Although it's had a somewhat tumultuous road since its New 52 rebirth 13 issues ago, DC Comics' "The Fury of Firestorm" continues this month under the guidance of a new handler following the exit of Joe Harris and Ethan Van Sciver as the book's guiding force. "Justice League International" writer Dan Jurgens enters the world of Firestorm following September's zero issue, and the veteran creator plans to take the book in an entirely new direction.
When "The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men" debuted as a part of DC's New 52, Gail Simone and Van Sciver introduced Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch to the freshly rebooted DCU. The two became two separate Firestorms with the ability to combine as a giant-sized and even more powerful (and angry) version of the classic hero.
Following Simone's exit from the book, Joe Harris arrived, bringing a number of new ideas to the table including the introduction of International Firestorms. While Jurgens was coy about the specific fates of all of these concepts moving forward, he did note a specific direction the title would shift toward during his run.
"Some of that was revealed in Firestorm #0. But, in short, it's safe to say the title read 'The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man' as opposed to 'Nuclear MEN,'" Jurgens told CBR. "In truth, by now, people know that Firestorm has been reduced to one character, comprised from a combination of Ronnie and Jason. I've often said the path to success can be found in a character's original framework, and that's what I'm trying to do here."
Although Jurgens is the third writer to take on these characters as they exist in the New 52, he's not worried about taking up the gauntlet -- partially because of the nature of the DC reboot and partially due to the basic concept of Firestorm.
"As a character, Firestorm is a very clean creation," he said. "By that, I mean that he's unencumbered with years of barnacles and rust that you want to scrape off. He's a good, strong character with a good supporting cast and interesting power. There's a lot to work with. On top of that, the 13 issues that have been published to date represent his entire history in the New DCU. We don't have to go back five years and guess about what's there and what isn't. What you've seen is what you've got, and that makes for an easier starting point.
"In terms of a challenge, the idea is to hone in on Jason and Ronnie. Readers have to care about them before they care about Firestorm."
As part of Jurgens' focusing more on Jason, Ronnie and their complicated relationship, the writer plans to put the brakes on them being able to individually use the powers of Firestorm, shifting back toward a model that's more representative of the character pre-"Flashpoint."
"Prior to this, they were able to form into their own, individual Firestorms," Jurgens said. "Now it's about the fact that they have to combine to form one Firestorm. That's bound to create some sense of conflict, while also serving to bond them."
In fact, a back-to-basics approach is really what Jurgens is going for during his run and he hopes to bring Firestorm back to what he represented when the character first appeared in the pages of DC Comics.
"I'm not looking to change what the previous teams as much as I'm looking to recapture the basic feeling and elements that made Firestorm work in the first place," he said. "There was a time when Firestorm was one of the strongest characters and strongest sellers in the DCU. He represented a certain youthful breath of fresh air in the DCU and I want to bring that back. He's a fun character who tends to have fun, wild stories. That feeling has to be on the page and get across to the reader."
Not only is Jurgens writing "The Fury of Firestorm," he's taking over as ongoing artist as well, a one-two creative punch he's well-versed in applying, though never before with this particular character's adventures.
"I hadn't really ever drawn Firestorm before, but really came to enjoy it in short order," Jurgens said of his experience thus far. "Sometimes it takes a book or two to find your sense of visual 'language' for a character but I had Firestorm's right from the start. That gets an artist to the step of making a character 'his' much, much faster."
Jurgens comes to "The Fury of Firestorm" fresh off of a stint on the recently-cancelled "Justice League International" and a brief run teaming with Keith Giffen on "Superman," a gig Jurgens noted simply didn't work out.
"It was one of those situations where everyone had the best of intentions, but didn't work the way anyone envisioned," he said of his time on "Superman." "It happens."
As for the future of "Justice League International," Jurgens says he's still got some tricks up his sleeve for the team should the opportunity arise. "[There's] nothing specific we can talk about right now," he said. "Aaron Lopresti and I had a ball doing the book, however, and certainly had ideas we wanted to go forward with."
For now, Jurgens is knee-deep in Firestorm, and he's got plans to further link the hero to the greater DCU. Coming soon after his debut issue, Firestorm will join forces with another nuclear-inspired hero -- Captain Atom, which the creator noted was a good match for the title.
"Not only do they have similar powers, they are both more powerful than most people probably assume. It's a natural!" he said. "We want to make every effort to make [Firestorm] a stronger part of the DCU. That's going to come with more contact."
"The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men" #13 by Dan Jurgens hits stores October 24.