So, quick primer for those not familiar with this guy, this hero is actually made up of two people. Ronnie Raymond is the body/vessel for the Firestorm Matrix. He shares his mindscape with student prodigy Jason Rasch.
Firestorm’s powers consist of flight, the ability to project heated energy blasts, and matter manipulation. That last one makes him potentially one of the most powerful heroes in DC Comics. “Oh hey Superman. Ding! Whoops, your costume is literally made of Kryptonite now. That sucks.” That being said, he cannot manipulate organic matter, so he wouldn’t be able to turn Superman’s hair into Kryptonite or anything like that.
The last power is also where the importance of Jason Rasch’s presence lies. See, the matter manipulation requires a lot of complex calculations on Firestorm’s part. Rasch is a genius, so he is capable of performing all such calculations near-instantaneously. Ronnie Raymond isn’t nearly as smart, but he is far more athletic. This is why he is the body, and Rasch co-pilots Firestorm’s mind with Raymond.
In the New 52, the two of them weren’t particularly acquainted with one another before becoming Firestorm. Raymond was the quarterback on their high school football team, and Rasch was a star student. He also apprenticed Professor Martin Stein. Stein was working on a so-called “God Particle.” He knew it would likely be targeted by less-than-scrupulous organizations, and, when one of such organizations attacked, he gave it to Rasch to hide. He ran into Raymond, and the vial holding the particle broke open, transforming the two of them into Firestorm.
Now, in the New 52, the two of them were initially separate “Firestorms.” Raymond was capable of producing energy blasts, and Rasch was able to manipulate matter. When the two of them touched, they would transform into a hulking being called Fury. It was mindless, rampaging, and hard for the two of them to control.
Later on in the series, they became the aforementioned classical rendition of Firestorm, with Raymond being the body and Rasch being the brains.
I like that second (and more classical) iteration more because it forces an “odd couple” relationship where the two of them have to cooperate to be a proper super hero. They didn’t like each other particularly at first, with the two of them having vastly different personalities. Raymond was the impulsive hothead (I made a pun), and Rasch was the passive, calculating, and nervous intellectual.
This relationship is why I like Firestorm so much. It’s a literal representation of how thought and action are equally important when it comes to making an impact in the world. Action without thought is chaos. Thought without action does nothing. Raymond and Rasch have to synchronize the two to master the power of Firestorm. Their adventures tend to have a quirky science-fiction theme, which I like a lot in comics. I also really like the powers and appearance of Firestorm. It shows the kind of unabashed creativity that makes super hero comics what they are. I also just think it’s all really cool too. Hey, I’m allowed to have my shallower reasons for liking something.
In a newer comic called Legends of Tomorrow, it appears that Stein has replaced Rasch as the mind of Firestorm. We’ll see if that’s permanent or not. I still prefer the Raymond/Rasch combination. I like their chemistry (kind of a pun?) as peers more than the mentor/student relationship of Raymond and Stein. And yes, I know, the Raymond and Stein made up the original Firestorm team, but I like what I like.
So this concludes my entry on my 10th favorite DC Super Hero, Firestorm, the Nuclear Man! Come back tomorrow for my next terrific entry!