“The Fury of Firestorm: the Nuclear Man” #13 opens like a brand-new series. Instead of introducing the reader to Firestorm, writer/artist Dan Jurgens establish the whole cast, but starts small with Joanne Raymond, mother of Ronnie Raymond. Ronnie, we soon learn is one-half of the superhero known as Firestorm. Jurgens continues to build the cast up like blocks, giving the reader a great deal of information, but in a natural, classic comic book exposition type of way, having Joanne meet Al Rusch, the father of Jason Rusch, the other half of the titular Nuclear Man.
Classic is key to Jurgens’ handling of Firestorm, the book and the character. Rather than pour information into caption boxes or fill the pages with bodiless narration, Jurgens writes the story centered around the characters. He opens the issue with a relatable conversation between Joanne and Al, ends the issue with a cliffhanger (including a mysterious shadowy figure) and in between gives us everything we need to know about Firestorm while introducing four new threats and paying homage to one of Firestorm’s creators. When we first meet Firestorm, he’s in the middle of a fight and it’s followed by the introduction of Jason and Ronnie.
Jurgens writes and draws Jason, Ronnie and their mutual galpal, Tonya, as real teens. They’re not overly (or stereotypically) obsessed with technology or their cool powers or anything else. They’re teens. The relationships around them shower their lives with drama that gets blown out of proportion, like a teen’s life would. Ronnie’s perspective is different from Jason’s and their personalities match that. Jurgens has found a way for the duo to at least be affable, but not best friends. The art makes Jason and Ronnie look like the teens at Walton Mills High School in Anywhere, U.S.A.
To match Jurgens’ classic page layouts, artwork, pacing and dialog, Hi-Fi brings bright and lively colors to “The Fury of Firestorm: the Nuclear Man” #13. Firestorm’s costume is dynamic and bright, loud red and glaring yellow and the colorist balances that with a wide range of green and purple hues, soaking the book with vividness and excitement. The one place where color falters a bit is in the red and yellow word balloons. These have been a trademark of this title since the relaunch and, for the most part, they remain effective, but occasionally run the risk of getting lost in the action and intense color.
It didn’t take long for Dan Jurgens to come in and make a mark on “The Fury of Firestorm: the Nuclear Man.” As he has done with “Booster Gold,” Jurgens puts his stamp on this book and this character, setting a direction from page one and building around it. Additionally, Jurgens makes this title, albeit in a single issue, the closest thing to an all ages superhero read that the DC Universe has right now. There is one scene that is rather grisly, with a character at S.T.A.R. Labs, but Jurgens shadows the marginal character’s demise heavily enough as to make it nearly tolerable while serving as testament to the viciousness of Firestorm’s new foes. With “The Fury of Firestorm: the Nuclear Man” #13, Jurgens manages to bring back my wandering attention and secure it tightly once more.