Fusion & Fresh Starts: The New 52's NEW FURY OF FIRESTORM

Fury of Firestorm #16

DC's Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men is getting a whole new direction in October as Dan Jurgens takes over as writer/artist on the series.

In fact, Jurgens said he's approaching Fury of Firestorm #13 as if it's a first issue.

As readers of the series know, the promise of a "new direction" isn't just hype. Issue #13 really will be a genuine revamp of the approach in the new Fury of Firestorm comic. Although the title originally launched in September 2011 with a wide variety of global characters possessing the nuclear powers of Firestorm, the #12 issue pretty much eliminated the concepts that were being introduced over the first year. They're still part of continuity, mind you, but the book gets a fresh start in October.

Now Jurgens hopes to reinvigorate the franchise by bringing new concepts to the book, leading to his introduction of a "disturbing new force" in the DCU later this year.

Jurgens, who was involved with both the relaunch last year of both Green Arrow and Justice League International, takes over the comic after a shake-up of the creative team during the book's first year. Firestorm launched in September 2011 with the co-writing team of Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver. But Simone left a few months later, citing editorial differences. She was replaced by Joe Harris, but then his co-writer Van Sciver left Firestorm as well.

Fury of Firestorm #13

With Jurgens starting his run on Fury of Firestorm with the next issue, Newsarama talked to the writer/artist to find out more about his plans to reinvigorate the book.

Newsarama: Dan, how did the opportunity to write Fury of Firestorm come about, and what did you think of the challenge of talking over this book for its second year?

Dan Jurgens: Mike Marts first floated the concept my way and we just started kicking ideas around. I started chatting with the book's editor, Rachel Gluckstern, and quickly realized we all wanted to go in the same direction. Once that was determined, it was easy to jump on board.

Nrama: What the overall tone you're hoping to bring to the book? How would you describe it in general terms for potential new readers?

Jurgens: I certainly hope new readers are part of the equation. As much as possible, I'm positioning issue #13 as a first issue, opening up a new chapter for the main characters.

In terms of tone, Firestorm should be a fun book. I've always felt that you can often find the keys to a character's success in the first 15-20 issues of his original appearances. It's no different for Firestorm.

The book should have a sense of fun and bounce to it, all mixed within the context of big, expansive, adventurous ideas.

Nrama: What are your specific goals for the book as you begin your run? What do you think your first few issues need to do as you take over?

Jurgens: My specific goals are to reintroduce the main characters of Jason and Ronnie. They're the core of who Firestorm is.

It's important to ask the question, "How is Firestorm different from other characters? What makes a Firestorm story different from a Batman or Superman story?"

For Firestorm, the answer is that he's the culmination of two high school kids in one body. That's what makes him unique, especially when combined with such a tremendous level of power.

So, how do those kids relate? How do they combine to form one character? What are the problems that result from that? What are the rewards? And, why would they want to be a hero?

Fury of Firestorm #14

That has to be the core of the book.

Nrama: Can you tell us anything about the status of Jason and Ronnie as Firestorm? Will they still be separate Firestorms, or do they combine to form Firestorm? And is Fury part of the book anymore?

Jurgens: Clearest thing I can say is that all that will be revealed in #13. It'll be clear from the start.

Nrama: Will Professor Stein be part of the comic at all? Or is he truly dead?

Jurgens: Professor Stein is dead.

I know that to be true because I saw it in a comic book.

Nrama: As the first year's storyline ended, the all of the world's countries with nuclear capabilities had a Firestorm. Now that they appear to have been taken away, what will they think of two Americas — Jason and Ronnie — being the only Firestorms? How will that play into the book?

Jurgens: I'm approaching this as though the world, at large, is perplexed by the Firestorm problem. Multiple characters with that power have been identified, some good, some the opposite. No one knows for sure what happened. Are they all alive? Some dead? All dead? If there's only one left, did he kill the rest?

This will form an important part of the book's atmosphere.

Nrama: The comic has also established that it's possible to possess Firestorm technology, and that some terrorists already do. Will that problem be part of the book going forward?

Jurgens: Not in the immediate sense.

Nrama: Issue #14's solicitation indicated that school will play a role in the lives of Jason and Ronnie, and the cover makes it clear they aren't getting along that well. What can you tell us about their lives now and the personal conflicts that arise as a result?

Jurgens: School will play a role in their lives just as school plays a role in the life of any 16-year-old kid.

On top of that, Ronnie and Jason weren't exactly best friends. So, for them, this is all about learning how to get along and co-exist, which is what many 16-year-olds struggle with.

Nrama: What are you hoping to do with Firestorm's villains as you take over the book? And can you tell us anything about their upcoming confrontations about DataXen and Black Trident?

Jurgens: I hope to do a mix of both old and new villains. Firestorm actually has some pretty cool villains in his gallery, and I look forward to seeing what we can revitalize there.

Fury of Firestorm #15

At the same time, we're part of the "New 52" and getting some new faces will help that as well. DataXen is exactly that — a data and intelligence gatherer, who's trying to break down and answer some of the same Firestorm questions you've asked.

Nrama: How will Captain Atom get involved? What's it like writing him, and are you hoping he'll be part of the book going forward?

Jurgens: Captain Atom will become involved through a connection with the villains you just asked about. There will actually be a connection there, which will lead to an inevitable collision.

Nrama: What's the biggest challenge of this character going forward? And what is the best thing about Firestorm that helps you overcome that challenge as you continue the series?

Jurgens: The biggest challenge is getting people to pick up a copy of #13 and give it a try.

But it's the character himself that is the best asset. Firestorm is a tremendously clean character in that we've seen all his adventures as they exist in this timeline. The slate is clean.

In addition, he's a tremendously well-conceived character. My hat is off to Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom for having done such a fine job.

Nrama: What's it been like drawing the character? What do you hope to bring to the art on Fury of Firestorm?

Jurgens: I love drawing Firestorm! He has great visual appeal and a unique look. It's very easy to add some sense of drama and power to the character. On top of that, because he's fun, there's an opportunity to have that personality come across visually.

It's the kind of thing that's right in my wheelhouse.

Nrama: The solicitation for issue #15 says there's a "shocking conclusion" that give the first hints of a "disturbing new force" in the DCU. Can you reveal anything about that? Is this part of a larger story in the DCU, or are you adding something to the Firestorm mythos?

Jurgens: Can I? Yes.

Will I?

No! Sorry, but we're taking this one in a direction that we don't want to reveal yet.

But, yeah, it's big.

Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about Fury of Firestorm?

Jurgens: Pick up a copy of #13 and give it a try. Every now and then it's possible to clean off the shelf, rearrange things, throw out whatever doesn't belong and make things better. Editors Rachel Gluckstern and Rickey Purdin, along with inker Ray McCarthy, colorist Brian Miller and I are working real hard to do exactly that. We're going in a fun, strong direction that fits the character well.

Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!

Twitter activity