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How Ronnie Joined the JLA – 1980

It’s TEAM WEEK here at FIRESTORM FAN! Since his days of playing high school basketball, Ronnie Raymond has been a team player. Perhaps that is why he’s joined so many superhero teams! This week we’ll be looking at several of the teams he’s joined since becoming Firestorm!

First is how Firestorm joined the Justice League of America! When Firestorm the Nuclear Man was cancelled with issue #5 (Oct.-Nov. 1978), the character was shelved for a while. A year later co-creator Gerry Conway decided to dust off his creation and place him with the JLA. It all started in DC Comics Presents #17 (Jan. 1980) by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Steve Mitchell. Firestorm had retired from the superhero community and was living his life as normal guys Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein. They were pulled out of retirement when Killer Frost escaped and attacked New York. Working together, Superman and Firestorm were able to recapture Killer Frost. Below is the final page from that comic.

DC Comics Presents #17 by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Steve Mitchell

What a stunner of an ending! The story picked up a few months later in Justice League of America #179. Check out this somewhat strange cover below by Jim Starlin. Superman is such a boss!

Justice League of America #179 cover by Jim Starlin

The issue itself was written by Gery Conway with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin. I love this first page below! It cracks me up that the JLA identifies the membership privileges. I guess they feel it’s necessary to set boundaries for the members to ensure nobody steals the ashtrays or something.

Justice League of America #179 by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin

The next few pages below cover Firestorm’s first hours as a JLA member. I love that the JLA is so mired in policy and procedure that Firestorm’s orientation includes a lecture from Batman on the satellite floor plan! Worse, it looks like several other JLA members have to sit through the lecture too! Cracks me up!

Justice League of America #179 by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin

Justice League of America #179 by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin

Justice League of America #179 by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin

A little later, after Firestorm has undoubtedly received a lecture from Green Arrow on how to operate the space toilets, Firestorm is returned to Earth.

Justice League of America #179 by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin

Justice League of America #179 by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin

Pretty cool! Firestorm was a member of the League for nearly five years and appeared in many issues. I believe Firestorm’s membership in the JLA is what cemented his popularity and eventually lead to his own series and appearances in the Super Friends cartoon. Tomorrow we’ll look at the reasons for Firestorm’s departure from the Justice League.

In the spirit of TEAM WEEK, below are links to previous FIRESTORM FAN posts regarding various teams Firestorm has joined:

See you back here tomorrow!

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  1. rob! says:

    I’ve never seen that page from Firestorm #5…really cool! I should add it to my JLA Satellite blog, it’s a bug moment in the team’s history.

  2. Shag says:

    rob! Thanks for the comment! I’ve always liked that scene. And just for clarification, that comes from DC Comics Presents #17.

  3. rob! says:

    Er, that’s what I meant. Criminy, two mistakes in one comment. Sheesh.

  4. outburst says:

    Man, I loved that version of the JLA membership. Seeing the core team membership accentuated with Hawkman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Atom, Red Tornado, Zatanna and Firestorm was just a watershed moment to me that set all kinds of mental synapses firing. That JLA interaction may have been what cemented Firestorm as my favorite character, in fact. I was a kid – he was a kid superhero among established superheroes with immense power and a bright future ahead of him!

    Thanks for posting this.

    Super odd – I used to read Rob’s JLA Satellite blog and I thought it had ended because it started off as a chronological review of issues up until it segued into the JL Detroit era.
    As you know Shag, I’ve been a regular commentor as Outburst on your Firestorm Fan site. I was doing the same on Rob’s JLA Satellite blog almost four years ago (e.g.,

    Such a small world given that you guys are co-producing a podcast now. I’ve just pieced it together now, but I’m delighted to discover that there’s a cool connection between two of my favorite Firestorm-related bloggers.

  5. outburst says:

    Actually, here’s a fairly open-ended Firestorm-related question posed on JLA Satellite that I don’t think was ever answered. Was Satin ever featured in Flamehead’s title? I don’t think so, but Firestorm’s biggest fan might know…

  6. Shag says:

    @outburst – That’s wild about the JLA Satellite blog and Firestorm Fan. You’re the Kevin Bacon of the two blogs. :)

    Satin Satan never appeared again. Probably for the best. Though you might enjoy this post…


  7. Frank says:

    I miss books like DC Comics Presents, where team-ups were more varied and continuity could be tied-up or born. It didn’t necessarily impact on a JLA reader to have missed that issue, but it must have been nice to see the tease fully blossom for Firestorm/DCCP readers.

    I love Jim Starlin, but nothing quite says “the old order changeth” like his awkward, off-model Firestorm trying to mingle with the Silver Agers. Know that Red Tornado totally choked down a robo-objection and binary curse word, knowing that he was made that much more redundant.

    Something that was really lost from the Detroit years onward was the pomp and circumstance surrounding induction. It mattered to join the Justice League, because these guys were a big deal. They were not built to be inclusive, and once everybody and their brother was let in, it lost something special that it has never recovered (despite self-defeating attempts by Morrison and Meltzer.)

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