It's a shame, the middle of the previous arc generated some excellent covers, but this one's back to the first Jurgens cover, generic action scene. The water actually looks pretty dynamic, but the energy blasts are anything but. But mostly I'm wondering why Red Robin's rocking that wild 80's hairdo.
This story comes at an opportune time for Firestorm, he's gotten a pretty bad rep lately due to the actions of the rogue Firestorms and Megala when he possessed Firestorm. Not to mention that his powers are A-List level, and nobody really knows anything about him in the current DCU. Firestorm needs to save his completely trashed image, so of course Ronnie and Jason start out by undoing the massive and noticeable damage Megala did in their body. Unfortunately, since the government loves to fear those potentially dangerous, his actions are somewhat misconstrued, and mostly unnoticed, except by a certain sharp detective known as Red Robin.
It's kind of a shame for this issue that this is such an underread book because this is possibly the best I've seen Tim written in the New 52. He's not being such a weird Batman-esque enigma like he does in Teen Titans, and there's a huge focus on his excellent detective skills, an area where even Bruce Wayne admits Tim outdoes him, or has the potential to outdo him. He used observational skills to determine Firestorm was technically a teenager, though he didn't deduce the duo identity; and he understood Firestorm's m.o. so they could find him and know his motives better. Of course, why he didn't TELL THE TEAM THAT is a mystery to me, because they could've saved themselves a dangerous and highly unnecessary fight. If Tim's as good a detective as we know he is, it makes perfect sense that he picked up on the pattern of Firestorm repairing damage he caused, and recognized his good intentions. So why did he let his team run in, guns a blazing, throwing the first punch? He never gives any kind of explanation, like, testing his powers, or making sure he wasn't going to try and really kill them, or SOMETHING. But no, he knew Firestorm wasn't a threat all along, and yet he jumped right into the fight that his own team started under his direction. What the hell Tim? I'm also wondering why he only brought Kid Flash and Solstice.
This issue really throws the continuity for a loop, as clearly this must take place BEFORE Throne of Atlantis because he's not yet been approached by the Justice League, much less on call. Of course I'm quicker to accuse Justice League of being the one screwing up continuity because it contradicts more series' than any other. But I do wonder just why Firestorm declined Teen Titans membership. I mean, this entire issue kicked off with them trying to save their unfairly trashed, and what better way to do that than to join a superhero team? Solstice even pointed out that Firestorm seemed lonely, and even though he's two people, they're both kind of lonely as a superhero, alienated by the world every time they try to use their gifts to do the right thing. This would be PERFECT for him. The whole issue feels like an emotional and tonal setup for him to join the Teen Titans.... only to have things whiplash in a completely unrelated direction.
The ending is tense, but a little odd. Firestorm's been so secluded into it's own little corner of the DCU, I have no idea who'd have such a personal grudge against Firestorm at this point, unless it's due to that whole misunderstanding thing again. But if someone did enough research to know at least one of the real identities of Firestorm, how could they be so ignorant as to think he's responsible for the actions of the others?
The artwork was pretty good, standard work for Dan Jurgens, though the action was a bit awkward, even for him. Where this issue really shined was the character work between the two individuals who make up Firestorm. They've really settled into a groove as a team, with Jason as the brains and Ronnie as the brawn. Jason actually does feel important, both ability-wise and emotionally. They had lots of great dialogue that bounced off each other, and Ronnie's really hit his stride in his character arc moving away from a typical jock.
In Conclusion: 3/5
This issue is taking the series in a really good direction, though know it's cancellation is forthcoming puts a bit of a damper on it, but too much of this issue itself is bogged down in an incredibly easily avoidable fight. Seriously, Red Robin REALLY dropped the ball on that one there. But seriously, why didn't Firestorm join the Teen Titans?