Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lessons from John Ostrander in Firestorm 64 & Annual 5

Back in the late eighties I had picked up Firestorm #64 and Annual #5 which completed the ongoing story arc that had been going on even before #64. The story basically follows Firestorm's crusade to rid the U.S. and Soviet Union of nuclear weapons and having been branded as a renegade by the U.S. government for his trouble. That in turn prompted the government to send the Task Force X after him and even to persuade The Justice League to attempt to arrest Firestorm. Now of course the primary reason I was getting the issues was because of the Suicide Squad appearances. And despite the SS, JLA, Firestorm and Firehawk battle royale that took place, the best part about both issues ended up being about how Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stein were coping with what seemed to be the weight of the world on their shoulders. And their time was running out.
You see, on top of the before mentioned problems professor Stein was dying of a brain tumor and didn't have long to live. Which means once he's passed away there would be no more Firestorm since it takes both Ronnie and the Professor to fuse together in order to become Firestorm the "nuclear man". Not only was the story well written but the dialogue was nothing short of emotionally moving! Here's some of the conversation from #64 as Ronnie re-asserts his intentions to his father about ending the nuclear threat between the U.S. and Soviet Union to his family which in turn gives the ailing professor Stein a renewed sense of inspiration for their cause.

Firestorm #64  1987 (John Ostrander)
 I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read the rest of the scene here:
Issue 64 concludes with both the JLA and The Suicide Squad converging on Firestorm and Firehawk in Times Square New York right as Firestorm is about to make a public address.
Firestorm annual #5 opens up with Firestorm battling both teams and manages to make good his escape to the Nevada desert. While there, Ronnie and the professor take time to recuperate and reflect on their career as Firestorm in anticipation of what they believe is about to be a suicide mission.

 Firestorm Annual #5 1987 (John Ostrander)
Here's the rest of the conversation. Also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED reading:
The annual ended in what I would describe as an amazing rebirth coming on the heels of  tragedy. This late 80s Cold War themed story arc touched on a number of moral dilemmas such as balancing power with responsibility and when might be the appropriate circumstances for someone with such power to justify acting outside the law. When it comes to John Ostrander I think Gale Simone put it best "I buy every fricking thing that man writes and you should too".

As some of you know by now Captain Boomerang makes a come back in issue #12 of the Suicide Squad relaunch. The one thing I can say for sure is that is certainly a step in the right direction.  But the real question is does that alone warrant me or any other disappointed fan of the Suicide Squad to giving the relaunch a second look? Kinda hard to say at this moment I feel on one hand that the well has been poisoned already on this title but on the other hand I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm curious to see where things go in light of recent developments. When it hits the stands I'll take a peak at it and we'll see what's what. So I guess there was really something to it when Adam Glass told us to be patient a while back on this blog in the comments section.


  1. That is some beautiful heartwrenching writing. I think a lot of comic book writers should read him and take a cue. Not necessarily to copy, but just to realize that you can write an action packed comic and still relate to your characters as people. And hey! Also relate to the world at large! Amazing.

  2. It does me!
    Yeah!!! Boomerang is back! Like a Boomerang!
    And I'm totaly with Simone! Ostrander writes amazingly and never disapoints.
    Mr. Glass I hope you'll deliver a good story!
    For me (Though I didn't read yet), it's a good step in the right direction!

  3. well said ladies on the Ostrander comments.

  4. I'm going to hit the the comic book store tomorrow, pick up the Squad and some Firestorm back issues.

    Looks like things are lighting up.

    1. welcome back, sorry about the spoilers in my email yesterday if you read it already.