Jason was a seventeen-year-old living in Detroit, who wanted nothing more than to escape his home city. He lived with his father, who had turned abusive after he lost his hand in an industrial accident. His mother left his father sometime after the accident, leaving the young Jason with his father. With the loss of a job he needed to fund college, Jason turned to a local thug for money, accepting a job as a courier. It was on that job that he encountered the Firestorm matrix, searching for a new host after Raymond's death. In the aftermath, Jason struggled to cope with his new identity and powers - a struggle that led to the death of the man who'd hired him.
The original Firestorm concept was created by writers Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom. Jason Rusch in paticular was created by Dan Jolley.
A second Firestorm series began in 2004 with a new character, Jason Rusch, in the role. Like his predecessors, Jason had a sense of humor which he often used to hide his insecurities.
Yet another Firestorm title was launched in 2011. Starring both Ronnie and his successor, Jason Rusch, it was one of the new titles launched in the wake of DC's Flashpoint crossover event. The series, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men, was initially written by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver and drawn by Yildiray Cinar. Joe Harris replaced Simone starting in Issue 7, while co-writer Van Sciver also provided the art for Issues 7 and 8 before Yildiray returned. Veteran writer/artist Dan Jurgens took over the series with issue #13 in 2012, until the series' end with issue #20 in 2013.
Eventually, Jason managed to develop a degree of control over his powers. Ronnie Raymond eventually returned within the Firestorm matrix in Firestorm #9, remaining with Jason as part of Firestorm until he appeared to dissipate in Firestorm #13.
Shortly after Jason's eighteenth birthday, a few weeks after Raymond's dissipation, Jason was kidnapped by the new Secret Society of Super Villains for use as a power source in a hidden complex. Freed when the new Secret Six launched a raid on the complex, Jason discovered two important things: he had a fellow prisoner (a mysterious girl named Gehenna), and his imprisonment by the Society had significantly depowered him (Firestorm #17).
Together, Jason and Gehenna escaped the complex. Gehenna disappeared in the aftermath, but telepathically promised Firestorm that she'd see him again. InFirestorm #19, Donna Troy recruited Firestorm - this time comprising Jason and his best friend Mick Wong - for her outer space team to fight the oncoming instability from Infinite Crisis.
After the events of the 2011 "Flashpoint" storyline, as part of The New 52, reality is altered so that Firestorm's personal history is completely restarted. Ronnie is now introduced as a high school senior and the captain of the football team. During a terrorist attack on their school, Ronnie's classmate Jason Rusch produces a vial given to him by Professor Stein, which contains the "God Particle", one of Stein's creations. The God Particle transform both Jason and Ronnie into Firestorm, and the two teens briefly battle each other before accidentally merging into a hulking creature known as the Fury.
They are both considered for recruitment into the Justice League (sharing the identity of Firestorm with Ronnie being the brawn and Jason being the brains) along with several other heroes. They play a large part in the events leading up to the Trinity War, the three-way battle between the Justice League (the original headed by Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman), the Justice League of America (the A.R.G.U.S. sponsored team lead by Steve Trevor, Green Arrow and Amanda Waller), and Justice League Dark (the paranormal team consisting of John Constantine, Zatana and the Phantom Stranger). When Superman is framed for the death of Dr. Light and the League is taken into custody, Amanda Waller has Firestorm experiment on their ability to create certain elements: specifically, the mass production of kryptonite. It turns out that the two are indeed capable of using their powers to create it, but with some difficulty. However, this ultimately becomes moot once the Trinity War leads to the invasion of the Crime Syndicate, who supposedly kill off the Justice League. In fact, the League is trapped inside Firestorm by his Earth-3 counterpart, Deathstorm (a combination of Martin Stein and a corpse he experimented on), with only Batman and Catwoman escaping the initial fracas. The Leagues are presumed dead for a time, but are eventually freed from captivity after the Syndicate is defeated by Batman and Lex Luthor's Injustice League.
Major Story Arcs
In the 2006 miniseries Infinite Crisis it was revealed that Martin Stein, alive in space as the "Elemental Firestorm", had sensed the presence of Jason within the Firestorm Matrix, but was unaware of the final demise of Ronnie Raymond. When Jason, as Firestorm, was gravely wounded in the line of duty, Stein linked with him in a variation of the merge, promising Jason a new Firestorm body to let him return into battle (although Martin had been unable to save Mick) and asking him about the fate of Ronnie.
Accepting Martin's proposal, Jason asked Stein to become the permanent second member of the Firestorm matrix. Sensing his "errors", including Mick's death, were the result of his youth and lack of experience, he sought the experience and maturity of Stein. Martin refused at first, but finally accepted Jason's request, thus ensuring both a new Firestorm body and the reconstruction of human bodies for both Rusch and Martin.
It was revealed in Infinite Crisis that if the Multiverse had survived up to the present, Jason would have been a native of Earth-Eight.
In the 2006-2007 weekly series 52, it is revealed that Firestorm was fused with Cyborg due to malfunctioning Zeta Beam technology. Unmerged after several weeks, Jason, as Firestorm, tried to reform and lead a new Justice League, along with Firehawk, Ambush Bug, Super-Chief, and the Bulleteer. After a failure in handling a time-displacement crisis staged by Skeets, the new League was disbanded in disgrace, adding strain to the already shaky friendship with Lorraine, as Jason still holds her and the rest of Donna's Space Team as responsible for Mick's demise. Finally, during the World War III event versus Black Adam, Jason settled all differences with Lorraine, rekindling their friendship and asking for her powers, necessary to activate Firestorm after the mysterious disappearance of Martin Stein.
"One Year Later"
As the storyline jumped ahead a year (and the series itself was now retitled as Firestorm: The Nuclear Man issue #23 on), Professor Stein has mysteriously vanished, and Jason has been merging with Firehawk to become Firestorm, allowing him to use her powers as well. The two decided to look for Stein together. Stein had been kidnapped and tortured by the Pupil, a former teaching assistant of Martin's. Flanked by the D.O.L.L.I.'s, a group of cyborg soldiers of limited cognitive ability, the Pupil (formerly known as Adrian Burroughs) questioned the nearly dead Stein about the secrets of the universe. Jason and Lorraine, along with the mysterious teleporter Gehenna, freed the captured Stein and restored him to full health. Jason is a college freshman at New York City's Columbus University and seems to have ties with Dani Sharpe, a member of the senior staff at LexCorp.
The Firestorm team of Jason and Firehawk made several appearances across the DCU before the search for Martin Stein ended. This included dealing with the latest OMAC and teaming up with Superman in the "Back in Action" arc in Action Comics. Firehawk later introduced Jason to Pozhar, a Russian superhero who was once a part of the Firestorm matrix; together, the trio take on a newly reborn Tokamak. This series ended with Firestorm: The Nuclear Man issue #35 in April 2007.
Jason Rusch and Martin Stein meet Shilo Norman, and are attacked in succession by Orion of the New Gods and the Female Furies of Apokolips. Shilo informs Stein and Rusch that one quarter of the Life Equation is hidden within the Firestorm Matrix. The others are held by Earth's other three Elementals, (possibly the Red Tornado, Naiad, and Swamp Thing). Darkseid fears that the Life Equation might challenge him and his Anti-Life Equation. Orion wished to keep Professor Stein safe, and the Furies wished to secure the Matrix for Darkseid. With Gehenna as a "hidden partner" in the Matrix, Jason began his search for Stein.
While apprehending Killer Frost in the commission of a heist, Jason is severely wounded by Lex Luthor, the Joker, and Cheetah. While still recovering, he goes to aid the captive members of the Justice League. Upon freeing the members of the League, he joins the battle against the Injustice League. After this victory, Firestorm is drafted into the League by Batman.
During the team's encounter with the planet destroying villain Starbreaker and the black-ops team the Shadow Cabinet, Jason eventually faces Carl Sands, AKA Shadow Thief, the villain who killed Ronnie Raymond and inadvertently caused Jason's transformation into Firestorm. Sands mocks Jason for being an unworthy successor and nearly kills him like he did his predecessor, but Jason rejects the villain's insinuation that he is inferior, and emerges victorious. Jason instead uses his abilities to seal Sands' mouth shut with duct tape, preventing him from utilizing the shadows within his body, thus rendering him powerless. He later assists Icon and the rest of the Justice League in the final battle with Starbreaker.
After this, Jason plays a minor role in the mini-series Justice League: Cry for Justice. A short time later, Firestorm is seen helping search for survivors alongside Animal Man and Starfire after Star City is destroyed by Prometheus.
In the 2009 - 2010 Blackest Night miniseries, Ronnie Raymond is called by a black power ring to join the Black Lantern Corps. In the following issue, his reanimated corpse is shown confronting Barry Allen and Hal Jordan alongside Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man, Sue Dibny, and J'onn J'onzz.He then attacks Jason Rusch (the current Firestorm), and absorbs him into his own version of the Firestorm matrix. Then, using Jason's unique abilities, turns Gehenna into table salt, simultaneously ripping her heart out with a smile. He uses the Firestorm Matrix to absorb Jason's anger over Gehenna's death, providing the Black Lanterns with even more emotional energies. He goes on to attack Barry Allen and co. at the Justice League satellite. Jason then briefly asserts himself, allowing the heroes to escape. Regaining control, Ronnie proceeds to absorb Jason's willpower. Like other Black Lanterns, the undead Firestorm mimics the personality of Ronnie Raymond, often wisecracking and exhibiting other stereotypical teenage behavior. In the final battle against Nekron, Ronnie is restored to life alongside Jason, the two separating from Firestorm. Ronnie is confused, asking Atom where Professor Stein is while Jason is upset with Ronnie killing Gehenna. Ronnie, however, apparently has no memory of doing so.
In the 2010 - 2011 Brightest Day miniseries, Ronnie, still clad in casual clothing from a wild party the night before, arrives at Jason's apartment with Professor Stein and Ray Palmer to attend Gehenna's funeral. Stein and Palmer discuss Ron's return and how he no longer remembers anything since his death at the hands of Shadow Thief. While the two talk about the paperwork needed to have Ronnie's legal status as "dead" reversed, Ron approaches Jason and offers an apology about Gehenna's murder. Jason refuses to accept it, telling Ronnie that he forced him into being an accomplice to the death of his girlfriend, and that he probably doesn't even remember her name. When Ronnie is actually unable to remember Gehenna's name, Jason angrily lashes out and punches him in the face. This causes the two young men to merge into Firestorm, and they begin arguing inside the Matrix while Palmer transforms into his Atom persona in order to help them separate.
Palmer manages to separate Jason and Ronnie, but not before the Firestorm matrix causes a huge explosion, transmuting everything in the Professor's laboratory into table salt. While recovering in the hospital, Stein explains to Ronnie that it seems to be very dangerous to fuse into Firestorm again. Also, it is revealed that Ronnie, after quickly leaving the hospital and being threatened by Jason's father to stay away from Jason, lied to everyone, as he seems to perfectly remember murdering Gehenna as a Black Lantern
Some time after the forceful separation, he lies sleeping in preparation of a party, when a previously heard voice prods him awake - a monstrous construct of Gehenna, made totally of salt, which proceeds to throttle and choke him, taunting him to remember her name; while she is interrupted before killing him, Ronnie is left covered in salt. Not too long after, he is lying, recovering from a massive binge, when Jason again forces the merge to help several construction workers endangered when the girders at the site are transmuted without warning to bubble gum. This time, they again hear the mysterious voice taunting them, and Ronnie accepts he remembers killing Gehenna, and they realize something else is lurking from within the Firestorm Matrix.
As Firestorm, Ronnie and Jason visit Stein in an attempt to find out what is happening to them. Stein reveals to them that the Black Lantern Firestorm still exists in the Firestorm Matrix. Firestorm is then told by the Entity that they must learn from each other and defeat the Black Lantern Firestorm, before he destroys the Entity. Somehow, Jason and Ronnie trade places.
After running a test, Professor Stein reveals the origin of the Firestorm Matrix. Stein believes that during the initial experiment he was able to capture the spark that preceded the Big Bang that created our universe. Thereby making the matrix a trigger for a new big bang, if the boys continue to experience emotional imbalance, they increase the likelihood of triggering a new big bang. After explaining this to the boys, the voice inside them speaks again. Declaring that it is not the matrix, a pair of black hands reaches out from inside Firestorm. Forcibly separating Jason and Ronnie, Black Lantern Firestorm stands between them, separate from both Ronnie and Jason and apparently calling itself "Deathstorm".
Deathstorm reveals its plan to Stein, stating that it intends to create enough emotional instability between Ronnie and Jason that the Matrix will trigger another Big Bang thereby destroying of all life in the universe. In order to help accomplish this goal, Deathstorm absorbs Stein's mind in order to use his knowledge of Ronnie against him; then, to torture Jason, Deathstorm brings his father, Alvin Rusch, to the lab and absorbs him as well. Taking flight Deathstorm beckons Ronnie and Jason (who by now have merged into Firestorm) to follow it. Deathstorm leads them to Silver City, New Mexico and the resting place of the Central Power White Lantern Battery. Deathstorm tries to lift the battery but is unable to until he infects it with black energy, after which he is able to lift it with ease. After he threatens to destroy the White Lantern Battery and therefore prevent Ronnie and Jason to truly live, a voice beckons him not to. The voice, commands him to bring the Central Power White Lantern Battery to the voice as well as an army, at which point Deathstorm brings back the Black Lantern versions of Professor Zoom, Maxwell Lord, Hawk, Jade, Captain Boomerang, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman and Osiris.
Deathstorm and the Black Lanterns teleport to an unknown location, Firestorm, Jason and Ronnie ultimately seek the help from the Justice League. Firestorm arrive at the Hall of Justice asking for help. Firestorm is placed in a containment chamber while the League search for a way to stabilize the energy. However, an internal argument between Ronnie and Jason ignites the spark, apparently resulting in the destruction of the universe. Ronnie and Jason quickly notice, after defeating an hive of Shadow Demons, that the universe was not destroyed as they thought but they were actually transported to the Anti-Matter Universe. There they are contacted by the Entity who reveals to them that since Boston Brand has not yet found the one who will take the Entity's place, it is Firestorm mission to protect the Entity. Meanwhile, Deathstorm and the Black Lanterns are shown on Qward delivering the White Battery to someone.That someone is revealed to be the Anti-Monitor, who seeks to harvest the life energy within the Lantern to grow stronger. Firestorm takes the White Lantern and attempts to fight the Anti-Monitor, but is defeated. Deathstorm then brings Professor Stein out of his Matrix to taunt the two with. Deathstorm then attempts to turn Ronnie to salt, but the Professor takes the brunt of the attack. Angered, Ronnie decides to truly work together with Jason to avenge the Professor. The Entity then declares that Ronnie has accomplished his mission, returning life to him in a burst of white energy that obliterates the Black Lanterns, returns Jason's father to his home, and deposits Firestorm in the Star City forest. Ronnie angrily attempts to make the Entity resurrect the Professor, but is refused. Deadman then arrives, demanding that he be given the White Lantern.
When the "Dark Avatar", made his presence known, Firestorm is part of the Elementals. Ronnie Raymond was then transformed by the Entity to become the element of fire and protect the Star City Forest from the "Dark Avatar" which appears to be the Black Lantern version of the Swamp Thing.The Elementals are then fused with the body of Alec Holland in order for him to be transformed by the Entity into the new Swamp Thing and battle against the Dark Avatar. After the Dark Avatar is defeated, Swamp Thing brought back Firestorm to normal. Afterward, Ronnie and Jason must find a way to contain their Firestorm matrix from the explosion less than ninety days.
Powers and abilities
Jason’s powers stem from the fact that he is bonded to the firestorm matrix allows him to see the past and sometimes future of those once bonded to the matrix. For awhile he had to bond with random people to stabilize the matrix to maintain his powered form but this is no longer the case since he’s been bonded to Ronnie Raymond.
- Density Control: Firestorm has complete control over atoms & molecules. He can change the density of solids, liquids and gases, to as light as hydrogen or as heavy as uranium.
- Eidetic Memory: Also called "Matrix Memory Recall", Firestorm Matrix can access the memories of each and every single being that has ever been fused into the Matrix. New beings are allowed to automatically download surface information.
- Energy Absorption: Wielders of the Firestorm Matrix can absorb massive amounts of energy, as well as absorb many different types of energy. Jason usually absorbs the elements and energies associate with life, and the human body are absorbed. Also solar energy is a possible source of energy that can work as a "emergency battery" when Firestorm is out of power.
- Energy Projection: Firestorm Matrix users can project massive amounts of different energies. Naturally occurring energy projected by Firestorm are "Nuclear Blasts", however he can project a number of different energies at will.
- Enhanced Vision: Also called "Quark Vision", Firestorm Matrix has access to enhanced vision, due to his nuclear nature. Different visions experienced are X-Ray Vision, Microscopic Vision, Thermal Vision and more.
- Flight: Firestorm can soar through the sky at amazing speeds, having been clocked flying at over 600mph, theoretically they can fly much faster as they've reached escape velocity to reach the moon and back more than once.
- Particle Construction: Thoughts tied together to create Firestorm, have one main ability which all other stem from. Their "atomic fusion" or "nuclear nature" stem from nuclear physics tempering with the user's mixture of psychic energies as well as physical properties. Firestorm can break down and reapply subatomic particles, as well as break up the molecular structure of elements, and rearrange them. To do this, Firestorm must know the exact elemental make-up of the object or human. Most Firestorms cannot affect living tissue, but it is possible though very unstable. Jason seems to lack this handicap.
- Phasing: Firestorm can phase through solid objects. This ability only works on Firestorm.
- Psychic Link: Sometimes called "floating heads", elements that embody the Firestorm Matrix, appear mostly as floating heads, to represent their psychic link to the other human being or other element in the Matrix. They can be represented however they'd like but the Matrix defaults them to a disembodied head. Even disconnected an element may have latent psychic traces of the previous user.
- Regeneration: Though a majorly untested power, as well as being as much a reaction from shape-shifting, and a direct result of molecular reconstruction; nonetheless, Firestorm can regenerate large sections of misplaced or destroyed physical properties.
- Self-Sustenance: Firestorm can survive in space unaided, never needs to eat to sustain life, and never truly needs another element to be processed or broken down. Although Firestorm may feel these needs, it is unnecessary.
- Superhuman Durability: Firestorm Matrix possess an increased amount of physical resistance and durability. This makes it possible to survive bullets, stab wounds, as well as the physical damage of exploding constantly.
- Superhuman Strength: Firestorm Matrix possess an increased amount of physical strength and muscle mass. It's possible to tap into this energy, and become large hulking entity, however such strength can be quite destructive to the host if not used sparingly.
- Transformation: Firestorm can transform from their "normal" human forms into Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. However other entities may take whatever form they want; such as, Black Lantern Firestorm and Fury. Furthermore, others can transform their body, or body parts at will, with concentration with an unknown level of restraint.
In Other Media
Batman: Brave and the Bold
Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths