The first issue out of the way, Dan Jurgens has jumped right into the meat of things on The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man, calling back to the continuity of the just-cancelled Captain Atom (written by J.T. Krul, who worked with Jurgens previously on Green Arrow) and driving deeper into the relationships between Ronnie, Jason, their parents and Jason's girlfriend. It's a dense, fast-paced issue that tends, even when there's not somebody blowing something up on the page, not to stop to catch a breath.
Dan Jurgens joined us to talk about #14, the dynamics that will define Ronnie and Jason moving forward and the challenges of altering Captain Atom's status quo so recently after the launch of the New 52.
This is a spoiler-intensive discussion. Pick up a copy of the comic and read along with us if you haven't seen it yet!
Now, we come to Dr. Megala from Captain Atom and I have to wonder: What's the cost/benefit analysis of picking up threads from a cancelled book? I mean, obviously those readers want and deserve closure, but do you worry about getting your title tangled up in a mythology not a lot of people were reading?
A very valid question and it is something I was quite concerned with.
But the similarities between Captain Atom and Firestorm are such that it's one of those stories that had to be told. I think the key to doing so is presenting it in such a way that, if you weren't reading JT Krul's fine Captain Atom series (which you should have been!), you don't feel lost. There are obvious comparisons and similarities between CA and Firestorm that made it a bit of a natural.
How long do you think it'll be until you can top the giant bunny suit?
I don't know... but I'll have to try, won't I?
Quite honestly, that's the kind of thing that makes Firestorm a fun character. It's consistent with the age and approach of who he is.
Is Ronnie just not at all concerned about the possibility that they're being watched? He calls Jason by both his first AND last names.
I think it goes to my earlier point-- he's a kid. He is not at all refined in the concept of being a hero or protecting secrets. I don't think it occurs to him that he's being monitored any more than a typical kid sitting at computer might suspect his actions are being tracked and recorded.
Beyond that, my general theory is that when he refers to Jason as "Rusch man", it sounds like "rush man" to anyone listening. Hardly a solid tip.
(And right after he decked Relay for being inside their heads, thinking she might figure it out)
As I said above-- lack of refinement and awareness of the game. Especially on Ronnie's part, who's far more brash.
This quantum field thing is dangerous in that it only seems to affect Firestorm, so it could theoretically be deployed anywhere, or laid down over a broad area, right? Or am I missing something?
In terms of this specific story, no. It was unique to that specific segment of that particular S.T.A.R. Labs facility, and, later, DataXen's interior chamber.
When you've got a character who's operating on an alpha level power scale, is it always a card you've got in your back pocket that you just kind of explode your way out of things? It seems like it would give some stress relief to somebody who's always holding back.
Not always, as I think it has to fit the character.
With Superman, for example, I always had the general thought that, because he spent so much time hiding his powers as Clark Kent, that even as Superman he had a tendency to operate at less than 100% of strength. I alway felt he had something in reserve.
With Thor, I always felt he was capable of going zero-to-sixty in a heartbeat. He was a warrior who held nothing back.
For Firestorm, my theory is that he simply doesn't know what he's capable of yet. I also think he's a bit afraid of what will happen if he ever does cut loose.
I do like the passive-aggressive way Jason goes after him re: Tonya. Is that a dynamic that will play itself out quickly or something that we'll continue to see?
Yes. The relationship between Jason and Ronnie is the spine of the book. Tonya is part of that as well.
And do you ever worry about that kind of thing turning into a Lois-Clark-Superman love triangle and getting stale?
Relationships, when well written, are never stale.
Besides, the only similarity between the two would be the fact that it's a triangle. Anything that develops between Jason/Ronnie/Tonya is vastly different, and in a way, more complicated, because they're teens. At that age, problems tend to be magnified.
Now, Captain Atom looks much, much different from the last time we saw him...or at least the last time I did, as I admit I bailed with a few issues to go in the series. What happened to the mohawk and the Dr. Mahnattan hue?
First, that's not my style. I felt he looked a bit like a ghost floating through his stories... a bit intangible. I wanted something more solid. Black line provides that.
As for removing the smoke mohawk, that was Dan DiDio's idea.
All of it is built around the idea of making him less human-- more removed from what he was.
Obviously Firestorm uses the same atomic shorthand around his powers often, but was it intentional that you kinda buried the Captain Atom logo on the cover of this issue?
Not quite sure what you mean.... there is no Captain Atom logo on the cover, or any mention of him.
Now that he's back to silver, what will you guys be doing with Cap to differentiate his newly-shaven look from Silver Surfer?
More bulk-- a far less graceful figure than SS is. As well as the chest symbol, of course!
Has Ronnie's middle name always been Roy? Oh, the alliteration!
It is now, named after his famous uncle.
Will Conway continue to coach the basketball team or will we get to meet another new coach come time for that?
No, coach Conway only handles the football team. It'd be a different coach for the hoops squad!
I have admittedly limited experience with Firestorm but I feel like swapping in a new brain into the equation is a go-to move when storytelling with the character. How do you keep that fresh?
First, it's important not to get stuck in the idea.
Second, because of the way Firestorm is "built", I think there's a rather unique approach we can take to make it fresh.
is the "don't go there" a little wink-and-a-nod to the kind of overt racial overtones we saw in the beginning of the series?
Most emphatically, yes.
So--what happens to the guys when they vanish here?
We'll find out on page one of issue 15!
And what was the deal behind changing the cover to the next issue? Did it have to do with the character's altered look or was it just a matter of going with something a little more dynamic? (feel free to reuse the answer you gave me privately if it's suitable for publication).
We changed it for a couple of reasons.
First of all, that cover was done before I'd actually pencilled the interior to #14. Once I started doing so, we decided to adjust Captain Atom's appearance.
Secondly, we simply decided to go with something a little more dramatic.