The awesomely named The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men is one of those titles I got more excited about over time. I'm not particularly invested in Jason, Ronnie, or the Firestorm concept, but I do like Gail Simone, and the Yildiray Cinar preview art we saw looked pretty fantastic. I really disliked both the Blackest Night Firestorm stuff and the Brightest Day storylines that came after, so seeing them rebooted was a bit of a relief. And mostly, the concept of Firestorm changing from two people to something on a more global scale was really cool to me. Seeing the way various characters use the Firestorm powers seems like it has great storytelling potential to me, and I'm glad to see the series breaking away from some of the aspects I never found to be entertaining.
The book opens on a dark scene that lets us know that the book's high school setting doesn't mean things are going to turn out okay. I think this opener is going to turn a lot of people off, especially those who think there's been too much violence in the new 52 comics, but the inclusion of some black humor really made it work for me. It was a sharp contrast to the book's next scene, which introduced Jason and Ronnie, and absolutely influenced the way I perceived the two characters and their problems. I don't think I'll have the patience for more than an issue or two of constant bickering when the stakes have been shown to be so high. On the other hand, seeing these characters have to confront real world issues on this scale could be pretty compelling, so it could go either way.
Ideas are introduced at a pretty breakneck pace throughout the issue, leaving readers with a lot to ponder before issue #2. I believe we get a glimpse of the new Killer Frost here, and I was genuinely surprised to see Cliff Carmichael make an appearance. There are a lot of easter eggs I'm probably missing out on because of my limited Firestorm knowledge- I could identify Firehawk in a panel, but not the characters around her- and I'd bet a bigtime Firestorm fan would be able to appreciate the book in a way I couldn't, reboot or no reboot. I think I'm more intrigued by where the comic might be going than I was by the issue itself. I really feel like I can't accurately predict what's going to happen, and that's awesome.
Yildiray Cinar does a beautiful job on the book's artwork, especially when rendering various Firestorms. I love the inclusion of the Kirby dots. His facial expressions and figure work are really strong, and the action scenes feel really kinetic. I believe Cinar inked his own pages, and I really like that he did it with such a light touch. It adds a real sense of motion to the flames we see throughout the issue, and makes Firestorm feel different on a whole different level. Steve Buccellato, the brother of Flash colorist Brian Buccellato, does a great job of adding atmosphere to the pages, and really highlight the best aspects of Cinar's work.
The comic is fairly accessible to new readers. Like Justice League Dark, I think the comic is more effective with some universe familiarity, but someone new to comics should be able to pick this up without running to Wikipedia. The pacing is a bit unusual, and I can see how that could make the comic feel confusing, but as long as you're willing to read the book twice, this shouldn't be an issue. The book ended on a bit of a weird point for me. It reminded me a little of the ending in this week's The Dark Knight, and it seemed a little silly and off in tone when compared to the rest of the issue. Because I read Dark Knight first, it's hard to say if I'm letting that influence my perception of the page, or if it's a genuine problem.
I'd recommend this issue to readers looking for a darker comic with some social commentary and less of a focus on superhero-dom. I'm not sure if this'll appeal to longtime Firestorm fans or not, but I suggest they at least flip through the issue to see if they can pick up on some cool stuff I missed. Even after reading through it three times, I'm still not sure how I feel about this comic. I am sure, however, that I'll be back for issue 2. Goofy ending or not, I really want to find out where this story is going to go. There's a lot of potential here, and I'm anxious to see it realized.