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    The Flash #289

    The Flash » The Flash #289 - The Good...The Bad...And The Unexpected!/Firestorm Is Back In Town! released by DC Comics on September 1, 1980.

    Short summary describing this issue.

    The Good...The Bad...And The Unexpected!/Firestorm Is Back In Town! last edited by MickRory on 04/13/23 06:33PM View full history

    The Good... The Bad... And The Unexpected!

    Doctor Alchemy tracks Al Desmond to a warehouse, on Central City's lower west side. Desmond, in his guise as Mister Element, fires a bolt of niobium acid at Doctor Alchemy. Having narrowly avoided the acid, Doctor Alchemy squares off against Mister Element. Doctor Alchemy uses his Philosopher's Stone to ignite the oxygen in the air. Mister Element counters, using his Element Gun to erect a shield of asbestos. Doctor Alchemy burns through the shield with super-heated carbon. Mister Element, though, having transformed the wood beneath his feet into titanium, has escaped into the sewer system.

    Having set the entire warehouse ablaze, during his combat with Mister Element, Doctor Alchemy flees the scene. The Flash aids fire fighters in extinguishing the blaze. The Flash manages to rescue four fire fighters, trapped within the warehouse. A fifth imperiled fire fighter, though, remains unseen by the Flash. This man is rescued by Mister Element, who surrounds the fire fighter in a bubble of oxygen, surrounded by a bubble of nitrogen. The Flash confronts Desmond's wife, Rita, regarding Desmond's whereabouts.

    While the Flash scours Central City for Desmond, Doctor Alchemy uses his Philosopher's Stone to stop a train. From the train, Doctor Alchemy steals one hundred pounds of nuclear waste material. The Flash receives a tip from Rita, regarding Desmond's possible whereabouts. Mister Element tracks Doctor Alchemy to an abandoned salt mine. Upon entry, Mister Element is laid low by crystal fists, which grow out from the walls. Mister Element awakens, suspended over a pit of nuclear waste material. Doctor Alchemy intends to uses his Philosopher's Stone to convert the nuclear waste materials into a new element, "Desmondium".

    This element will allow Doctor Alchemy to enslave humanity through mental domination. "Mister Element" begins spinning at super-human speed, revealing himself to be the Flash. Doctor Alchemy uses his Philosopher's Stone to transform the Flash's molecular structure into Cavorite, an anti-gravity element. The Flash immediately floats away, vibrating his molecules into intangibility, to avoid being smashed against the cavern ceiling. The real Mister Element enters the cavern, and fires a bolt of molten zirconium at Doctor Alchemy.

    Using his Philosopher's Stone, Doctor Alchemy converts the zirconium into a spray of gold dust. As the Flash rises into space, he shifts his atomic structure from matter to anti-matter. The resultant conversion destroys the Cavorite molecules, restoring the Flash to normal. The Flash storms the cavern, and quickly beats Doctor Alchemy into unconsciousness. After freeing Mister Element, the two men take Doctor Alchemy to the nearest police precinct house. Meanwhile, Fiona Webb, the Flash's new neighbor, in his civilian guise as police forensics scientist, Barry Allen, files a formal complaint against Allen, accusing Allen of planning to murder her.

    Firestorm Is Back In Town!

    Firestorm exuberantly proclaims his return to New York City. Drawn to a potential boat collision, Firestorm uses his powers to form a bridge, allowing the speedboat to pass over the sailboat. Firestorm then brings the speedboat to a stop, before firing off a flare to alert the harbor patrol. Firestorm flies to Jamaica, Queens, where he separates back into his component parts, Professor Martin Stein and Ronald Raymond. Raymond ducks into the shadows, as Stein tries to make sense of his current whereabouts. As Stein has no conscious knowledge of his time spent as part of Firestorm, he believes himself to be suffering from drunken blackouts.

    Raymond decides to come clean about their shared life as Firestorm. Raymond escorts Stein back to his apartment, to tell his tale. Raymond, looking to draw Doreen Day's attentions away from Cliff Carmichael, decided to join a protest group, opposed to nuclear power. Raymond went with the group to the Hudson Power Plant. When the group breaks into the plant, Raymond began to have second thoughts regarding his participation in the group's activities. Raymond is beaten into unconsciousness, to serve as the scapegoat for the group's plan to blow up the plant. Having seen the group on the security monitors, Stein confronted the group, only to also be beaten unconscious. Raymond awakened just as the bomb detonated.

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

    A peaceful enough evening in Queens, New York. For most people here-abouts, the day is over. For some - - cats, for example - - it’s just beginning. For cats, and for a few others, too…

    “Mrroww!” goes an alley cat. She hops down from a fence onto some garbage cans, looking for something to nibble on. Suddenly…

    SHROOM! A streak of light flashes past her. She leaps up, startled. “MMROWW!” she blurts. The streak whooshes on, pulling a slipstream of wind over the startled kitty. She cowers in a trash can, swiping out with a paw. “Psstt-ft!” she hisses.

    The streak of light continues zooming at street level, then abruptly turns straight up to soar vertically high into the sky above the streets. At the top of the streak of light is…Firestorm, the Nuclear Man!

    Arms extended triumphantly, he grins widely as he gains altitude. “Look out, New York! Firestorm is back in town!” Ronnie Raymond yells happily. Professor Martin Stein watches as Ronnie guides them through aerial maneuvers that would make a fighter pilot jealous.

    “Ronald, really, must you be so exuberant?” Stein asks. Ronnie barrels back down to rooftop level and banks towards the waterfront. “If that means happy, Professor, you bet!” he answers, asking, “How else am I supposed to feel after being made a member of the JLA?”

    Stein nods. “I admit it’s cause for celebration, but…” Stein says. Ronnie interjects. “But, nothing! Don’t you get it, Professor? They accepted me!” Ronnie says with a smile, “To them, I’m not just a dumb teenager, I’m a real bona fide - - huh?”

    Ronnie’s thoughts are interrupted by trouble in the Harbor down below. “Look down there, Professor Stein!” Ronnie cries out, “That motorboat’s out of control - - and it’s on a collision course with that sailboat!”

    VVRROOOM! The speedboat races on as a young boy struggles with the controls. A young lady on the sailboat pulls hard on her mainsail’s rope, trying to shift course. “I’ll have to drop you off at your digs a little late, Professor,” Ronnie says, “Like my pal Superman would say - - this is a job for Firestorm!” He chuckles as he dives down to sea level.

    PZOOM! Ronnie fires a restructuring burst at the water between the two boats. “Ronald, your nuclear blasts are overshooting the motorboat!” Stein observes. “Wrong, Professor, this is working just the way I want it to!” Ronnie explains, “My nuclear blasts are rearranging the water’s atomic structure…making the water solid, and changing its shape...”

    Guided by Ronnie’s atomic beams, water forms itself into an ice bridge that rises over the sailboat. The speedboat races up the ice bridge, passes safely over the sailboat, and lands in the water on the other side! “Pretty neat trick, wouldn’t you say?” Ronnie asks, admiring his handiwork, “Nobody gets hurt and everybody has a good time.”

    Down below, water flows over the ice bridge from the speedboat’s wake, drenching the poor girl on the sailboat. “Yes, Ronald, but the motorboat is still running wild,” Stein warns. Ronnie turns to pursue the speeding boat. “I’ll get to it, Professor, I’ll get to it. Give me a break, will ya?” Ronnie answers, adding, “The poor kid trying to drive this thing looks frightened half to death. Probably snuck the boat out, and now he’s sorry he ever got into this mess.”

    Ronnie fires a transforming burst into the water just ahead of the speedboat, creating a giant net that stretches across its path. The speedboat plows into the net and slowly comes to a stop. “Take it easy, pal. Your big night’s over,” Ronnie calls down to the scared boy at the wheel. He lands next to him on the bobbing boat. “Th-Thanks, M-Mister,” the boy says nervously. “Shucks, forget it. What’re super-heroes for, I ask you?” Ronnie answers.

    He aims a hand into the sky and launches atomic bursts that create bright signal flares floating over the speedboat. “Once the Harbor Patrol spots these fireworks, they’ll be out to pick you up in no time.” Ronnie leaps skyward, trailing a bright line of atomic light behind him. “Wowwww,” gasps the boy.

    Not long after, in one of the less savory parts of Jamaica, Queens - - a trail of glittering energy disappears between two buildings - - and there, in a shadowed alleyway, the unique transformation occurs that separates the Nuclear Man into his component parts…Ronnie Raymond, your basic New York teenager. Professor Martin Stein, your basic discredited physicist.

    Professor Stein stumbles against a trash can, grabbing at his head, disoriented from the transformation. “…another beer, bartender, if you don’t - - mind?” he mumbles. He looks back and forth quickly, confused by his surroundings. “Oh Heaven! It’s happened again! Another of those terrible blackouts!” he exclaims, “A moment ago, I was in a bar on Parsons Boulevard, I’m sure of it.”

    He kneels to the street, growing upset, unaware of Ronnie standing nearby behind him. “So how did I get here? How many hours have I lost this time?” he asks, continuing, “If only I knew what happened to me during the blackouts - - not knowing is crucifying me! Because of the blackouts, I lost my job as Director of the Hudson Nuclear Facility, I lost my reputation, my friends…” He starts to cry softly, overcome by his situation. “…I’ve lost everything…everything…” he sobs.

    Ronnie stands next to a building, concealed by the shadows as he watches the Professor. “I - - I never told the Professor what happened to us, how we become Firestorm, because I was afraid he wouldn’t let it go on,” he thinks, “But I can’t just let him live like this…not anymore…Even if it means the end of Firestorm, I’ve got to tell him.”

    Ronnie steps out of the shadows. “Professor…Professor Stein?” he calls out. Stein jumps up, startled by the voice behind him. “Who’s there?” he answers nervously, “I don’t have any money, I swear I don’t!” Ronnie cautiously approaches as Stein cowers against a building. “Professor, I’m not going to rob you,” Ronnie tells him, asking, “Is there someplace we can talk? My name’s Ronnie Raymond, and I’ve got a little story to tell you…”

    Shortly after, Ronnie and Professor Stein arrive at Stein’s apartment where Ronnie begins to tell an unbelievable story.

    “…So it all started a few months ago, right after you finished building the Hudson Nuclear Plant,” Ronnie explains. Stein asks, “You know about the Hudson Plant?” Ronnie walks to the couch as Stein slumps into a chair. “Professor, I was there. That’s how all this got started. Look, let me begin with Cliff Carmichael.”

    Ronnie takes a seat on the couch as Stein listens. “Carmichael is a classmate of mine at Bradley High, and ever since I transferred to the school, he’s been ribbing me about my grades…” Ronnie explains.

    Ronnie recalls playing a game of pick-up football on the school’s snow-covered field. Ronnie catches a long pass for a touchdown. “Say, hero, that was some catch!” Cliff taunts, “Two bits says you can’t do it again while chewing gum!”

    Ronnie remembers getting frustrated with Cliff. “Ordinarily, I wouldn’t let that sort of thing bother me, but there was this girl there, Doreen Day…” Ronnie explains to Stein.

    “Quit riding me, Carmichael, or I’ll turn your glasses into contact lenses!” Ronnie answers Cliff. “Ah, yes, the threat of violence. A typical reaction of the intellectual primitive,” Cliff answers smugly, walking away with Doreen as they both laugh.

    “You see, I hated the idea that Doreen might think I was just a dumb jock…I guess I wanted to impress her,” Ronnie tells Stein, “…So I did something really dumb…That night, there was a news report on the TV about a group called the Coalition to Protest Atomic Power…They were demonstrating at your plant - - and suddenly, it seemed like just the way to prove myself to Doreen. I went down and joined, meeting their leader, a guy named Earhart…”

    Stein listens intently, trying to piece it all together. “Right off I should have known they weren’t a reputable group…They told me about some crackpot plan they had to sneak into the Plant; that night, we went there…and we broke in,” Ronnie explains.

    Ronnie recalls being shocked as the group cut through the Plant’s security fence. “Uh, listen, isn’t this against the law?” he asks Earhart. “Yeah, so?” Earhart answers as two of his men carry a heavy wooden crate through the fence. “So? Maybe you better tell me what we’re doing here?” Ronnie asks quickly. “We’re gonna make an example out of this atomic joint, kid - - by blowing it sky high! And you’re gonna be the patsy!” Earhart snarls at him, stunning Ronnie unconscious with a punch to the back of his skull!

    “I guess that’s when you arrived, Professor,” Ronnie explains, “You’d been working late, and you’d seen us on the security monitors…”

    Earhart and his men dragged Ronnie into the Plant. Professor Stein opened the control room door to confront them in the hallway. “You, there! Release that boy and get out before I call the police!” Stein calls to them. Earhart rushes up to Stein, snarling, “You should’ve called the cops first, Pops, too bad!” CHUNK! Earhart punches Stein across the jaw, knocking him unconscious! Earhart’s thugs quickly open the wooden crate and begin to set the dynamite charges.

    “Leave ‘em together over by the atomic pile!” Earhart orders his men, “When that dynamite blows - - there won’t be enough left of both of ‘em to make one man! Haha!”

    Ronnie slowly regains consciousness as Earhart and his gang escape. “Wow, my head! Feels like and elephant did a tap dance on my skull!” he thinks He looks next to him and sees Stein’s motionless form. Just feet away, the dynamite sits with a ticking time fuse! “Where am - - Hey! That’s dynamite!” Ronnie thinks nervously, “And it looks like it’s gonna…”

    THOOM! The dynamite detonates, enveloping both men in a cataclysmic explosion next to the radioactive atomic pile. Ronnie tells Stein, “And for a long time, Professor, that was all she wrote!”

    Notes:

    • This issue contains the Hostess Superhero Ad, Batgirl in "A Matter of Good Taste"

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