Firestorm: The Nuclear Man -- Reborn (Anglais) Broché – 28 février 2007
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What really threatens to clutter things up here is the inclusion of Firehawk--a superhero in her own right--as the "other half" of the composite being known as Firestorm; Jason Rusch is the Firestorm main-man, if you will--the brave youth who can link with another human being to transform into our title character, in all his orange and yellow glory. I find that Firestorm: Reborn is just a tad too hectic, with Firehawk sometimes fighting as her own self, and sometimes being absorbed into the Firestorm entity--in a weird way it sometimes makes Firestorm himself seem like a really powerful fifth wheel, or more likely, makes Firehawk seem inadequate ("see how you do by yourself, Firehawk, cuz I'm too tuckered out, but if you're losing again, we'll transform into Firestorm"). It's a very weird dynamic, and, not to spoil things, but I'm glad that part of the aim of this fun tale is to bring the Jason Rusch/Firehawk merger to a conclusion. It means that the creative team knows this should get resolved, if only for Firehawk's benefit, and move on. This decision makes the story better, and it also helps that the characters themselves--including Jason's girlfriend, Gehenna, who also has super-powers, and wants to further complicate things by joining in the battles--are frustrated by all the hectic transforming, merging, quick travelling, and fitting in of regular lives (school or a job, though there's not much room for that here).
Meanwhile, I love cold-based villains, and in Firestorm: Reborn I get two for the price of one, brrrrrrrrrr. Killer Frost and Mr. Freeze. That said, Freeze is not very impressive here, with barely any dialogue as he assists in helping Frost turn Firestorm into a human rocket, so she can make a quick trip to the Sun, where she can increase her power and destroy said Sun at the same time, how chillingly efficient. Mr. Freeze parked back on Earth means we get a Batman cameo, but no Batman/Mr. Freeze fight of any note (it seems that, more and more, Batman's fights can be rushed through in one splash page--see Batman: Face The Face--or simply skipped altogether for time restrictions, like here or in Broken City with Killer Croc, but this trend is causing certain formerly major foes to look rather useless these days; let's hope this doesn't become an epidemic), but I realize that the Dark Knight appearance wasn't about a brawl, but about a stern lecture to a greenhorn Firestorm.
Anyway, the Killer Frost/Mr. Freeze episode, as entertaining as it is, merely intrudes on Firestorm's search for Professor Martin Stein--teacher, friend, and one of the original Firestorm components. This search leads to a dangerous encounter with an interesting new villain called The Pupil, who combines acquiring knowledge with sadism. Unfortunately, he and his lethal robots have got Martin Stein, and a Firestorm drained of energy from fighting to keep the Sun up in the sky is not the ideal saviour.
I think certain things that should be visually weird are given simple treatment in Firestorm--disembodied heads, or folks standing around in their work clothes, once they have transformed into Firestorm and their essences reside in the somewhat dull looking little spot that is their Matrix niche--but then, psychedelic incomprehensibility and quantum particle vs. wave trippiness done visually might make the book just too complicated for its own good; sure, let the art stay somewhat grounded in recognizable reality, I guess, no matter how much atomic-level mucking-about combined with technobabble explanations are leaking from this book.
For all my nitpicking, this was a satisfying re-introduction to an old favourite of mine, though Firestorm is always a bit complicated, isn't he?
The art has character and you can actually distinguish who is who with the art, while in other books, that is a hard thing to do. The redesign of the Firestrom character is seen not only in the writing of the character but in the art with the drawing & color which gives a unique look to this character who has been around for decades.
Good book. Good read. Well worth your time and money!