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Brightest Day #10 Revelations **SPOILERS**

Warning, the following contains SPOILERS for Brightest Day #10.








Wow.  I didn’t see that coming.  Nine pages that change Firestorm forever.

The current issue of Brightest Day has so much Firestorm plot development I felt we needed to discuss it here.  For coverage of the Aquaman plot in Brightest Day #10, please check out Rob’s fantastic write-up on THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

In previous issues, we saw hints of an antagonistic third personality hiding within the Firestorm Matrix along with Ronnie and Jason.  The White Lantern entity spoke to both Ronnie and Jason saying, “Ronald Raymond of Earth, you need to study. Jason Rusch of Earth, you need to get your head out of the books. Learn from each other so you can stop him. Don’t let him destroy me.” Based upon the visuals, it appears the entity is asking Firestorm to stop the Black Lantern Firestorm before he destroys the White Lantern.

When we last saw our favorite Nuclear Man, Ronnie and Jason had switched control positions within the matrix – Jason now controls the body and Ronnie is functioning as the on-board adviser.  When they switched positions, Firestorm’s facial features changed slightly.  Nothing drastic, but with Jason in control they darkened the skin tone slightly, widened the nose and made the lips appear a little fuller.  It serves as a visual cue to help the reader understand who is in control of the Firestorm body at the time.

Firestorm - Jason and Ronnie

That brings us to Brightest Day #10 and the character development/changes:


The issue starts with Firestorm testing his powers.  After some difficulty transmuting a football, Professor Stein hypothesizes that Firestorm’s powers are now fueled by the mind in conjunction with the body.  That seems to suggest in the future both Jason and Ronnie will need to know the molecular composition of things in order to perform transmutation.  That would explain why in Brightest Day #7 the White Lantern told Ronnie he needed to study.


Next up is a major retcon to John Ostrander’s run on Firestorm.  During the Ostrander era (1987-1990), it was revealed that Firestorm’s power came from a fire elemental created by the spirit of the Earth.  Professor Stein was the elemental’s intended target, but Ronnie’s presence during the nuclear explosion in Firestorm #1 altered the result.  Eventually the Professor bonded with the elemental to create the intended Elemental Firestorm.  In just one panel, Brightest Day #10 changes that previous storyline dramatically.  It doesn’t negate the storyline, it just reduced the significance of the elemental in the creation of Firestorm.  In Ostrander’s run the Elemental Firestorm was explained to be the final destiny of Firestorm; Brightest Day #10 reduces the Elemental Firestorm to a distraction at best.  Here is what Professor Martin Stein said in Brightest Day #10:

“The Firestorm Matrix bonded with Ronald much more than it ever did myself.  In a way it even rejected me, transforming me briefly into a fire elemental.  Maybe to distance me from Ronald, it saw something in him… and then the Matrix saw something in you too, Jason, didn’t it? It chose you.”


The Professor continues to explain that the Firestorm Matrix has fully bonded to Ronnie and Jason.  Now it appears to be going through yet another metamorphosis.  This change is making Firestorm incredibly more powerful but also more unstable. Firestorm pulls off his glove to reveal his body is now made up entirely of seething energy.

Brightest Day #10 - Firestorm Jason and Ronnie


According to the Professor, the Firestorm Matrix is the spark that preceded The Big Bang.  Yes, THE spark that triggered The Big Bang, the creation of the universe.  When the Professor and Ronnie first met, the Professor was attempting to validate his theories on the existence of The Big Bang.  Turns out the Professor captured the spark and that’s been at the heart of the Firestorm Matrix all along.  The Professor continues to explain that the universe is in an endless cycle of renewal – expansion and contraction that takes billions of years each cycle.  He adds that according to numerous scientists, this universe’s expiration date is long overdue.  Apparently the spark within the Firestorm Matrix could create another Big Bang, destroying this universe and creating a new one.  This makes Firestorm the most dangerous being in the universe.


The Professor finishes by explaining the combination of Ronnie and Jason together as Firestorm is highly unstable.  Every time they argue it’s causing destabilization in the Firestorm Matrix.  The more emotionally charged they get with one another, the higher the chance of accidentally triggering a new Big Bang.  When they are emotionally balanced, the chances are near zero.  When agitated, the chances could be one in a million or even one in a hundred thousand.  This explains the house ad a few weeks ago for Brightest Day featuring Firestorm.

Brightest Day Advertisement featuring Firestorm


After all that explanation, something goes horribly wrong.  The third personality hiding inside the Firestorm Matrix decides to act.  Jason and Ronnie are forcibly split from Firestorm and knocked unconscious by what appears to be the Black Lantern Firestorm (albeit with an updated costume to reflect the opposite of the current Firestorm costume).  In typical Blackest Night fashion, the Black Lantern Firestorm comments that Jason represents rage, love, and hope; Ronnie represents will, fear, and avarice; while the Professor represents compassion.  The issue ends with the Professor as the only one left standing to face the Black Lantern Firestorm.  With that cliffhanger, the Next Issue caption reads, “DEATHSTORM!”

Brightest Day #10 Black Lantern Firestorm

Brightest Day #10 - Black Lantern Firestorm


Like I said earlier… Wow.  I didn’t see that coming.  Nine pages that change Firestorm forever.

Where do I start?  It’s hard to tackle such an enormous change.  I don’t love the changes, but I don’t hate them either.  It’s still too early for me to formulate any solid opinion, but I’ll rattle off some things that have struck me so far.  Please keep in mind that overall, I really enjoyed this issue.  I’m excited for this new direction and welcome the change.  Firestorm has always been about change, so I’m willing to give this new direction a shot.  With that said, don’t consider my comments below as negative towards the new storyline.  They just represent things on my mind.

  • I really like Ronnie and Jason together as Firestorm.  They are well suited for each other.  Geoff Johns has done a good job repositioning their personalities without changing them too much; Jason as the rational one and Ronnie as the impulsive one.  They can get along or gripe at each other, much like Ronnie and the Professor used to do.  I also like how the Professor continues to be involved with Firestorm, even though he’s not part of the heroic form anymore.  I think he’s an awesome supporting character.
  • Scott Clark and Dave Beaty’s art on the Firestorm pages continues to look fantastic!  What great artists!
  • In regard to Firestorm’s facial features – I’d prefer they pick one set of facial features that are an amalgam of white and black characteristics and stick with that, rather than switching back and forth.  I see Firestorm as the combination of two guys, not one or the other.
  • Having both Ronnie and Jason responsible for the knowledge of molecular composition makes for a good handicap.  Firestorm’s abilities allow him to do pretty much anything.  Creating a built-in handicap like this can help explain why Firestorm doesn’t save the day every single time.
  • I wish they hadn’t dismissed the significance of the Elemental Firestorm.  Having recently re-read that run, I still think it’s phenomenal.  They could have found some way to embrace the elemental version.  I enjoy all the incarnations of Firestorm, so I’m all about the unity.  I’d love to see a monthly series that embraces the entire Firestorm legacy featuring: Ronnie and Jason as Firestorm, Professor Stein as a supporting character, Firehawk as a potential love interest, Mikhail Arkadin as Pozhar in a supporting role, and even some aspect of the Elemental Firestorm.  The elemental incarnation (call him Phoebus, Svarozhich, Shadowstorm, or whatever) could serve as an occasional antagonist bent on cleansing the Earth, and Firestorm would struggle to keep him in-check out of some sense of responsibility.  If Firestorm does get an ongoing series, I seriously doubt my ideas would could to pass.  Oh well, a boy can dream.
  • If Firestorm’s body is now entirely made up of energy, why does he still have a human-looking face?
  • If Firestorm is going through the final stage of metamorphosis, what is the end result?  Is he pretty much already there or is he going to change drastically through this final stage?  Should we be expecting another change of costume or change in people composing Firestorm?
  • So the Professor managed to capture THE spark that triggered The Big Bang?  How exactly did he do that?  Why did he store it at the Hudson Nuclear Power Plant?  And why didn’t he bother to mention this to anyone before now?  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of faith in the Professor’s scientific abilities, but … really?  Along those same lines, the Professor seems to have a pretty clear understanding of what’s going on with Firestorm.  How exactly did he figure all this out?
  • I’m still hoping for a Firestorm ongoing series in the somewhat near future.  They’ll obviously need to incorporate these plot points.  I just gotta wonder if the constant threat of causing another Big Bang will drag down a straight-forward superhero comic.
  • I read a comment on a message board stating that Firestorm’s origin has been retconned nearly as much as Hawkman’s.  While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s not that far off.  This is the third major interpretation of Firestorm’s origin.
  • Why does the Black Lantern Firestorm speak like a bad 1980s sitcom reject?  “Righteous”?  “Boss”?  Is that an inside joke because Firestorm is such a 1980s character?
  • Based upon the Next Issue box, is the Black Lantern Firestorm going to be called “Deathstorm”?  Man, I really hope not.  If he does, that just smacks of “Deathwing“, an evil counterpart to Nightwing from The New Titans in the 1990s.  He was such a *huge hit* with fans (read as sarcasm).

Lots of changes.  Lots to absorb and accept.  Now I can’t wait for Brightest Day #11!

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  1. liquidcross says:

    I found these retcons (or, more accurately, Geoffcons) interesting as well, for all of the same reasons. However, the implications do fall a bit flat, since we can safely assume that a new Big Bang’s not coming. The next big DC event is Flashpoint, and that’s a Flash-centric series, not a Firestorm one. The threat of the Big Bang may be there, but Ronnie and Jason will easily get a handle on it (probably by the end of Brightest Day). I also posit that a new Big Bang would be a considerable threat to Nekron (it would destroy his domain, as well), so I don’t think that’s Black Lantern Firestorm’s plan. (I hope they don’t call him “Deathstorm,” either.) That guy just wants to destroy the White Lantern power battery. As for his dialogue…I don’t get it, either. In his original Blackest Night appearance, he was supposed to be Ronnie, but I don’t recall Ronnie talking like that too much during his own series.

  2. Alex says:

    Not a big fan of the retcon. One glaring thing, to me, was that Damage was the one who caused the Big Bang, during Zero Hour–and I’m pretty sure that’s still in continuity, as he mentioned it before he died, IIRC.

    On one hand, it makes me sad that a great great character can’t function on his own merits, and it takes this writer to wipe out a lot of stuff about the character to leave his own mark on it. Also, the “You’d better get along or the world will explode!” dynamic is annoying to me.

    On the OTHER hand, if this is what it takes to get Firestorm to be “accessible to fans” (don’t get me started..), then I guess it’s a necessary evil. Most of the characters in BD have been great in the past.

    There is plenty of story potential to reap. I honestly don’t mind broad sweeping changes to characters. Mixing up their status quo, putting them in a new setting, messing with their powers organically–it’s all cool stuff to me, as I hate the stagnant nature in a shared universe like the DCU. However, I hate when it’s done like this. Where they write off previous eras, where it’s done through a retcon, rather than natural storytelling.

    Anyway, another great post! I’ll fan that flame!

  3. Alex says:

    Oh…and turning Ronnie into an immature college kid again. Ugh.

  4. outburst says:

    I like where they’re going with this. One of the things that initially drew me to Firestorm was that bit revealed in one of your interviews. He was young and inexperienced like Spider-Man, but powerful enough to take down Superman and the entire JLA.
    I always thought of him as an A-Lister, who needs A-List struggles, not batlling werewolves or chicks with boomerangs.
    To make him uber-powerful with some interesting restrictions on that power is a good idea.
    Black Lantern’s dude-speak perplexes me too. He sounds like that dumb jock Ronnie from the Brave and the Bold cartoon.
    More than anything though, I’m just glad that my favourite hero is back in the spotlight and that Ronnie and Martin are a part of the story.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Speed Force, Irredeemable Shag. Irredeemable Shag said: Brightest Day # 10 reviewed – Nine pages that change Firestorm forever! #comics […]

  6. Firestormfan89 says:

    Awesome! Totally awesome. BD #10 was rad and your write up, Shag, was so choice. Okay sorry I’ll stop quoting the 80s like Deathstorm is compelled to do. I read on another site earlier that BL Firestorm was easily the coolest looking space zombie and they too were glad he survived when it seems the others did not. Not sure if I agree with that however. Clearly there is something up with Aquaman as well or he wouldn’t be surrounded by dead sea-life so often. Either way I know I will bite my nails to the quick waiting for the next issue of BD. So great to see the nuclear man in the spotlight once more.

  7. Dan says:

    It makes allot more sense when it’s all broken down like this – thanks Shag. Just reading those nine pages makes your head spin a bit!

    So now Firestorm is more powerful than Captain Atom? I like that, having Ronnie and his plus one at the time uber powerful but still upbeat and fun is part of what makes Firestorm click to me.

    Look forward to seeing where this goes!

  8. I’m going to have to come back to this whole post later. For now, this quick comment. While I found the Elemental retcon annoying, I’ll get over it. Much worse was this:

    “When the Professor and Ronnie first met, the Professor was attempting to validate his theories on the existence of The Big Bang. ”

    Errr. No. No, he wasn’t. Categorically.

    The Professor was too busy trying to prove that a “safe” nuclear power plant could be created to even BEGIN to work on theories of the Big Bang. Now, I know that with a fluid timeline, it’s perhaps not viable to keep Stein as “nuclear power plant” guy a mere college student’s lifetime ago. But they need to rewrite the *entire origin* before they just toss us a one-liner like this and expect us to buy it.

    My two cents, anyway.

  9. Jacob Gilbert says:

    We all know Firestorm actually debuted in the late 70’s. I actually had the original series, havng compiled them via back issue acquisitions.

    As for what is happening now? Typical DC. It’s fine if you can improve on what was the original concept—-and it certainly seems to be the case—-but you also run the risk of alienating older fans who’d prefer to keep Firestorm the way he was, and don’t you think DC has already done that, with all the changes applied to the character the last 20-odd years?

  10. Ziggy says:

    Maybe it’s a minor detail, but was this Black Lantern Firestorm (or Deathstorm, as apparently we must call him) using a Black ring? If not, how can he be here?

  11. OK, now that I’ve had more time to work through the whole thing….

    While this probably wasn’t Johns’ intention, I find myself considering the possibility that Stein may be an “unreliable narrator.” Before I be accused of maligning our favorite Professor too far, consider this:

    As I detail in my “Hard Life of Martin Stein” series (particularly part three), when Jason and Stein first met (and at which point Stein was still the Elemental, as he had been for about a decade-and-a-half real time), they reworked the matrix so that a merging of the two of them would be the “ideal” merge, but giving Jason the option of merging with someone else if Stein was unavailable.

    In the very last issue of that Firestorm series, Stein was abducted by Darkseid, and Jason merged with Ghenna to become Firestorm and work towards rescuing Stein. Stein was finally located and rescued (if ambiguously so) in the Countdown series. Stein disappeared after (I might say “during”) that event, and Firestorm remained the combination of Jason and Ghenna all the way through to Blackest Night (which is also when Stein showed up next).

    I posit that it wasn’t so much that the matrix “kicked Stein out” as that Stein wanted out! He had taken untold abuse in recent times, and could hardly be faulted for not wanting to return to a lifestyle that would likely encourage more. So he was probably more than happy to let Jason remain with Ghenna, and fade to the sidelines.

    This will probably never be verified, but I think it makes better sense of the available data that Johns’ current retcon (I still absolutely can’t believe the story that Stein was working on the origins of the universe when Firestorm was originally created. It simply doesn’t ring true).

  12. James says:

    I admit that DC doesn’t quite seem to know just how to use Firestorm, and this has held true since the Fury Of… series ended. There have been a lot of retcons since that time , needless to say (shoot, Ronnie and Jason “just meeting” in BD/end of BN is a big one…weird that a TPB of the time they really first met is coming). I think someone once said that writers want to keep Ronnie eternally young, which would explain the additions of his “college kid” attitude and lack of knowledge (which existed since they tried the Firestorm & Atom partnership).

    Oh well, so long as the end product is entertaining and doesn’t make me want to bang my head into a wall, I’ll live. And Firestorm is receiving a big push as an important character in BD, so that’s good too.

    Unrelated question…in Fury of Firestorm, there was a fast food hangout referred to a few times….it started as “Bun ‘n’ Run” but became known as “Bun ‘n’ Bun” thereafter. Was the a real BnR that threatened to sue, hence the name change?

  13. James says:

    What I mean, by the way, is that whenever Firestorm is brought back in a significant capacity, they seem to change at least some of the directions with him and forget others.

    Anyway, I am surprised at the support the Fire Elemental era gets. Maybe they weren’t awful stories, but I still hold some of the same things those who did not like F.E. Firestorm didn’t; i.e. that it was a ploy to make the book darker and edgier, and, ironically, the retcons therein (with some of the comments about Stein recreating the Big Bang at Hudson Power Plant, I wonder how “it wasn’t a random accident, they released the matrix of a fire elemental that was supposed to be Martin Stein all along” went over?)

    Personally, my favorite attempt at a more serious Firestorm would be the Ostrander Raymond/Stein issues (which were needed, I mean, some of the issues before that era…Trash? Proto Killer Croc?), and maybe the Blank Slate era, which I imagined just being like the F.E. era, i.e. a colder Firestorm and only Firestorm, except he looked like Firestorm Classic. But instead we still had the human parts of Ronnie and Mikhail there, and it was a nice twist having the two components of Firestorm both in the Stein position trying to tell a seemingly independent FS what to do.

  14. I started a topic on a ADMITTEDLY out there idea concerning Firestorms role in Brightest day. Here’s the link…

    Also, how do I find you on facebook? Either personally or a group or fan page for this blog? Or just an email address?


  15. Shag says:

    Cage – Thanks for the comment and the link.

    You can follow FIRESTORM FAN through Facebook using Networked Blogs:

    My e-mail address is in the right-hand blogroll, and it appears you found me on Facebook already.

    Thanks for stopping by! Always nice to meet another Firestorm Fan!

  16. Shag says:

    My thanks to everyone for the fantastic comments! Y’all bring up some excellent points, many of which I agree with. Brightest Day #10 still has me scratching my head. I still don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. It does leave a bunch of questions about the future and some thoughts to ponder for the retcon consequences.

    Thanks again!

  17. […] I find it somewhat ironic that Firestorm is being connected with the elemental force of fire, especially given the comments made about the Elemental Firestorm in Brightest Day #10. […]

  18. […] the Professor dropped some real bombshells on Jason and Ronnie.  You can read all about it by clicking here, but I’ll do my best to quickly sum it up.   The Professor explained the Firestorm Matrix […]

  19. Firestormprimex says:

    Some nice ideas there, but I still hold onto my theory (based on the Ronnie/Stein series run) that the Firestorm power is a metahuman power that Ronnie would’ve developed because he has a metagene. The accident that caused them to become Firestorm was supposed to turn Stein into the new fire elemental. The matrix could be the energy that creates elementals, but while be merged with Ronnie it could’ve copied his powers so that now anyone who gets the matrix gets Firestorm’s powers as well. This way you can have 2 different Firestorms running around. I do like the idea of Jason and Ronnie being one Firestorm (or even separate ones) whose appearance changes depending on who initiated the merger. I do not however like the idea that they still have Ronnie as an alcoholic party animal who is totally clueless about anything, when it was well established that his intelligence had increased greatly as a result of being merged with Stein for so long (there was an issue where his physics teacher thought he was cheating because he suddenly started getting straight A’s on his tests). As far as the BL Firestorm is concerned, if he needs a ring to exist then don’t use him, there is someone else who could fit the bill nicely, a forgotten villain by the name of Shadowstorm who represents the worst of Firestorm and who’s great joy is to torment Firestorm (and Captain Atom as well).

    Just some ideas :)

  20. […]  This hearkens back to Geoff Johns’ Brightest Day where he introduced the concept that Firestorm is powered by THE spark that triggered The Big Bang, the creation of the universe. Click the image to […]

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