Fury of Firestorm #1A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
There are some comics that are bad. And there are some comics that are bad -- comics that are so completely wretched that they compliment merely incompetent comic books by showing just how truly bad comics can be. The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Men #1 is a thoroughly wretched, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad comic. Not only is it clearly the worst comic of the New 52 (Congrats Judd! Congrats Scott!), but it is one of those horrific comic books that may actually go down in comics history as truly one of the most pathetically bad comics of all time.
Let's start this review by looking at Page 5 of this comic, which contains perhaps one of the laziest panels ever created by a fan favorite artist whose initials aren't Rob Liefeld. Hang on, let me drop this panel below this paragraph.
Remember those kids' games where you had to figure out what was wrong with a picture? Let's play that game with this image:
- There are 10 men on each side of the ball. Football is played with 11 men on the field at one time.
- This is obviously supposed to be a scrimmage but both sides are wearing red uniforms. In a scrimmage one side is always home and the other visitors -– because, duhh, otherwise there's no way of knowing who you have to tackle.
- The two sides are lined up about 4 yards apart from each other. That's a good strategy for defenses to ensure their opponent can get a first down on every possession.
- Only 5 men on the offensive line of scrimmage. As certain rather famous site called Wikipedia points out, the Illegal Formation penalty is called when "Fewer than 7 players line up on the line of scrimmage(NFL/High School)"
- The defensive players are in a formation that makes no sense. A defensive football team will have three or sometimes four down linemen but never, ever five.
- The offense is in a formation that makes absolutely no sense and could never actually happen on a football field.
- There's literally one coach on the sidelines of the football field. Even in these lean economic times, a school would never cut football back that much – it would be dangerous for the kids
Oh sure, you could say that this is just a stupid old comic book and the last thing that a reader might expect is realism in a comic book about a super-hero with a nuclear furnace in his chest. But come on, seven errors in one panel that depicts only the MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE UNITED STATES, a sport for which a simple Google Image Search for the term NFL brings EIGHTY EIGHT MILLION results. Surely Yildiray Cinar could have found one reference image to high school football teams scrimmaging? Surely itcan't be hard.
I'm honestly astonished about the sheer level of laziness that causes a creator not to do a simple little bit of research on Google these days. He's already in front of a computer; even if he's under an insane deadline, it should take about , oh, 0.15 seconds to make sure you illustrate one image of this sport correctly.
Look two panels below this image and you find an equally amazing image. First, look at this image of Tom Brady, generally considered one of the best quarterbacks playing in the NFL these days, passing a football. (by the way, "Tom Brady Passing" brings 699,000 Google Image results):
Notice how Brady's arm is above his head, how his legs are positioned for maximum leverage and his chest is open?
Now look at Ronnie Raymond. Notice how it looks like he's throwing a dart? Notice how he's extremely likely to hurt his arm severely? I'm sure there's good reason the coach says "Hot damn, that Raymond kid can throw a football." The coach was plainly astonished that a talent like Ronnie's could actually get to high school without hurting himself severely. Again, what kind of lazy guy is too busy to take 0.27 seconds to search Google?
But Cinar isn't the only one to deliver a fumble with this book. Gail Simone, a writer who has done some excellent writing in her career, performs like a third-string quarterback playing against the '84 Bears defense. Look at this horrific exchange that she delivers -– horrific not because it was embarrassing, as it was intended to be, but embarrassing because it's so completely contrived and stupid.
Really, Jason, even though 45% of the school is black, there hasn't been one black quarterback in four long years? Oh my god, call out the false equivalency patrol! Damn that football coach for starting Ronnie Raymond as quarterback and trying to win football games (though the way that he passes I'll bet that Ronnie doesn't win many games). Four years means maybe two starting quarterbacks. Two different kids probably were designated starters. Two! This whole argument is completely nonsensical on its face, but that doesn't prevent Jason for being proud of himself and Ronnie for feeling bad for himself:
Hey look at that page full of wacky parallels! Jason has a single dad who has financial problems! Ronnie has a single mom who has financial problems! Jason sits on the left side of the table! Ronnie sits on the right! Jason is proud but feels bad! Ronnie is secretly afraid he's a racist – and an idiot too. Hey kid, why can't you as a high school kid make your own friends? Why are you depending on your mom to help you with that? And who's his buddy Trev who puts his arm around Ronnie on Page 5? Is he not Ronnie's friend? Is Ronnie not paying attention to his life? Is he the world's greatest narcissist?
Around about Page 11, I got the feeling that Cinar just gave up, or maybe he just isn't a native English speaker. Is he maybe from Brazil or somewhere that they don't watch American Football or speak English as a native language? Hmm and in fact, Wikipedia reveals that Cinar is from Turkey, where last time I checked people do indeed not speak English as a native language. So where are the editors? What did editors Rachel Gluckstern and Rickey Purdin do on this book? Didn't they look at this book before it was released?
Yes, go Wikings! Go model vehicle manufacturers! Rah rah rah! Unfortunately, what has Jason's friend so mad isn't the poorly painted sign but something far more absurd: an article in the school paper (they still have school papers?) where Jason calls Ronnie "a surly, spoiled brat who is as confused by his race as he is about his hairstyle." If you've lost count, that's at least the second time that Jason has been an absolute idiot in this comic.
But that's all right, because very soon a group of terrorists break into the high school, which looks like a maximum security prison:
The terrorists kill Ronnie's black non-friend, and we soon out that Jason the Jerk is actually a kind of Billy Batson. On the previous page Jason pulls a nuclear thingamabobber out of his school locker (!) and on the next page, Shazam!
Which somehow manages to transform Ronnie and Jason into red and yellow Firestorm counterparts, but not any of the other people the previous panels.
Oh, and you'll notice it triggers a whole set of nonsensical items. Why is red Firestorm (who we assume is Ronnie, though there's nothing to tell his he's not a terrorist or even Ronnie's black non-friend come back to life –- the coloring is vague and there's nothing in the word balloon to reveal any character) so damn furious? How does he know to shoot fire? Why doesn't the fire burn anyone else? What the hell is the hand in panel four or the different hand in panels 5 and 6? Why can't this comic explain anything?
But you know, none of this really matters because after more stupid fight scenes, the issue wraps up with the first appearance of Fire-Hulk, who the angrier he gets the more nuclear powered he gets. He's got a badass costume, the body of the Hulk and the attitude of Wolverine. Yes, he's Fury, the baddest most awesome superhero ever to make racist comments and throw a football badly. Somehow asshole plus football player equals giant hulking nuclear waste dump.
My god this is a bad comic. It's stupid. It's lazy. It makes no sense, makes no attempt to be real even in its fictional world. Yildiray Cinar makes no attempt to ground this comic in reality by using even the most rudimentary photo reference while Gail Simone makes no attempt to humanize the main characters.
It's a shame, because I've liked Simone's work in the past, but this comic is a complete dog. My only regret is that I'm just too damn tired tonight to make this review funnier. I desperately wanted to spend more time mocking and less time complaining. I apologize to you for that, dear reader.
Jason Sacks has been obsessed with comics for longer than he'd like to remember. He considers himself a student of comics history and loves delving into obscure corners of this crazy artform. Jason has been writing for this site for about seven years and has also been published in a number of fan publications, including the late, lamented Amazing Heroes and The Flash Companion. He lives in north Seattle with his wife and three kids.