This week, the New 52 title Fury of Firestorm gets a brand new creative team, adding a slew of new characters and showcasing Ethan Van Sciver's first interior artwork in years.
"There are some surprises coming," said Joe Harris, who takes over as co-writer with Ethan Van Sciver as of this week's Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #7. "We really wanted to make some noise and do some big stuff in this first issue — things that are both shocking and also propel the story forward.
"We're having so much fun on the title now," Harris added. "We've got a real investment as a creative team to bring this thing to a new level."
Van Sciver, who is drawing interiors on issues #7 and #8, is also working with regular series artist Yildiray Cinar to develop different looks for all the Firestorms from different countries. As readers of the series have discovered, nations that possess nuclear weapons in the real world have a sanctioned Firestorm in the DCU.
"The 'wealth,' so to speak, has actually been shared with a lot of different countries," Harris said. "You'll meet all these international Firestorms, who each have their own agenda. Some of them are allies, some are not."In this week's issue, readers will get to know Pozhar, the Firestorm from Russia. Firestorms from several countries will show up in coming issues, including a female Firestorm from India named Rakshasa, who will be introduced in issue #10.
"Pozhar has his own agenda," Harris said. "And we'll also meet the official Firestorm of Great Britain and France, and my God, wait until you see what we've created along with Yildiray for India's official Firestorm. She's got a killer concept and design.
"The designs begin with Ethan and I discussing the concept, deciding what is unique about each of these characters and their country of origin," Harris said. "We give those ideas to Yildiray, and his design skills have been spectacular. As we roll out more and more of these international characters, I think people are really going to be blown away with where we're taking the core concept, how we're customizing it to each and every character that's associated with it."
"I think readers from the countries that are going to get a Firestorm will be proud of their characters," Van Sciver said. "I think India has a burgeoning comic book industry, and I think they would love to see their Firestorm. I want to see Adam Hughes do a cover with India's Firestorm.""They all have variations on the concepts, the costumes, powers, the way that they manifest the powers and use them — as well as what they might not know yet, in terms of the evolution of these powers and what they lead to," Harris said.
But the writers told Newsarama that the story will still center on building the characters of Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch as they interact with the new characters and learn more about their powers.
"We're going to send Jason and Ronnie out into the world separately — a world that is much more dangerous and dark than any of them could have ever imagined," Harris said. "Ronnie and Jason will be gradually trying to get back together as forces are pulling them further apart.
"We'll be showing what's so messed up about the Firestorm universe that they've been born into, and get to the bottom of an ever-revolving threat and a growing danger," Harris said. "Neither one of them is going to emerge unscarred.""I'm looking forward to people seeing the relationship that we're going to develop between Ronnie and Pozhar, the Russian Firestorm, which begins in issue #7," Van Sciver added. "And I'm looking forward to seeing Jason realize his potential. We've got Jason going down a road that people might not be expecting. There's going to be a big surprise. And I can't wait to see the pieces of that start to fall in place, as they will this year."
Harris said that Ronnie, Jason and the other Firestorms will start to discover "what being infused with nuclear forces might eventually empower anyone to do, having the properties of a star enmeshed in your physiology."
"If you learn to master that, what comes next?" Harris said. "I think there's an ever-evolving thing going on here, and we have some big plans for all of them.
At the end of #6, readers met a rogue group that apparently has some version of the Firestorm Protocols. "They're out to make mass destruction-type mischief," Harris said. "So you're going to see this threat get bigger and bigger and bigger. And a lot of the people who have met in this drama are all sort of circling around the same thing, and that is the further realization of this power.Exclusive
Firestorm #8 Page"Once we get into what it is they're dealing with, the true nature of what the Firestorm Protocols are, what the connection and the dream of Professor Martin Stein really is and how it plugs into all of this, I'd like to think that by the time we reach a resolution to this current arc, it's just going to open us up into the next one and a much bigger threat than you might even see coming," Harris said.
The comic will cross over with Justice League International in issue #9, as the threat of the Firestorm Protocols is noticed on a larger scale. "You're going to see the world become more aware that these characters exist," Harris said. ""The DCU will start becoming aware that this Firestorm power is out there, and it's not confined to just one character in the DCU, or one country."
Van Sciver, who was previously co-writing Firestorm with Gail Simone, said he thinks Harris brings a lot of knowledge of geopolitical concepts to the title, so it will explore those elements further while also concentrating on character."Joe brings this huge, gigantic understanding of geopolitics and also just a sense of wonder and imagination," Van Sciver said. "Under Joe, the book has become what I've always hoped it would be — an enormous analogy for nuclear proliferation in our time, modernized, sleeked up, sexy and an awful lot of fun."
Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #7 represents the first time Van Sciver has released interior artwork for a comic since 2010.
"I felt like I was retired. I haven't drawn a comic since Flash Rebirth #6. It's been a long time since I did the interiors for a comic book," Van Sciver said. "I got the script for issue #7, which was written for Yildiray, and I said, 'I want that!' I thought DC was going to tell me no, because I hadn't drawn a book in so long, and maybe I'd forgotten how. But they were very excited, so I kind of revved up my engine and I feel so great right now. I'm having so much fun drawing comics again. I feel like I'm 19, and I'm most assuredly not 19."Harris said he hopes readers will pick up issue #7 and give the new creative team a chance, because he and Van Sciver have a lot of big plans for 2012.
"We've got a lot of big ideas for adventure wrapped in geopolitics on a really big scale, as well as some widescreen science fiction concepts that spring out of these powers and the idea of there being these nuclear men in the DCU," Harris added. "Issue by issue, our plan is to keep building that."
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