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The refugees joyfully begin to inhabit Eden, created from barren land by Firestorm. Sister Agnes question Firestorm's wisdom as the land will attract those seeking to control it. Mikhail's brother arranges for Mikhail to resume teaching physics in Moscow. The Renamos rebels attack Eden and Ron is wounded by gunfire. Fighter jets from the Frelimo regim attack. Firestorm forms to defend the oasis, but unexpectedly draws another person into the matrix when Ron and Mikhail fuse.

Firestorm826's Panel-by-Panel Story Summary (Spoiler Alert)

“Welcome to Eden,” Firestorm announces. He stands in a miraculous oasis of lush, green plant life where just moments ago stood barren land.

“Bon dieu!” cries Sister Agnes. “Last night this valley was dust and desolation only! Now - - this! How can this be?”

“I did it,” Firestorm explains. “I’ve been looking to find positive ways that my powers can be used. Until now, I’ve used them only in violent confrontations. I was drawn by your problems here. The drought here in East Africa has destroyed the land so it can’t bear crops. The result is famine. Unless the root of the problem is addressed, these people have no hope for the future. So I terraformed the entire valley.” Nearby, refugees reach for fruit hanging from the newly created trees.

“You have no idea, do you? You may have unleashed hell!” Sister Agnes says.

“I don’t understand..!” Firestorm replies.

“Precisely!” Sister Agnes continues. “It is your lack of understanding that makes what you do dangerous! What you have created here is arable land - - more precious than gold in this part of the world! From all East Africa, the desperate will come! This little plot of land will not be able to support them!”

“I will renew more land then,” Firestorm answers as he looks around the oasis.

“What you have done - - for which you and God be praised - - took you all night!” Sister Agnes observes. “To solve the problem you must renew all of East Africa! And keep it green! Will you - - can you - - do all this?!” She points a finger at him as she explains further. “Moreover, Ogaden has been in the grip of the civil war for the past two decades. When General Frelimo of the government or the Renamo rebels hear about this bit of land - - as hear of it they will - - both will want to possess it! Or destroy it so their enemy does not possess it. They will make a battleground of your Eden! Will you also stay to defend it?”

“Brothers…comrades…I cannot stay any longer!” Mikhail interjects. “My elder brother is due even now at my apartment. I cannot stay!”

“I will return as necessary,” Firestorm explains. “For now, I am tired and have to rest.”

“Flash ‘em so they can’t see me materialize with them, okay, Flamehead?” Ron asks.

FZAAP! A brilliant burst of light illuminates the area in a blinding glow. FAAAASH!

“Sorry! I slept in!” Ron announces as the light fades. “Say - - where’d all the green stuff come from?”

Ed walks over to his son. “Nice job!” he whispers with a smile. Jama sits on a rock nearby, carefully watching Ron.

“From a creature whose heart is good, whose powers are great, but whose political naivete is profound,” Sister Agnes replies.

Jama reaches out and touches Ron’s head. “Uhhh…Sister?” Ron asks. “What is our buddy Jama doing here?”

“Jama wants to know where the flames on your head went,” Sister Agnes replies.

“Cripes! He must’ve seen!” Ron thinks. “Jama, really! Not all white people have flames coming out of their head,” Ron explains. “You’re more intelligent than to think so.” He holds a finger to his lips forming the universal symbol of quiet.

“He’s usually much more sophisticated than that..!” Sister Agnes says as she and Ed walk off.

“Secret!” Ron whispers to Jama.

“Sikrit! Sikrit goooood! Bro-tha!” Jama answers, placing a finger to his lips and bursting into happy laughter.

FWOOOSH! A fireball streaks into the Moscow sky! FZAAM! Mikhail appears in his apartment. He sits up on his bed. “Mikhail!” Nina calls to him. “Your brother Alexander is here with a word about work for you! Get up! You must get dressed!”

“Oh, Nina, Nina, Nina!” Mikhail answers as he pulls her close and hugs her. “What wonders we have performed as Firestorm!”

Nina and Mikhail kiss. She stands up from the bed. “Later, my love!” she says. “Alexander is an impatient man.”

“I know. I’ll get dressed,” Mikhail nods.

A few minutes later, he walks yawning into the living room. “It is a wonder you are still so sleepy, brother, when you have overslept so late this morning,” Alexander tells him. “I hope these traits will not continue at your new position.”

“It will not, Alexander, I promise you!” Mikhail explains. “Were you able to get me my old job at the reactor back?”

“I have gotten you your old job, yes - - but not at the reactor,” Alexander answers. “I got you back your old job teaching nuclear physics at the University!”

“Daddy! Daddy!” Sofia and Irena call happily as they walk into the room.

Mikhail reaches for his wife and takes her in his arms. “Nina! You hear?!” he asks.

“Yes, yes, my love!” Nina replies happily.

Mikhail steps to his brother and hugs him. “Thank you, brother!” he says.

“Oof!” Alexander puffs at the sudden tight hug. “Try not to lose it this time, eh?”

“How they treated Sakharov was disgraceful. I could not then stand silently by. Nor would I be able to a second time,” Mikhail replies.

“Honestly, Mikhail! Isn’t our brother Dmitri problem enough for this family?!” Alexander asks.

“Be careful of the demons you summon up, Alexander, lest you cannot put them down,” Dmitri announces as he walks into the room.

“Uncle Dmitri!!!” cry Sofia and Irena.

Dmitri kneels down as the two girls rush over to hug him. “Irena! Sofia! Ahh, my little angels! Your uncle has missed you!” he tells them. “See what I bring you? Chocolate from America!” He stands and hands a record album to Alexander. “Nor have I forgotten my other favorite niece, Alexander!” Dmitri tells him. “Here, for Serafina!”

Alexander takes the album and whips it to the ground. SMASH! The record shatters! “Pity you have done that. The band was called The Communards,” Dmitri says, looking down to light a cigarette. “Sounds like a good respectable Soviet rock group, eh, Alexander?”

“I have told you before - - I want nothing of the black market in my home, Dmitri! They - - and you - - are a danger to my position!” Alexander says with a scowl.

“I don’t see why,” Dmitri replies. “Some of those in position over you are among my best customers. Mikhail, good to see you about.”

“Thank you,” Mikhail answers. “You were a great help in my hour of need.”

“Oh, come!” Dmitri tells him. “You were under observation, missing, or locked up with the KGB, who - - I need not add - - are not my best friends in the world. What was I to do?”

“I learned a long time ago, Dmitri - - the least you can do is the most you will do,” Mikhail answers.

“I have business to attend. You’ll excuse me,” Dmitri says as he turns to leave.

“Dmitri is our brother and for that I love him but I fear him also, Mikhail,” Alexander explains as they watch Dmitri go. “He will be the ruin of us all before he hangs.”

Evening starts to fall in Eden. All day the people have worked, making homes, establishing claims to this new land. Jama will farm where once, long ago, his ancestors roamed as warriors, like the lions. He is content to have any kind of life. The white man who helps him is a chosen of the gods. Why he would keep this secret, Jama doesn’t know. The gods are strange; Jama accepts it. Much has been taken from Jama. But something has been left him even as hope has been given to him. The little one’s siblings died before she was born and her mother soon after. Perhaps the child will live. Perhaps it is time to think of giving her a name, after all.

Ron and Jama work together in Jama’s hut. Suddenly…BRRRRRT! Shots ring out! Bullets fly through Jama’s hut! “Uhn!” Ron groans as he is struck, instantly collapsing to the floor. Jama cradles his little girl in his arms as he looks down at Ron. Blood covers Jama’s fingers.

No! The favored of the gods - - struck down! The gods have gone mad! Life upon his hands! Has he, too, been claimed by the mad gods? Or - - ?! No! They cannot have this one, too! Why give him hope if only to crush it to Earth?! And then he realizes: It was not the gods who have done this, but devils! He knows them. They or their brothers were the ones who took him and his family last time, made them carry supplies being stolen from them. These were the ones who called themselves the Renamos.

Jama steps out of his hut. Rebels attack the village, firing automatic weapons. BRRRRRRT! PA-KOW! PA-KOW! “AAAIIIEEE!” cries a refugee as he is cut down by a hail of bullets.

Sister Agnes rushes over to a rebel. She reaches for his shoulder. “Stop this! Do not - - stop this!” she tells the man. WHOK! He whips and slams the butt of his M-16 into her ribs. She falls to the ground as the rebel aims the rifle at her.

“NO!” yells Ed Raymond. He quickly approaches the gunman, stepping in front of Sister Agnes. “Don’t! I’m an American newsman!” he explains, flashing press credentials. “Ron!” he thinks anxiously. “Where the hell are you?!”

The gods are asleep. The gods are dead. He knows not which, but Jama flees, for he knows these men and what they will do. And he must somehow find a way to save his unnamed child. BLAM! A shot rings out near Jama. A rebel lunges at him! CHUD! The rebel smashes his rifle butt into Jama’s back. “Yaaaaah!” Jama cries out, falling to the ground and dropping his little girl.

“Get him with the others and give him a pack,” orders the rebel leader, Colonel Assagai. He stands wearing dark sunglasses as the other rebel aims his rifle at Jama.

“My child!” Jama cries through tears.

“Dead,” Assagai says coldly. “Take him with the others.”

“Yes, Colonel Assagai!” a rebel replies and leads Jama away.

Colonel Assagai walks over to Ed Raymond, where another rebel holds Ed at gunpoint. “You are lucky I speak some English, and that I understand the use of people like you,” Assagai tells him. “You - - and the woman - - were very nearly dead.”

“You mean very nearly butchered like so many of these others!” Ed replies. “These people represented no threat to you! They hadn’t the strength! What kind of animals are you and your men?!”

“We fight for our land. There are no rules,” Assagai explains. “You Americans should support us; Frelimo is a communist.”

“Frelimo is a socialist and no matter what he might or might not be, it doesn’t excuse you Renamos for this kind of slaughter!” Ed replies.

Assagai takes off his dark sunglasses and glares at Ed. “We make no excuses! We fight for our very existence! This is no game with polite rules such as your people play! This is war!” Assagai snarls. He smacks his hand across Ed’s face! “If Frelimo controls the land, we burn it! If the people suffer Frelimo, we kill them! When they fear us more than they fear Frelimo, he will cease to rule! Faced with the same situation, you would do as we!”

A rebel quickly approaches. “Colonel Assagai,” he calls. “Government jet fighters approach our location!”

“As expected,” Assagai replies. “Gather the supplies, put them on the backs of the bearers, and away into the bush. Use the valley as cover for as long as possible. Spare not the American or the white woman. One hundred pounds - - each! Quickly!”

It is not the hundred pounds or so they have placed on his back that makes Jama groan aloud - - it is the grief in his heart. The air is split with screaming - - not of the people, but of the doom of Eden.

WHEEEOOOOO! WHEEEEOOOOO! Metal vultures release fire that clings. FOOMP! WHOOSH! It clings to the hut that was the fruit of the day’s labors, where inside lies his friend - - perhaps still alive! It is more than Jama can bear.

“NOOOOO!” Jama yells. He drops his hundred-pound bag of rice and sprints towards his hut to find Ron.

“Stop!” barks a rebel, aiming his submachine gun at Jama. KRAK! The rebel fires and Jama is struck! “Pick up that parcel! Into the brush! Move!” he yells at a refugee. Whiii-KRAK! He smacks a whip in the air as the fearful refugee runs for Jama’s rice bag.

A fighter jet bears in on a strafing run. BRUDDA-BRUDDA! It fires its guns. Vip! Vip! Vip! Bullets strike the ground in quick succession near Jama. His soul is descended from those lions. Jama remembers himself and begins again.

In Jama’s hut, Ron lies on the ground with his eyes closed. Blood runs down his forehead. “Uhnnn!” he moans.

“Mikhail! Are you all right?” Nina asks with concern. She, Mikhail, and their daughters sit together eating breakfast.

“I…Something is wrong…my American self..!” Mikhail explains quickly as sweat forms on his forehead. “Ronald is in danger.”

In the burning hut, Ron regains consciousness. “What…happen’d..?” he asks softly. Jama rushes inside. “…Jama…what…what is it?” Ron asks.

“Kom!” Jama says urgently. He reaches down with both hands and lifts Ron up.

“My God!” Ron blurts as he looks around the burning hut. Instantly, atomic rings form in the eyes of Ron and Mikhail. In Jama’s eye, an atomic ring also dances. FZAAM! SHWOMP! An explosion of fusion rocks the hut!

He is reborn. He has always been. He is the son of the Sun and in him dwells the spirit of the lion. He is a single being who is more than a single being. He remembers who he has been and he knows who he is. He is Firestorm!

SHOOOOOSH! A jet banks down to strafe at Firestorm! Vip! Vip! Vip! Bullets rips across the ground around him. FOOOSH! Firestorm leaps into the air. FOOSH! He whips a fireball at the jet. KA-BOOM! The fighter disintegrates! Another jet flies in for an attack run. BRUDDA-BRUDDA! It fires! Vip! Vip! Again, bullets speed close to Firestorm. He turns to face the jet and snarls, his face now bearing semblance to an angry lion.

“Target sighting, heatseeker locking on,” a fighter pilot announces as he closes in on Firestorm. “I have a lock - - fire! Clik! FOOOSH! A missile races directly at Firestorm! With a wave of his hand, fire sweeps from Firestorm onto the missile. FOOOMPH! BOOM! The missile explodes! Firestorm dives out of the way as the jet flashes past. He launches a fireball at it…SWOOSH! DOOM! The fighter disappears in a fiery cloud!

Firestorm hovers above Eden. Below, fires rage from burning huts and crashed fighter jets. He stretches his arms out and…WHOOOSH! Instantly, he draws the flames to him! He lands quickly on the smoldering ground. He kneels and sniffs the air. Snuff! He searches for a familiar scent, finds it, and sprints over to Jama’s little girl. He carefully picks up the child.

In Firestorm’s mind, Jama, Ron, and Mikhail stand in a circle facing away from each other with their hands joined to each other. “We have the power of the Sun - - of the lion,” Jama says. “Can we not restore my child?”

“No. Some things are beyond even our power. I’m sorry, Jama,” Ron answers.

“There is still Ron’s father who may live. And the white sisters who sought to help,” Mikhail adds. “If they are still alive, we may be able to help them, if you are willing.”

“Of course! What can be done we must do!” Jama replies. “I’ll weep for my daughter with tears of blood shed by my enemies.”

FZAAM! A spear of fire forms in Firestorm’s hand and he leaps into the air to pursue the rebels. “For I am descended from the lions, from a line of warriors,” he cries out. “I will break their backs and have revenge!”



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