Firestorm stands in the Nevada desert after the nuclear attack by the U.S. military. Somehow he has survived but he appears different now, changed in some way. Conventional military forces - tanks, fighter jets, attack helicopters, and ground troops - storm the battlefield and attack Firestorm. The attack is called off after Firestorm saves a fighter pilot from certain doom. General Weymouth, in charge of US forces in Nevada, relays an offer from President Reagan to Firestorm: Stand down and the President will seek full nuclear disarmament with the Soviet Union.
Firestorm floats over the Nevada desert in the aftermath of an explosive nuclear cataclysm. Fire surrounds his body and the earth below him. Nearby, reporters and soldiers peer through the swirling sand to get a glimpse of him.
“…He survived..!” cries Ed Raymond in relieved disbelief. He and Felicity sit in their New York City apartment watching news coverage.
In the concrete blockhouse in the desert, General Weymouth updates his commander on the status of their nuclear attack against Firestorm and Pozhar. “He and the Russian guy, Pozhar, were fighting. The Russian’s suit ruptured. Everything started burning…We couldn’t see what was happening,” Weymouth explains. “Yessir. That’s when the decision was made to go with the bomb. Yessir, it detonated. He’s survived. He absorbed the whole blast - - just shut it down and took it into himself.”
Weymouth listens as he rubs his forehead, then turns to look through a periscope at Firestorm. “Yessir. The blast. The radiation. The electromagnetic pulse. All of it. He ate it. Now he’s just standing there looking at us,” Weymouth continues. “Nossir, there’s no sign of the Russian. Just Firestorm. He looks different, though, somehow.” He pauses as he listens to instructions. “Sir, may I ask what good conventional forces are supposed to do, if an A-blast didn’t stop him?” he asks. “I take it that’s a direct order, sir? Very well. I’ll deploy the forces, sir.”
Weymouth folds a fist in frustration and hangs up the phone. He nods at nearby communications specialists who begin issuing deployment orders.
Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Dozens of tanks begin rolling over the desert. Vrrrrr! Vrrrrr! Jeeps with rear-mounted guns follow the tanks closely. Behind them, hundreds of troops march out into the desert. Up ahead, Firestorm hovers just above the ground on a huge dome-shaped pillar of fire. He stares down at the approaching ground forces.
In the lead tank, the group commander looks out of his turret hatch at Firestorm. The tanks move into position near Firestorm and stop to await further orders. Sweat drips down the forehead of the tank commander. “Put me on external speakers,” he calls down to his crew inside the tank. A crewman flips a switch to activate the tank’s P.A. system.
“Firestorm! This is the United States Army! You are hereby ordered to surrender!” the tank commander announces. “Do you hear me, Firestorm? Surrender immediately or be prepared to face the consequences!”
The Nuclear Man listens. “…Fire…storm...,” he mumbles softly.
“Give me HQ,” the tank commander orders. Inside the tank, a crewman switches the commander’s helmet microphone to the base frequency. “Sir, the target looks out of it,” the commander reports. “The A-blast has got him disoriented or something. If we’re going to do something, now’s the time.” He listens for a moment. “Roger, HQ! All units…Open fire!”
BA-ROOM! BA-ROOM! BA-ROOM! The line of tanks lets loose a barrage! BUH-DOOM! BUH-DOOM! BUH-DOOM! Soldiers on jeeps fire their cannons! SWHOOMP! SHWOOMP! Soldiers fire shoulder-held anti-tank weapons!
SWOOOSHH! Firestorm narrowly dodges a shell! BOOOM! He is buffeted by a blast just behind him! FOOM! BUHWADOOM! THOOM! Explosions throw him around in the air! He turns and aims an atomic burst at an incoming shell. WHOOM! It detonates and sends him falling to the ground just ahead on the approaching tanks!
FZASH! Firestorm pounds his hand into the desert soil. FWORSH! FWORSH! FWORSH! Instantly, lava geysers erupt around the battlefield, sending foot soldiers running for cover. Firestorm pushes his arm into the earth up to his elbow. RRRRUMMBLEE! RRRRRUMBLE! Tremors ripple out from his arm and violently shake the tanks and jeeps, turning many on their sides. Firestorm stands amidst the tanks watching as the soldiers retreat. He then leaps skyward, quickly gaining altitude.
“He’s aloft. Send in air support,” General Weymouth orders from the blockhouse. “And patch me into the White House…just in case.”
Firestorm looks back and sees fighter jets and attack helicopters approaching from behind him. In the cockpit of an F-15 Eagle, the squadron leader prepares to attack. “Roger, control…we copy,” he answers. “Blue Squadron, this is Blue Leader. We’re to try buzzing the birdie first and see if we can cook him in the jet stream. On my lead by sequence.”
The Blue Squadron rolls into a dive. WEEEIINN! The jets scream as they approach Firestorm. VEEEEEEEEEE-WHOOOOSH! SWOOSH! WHOOMP! FWOOOMP! The F-15s pass in quick succession, rocking Firestorm violently in their near-supersonic wakes.
WEEIINNN! An F-15 bears down for another close pass. Firestorm ducks just under its nose as it passes by. He reaches a hand out and makes contact with the underside of the fuselage just below the cockpit. He clings to the jet as it speeds through the sky. SSSZZLLEEE! Firestorm focuses heat from his hand into the jet. “Blue Leader, I cannot see the target. Where’d he go? Did I hit him?” the pilot asks.
WHOOMP! The heat from Firestorm’s hand causes the jet to erupt in flames. Fire quickly races over the entire aircraft! “Mayday! Mayday! I’m on fire! Blue Leader, I gotta eject!” the pilot cries out.
“Hennessy! Sweet mother, he’s on fire!” a Blue Squadron pilot yells out. Hennessy’s plane plummets straight down, streaming fire as he pulls the ejector handles behind his head. The ejection system blows the canopy off the plane; Hennessy rockets into the air on the ejection seat.
WHAROOOM! Just as his seat clears the plane, his F-15 explodes violently. “AAAAAH!” Hennessy yells in panic.
“He’ll burn his ‘chute off! Hennessy!” yells a pilot watching the terrible scene.
“YAAAAH!” Hennessy yells as fire starts to burn his flight suit and parachute. Firestorm looks over and sees Hennessy plunging in flames to certain doom. Atomic rings start to dance around Firestorm’s eyes. FZAAP! He fires twin beams of energy from his eyes at Hennessy. FZAAM! Instantly, Hennessy separates from his burning ejection seat and his parachute opens. “Hah?” he blurts as he feels his parachute straps tighten with the rapid inflation of its canopy.
“What did he do? Did he just kill Hennessy?” an F-15 pilot asks anxiously.
“Can’t tell. But his ‘chutes deployed and the fire seems out,” Blue Leader answers as he banks around the hovering Firestorm and gently descending Hennessy. “In any case, Hennessy’s too close to him for us to make another pass right now. Red Leader, do you have a shot at him?”
In the cockpit of an AH-64 Apache Longbow, Red Leader and his squadron bear in on Firestorm. “No sweat, Blue Leader. He’s shredded meat. All units, open fire!” Red Leader replies.
BUDDA! BUDDA BUDDA! FWOOSH! BUDDA! BUDDA! BUDDA! SHWOMP! The Longbow squadron closes in, firing a barrage of air-to-air missiles and 30mm chain gun fire. VIP! VIP! VIP! VIP! Firestorm becomes almost transparent and the incoming fire passes right through him!
“What the - - ?! They’re going right through his like he was a ghost or something!” Red Leader calls in surprise. Firestorm angrily speeds towards the helicopters. “Hello, Control? Red Leader. Uhh. Get the medics ready. I think we’re in trouble,” Red Leader reports nervously.
FZAP! FZAAM! Firestorm attacks the helicopters! “Can’t get a ‘fix’ on him! Moving too fast!” a Longbow pilot radios.
“Mayday! Abandoning ship! Rotors are aflame!” another cries as his Longbow goes out of control.
“Mine’s turned to stone and we’re dropping like one!” yells out another panicked pilot.
FWOOMP! Firestorm throws a fireball at the lead Longbow. FWOOOOOSH! It explodes on the side of the helicopter, spinning it wildly in the air. “Red Leader, we’re out of it!” the pilot radios as his ship plummets down.
“I think we’re right behind you…” Red Leader answers as Firestorm approaches his helicopter. Firestorm turns transparent and speeds right into the rear of the Longbow. Red Leader and his gunner watch in shock as Firestorm disappears into the engine area just behind their seats. BUDDA! BUDDA! BUDDA! The helicopter shudders violently. Red Leader flings open the helicopter canopy. “I’m outta here!” his gunner yells as he bails out. Red Leader follows close behind, yelling, “Outta my way!”
BAH-ROOOM! The Longbow explodes in a massive blast of smoke and flame! Firestorm reappears in the air amidst the burning wreckage. “Control, this is Blue Leader. Target is in clear. This time we’ll employ heatseekers. Locking on,” Blue Leader reports. “Firing.”
WHOOSH! WHOOSH! Blue Leader pulls the joystick trigger and launches two Sidewinder missiles. They streak through the sky right at Firestorm!
“Is it possible?” Major Zastrow asks. He stands outside the concrete blockhouse watching Firestorm with binoculars.
“No one’s been killed so far, sir,” Commander Weymouth reports over the phone to his commander. “He seems to be trying to avoid that although I suspect casualties are inevitable. Yes sir. War is hell. Especially for the men who have to fight it.” He pauses to listen for a moment. “No sir,” he replies. “I’m fully prepared to continue the attack, wasting billions of dollars in military hardware before God and the media for however long you want, sir.” He listens and nods gently. “Yes, sir. Of course I’ll hold on for a minute,” he replies.
“Missiles locked on and tracking,” Blue Leader observes. “Gaining on the target. Estimated contact in zero niner seconds.” Firestorm turns and twists rapidly in the air, but the Sidewinders match his every move as they close in. Firestorm banks and dives at Blue Leader’s nearby F-15, quickly approaching it from behind. Just as he reaches the jet, he turns transparent and races right into it!
“WHAT THE - - ?” Blue Leader yells. “Control, target just…went through me! O Lordie, it means those missiles...!”
BABOOM! The Sidewinder missiles race right into the massive heat pouring out of the F-15’s afterburners and explode inside the engines. Its tail enveloped in flames, the F-15 plunges down out of control. “Control, this is Blue Leader! Mayday! I’m augering!” Blue Leader yells. He reaches behind his head and pulls the ejector handles hard. Nothing happens. “Canopy’s jammed! I can’t crack free..!” he yells in panic.
Suddenly, Firestorm appears clinging to the falling jet’s canopy. “Dear Lord..!” Blue Leader cries out. SSS! Firestorm reaches his hand into the cockpit through the canopy glass. “Flippin’ hell..!” Blue Leader blurts. Firestorm rips off the jet’s canopy and unbuckles Blue Leader from his ejection seat. He pulls Blue Leader into the slipstream as the mortally wounded F-15 falls away.
“He saved him!” an F-15 pilot yells in disbelief.
“Red Squadron, this is Control. Break off attack immediately and return to base! Repeat…” ground control orders the aircraft.
WHOOMMP! Blue Leader’s F-15 smashes into the desert in a huge, fiery explosion! Firestorm gently descends, landing near the blockhouse with a stunned Blue Leader. He sets the pilot down and turns, leaping back into the air.
“Firestorm…Wait!” General Weymouth calls out. Firestorm stops and turns to look at Weymouth, hovering just above Blue Leader. Weymouth stands outside the blockhouse using a megaphone. “I’ve just talked with the White House. The President is willing to offer you amnesty if you will vow to leave the missiles alone,” Weymouth explains. “In addition, he pledges to begin serious new talks with the Russians towards a complete nuclear disarmament! Target date will be 1990. If it is not effective then, you may take such measures as you see fit with no American intervention! For heaven’s sake, man, let’s put an end to this. Say yes.”
Firestorm stares at him intently. “…Yes…” he answers.
“Well, that’s it! You can go,” Weymouth replies.
“Go?” Firestorm asks.
“Leave. Go home,” Weymouth explains.
“…Home…?” Firestorm says, slightly tilting his head. “HOME!!!” he yells. FWOOSH! Firestorm launches upwards at full speed. In seconds, the desert floor falls far below him. His body shakes and shudders wildly as he reaches the upper levels of the stratosphere. Orange and yellow energy ripples around his body and he disappears into its swirling mass. Then…WHAP! Two objects split from the center of the mass! Each speeds off in opposite directions, one to the east and one to the west.
“Sakhalin Outpost. Energy anomaly spotted. Intercept impossible. Trajectory indicates possible touchdown in Black Sea area. Inform Moscova,” a Soviet tracking station reports.
Nina Arkadin stands in her living room. She stares longingly at a family picture of herself, her husband, and their two small children. “Mikhail..,” she says softly. She reaches out and picks up the picture.
FZAAM! Suddenly, a figure appears in the living room, surrounded by a bright aura of sparkling red and yellow energy. Nina rushes to his side as he falls onto the floor on his back. “Mikhail!!!” she cries out. She kneels next to him and reaches to support him against her bent leg. “Mikhail, what happened?” Nina asks. “God be thanked, you no longer burn!”
“They…They made me fight the American…A nuclear weapon was detonated,” Mikhail replies. His red and white uniform is tattered and torn. “Beyond that…I have no knowledge…Hold me, please..!”
“Of course! Of course, my darling!” Nina replies as tears run down her cheeks. “I am so glad I have you again! They…They took the children, Mikhail. Almost a week ago. They will tell me nothing, only that they are running tests! Oh, Mikhail…” She hugs him tightly.
“Hush, my love; hush, my dove. All will be well now. You’ll see,” Mikhail answers. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply. “Forgive me, Nina, but for the safety of us all, I must lie to you!” he thinks as a small atomic ring gleams in his eye. “No one must suspect…what I now have become!”
A fireball streaks through the sky, bearing down rapidly on the Manhattan skyline. “…extraordinary! Firestorm seems to have just vanished!” a TV announcer reports from Nevada. Ed and Felicity Raymond sit in their living room, closely watching the news.
FZAAP! Instantaneously, a massive of burst of yellow energy falls into the living room from the ceiling!
“Ed! Is it..?” Felicity blurts in shock. The energy mass stops and dissipates. Ronnie Raymond falls to the living room floor!
“It is! It’s Ron!” Ed yells as he rushes over to his son. Felicity and Ed lift Ronnie to his feet, supporting him under each arm.
“Ron? Are you okay?” Felicity asks anxiously.
“…Dad…Mom…I’ve lost control!” Ronnie tells them as tears run down his face.
The three sit on the couch. Ronnie hangs his head in his hands. “Lost control of what, Ron?” Felicity asks.
“Firestorm!” Ronnie answers quickly. “We were fighting this Russian guy, Pozhar, out in the desert. We beat him but the strain just about killed the Professor. We fissioned! And then we saw this cruise missile coming at us! I tried to get us to form Firestorm one last time, get us out of there! The Russian tried to help us and that’s when the missile went off!”
Ronnie looks up, holding his hands out in front of him. “They nuked us, for cryin’ out loud!” he continues. “And then it was like everything was on fire and then…and then I was Firestorm again, but it was all different!” He leans down, smacking his head into his palm. He stands and walks toward the balcony door. “It was like I was watching out his eyes as these things happened but I had no control over the body!” he explains. “He has a mind of his own!”
“Ron, listen to me. We watched it all on TV,” Ed answers. He stands and walks over to him. “He…You…attacked no one. Firestorm went out of his way to keep people from getting killed. You may not be controlling him on the conscious level but you are exerting control on the sub-conscious level!”
“Is Professor Stein now in control?” Felicity asks.
“No, I could feel the Russian in there..,” Ronnie answers. “But judging from his panic, he was no more in charge than me. I couldn’t feel Professor Stein at all. I think he’s dead!”
General Weymouth and Major Zastrow walk along the desert battlefield littered with wrecked military vehicles. Medics tend to the injured and load them in waiting ambulances. “Hm. I think maybe this demonstrates why my gowernment does not trust this concept of…how you call them…’zupermen’,” Zastrow tells Weymouth.
“We only got one ‘Zuperman.’ The others are called ‘superheroes’. Your government has some of their own,” Weymouth replies.
“They fear more disparity in anything vith your gowernment,” Zastrow explains. “I vonder that your society can so tolerate them. Their powers…their secret identities…make them answerable to no one. It tears down the social fabric of any society.” The two men watch as a heavy crane lifts a wrecked tank nearby.
“Some might say that. In fact, some have,” Weymouth replies. “And some of us, see these people as symbols of courage and a belief in doing what is right whatever the cost. Symbols of hope and of what mankind may yet become. I seem to remember your having someone like that during World War II.”
Zastrow takes a puff from his ever-present cigarette. “Stalnoivolk. Steel Wolf in your language,” he answers. “Yes…He, too, became a symbol to us. He is the reason we do not trust these ‘zuperheroes.’ Do’bree den, General.”