Killer Frost goes to an old friend, Dr. Louise Lincoln, for evaluation of her condition. Killer Frost wreaks havoc by spreading ice on the busy New Jersey Turnpike. Firestorm meets with Detectives Mackey and Wilson at their precinct house. Senator Reilly and Lorraine talk about his upcoming hearing before the Senate Ethics Committee investigating his vote on the Hewitt Industries Bill. Firestorm and Killer Frost battle on the George Washington Bridge.
Firestorm826's Panel-by-Panel Story Summary (Spoiler Alert)
In a lab in northwestern New Jersey, Killer Frost is receiving bad news. “I-I’m afraid the test results are confirmed, Crystal. You’re dying,” Dr. Louise Lincoln hesitantly tells her, “and the process is too far advanced to be reversed! I wish it weren’t so.” The diagnosis is a side effect of her condition of being Killer Frost. The icy sheath of her anatomy is causing her body to deteriorate. “It’s only a matter of days,” Lincoln says somberly, “Perhaps hours.” Killer Frost hangs her head dejectedly. “Why? Why now, Louise?” she asks. Lincoln guesses that the deep freeze unit that Frost was imprisoned in has altered her bizarre metabolism, causing a breakdown in her cellular structure. “Damn them,” Frost snarls, “They killed me!”
KRASSSH! She slams her fist angrily down on a lab console. Suddenly, alarm bells start ringing. Frost asks what they are. “You set off the automatic alarms when you smashed the console!” Lincoln exclaims, “I-I swear, it’s not my fault, Crystal! D-Don’t look at me like that!” Dr. Lincoln scrambles to get away from Killer Frost. “Are you afraid of me, dear Louise…your old college friend?” Frost asks, adding, “I’m so disappointed.” Lincoln begs not to be hurt. She loses her balance on the icy floor and falls against a wall. Frost came to her for help, complaining of weakness and asking for tests to be run. “I d-did all that…everything you wanted…It’s not my fault,” Lincoln says fearfully. Frost walks up to her and places a hand around Dr. Lincoln’s throat. “Dear Louise, even in school, you were so eager to please. That’s why all the men love you, isn’t it,” Frost asks her, “Even with your mediocre mind, you were a success then, as now…So eager to please…” Lincoln begs her not to go farther.
The laboratory doors burst open and three armed security guards investigating the alarm walk in quickly. One asks, “Hey, Dr. Lincoln, what’s the problem with - - huh? Holy - - !” Another recognizes Killer Frost from the five o’clock news. She introduces herself, “Killer Frost, gentlemen. Some newsmen call me the Ice Maiden. Shall I show you why?” Kneeling, she touches her hand to the floor. Ice sweeps from her hand across the floor, and wraps around the feet and ankles of the guards! “My legs!” one cries out, “Can’t feel ‘em - - what’s she…”
Frost requests that they not do anything stupid. “It should be obvious what I intend,” she hisses. An officer aims his pistol at her, warning her to keep back. “Ten years a guard…never killed nobody before,” he says as he squeezes the trigger. BAM-BAM-BAM! Killer Frost waves her hand, and a wall of ice instantly appears in front of her. CRACK-SPLAK-SMAK! The bullets harmlessly strike the ice wall. “Your record’s still intact, old man,” she tells the guard. “You see that? She threw up a wall o’ ice! Th-that’s it for me boys!” he tells his comrades, “We gotta give up!”
One guard struggles and manages to free his feet from the ice. He yells “No way!” and breaks for it. “Jones got his feet loose! Don’t leave us here, Jonesy - - don’t…” a guard says, watching him as he flees. The other guard tells Killer Frost, “Lady, you hear what I said? We give up. That counts for something, don’t it?” Frost answers, “You must be joking.” She reaches both arms out, touching a hand on each guard. Instantly, they freeze into solid ice! “AAGHH” one cries in his final moment. She pushes both of them. They fall to the floor, breaking and shattering in a cascade of ice particles as Dr. Lincoln looks on in silent horror. “I’m not playing some child’s game - - for points scored, and by arbitrary rules,” Killer Frost tells the fragmented remains of the doomed guards, “My life is over, whatever life I had left as this ice-sheathed freak. Why should I allow you to live when I must die? Men have never understood. I play for keeps.”
Dr. Lincoln covers her mouth partially with her hand, utterly shocked. “Don’t say a word - - don’t cry out, don’t scream! Don’t attract her attention!” she tells herself, trying to be absolutely still, “She’s leaving - - as if she’s forgotten I’m alive! I’m alive…I’m alive!”
Like some wraith of the snows, Killer Frost departs in a cloud of ice particles, casting one ironic glance behind her. Guards and technicians flee as she leaves a trail of ice-covered ground behind her. Then, she moves across the heavily trafficked New Jersey Turnpike with the air of a pedestrian at a crosswalk. Ice follows her, covering the roadway like a sudden glacier, sending cars and trucks careening out of control in all directions. A chain reaction accident occurs involving dozens of vehicles. Some burst into flames! But the Ice Maiden sweeps on, lost in her own misery, as if unaware of the destruction she wreaks around her…or perhaps, secretly reveling in it.
In the air over New York City, the sharp eye of Firestorm sees something amiss. “Say Professor Stein…what’s that?” Ronnie asks, noticing a fireball and smoke cloud rising in the sky. “Trouble on the Jersey Turnpike, Ronald,” Stein suggests, “Apparently a massive traffic collision. Perhaps we could help?” Ronnie says any other time they could, but with Killer Frost back in town and on the loose, they cannot afford to be side-tracked. “We’ve spent all night looking for her, after she attacked you in that subway,” Ronnie reminds Stein, “and we’ve come up with zip. We need some help ourselves.”
Firestorm flies through an open window at the police precinct. “Hi guys - - no autographs. Sgt. Mackey around?” he asks the surprised officers and detectives. Mackey calls Firestorm over to his desk. “Over here, Hot-Top. I’ve been looking for you,” Mackey tells him, “I’ve got some questions for you to answer about that Goldenrod case a few weeks back.” Ronnie agrees, promising that Goldenrod is gone for good, and asks if Mackey has heard anything about Killer Frost. Mackey replies that he wants explanations, not assurances.
Nearby, a thug stands idly waiting to be booked. He eyes an officer’s revolver in a hip holster. “Gun,” he thinks. Mackey gripes that all they know about Goldenrod and his murders of two people is what they’ve been able to learn from Firestorm. “That’s not good enough, Mister,” he says to the Nuclear Man. The thug springs, suddenly making a grab for the revolver! “Nobody’s sticking me in jail without somebody gets blasted!” he yells. Before he can grab the gun, Firestorm flings an atomic restructuring burst at him. A mousetrap appears instantly in the air and snaps down hard on the thug’s hand! “Yeouggh!” he cries out in pain, his escape plan foiled. Sgt. Mackey starts to lead the punk away. “But the thing is,” Firestorm tells Mackey, “Goldenrod went to seed - - sort of - - and like I said, he’s g-o-n-e. Now about Killer Frost…” Mackey’s not being cooperative. “You can’t help me, I can’t help you. Tough luck for both of us, kiddo,” he replies.
Detective Wilson, Sgt. Mackey’s partner, calls to Firestorm. “Let’s take a walk, Storm,” he suggests, “I’ll buy you an ice cream.” Shortly after, Wilson kneels to get two popsicles from a vending machine in the precinct break room. Ronnie wonders if it’s his personality or if Mackey is just a big ‘Belker’ fan. “Like on ‘Hill Street Blues?’” Wilson asks, adding, “Nah, Mackey just hates vigilantes, Storm.” Ronnie replies, “Who, me? Like in ‘Death Wish?’ Hey, I’m no murderer, Wilson.” Wilson reassures him and explains that Mackey’s family is from down south. Mackey is an octoroon, a mixed race from European and African descent. Mackey’s uncle was lynched by a Klan mob. “’Due process’ isn’t just legal buzz to him,” Wilson details. Ronnie understands and gets the point. “But I’m not a Klansman - - the whole idea makes me sick,” he tells Wilson, “And the fact is, you’re going to need me if you come up against Killer Frost.”
Ronnie tells Wilson about last night’s encounter with Killer Frost, and how she nearly wasted him. Only his nuclear powers kept him from being pancaked by a subway train. “You guys wouldn’t stand a chance. She’s sheer murder. If you hear anything, anytime, tell me!” he directs. Wilson asks the desk officer if there has been any news about Frost. “She was spotted fifteen minutes ago on the Jersey Turnpike,” the desk officer answers. Ronnie smacks his forehead in frustration! “Dumb, dumb, dumb!” he kicks himself. With a flash of atomic energy to lower his density, he phases through a wall, yelling back, “Bye, Wilson! I’ve got to take care of business!” Wilson watches him go, and realizes that the sticky drippy sensation on his hands is the result of Firestorm’s departure melting the two popsicles he just bought. “Uh…sure, Storm…” he says, looking at the mess, “Anytime.”
Interlude: Washington, D.C. Lorraine Reilly and her Dad, Senator Walter Reilly, walk along the National Mall. Lorraine has been reading case histories of the Senate Ethics Committee investigations. She thinks her Dad has a chance. “There’s no direct evidence you voted for the ‘Hewitt Industries Bill’ on orders from Henry Hewitt,” she offers, “and without evidence, they can’t convict you of influence peddling. The worst they can do is…” Senator Reilly cuts her off, telling his daughter that his situation is hopeless. “Even without a conviction, I’m finished in Washington,” he says sadly, “Senator Walter Reilly of New York…the ‘Last Liberal,’ they called me…Now, as far as the press cares, I sold my vote to Big Business. The hell of it is, they’re right.” He hugs Lorraine close, and the two try to console each other. “No, Daddy, they’re wrong,” she tells him, “Hewitt kidnapped me and blackmailed you.” She rests her head lightly on his chest and gazes at the Washington Monument nearby. “And gave me a new identity as Firehawk!” she thinks to herself, “But that’s something you don’t know and mustn’t know.” Her Dad admits that one good thing came out of this nightmare: he and his daughter have learned to love each other. “Maybe, in the end,” he says, “only that matters, after all.”
Jersey. Flying over the Turnpike, Ronnie looks down at accidents scattered all over the ice-covered freeway. “What a mess. Frost was here, all right,” he tells Stein, “Remember to give me a good swift kick in the wazoo when we split up, Professor.” Stein suggests using their atomic restructuring powers in the meantime to free the vehicles from the icy sheath of a roadway. Ronnie sees a large gasoline tank nearby and FZAM! He forms it into a gigantic water pistol. Watching it work, he tells Stein that the pistol’s hot water spray is melting the ice faster than you can say ‘global ice age.’ “Now,” he asks, “How do we find Frost?” Stein suggests backtracking along the ice trail to find out why she was here. Ronnie agrees, and they fly off above the icy path. “Good idea, Professor,” Ronnie tells him, “I’ve always said you were the brains of this outfit!”
Dr. Lousie Lincoln stands outside her laboratory being interviewed by two sheriff’s deputies. She is explaining to the deputies that Killer Frost is a terminally sick woman just as Firestorm comes in to land behind her. “Uh-huh, I saw what she did to those guards,” a deputy tells her, “I’ll say she’s sick.” Lincoln starts to explain further about how dangerous Frost is. She catches sight of Firestorm and it startles her, and she instinctively covers her throat in fear! “What is it, my breath?” Ronnie asks. “F-Forgive me…You’re Firestorm, aren’t you?” Lincoln asks as she tries to catch her breath, “I’m still so shaky, terrified, if you want the truth. I saw her eyes…She’s insane. And now that she knows she’s going to die in a matter of days, or hours - - who can say what she’ll do?”
Within a few minutes, Dr. Louise Lincoln has finished her explanations. “Oboy,” Ronnie says, “A crazy Killer Frost was bad enough, but a Killer Frost who has nothing to lose...!” Stein fears that Frost in such a state would be capable of wanton mass murder! Ronnie leaps to the sky, taking flight over the still frozen Jersey Turnpike. “We’ve got to find her, Professor,” he says worriedly, “Before its too late!”
New Jersey, on the Hudson River, in the looming shadow of the George Washington Bridge. Malcolm Haines owns a tugboat, the “Mary Sue,” an aging workhorse that’s seen better days…and not recently. Still, it’s been his home for two decades, and on autumn evenings, Malcolm likes nothing more to doze on deck, enjoying the cool twilight breeze…which, tonight, is cooler than usual.
The strangely cool breeze stirs Haines from his nap. He looks out at the Hudson River, and is surprised to see it coated with ice. “Sweet lordie!” he says incredulously. Next to his dock slip, another boat has ice extending from the surface of the deck all the way down to the waterline. “Whole river’s icin’ up! An’ it’s colder ‘n a witch’s bite!” he exclaims, jumping from his deck to the dock, “Gotta call the River Authority, tell ‘em ‘fore…!” He slips and falls on the ice-covered dock. SMACK! He lands with a thud. He looks up to see a light blue boot standing directly in front of him. Raising his head further, he sees…Killer Frost!
“Little man,” she says feigning sympathy as she bends down to him, “did you hurt yourself? Let me kiss it to make it all better.” Killer Frost’s face is lined with age. She looks maniacal. She pulls the man up. He screams in throes of death as she kisses him. Haines is instantly frozen solid! “Not enough! I need warmth to reverse the decay destroying me…warmth drawn from your flesh, your bones,” she growls, “But you haven’t given me enough! Curse you!” She flings Haines away from her. He falls to the ice-covered river surface and explodes into a thousand crystals of ice!
“I’ve always drawn life-giving heat from my victims - - but none of it is enough now!” she cries, seeming to become more aged and frail in appearance. “Deteriorating by the minute - - dying!” she yells out. FZOM! A radiant flash of an atomic restructuring burst from Firestorm blasts the ice next to her! She is startled as ice congeals and changes form on a molecular level, taking new shape as a sealed freezer unit around her. For a fraction of a second, Killer Frost is shut within. For only a fraction of a second. “Not this time, not this easily!” she screams. KRACKK! Thrusting her arms, she blasts the door off of the freezer unit! “Isn’t it ironic? As I die, I become stronger…My command of cold more complete!” she tells Firestorm, “According to my dear friend Louise, I’ve been dying since the moment I became Killer Frost…Only now has my fate caught up with me! Look at me…I am Death.”
Quick as lightning, Killer Frost cackles demonically and thrusts icy daggers into the air aimed directly at Firestorm! He barely evades them! “So much for taking her by surprise, Professor!” Ronnie calls out. Stein cautions him to prevent her from getting off a second barrage of ice shards. Ronnie floats above her and launches twin restructuring bursts into the air on either side of Killer Frost. “Wouldn’t think of it, Professor!” he replies, “Let’s see if I can hold her in a pair of manacles restructured out of that glacier she’s standing on!”
Killer Frost, looking haggard, softly says, “Child!” SPRAK! Focusing an icy blast from her hands, she disintegrates the manacles before they can reach her. Waves of ice roil towards Firestorm and envelop his legs. He struggles to free himself. “What she said is true, Ronald!” Stein cries out, “Her control of cold - - even sending blasts of sub-Arctic wind through the air - - it’s increased phenomenally! Like a fever, raging even higher before it kills!” Ronnie sarcastically compliments the Professor for working that out all by himself. With a loud crash, he dives down below the icy river surface!
“Heat…I need warmth to take the chill from my bones…” Killer Frost screeches at Firestorm, “Your warmth! Of course…With your heat, I might yet survive!” Ronnie comes back to the surface of the ice, poking his head, arms, and chest out. Stein asks if Ronnie heard Frost. Pulling up out of the icy water, Ronnie looks stoically at her and answers, “I heard.” Stein thinks there’s a chance they can save her by freezing her again, perhaps giving her the time needed for a cure to be found. With a restructuring burst, Ronnie creates a giant hair dryer. “You cure her, Professor,” he replies, “All I want to do is put her back on ice. Maybe - - some subzero air!” FZOOOSH! Waving his hand, Ronnie directs the hair dryer to blast icy air directly at Killer Frost. She is blown off balance, and falls!
“I blame myself for all of this, Ronald,” Stein says in a moment of respite from battle, “As Martin Stein, I was Crystal Frost’s friend…In a way, her mentor. When she became Killer Frost, I should have tried to help her…but I didn’t. I-I failed her, and by failing her…I betrayed myself.” Frost shakes off the effects of the Arctic blast, and lifts herself back up. Ronnie looks and quickly figures that their plan isn’t working. “I think we’re in trouble - - big trouble!” he predicts. Killer Frost leaps to her feet. She casts a massive ice boulder into the sky. Like a meteor, it streaks through the air and smashes into the giant hair dryer. KROOOOM! The hair dryer crumbles apart!
Ronnie flies to the nearby George Washington Bridge. The police have barricaded it to block traffic. “Since we’ve got to make a stand somewhere,” Ronnie says, steeling himself, “it might as well be there!” As they land on the bridge, Stein warns that violence is not the answer. “We should try to help Frost,” he pleads. “You know the saying, Professor,” Ronnie answers, “The Lord helps those who help themselves!”
A sudden hailstorm of ice shards rains down in front of Firestorm. Only quick, successive nuclear bursts aimed with precision keep the frozen daggers from piercing him! “Whoa-ha!” Ronnie yells.
Nearby, police officers watch the two super-beings square off. “Sergeant, shouldn’t we do something - - use our guns?” a patrolman asks. “We’re out of our league, Sonny. Let them fight it out,” his Sergeant answers as Killer Frost sails above them, “We’ll pick up the pieces.” Ronnie scrambles to keep up with Killer Frost’s icy onslaught. “Too many, Professor! Like a hailstorm!” Ronnie calls out while dodging in the air, “Can’t blast them all before - - ARRGGHH! My shoulder!”
Ronnie recoils back from the impact of an ice shard stabbing deep into his right shoulder. The icy dagger sticks out menacingly, painfully! Killer Frost’s eyes widen as she sees that Firestorm is hurt. Ronnie reaches for his wound. “Professor…I’m hurt…I…We…,” Ronnie gasps as an incredible chill passes into his body. He lands hard on the bridge, propping himself on the front bumper of a car. “Fight the pain…Don’t let it overwhelm you. Seal it off,” Stein orders, observing, “She’s coming.” Ronnie slumps and says he can’t fight anymore…
Killer Frost slides in riding on a chunk of floating ice. She steps off and kneels next to the fallen Nuclear Man. She looks almost elderly, hands and face deeply wrinkled. She reaches for Firestorm. “Give me your warmth. Let me draw the heat from your bones, the fire from your heart!” Killer Frost hisses, “You’re stronger than the others…with your warmth, I may yet live…” She pulls him into her arms, lifting his head to face her. The icy pain from her touch is excruciating. Ronnie begs the Professor to help, offer something, some idea to save them.
Desperate, Stein thinks and says, “Ronald - - it’s a faint hope - - but give her what she wants: our heat fusion power - - like the white-hot fire of the solar core!” Killer Frost kisses Firestorm. For the briefest of instants, in a space less than five feet square, it’s as if the sun touches the Earth. “IIIEEEEEEE!” Killer Frost screams in agony as Firestorm’s unbridled fusion power explodes into her! Her body is wracked and she flails back into the cataclysmic burst of light!
Unchecked and uncontrolled, such fury would devastate the land for miles around…But this fury is controlled, and seems almost to swallow itself in the moment of its creation, like the dragon Ourobouros of legend…With nothing harmed and no one lost. No one? Emerging from the smoke and light, Firestorm looks around. “Frost…?” Ronnie asks. “Gone. Not even she could absorb that much warmth, Ronald,” Stein tells him, “We were just…too hot to handle!”
Twenty minutes later, at the midtown Manhattan townhouse apartment of Senator Walter Reilly and his daughter, Lorraine, streetlights come on in the evening twilight. Inside, Senator Reilly has dozed off in his chair in his study. Lorraine watches him sleep, and stands at the study door. “Getting Dad home on the Washington–New York shuttle took some doing…Reporters kept wanting to question him,” she thinks to herself, “but it was worth it. This is the first time he’s been able to relax since the Senate Investigation began. He needs the rest. Look at him…so tired, he fell asleep at his desk.” Lorraine reminds herself that she needs rest as well. She has barely had a free moment. RRRING! The doorbell sings out to her. “Great. Someone’s at the door,” she says, walking to answer it. She hopes it’s not another pesky reporter as she opens the door.
“Hi kid. Sorry to barge in,” Firestorm says hesitantly, “Thing is…I’ve got nobody else to turn to. I’ve been…” Suddenly, he collapses face first to the floor! “Firestorm!” Lorraine yells!
She kneels down at his head, arms stretched to try to help. But Firestorm does not move!