Police forensic scientist, Barry Allen, holds his neighbor, Fiona Webb, at gunpoint. Webb throws a lamp at Allen, causing him to miss his shot. The gunshot alerts young Troy Nathan to Webb's predicament. Outside Webb's door, Troy declares that he's the police, then accidentally stumbles into Webb's apartment. Allen flees out the window. Troy ushers Webb over to his apartment, where he tells his father, Mack Nathan, that Allen just tried to murder Webb. Professional killer, and master of disguise, Saber-Tooth, is booked by the police. Captain Darryl Frye praises the Flash for bringing Saber-Tooth in.
Nathan calls Allen, at the police laboratory, to inform him of the murder attempt on Webb's life. A pair of hired killers blast King Faraday's helicopter out of the sky. Literally running on the dust particles within a searchlight beam, the Flash races up to the helicopter, and pulls Faraday, and the pilot, out. On the ground, the Flash creates a super-speed generated updraft to cushion the helicopter's impact with the street, while simultaneously extinguishing the flames. The Flash and Faraday take out the two would-be killers.
The Flash takes Faraday to police headquarters, leaving him outside the police laboratory. A few moments later, the Flash, as Allen, steps out of the lab, and introduces himself to Faraday. A mysterious figure fires a crossbow bolt into Saber-Tooth's jail cell. Faraday, speaking with Allen and Nathan, reveals that the man who tried to kill Webb was really syndicate boss, Ross Malverk. Astonishingly, Malverk is a dead ringer for Allen. A police protection detail is stationed within, and outside of Webb's apartment. Allen, too, checks in on Webb, invisibly, as the Flash.
A pair of hired killers fire a bazooka shell into Saber-Tooth's jail cell. The Flash arrives, in the nick of time, to kick the shell away. The Flash rounds up the would-be assassins, and turns them over to police custody. At police headquarters, the Flash learns that Saber-Tooth, using the gear that was attached to the crossbow bolt, has escaped police custody. The Flash, as Allen, hears the news that Malverk has turned himself in. Having attempted to assassinate Saber-Tooth, Malverk is now in the killer's crosshairs. The Flash, as Allen, wanders the seedier areas of Central City, hoping his identical appearance to Malverk, will flush Saber-Tooth out.
Saber-Tooth, wearing an outlandish costume to conceal his identity, confronts Allen. Saber-Tooth hurls an incendiary grenade at Allen. When the smoke clears, all that is left is Allen's empty clothes. Allen, as the Flash, confronts Saber-Tooth. Saber-Tooth takes flight to avoid the Flash's lunge. The exhaust from Saber-Tooth's jet pack blinds the Flash. The Flash zig-zags back and forth across the street, until he comes in contact with Saber-Tooth. The Flash beats Saber-Tooth into unconsciousness. The case closed, the Flash, as Allen, asks Webb out to dinner. Webb suggests, instead, that they dine at her place.
In the garment district, Firestorm separates into his component parts, Professor Martin Stein and Ronald Raymond. Stein considers getting a drink before a job interview. Raymond reads Stein the riot act. At school, Raymond is needled by Cliff Carmichael, for missing basketball practice, Carmichael is rebuffed by one of Raymond's teammates. Raymond accompanies Doreen Day to the airport, to pick up her sister, Summer.
Stein aces the interview, landing a position at Concordance Research, Inc. Stein considers getting a drink to celebrate, then remembers Raymond's heated words to him. Stein sees a shadowy figure leaping across the rooftops. Stein recognizes the figure, on a subconscious level, and triggers the transformation into Firestorm. Stein's subconscious leads Firestorm to the rooftops, where Firestorm is attacked by the Hyena.
Two men fused by a bizarre nuclear explosion: One is Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Martin Stein; the other is teenager Ronnie Raymond, and together they form - - Firestorm, the Nuclear Man!
They call it Tailor Row, otherwise known as the Garment District, and once, it was the very heart of the Borough called Manhattan. But that was years ago; cheap labor in the South and overseas has done its work, and the heartbeat has slowed, if not stopped. Now, it is primarily a commercial area, crowded with inexpensive shops and overstocked department stores…and behind one such store this afternoon, something strange is about to occur…
Witness Firestorm, the self-styled Nuclear Man, manipulator of atomic structures and newest member of the Justice League. Witness the most bizarre transformation in the history of heroes, as one super-being fissions into two separate men: Ronnie Raymond, typical teenager and student at Bradley High in Upper Manhattan…and Professor Martin Stein, discredited physicist and designer of the Hudson Nuclear Facility.
Firestorm comes down to land at a warehouse loading dock next to a Ridings Shipping and Storage semi trailer. Hidden among the trailers and shipping crates, Ronnie begins the transformation to reverse the Firestorm fusion. Seconds later, the two men stumble away from Firestorm into their separate personas.
“Okay, Professor, you’ve got plenty of time to make this appointment,” Ronnie tells Stein. “I feel ridiculous. Like a youngster straight out of school,” Stein replies. Ronnie reaches over and adjusts Stein’s tie. “Just relax and keep loose. You’ll do fine,” he reassures Stein. Nearby, a snoozing trucker leaning against a large wooden crate yawns and awakens. “It’s been years since I went on a job interview,” Stein replies, adding, “Perhaps a small drink first…”
Ronnie interjects quickly, “No! That’s out! Remember, we agreed. I’m helping you get back on your feet, but only if you give up the booze. Maybe your breakdown was partly Firestorm’s fault, because you didn’t understand what was happening when we fused into the Nuclear Man - - but now you know the truth, and you’ve got to pull yourself together. No more drinking, Professor. You promised.”
Ronnie and Professor Stein walk out of the loading area. Behind them, the truck driver gets to his feet and pulls on his shirt. “Good place for a nap,” he yawns as he heads for the cab of his truck, “Nobody ever bothers ya. And nuthin’ ever happens to wake ya up!”
Twenty minutes later, as the Uptown bus shlumps to a stop outside Bradley High… “After flying around town as Firestorm, taking a bus is a real letdown!” Ronnie thinks, “I hope the Professor does okay on his job interview…’cause he really needs a boost to his ego.” Ronnie steps off the bus walking towards class. “Imagine losing your reputation as a scientist without ever knowing why it was happening!” he thinks.
“Well, if it isn’t Bradley High’s answer to Magic Johnson!” calls out Cliff Carmichael when he sees Ronnie approaching. Cliff, Jackson, and Doreen stand together talking. “I hear you’ve been missing basketball practice, Raymond,” Cliff taunts him. “That’s my business, Carmichael,” Ronnie replies, asking, “Go ride someone else, okay?” Cliff walks up and pokes him in the chest. “What’s wrong, Raymond? Think you’re too good for the team?” he snarls, asking, “Or are you just afraid of losing?”
Jackson stands nearby spinning a basketball on his fingertip. “Say now, Cliff, that’s my teammate you’re dumpin’ on,” he warns Cliff. He reaches out and touches Cliff’s shoulder. “J-Ja-Jackson,” Cliff stammers, “I thought…I mean, missing practice…I thought…” Jackson glares at him. “I know what you thought, man, you thought wrong. Go find a rock and crawl under it. Catch what I’m sayin’?” he answers.
Cliff quickly walks off. “That boy’s got more mouth than he knows what to do with,” Jackson tells Ronnie and Doreen. “But you know, underneath that wise-off exterior - - there’s a real low-life creep. What can I say? The truth is the truth,” Doreen says. She grabs Ronnie’s and Jackson’s arms and the three head off laughing.
A little later, and some miles southeast, at Kennedy Airport… “Thanks for coming along to pick up my sister, Ronnie,” Doreen tells him. They ride along in a convertible with the top down on a pleasant sunny day. Jets take to the sky behind them as they drive up to the terminal. “The way you sounded back at school when you asked me, I couldn’t say no,” Ronnie answers, asking, “What’s the trouble? Where’s Summer been all these months, anyway?”
Doreen guides the car to a stop. “Maybe I should talk about it, Ronnie. You’re a friend…” she replies. “You know I’m a friend, Doreen,” Ronnie answers, asking, “So what’s worrying you about Summer? She’s okay, isn’t she? I heard she’d been sick, but I thought…” Doreen sees Summer walking towards them from the terminal. “Shhssh!” she interjects, “Here she comes!”
Ronnie and Doreen get out of her car and walk over to greet Summer. “Little sister, good to see you. And hey, here’s your pal, Ronnie,” Summer greets them. Ronnie reaches to take Summer’s suitcase. “Let me tell you, after drying my lungs out in Arizona, it’s great to breathe New York smog again,” Summer tells them. She pulls back on her suitcase, surprising Ronnie. “I’ll keep the bag, Ron. Us big girls can carry our own luggage, right?” she says. “Uh…sure, right, Miss Day,” Ronnie replies hesitantly. “Call me Summer. My folks had a real gift for names,” she answers. Summer loads her suitcase in the trunk and the three drive off. “Boy, she’s just like I remembered her - - as brittle as ever,” Ronnie thinks, “Something tells me that having Summer Day around is going to be as much fun as watching TV blindfolded!”
Afternoon light throws long shadows in Midtown, an hour later, as a dazed Professor Martin Stein leaves the Concordance Building on Sixth Avenue. “Unbelievable,” he thinks, shaking his fists happily. “I got the job! I start work tomorrow at Concordance Research, Incorporated!” He walks down the street and spots a neighborhood bar. “This requires a drink in celebration!” he thinks. He stops abruptly and leans against a mailbox. “No! Dear Heaven, what was I thinking of? I promised Ronald!” he thinks anxiously, “I came so close to destroying myself just now…It’s frightening! We tread such a narrow path between survival and self-destruction, I can never let myself misstep, even once! This is a chance to recoup what I’ve lost. I don’t dare to - - eh?”
A figure leaps from rooftop to rooftop overhead. “Someone running across the roof of that building across the street..,” Stein thinks as he watches the odd person, “There’s something familiar about that inhuman shape - - why can’t I remember where I’ve seen that person before?” he thinks.
He grips his head with his hands and starts walking. “I must have encountered him as Firestorm! But I never remember what happens as the Nuclear Man! Only Ronald knows - - Ronald! Oh my Heaven!” Dsitracted by his thoughts, Professor Stein has inadvertently walked out into traffic. Cars barrel right at him. BLAAAHH! A car horn honks at him. “RONALD!” Stein thinks in panic.
It isn’t telepathy, not exactly, but there is a link between scientist and student that defies description…It’s a byproduct of the nuclear blast that joined them, months ago…and thus, when one of them needs the other, and calls for help, even subconsciously, it activates the remarkable transformation - - the instantaneous fusion - - that creates Firestorm, the Nuclear Man!
FTOOM! Firestorm appears in the midst of the busy street. BEEP BEEP! A taxi’s horn bleats as it careens towards the Nuclear Man. Ronnie looks at it and quickly lowers his atomic density. The taxi harmlessly passes right through him! “Hey! That tickles!” Ronnie calls out, turning to watch the cab drive off. “It would have done far more than tickle me, Ronald, without Firestorm’s ability to pass through molecular structures!” Stein tells him, adding, “But we have a more vital concern than a mere near-miss traffic accident!”
Drivers and bystanders look on in shock at the sudden appearance of Firestorm. “Like what, Professor? Say…did you get the job?” Ronnie asks. “Irrelevant, Ronald, but yes, I did, thanks to the confidence you inspired in me,” Stein answers, explaining, “But what matters is what I just saw on a nearby roof…A figure that my conscious mind failed to recognize, but that was all too familiar to this, my subconscious persona!”
Ronnie leaps into the air. “So don’t keep me in suspense, Professor,” he answers, asking, “Who’d you see? Ronald Reagan?” Ronnie flies above the street at rooftop level. “This is no time for facetiousness, Ronald!” Stein exclaims, warning, “There is danger here! We are faced with the one criminal we have never defeated, the madman who almost killed Firestorm!” Ronnie gasps, “You don’t mean…”
Suddenly, the Hyena pounces out onto Firestorm from a rooftop! “HII HII HII HA HA HAH!” it cackles maniacally. “The Hyena, Ronald!” Stein cries out, “The deadly scavenger of crime!”