely) or Green Lantern (more likely)… They both disapproved of his comment too.

    3) Flash decided to lend a little guidance in what it means to be a member AND friends with the people he works with and cares for. I doubt he stood about gloating to his team mates after he had to point out what it was to be a member of one.

    4) The JLA sattilite has monitoring equipment… Aquaman could have reviewed what happened to him and saw the exchange.

    5)The extra stuff for 203… Though amusing IS not canon. Using it proves nothing. Aquaman doesn’t explicitly say Flash is guilty of the decision about bringing Firestorm’s ego down a few pegs. That could have been either Superman, Green Lantern or Flash.

    The rubix cube scene was because Perez wanted to show how fast Flash is… And did.
    It wasn’t like he was all like… Look what I can do guys!

    They always knew… Otherwise this line wouldn’t have been said to the infallible Firestorm…

    …why do you think they call him the fastest man alive…

    Your theories hold little water…

    Speaking of water… If Aquaman bears a grudge of any sort towards Firestorm… It’s cause Firestorm was written like a douche bag…

    His line about Mera in your non-canon scene just goes to prove that.

    Your hotheaded hero did need a take down comics style… He got it.

    Suck it up buttercup!

    1. Shag says:

      Guardian7 – Thanks for the comment. You do realize the entire post was tongue-in-cheek, right? Also, hop over to THE AQUAMAN SHRINE for their version of the story.

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