Firestorm Fan Rotating Header Image

Ronnie Raymond & Ray Palmer: The Firestorm That Could Have Been

I love this image of Ronnie Raymond as Firestorm with Ray Palmer as the Atom! This comes from JLA #69 (Oct. 2002) by Yvel Guichet and Mark Propst.

 Ronnie Raymond as Firestorm with Ray Palmer as the Atom

This art comes from a time when Ronnie was operating solo as Firestorm. Also during this era, Ray Palmer was mentoring Ronnie in science to aid him with his atomic restructuring powers. Given the circumstances, Ray Palmer made a great stand-in for Professor Martin Stein.

I’ve said it before, but just imagine if Ray had joined the Firestorm matrix! While merged, Ray would have brought his scientific know-how and granted Firestorm the ability to shrink. Those adventures would have been atomically cool!!! In the early 2000s, I was convinced this merger was going to happen at any moment. I envisioned Ronnie having the option of becoming Firestorm on his own, or by merging with Ray. That would have provided lots of storytelling opportunities for Ronnie and Ray to team-up or operate independently. Given that neither character could support a series of their own at that time, it seems logical that together they might have attracted enough readers and revitalized the characters. I still think this would have been a great idea…

For a little more on Ronnie and Ray during this era, check out these posts:

Finally, if you’re a fan of The Atom be sure to check out the Power of the Atom blog run by our good buddy Diabolu Frank! It’s a fun site dedicated to The Atom and Captain Atom!

Support Firestorm (and Ray Palmer)! Fan the flame!

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. DrNobody says:

    Honestly, for Ray, I would just be happy to see Geoff Johns do a treatment for the character… I guess Ryan Choi could tag along too (since DC appears to love the character again)…. It just seems Geoff has a way of taking heroes that are lagging in sales or have always had trouble (like Aquaman (aside from Peter David’s run)) and he some how makes them hits!!

  2. Frank says:

    I tried to reply to this on the first posting day, but my crappy antivirus software ate it. So I’ll try again…

    Firestorm is a tough character to partner up with, and the Atom kind of works in that respect. I think Ray joining the Firestorm Matrix might be a cool trick as a one-off event in a team book, but I don’t feel like it would hold interest in a long form team-up. It’s like when shrinking heroes ride on a fired arrow toward a target. The first time Hawkeye and Ant Man did it, or that one time Connor Hawke fired Atom at Darkseid– very cool. If the same thing occurred within six months, folks would forget the first cool event and just groan from the repetition.

    I do wish, especially in light of the New 52 First Wave cancellation, that DC tried more combo titles. That said, The Atom & Hawkman died pretty quick, and the only example I can think of that really panned out was Power Man & Iron Fist. Christopher Priest once proposed combining Steel with Guy Gardner: Warrior, which would have been awesome, but DC didn’t bite.

    What I think DC really needs, and has for decades, is a second Justice League type team for popular, compatible former members. They keep trying to do that with JLI, but they work best funny and under Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire. I mean mainstays like the Atom and Firestorm, who can hold up to creative team changes and engage in more straightforwards heroics.

    Finally, when I look at how Geoff Johns has handled Aquaman especially, it makes me wish that he’d worked on the Atom instead of farming him out to Jeff Lemire. Unlike Captain Marvel, you can go dark and violent with Ray Palmer, preferably aided by Gary Frank. Unfortunately, that’s not how things shook out, and now it looks like we’ll have an All-New, Y-Chromosomeless Atom in “Trinity War.”

  3. Keith Samra says:

    I remember this… This was during the Obsidian Age storyline in JLA. I remember I really want these guys to join the then existing JLA team… But Joe Kelly had other plans…

  4. Shag says:

    Thanks for the comments!

    @DrNobody – I gotta assume someone will take up Ray Palmer sooner or later in the New 52. His character has lots of potential. It just needs a good writer.

    @Frank – Combo titles? BLACK & BLUE, Frank! Get on board! :) In all seriousness, I was envisioning Ray and Ronnie being merged quite often. The going solo adventures of the Atom would be the more rare occurrences. Either way, this whole thing is the pipe-dream of one deranged fanboy.

    @Keith – If memory serves, during Joe Kelly’s JLA run, Ronnie was caught talking to himself and even saying “we”. I’ve always wondered if Joe planned to reveal that Ronnie was already merged with someone and we just didn’t know it.

    Thanks again!

  5. Martin Gray says:

    An imaginative idea, sir, but I’m with Frank. A one-off story would have been cool, but long-term? No thanks. Each of these atomic heroes is interesting enough that they shouldn’t have to share the spotlight this way. Team ups yes, but a shared body would be a disservice to them.

    How about Firestorm Team-Up?

Leave a Reply