Firestorm Fan Rotating Header Image

Futures End, Aquaman backups & Listener Feedback – FIRE & WATER #89

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

The 89th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is now available for your listening pleasure! THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is the official podcast of FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

This episode Shag and Rob discuss DC Comics’ new year-long weekly series, The New 52: Futures End featuring Firestorm. Next we present our second installment in a new reoccurring feature covering backup stories of our favorite heroes! This time we’re covering the Aquaman backup stories from Action Comics #517 & #518 in 1981, by J.M. DeMatteis & Don Heck. Finally, we wrap-up with a healthy dose of YOUR feedback!

You can find the 89th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (58 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Song played during the break, “Making Steam,” by Luke Daab. Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic original closing theme! This episode brought to you in part by!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Here is a page from The New 52: Futures End #1 featuring Ronnie and Jason just after they merged as Firestorm.

Firestorm from The New 52: Futures End #1

Thanks for listening! Support Firestorm and Aquaman! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Ryan Sook’s redesign for Firestorm reminds me of some of the characters from Warren Ellis’ STORMWATCH and later THE AUTHORITY. It is a very cool look, and while I’m partial to the classic/iconic costumes, this is a great alternative costume.

    I hope FUTURES END gives you the epic Firestorm moments you deserve, Shag, but the free issue #0 left me so cold that I won’t be buying this series. Of course, I tune into the Fire & Water Podcast every week so I’ll follow along from a distance.

  2. Green Arrow and Black Canary also had backup stories in ACTION, ADVENTURE, DETECTIVE, and WORLD’S FINEST.

  3. There aren’t enough face-palm memes on the Internet for how Rob pronounces M.O.D.O.K.

    I don’t always check the Tumblr but I try every once in a while. If it’s not too much work, I would enjoy you continue to post covers, Steam Awards, and any other relevant panels or pages you can for that week’s episode.

  4. James says:

    Hey, I have a friend with a store, and she wants to sell several New 52 and etc. TPB’s. And there’s a lot more types of items there too (music, DVDs…)

    Check it out:


    P.S. Shag can you put an “official” plug on the blog?

  5. Rob, Shag is right, it’s MOE-DOCK. Sorry. And don’t forget MO-DAM.

    Future’s End sounds like more of the same for current DC. Depressing actioners with tons of violence. The point of these future stories was usually to do things they wouldn’t dare do in the regular continuity, like kill Green Arrow and have Firestorm partially to blame, etc. But if they’d done this in the actual in-continuity comics, would anyone have blinked? Green Arrow would just come back later, after Firestorm was put through the paces.

    When you guys said Poseidon showed up at Aquaman’s door, I immediately thought of “The Currys of Atlantis” segment on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. I’m not much of a fan of Heck’s work at DC during this period, but I’ve seen his pencils…and they are GORGEOUS. I think he may have suffered from the same thing Curt Swan did: few inkers knew how to treat his art right.

    Cindy is constantly giving me grief on the amount of notes I give her to read for Super Mates. It’s a sickness. You should see Andrew Leyland’s notes over at the Hey Kids, Comics podcast!!! And sorry, even I am not crazy enough to catalog all the Nuclear Sub names!

    Where did that Bob Dylan clip come from? The music in the background was from Power Records…very appropriate!

    Another fun one guys. Luke’s song will now be stuck in my head for a few days…


  6. rob! says:

    When I was a kid, my comic-reading friends always pronounced it Mah-dock, and since I’ve never seen an episode of that cartoon, I guess it just never got corrected.

    That Bob Dylan clip is from his radio show, THEME TIME RADIO HOUR. In between the songs he would do all sorts of little segments about various things. I kinda doubt Bob is actually a comic book fan, though one episode he did drop in a Matt Murdock reference without ever mentioning Daredevil, so maybe I’m wrong!

  7. ^No worries. I’ve been mispronouncing comic names for years (and still do). For years I thought DC’s teen super team was the Teen Ti-TANs, with a huge emphasis on TAN. It was my favorite comic, and I couldn’t even pronounce the title!!!

    The Dylan clip was cool. Did you drop the Power Records Batman theme in the back, or did someone on his show do it?


  8. Anj says:

    Great show guys.

    I bought the first 2 issues of Futures End and was just depressed after reading it. What an awful depressing ultraciolent gratuitous mess. I posted about it on my site. Like you Rob, the scene of Grifter gunning down the suburban family struck me. You could do that scene 1000 different ways. It did not have to be like that.

    It is hard to believe but I bought the Adventure Comics Aquaman run because I loved Plastic Man at the time. Thinking back, that was some book – humor with Plas, Steve Ditko on Starman, and Aquaman. Now THAT’s an anthology.

    Count me among the many who think Don Heck’s art is pretty rough. He did a bunch of Supergirl stories in the Superman Family era and they are sooooo tough to read. Just cringe-inducing.

    Lastly I do peruse the Tumblr site when I tune in. I have Who’s Who. I still have some of the old Firestorm issues. But otherwise, I count on the site to give me the key images from the books you guys are talking about that I don’t have.

    Thanks again for the great show!

  9. rob! says:

    @Chris–The clip is entirely from the show. TTRH was marvelous, and you don’t even need to be a Dylan fan, since it’s just him playing other people’s songs.

    @Anj–Yes thank you! That level of gun violence in a superhero comic just puts me off, outside of PUNISHER or PREACHER, something designed to be that kind of material. It just left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole thing.

  10. Frank says:

    1) Godzilla was really okay. I do like the gender swap of the wife seeing that and the comic geek husband watching kiddie fare. Too bad there’s no such role reversal where a woman director gets $160 million for her second film after a little seen microbudget thriller.

    2) I still haven’t read American Born Chinese, but Rob’s review emboldens me to pre-order Gene Luen Yang’s new book, The Shadow Hero after the thematically related Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology turned out to be such a drag that I never finished it.

    3) I didn’t finish 52 either. Didn’t the omnibus leave out the side-running World War III mini-series? It wasn’t too bad, and rather informs the narrative of the DCU that came out of “Five Years Later.”

    4) Wasn’t The Terminator already “Days of Future Past” without the mutants? And isn’t the Firestorm as battery thing just the role of guys like Captain Atom in Infinite Crisis or the human race in The Matrix? Doesn’t sound like there’s a single original thought going into Futures End, not helped by the presence of Brian Azzarello’s noted antipathy toward and ineptitude with super-heroes.

    5) Rob’s discomfort with the Wildstorm properties echoes past conceptual segregationists when it came to Fawcett, Quality, Charlton and so forth. I’m not opposed to integrating universes into DC if they’re allowed proper stature and can influence one another to create a more diverse yet “shared” universe. What I hate is when Captain Marvel because the dumber, childish Superman and has to jettison everything that made his stories unique to suit DC, or how The Authority takes on a JLA mainstay for the new Stormwatch, but still never seems to interact with the DCU and have their Wildstorminess so diluted as to become flavorless.

    I was listening to an NPR spoken word thing over the weekend where I guy who grew up in Brooklyn with tales of his sisters pocketing razor blades in their cheeks to use on other girls’ faces at school was appalled at what a sissy his son was turning out to be as raised in California. In the end, the guy realizes that his son is sensitive and cares about other people, with a goodness and in a caring environment that he was envious of. Since at least the ’50s, and probably going back to the start of the industrial age, each successive generation has been perceived as more selfish, callous and viscous than the last. I think the millennials have bucked this trend through the combination of hyper-connected, multicultural, and yet singularly insular worlds.

    I’m Generation X, so I grew up with increasing levels of desensitizing grotesque imagery culminating in the full breadth of depravity that is the internet. We didn’t have a Vietnam to either mess us up or ground us in a harsh reality. We love our ultraviolence, divorced as we are from any notions of a brotherhood of man. I am so polluted that it’s nigh impossible to shock me, but I do have taste, so the reign of Dan Didio at DC Comics is to me characterized by attempts to turn the entire line into the Mortal Kombat universe without the artistry to make it relevant or affecting, nor the sickly depths to warrant the attention of my lizard brain. Ten years after Infinite Crisis, probably my firmest point of demarcation from following DC as a universe, the line keeps doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on stuff that drove me away and has not opened the floodgates to the arrival of the next generation of readers as expected. The kids that grew up on manga are now reading idiosyncratic creator-owned work at Image, not editorially mandated pandering to the worst excesses of my aging generation. The top 10 graphic novels for April were Sex Criminals, East of West, Pretty Deadly, the first three volumes of Saga, and the first of Walking Dead. Marvel had two releases in the top ten, a Spider-Man OGN and the first new Guardians of the Galaxy. Syder & Capullo’s Batman, considered the best book of the New 52, came in seventh with Joker: Death of the Family. As I scan down the top fifty graphic novels, I’m amazed at how DC and Marvel are fighting tooth and claw against indie books and other licensed multimedia product. As edgy as they think themselves to be, DC can’t keep up with full frontal nudity and glowing time-stopping sperm flying through the air. In failing to realize that and course correct, instead offering families gunned down by the Fetch of Wildstorm characters or dragging through the gutter the characters graying fanboys want to see elevated, they’re making comic books for no one. “Scottie Lobdell, writing the words of a crossover that no one will read. No one takes heed.”

    Also, when DC unswervingly goes for the darkest, grimmest option, they’re predictable and boring. Not a single scene described from the first issues of Futures End surprised me in the least. I liked What If…? and the Armageddon 2001 annuals because they could go to dark places temporarily and without negative consequence to the greater heroic stories, plus even they could be light at times. Never in the New 52.

    6) I do not like the Sook Firestorm design at all, but I very much like the New 52 Martian Manhunter design, and with tweaks I could get fully on board Wonder Woman’s. I’m not opposed to redesigning characters for modernity or to broaden their appeal. Then I look to Blue Devil, whose draw was largely centered on his unique, bright design and easygoing stories. BD hasn’t appeared in his classic costume in nearly twenty years, and besides suffering especially terrible redesigns, the tone of his stories are consistently wrong for those who gravitated toward him originally. Today, BD is DC’s spare Hellboy rip-off, after Frankenstein. What was the point of all that? Every cheesy mother thinks they’re going to recreate the Daredevil of 1980 without being the Frank Miller of 1980. Know your limitations.

    In the case of Firestorm, here’s a character that was once a bestseller and carried his own title for a hundred issues. And everybody wants to “fix” him, and none of those fixes have ever been bestsellers lasting 100 issues. Here’s an idea– read the stuff that worked and update it. Don’t take your suppositions and prejudices based on “knowledge” gleaned from team books and guest appearances to relaunch a character unsuccessfully who has previously proven marketable. You handicap them with your ignorance and repeated failures.

    Meanwhile, I hear Shag give the Futures End Firestorm narrative the benefit of the doubt, and it sounds like the dupes that were defending the Prequel Trilogy as that was coming out. Will it change Ronnie being a selfish jerk who got another super-hero killed by distracting himself sucking face? It worked for Spider-Man, but that was the start of the hero’s journey, where this sounds like the degeneration of a hero after his journey’s end. Also, creators, are you Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in their prime redefining an entire genre, because if you’re not, results may not be comparable?

    7) You guys vex me sometimes. I understand why Shag would sort of synchronize The Fury of Firestorm numerically with the New 52 Aquaman, but why start covering the back-ups before the original series? Then, Rob starts doing the Aquaman back-ups, of which there are decades worth, and chooses as his jumping on point a continuity heavy story that wraps up elements from a previous “omnibus title,” plus it’s an awful yarn following Shag’s negative reaction to Futures End. Is Dan Didio editing this podcast?

    8) Shag may be the George W. Bush of comic book podcasting pronunciation, but no one in human history had ever uttered that alien onomatopoeia before Rob was corrected on how to say “Mo’ Dock.”

    9) Cavalry Comics
    Ballad of the Bench

    10) It seems to me that Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon on Metamorpho would be a particularly fine candidate for “Zany Haney” podcasting.

    11) Was the new Luke Daab number what Ronnie was listening to across those 45 minutes?

    12) I want somebody to do a podcast (“a,” as in “one episode”) about memories seeing all the Star Wars knock-offs in the theater like I did in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Those are anecdotes I haven’t heard far too many times.

    13) I check the tumblr whenever something visual is heavily referenced on the podcast, most especially nudity. You guys need more nudity references on the podcast. Female nudity.

    14) Dylan’s satellite radio show?

    15) Luke Jaconetti? Can we trust this rogue cop not to create a public relations fiasco? No civil rights questions!

  11. Martin Gray says:

    Great podcast, as ever.

    I abhor how Ronnie was treated in Future’s End #1, there is no way the character from the recent series would act like that. Yeah, he had his stupid moments, he can be a stook, but at heart he’s a hero – if Green Arrow says he needs him, he’ll be there. People don’t change that much without a serious head injury.

    As for the sheer hatred Ronnie seems to feel for Jason, that made me feel terribly uncomfortable.

    And while I took it that Stupid Hanky-Face was killing an entire family of aliens, but only one had a chance to react and show her true colours, I still hate that entire scene; the visual is bad enough, but worse yet is that DC comics believe this is the sort of thing WE want to see. This is how much they respect us.

    And I like Don Heck. Yes, his art wasn’t at its peak in his last years at DC – I believe he was getting assignments in part due to the kindness of some folk in Editorial (can you imagine such compassion today?), which warms my cockles – but boy, it was just beautiful for so many years.

  12. Martin Gray says:

    Just gotten to Luke’ song, that is fantastic. Nice one!

    You know, I’ve read a lot of Aquaman but nowhere near as much as Rob – was it ever addressed as to why Arthur neve had a utility belt filled with mini-spritzers for fighting on land?

    As the back-up feature feature seemed painful for Rob – though I enjoyed it – you could always flush it down the Aquacave bog. Maybe try a feature focussing on random Aquaman stories that you’d not otherwise get to, the Best and the Worst. I’d nominate as outstanding the Sean McLaughlin/Ken Hooper issue in which he fights NKVDemon on the rooftops of New York in the rain. Great stuff, in an underrated run.

  13. Martin Gray says:

    Got to the end of the show and the Bob Dylan comments – I couldn’t actually hear them, the volume and his voice is so low. Any chance of turning the sound up generally? Rob’s super-sexy voice is always tougher to hear than Shag’s.

    Mind, it could be that I couldn’t hear over my sobs … not a single comment of mine was worthy of airing. Waaaaaaah.

  14. Kyle Benning says:

    The creatures or aliens Grifter is killing are Daemonites (Wildstorm baddies) that were the arch enemies of Majestic, the Wildstorm Universe version of Superman. They played a significant role in the Grifter title and showed up briefly during the Dan Jurgens 6 issue run on New 52 Superman (isssues #7-12). I didn’t take it as the girl was the only Demonite, I took it as the whole “family” were Daemonites in disguise, they just only showed the girl to be a Daemonite to make the already jarring scene a little less disturbing. Still a pretty messed up sequence, especially when they don’t really explain that this family he was killing were really evil shape changing aliens trying to infiltrate and take over the world. Just assuming everyone knows that is a big error on their part, and not knowing that could really turn you off from the book (even knowing that, it still seems excessive). Couldn’t they have shown him killing a room full of businessmen or douchey frat boys instead? Really a family and little girl? That was a poor choice and distasteful in my opinion.

    Yeah wow, Ronnie and Firestorm, yikes long fall from the top. Going from Issue #20 of Firestorm to this is jarring? What the hell happened in those 5 years? I’m sure we’ll find out. I am interested in checking out this series, I really am interested to see where Dan Jurgens goes with the book and what has happened to Firestorm in the last 5 years. “After everything I’ve lost!” I’m curious what Ronnie is referring to there? Perhaps his family or serious girlfriend was killed in the last 5 years? Jason saying that Ronnie doesn’t love the chick he’s hooking up with might hold some bigger meaning.

    The sad thing about this, and other recent DC Events, such as Forever Evil, is that they try to portray this possible future as being so dark and grim, but it really is just like another day in the regular ol New 52 DCU and business as usual. The heroes are jerks and don’t get along? Oh my, we’ve been hit with that portrayal since issue #1 of new 52 Justice League. I guess it helps that I am reading almost 0 New 52 Titles right now (just Aquaman and Aquaman & the Others) so this one dark and grim title is the only one I’m reading, so I’m not getting grim and gritty New 52 overload like some others who may be reading other of the more violent New 52 titles.

    I took it as the bartender was Clark Kent, you’ll notice that the package sent to Lois on the last page of issue #2 features a book of matches from the same “Wonded Duck” bar that the Bartender in question is in when the fight between heroes breaks out. But then that begs the question of who is inside the Superman suit at the funeral? That suit is reminiscent of the Eradicator suit that Superman donned in the Batman Beyond book that ran a year or two ago in the “Superman Beyond” stories that ran through that Anthology title. Great series set in the DCAU, really recommend that one to those who haven’t read it.

    I really do like both Firestorm and Aquaman’s costume design in this book. Man is Mr. Terrific a Dbag in this book, I wish Aquaman would have decked him in the face during their little scene. Aquaman is heading up one of the Justice League teams, I just hope it isn’t the Detroit line-up. 😛

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one puzzled by some of the characters on the splash page, perhaps some of them are some more Wildstorm characters and possibly some characters from Milestone? Unfortunately I’m not real familiar with the majority of the characters from those 2 (past) imprints that now are fully included parts of the New 52 DCU.

    Hey I like Don Heck’s art, Superhero artwork isn’t necesarily his strong point, he does have some solid Superhero books, but these certainly aren’t one of them. I think his best stuff was on horror books, he had some good looking Dracula stories in the Giant-Size Dracula books.

    Yeak it’s Mo-Dok or Mow-Dok, just as Shag pronounces it.

    Another great episode guys! Can’t wait to hear what you cover next! I think we’re about due for another Who’s Who!

  15. Martin Gray says:

    Forgot to say, nice idea, Rob, about a few shorter stories with back-ups in Aquaman to give Paul Pelletier a chance to catch up – but why doesn’t he just take an issue off, I’m sure Jeff Parker is at least an issue ahead in his scripts.

  16. Tim Wallace says:

    I worked at a Waldenbooks (later bought out by Rob’s Borders) and LOVED the store policy of taking home books to read! We didn’t stock many graphic novels, so my attention was mostly focused on Doctor Who novels and Bill Amend’s “Foxtrot” collections.

    With “Future’s End” taking place “five years in the future”, and DC having already done “One Year Later”…I can’t help but wonder when we’ll see Max Headroom in the New52…why you ask? That movie (and TV series) took place “20 minutes into the future”

    I can’t believe I didn’t mention this the first time around, but I too enjoyed “Superboy and the Ravers”, so much so I created custom action figures of the team! Now if I can find them, I’ll share the pics on Twitter using the hashtag “FWPodcast” so all of the “Nuclear Subs” can see!

    And Shag….I’m sure you’ve already seen the evidence on Twitter…but I pulled my copy of “The Atlas Of the DC Universe” off the shelf and am ready to follow along with the next Hero Points podcast…don’t leave us hanging!

  17. I’m a bit late to the party, but just got done listening to this episode (my first) yesterday (Just in time to see that #90 is now up, I see).

    All in all, I’m very impressed. Your collective delivery style is far more polished than most fan podcasts I’ve heard lately (I’m familiar with quite a few in the Transformers fandom, but admittedly quite a bit less elsewhere).

    I did have to laugh, however, when the issue of the pronunciation of “Modok” came up. While I agree with the “MOE-dock” pronunciation, one of my pet peeved was being hit consistently throughout the rest of the episode.

    The word “nuclear” is pronounced “NEW-clee-ar”. Not “Noo-cyoo-lar”. “Noo-cyoo-lar” is not, and has never been, a valid pronunciation of this word. (Just look at the letter order)

    “Noo-cyoo-lar” is regionally popular, which is probably why more people probably haven’t mentioned it before now, but it’s definitely a pet peeve of mine. Drives me nuts whenever I hear someone mangle “nuclear” in that way….

    1. Shag says:

      Hi Mark! Great to see you around these parts again. Thanks for giving the FIRE & WATER PODCAST a try. I appreciate the compliments, but I have to say this was one of our more downbeat episodes. We struggled to find joy in the material we were covering. If you’d like to hear a more upbeat episode, check out the latest installment #90 where we discuss some favorite comics and crossovers from the 1980s & 1990s. Also my terrible pronunciation has become a staple of the show. Ironically, the guy who runs the Firestorm blog can’t pronounce the word “Nuclear” to save my life. I’ve tried phonetic sticky notes, word games, and everything else I can think of. I simply suck at pronouncing that word (along with quite a few others). The listeners of the show ridicule me mercilessly, so you’re not alone. Please forgive this Match-head!

Leave a Reply to Mark Baker-Wright