Firestorm drops in on Cliff Carmichael outside Bradley High School. Professor Stein flies to the Mohole One project in the Arctic Circle, invited there by a former student who needs Stein's experimental condensor unit for the prototype Thermafrost energy generating system. A freak accident in the Thermafrost unit creates...Killer Frost!
“Ronald, this is outrageous! You may indeed be late for school, but I’m overdue at a military airbase!” Professor Stein cries out in irritation as Ronnie dives down out of the sky over Bradley High School. “Our dual identity as Firestorm is a privilege and a responsibility - - not an alternative for the subway!” Stein chides, asking, “Ronald are you listening?” Ronnie focuses intently on his target below. “I hear you, Professor Stein, but I just caught sight of a worm I know,” Ronnie replies, “So ‘scuse me while I give the creep a thrill!”
Ronnie swoops at high speed out of the sky right above…Cliff Carmichael! “YAAH!” Cliff yells in out in surprise, dropping his textbooks as he dodges out of the way. Firestorm turns and lands quickly next to Cliff. “Y-You’re that Firestorm guy, the one all the newspapers are writing about!” Cliff stammers, nervously looking up at the Nuclear Man, asking, “Wh-Wha-What’re you doing at Bradley High - - a-an-and what do you want - - with me?”
Ronnie leans down menacingly, grabbing Cliff by the shirt. “Clifford Carmichael - - I want words with you,” Ronnie snarls through gritted teeth, “My sources claim you referred to me as a ‘mental midget - - hung up on violence!’ Is that true?” Cliff answers hesitantly, “M-Maybe I was a l-little rash,” he sputters, gasping, “Urrk!” Ronnie scowls at him. “I’ll warn you once, Carmichael…Nobody likes a smart mouth, and if you’re making cracks about me…or anyone…I’ll plant you where you’ll bring up roses!” Ronnie threatens. “Ga-ga-yulp!” Cliff stutters back anxiously.
Ronnie releases Cliff’s shirt and Cliff sits back cowering. “Aw, lookit the guy - - I’ve scared him so much he’s speechless! This is just too easy!” Ronnie thinks as he leaps skyward. “Are you done, Ronald?” asks an impatient Professor, adding, “If so, there’s a slim chance I can still catch my plane…provided you ferry me out to Long Island!”
Ronnie turns sharply and comes to a landing near Bradley High. “Sorry, Professor, no can do!” he answers. Stein grows frustrated. “What? Ronald, I may be the dormant persona in our dual ego, but I resent the way you cavalierly hauled me from my Westchester nuclear lab - - all the way into Manhattan - - just so you could intimidate your high school rival!” he complains. Ronnie walks them to an isolated spot. “I said I was sorry, okay?” he answers.
Martin Stein’s persona replies with angry silence, which lasts until the Nuclear Man drops into a concealing alley - - concentrates - - and splits, once again, into teenaged student - - and middle-aged scientist.
Then… “How on Earth did I get here?” Professor Stein asks in disoriented bewilderment. He rubs his forehead and glances around. “I should be on Long Island…at the airfield!” he frets anxiously, “My God, I must have had another black-out…the fourth since the accident at my nuclear plant!” He starts walking out of the alley towards the street. “Am I losing my mind?” he worries, “Lord in Heaven - - what’s been happening to me?”
Ronnie walks back toward Bradley High, looking over his shoulder at the confused Professor. “I feel lousy about this,” Ronnie thinks, “treating the Professor and our ‘Firestorm’ persona like a private taxicab…but heck, I didn’t ask for this scene, did I?” Ronnie heads in to his locker and gets his textbooks for class. “It’s too bad the Prof never remembers being Firestorm,” he thinks, “But that’s because he was unconscious when we were hit by all that radiation…”
Ronnie looks up and sees his nemesis Cliff Carmichael approaching. “Uh-oh! Here comes Carmichael!” Ronnie thinks, “I better get ready for a real put down.” Ronnie calls out, “Uh…Hi, Cliff. What’s doing?” Cliff walks with his head down, looking somewhat demoralized. He glances up at Ronnie and returns his gaze to the floor as he shuffles past. “Oh…Hello, Raymond,” Cliff says softly, “Have a nice day…seeya later…” Ronnie smiles as his defanged rival continues down the hallway. “Well, now I know one way to keep that big mouth zipped,” Ronnie thinks happily, “though it’s kinda like swatting flies with a bazooka…”
Doreen spots Ronnie in the hallway. “Say, there’s Ronnie! I wonder what he’s doing after the basketball game tonight?” she thinks, calling out, “Howdy, handsome. Got a date for the…” Her voice trails off as Ronnie walks away without noticing her. “Still, even though scaring Cliff with Firestorm isn’t the sort of thing I’d do twice, it’s nice to know it’s there!” Ronnie smiles as he heads to class, “Now if only I could figure a way to use the Professor’s smarts to help me pass my chemistry exam…”
“Ronnie? Ronnie?” Doreen calls to him. He keeps walking, lost in his daydreaming. “Of all the nerve! He didn’t even hear me!” she thinks with a touch of irritation, “Either that - - or I’ve just been dumped! I’ll give him one more chance after school, and if he ignores me again…”
A huge military transport jet takes off from an Air Force base on Long Island. Professor Stein, able to make his flight, worries about his punctuality. “My apologies for being late, General Casper,” he explains, “but I was - - ah - - detained in Manhattan for an emergency meeting.” The General eyes Stein a bit skeptically. “Could you explain to me again, why I’m needed so desperately in the Arctic?” Stein asks.
“It’s not you, Stein, it’s your experimental condenser,” the General replies, “The brain-boys up at Mohole One are trying to find ways to use heat from the Earth’s core for energy…They built the plant in the Arctic so they could use the natural cold for cooling and superconducting...” Stein opens his briefcase and lifts out his prototype. “…but they need this condenser to make the system practical!” Stein continues, “I understand now, General.” The General nods, adding gruffly, “Then let’s zip it, Mister. We’ve got a ten hour trip ahead of us - - and if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a trap-flapping egghead!”
And so, ten and a half hours of uneasy silence later, the Arctic clouds part before the descending Air Force craft to reveal - - “Mohole One, Stein!” General Casper announces, “Take a good look - - it just might be the last hope of an energy-starved world!” The jet lands a few minutes later and taxis near the sprawling complex.
“Obviously, Casper doesn’t think much of my own work with nuclear reactors…not that I blame the man,” Stein thinks as he walks down the stairs from the jet. “Even with the highest safety standards, such as those on the plant I designed myself - - a reactor is still a dreadfully chancy device,” he thinks, “If this Mohole project can relieve the energy problem, perhaps I should shift my efforts, or…eh? That woman - - waving at me…”
Stein steps off the stairs to a group that has assembled on the tarmac awaiting the jet’s arrival. One woman began waving to him as soon as he emerged from the plane. Stein walks up to meet her. “Lord in Heaven, it’s Crystal - - Crystal Frost!” Stein exclaims in surprise, “I haven’t seen you in years, since you were my student at Hudson University!” She gives him a warm smile as he rests his hands on her shoulders to take a good look at her. “It’s Doctor Frost now, Martin. I’ve come a long way,” she explains, “The cooling system on this plant is mostly my design - - in fact, you’re here on my recommendation…”
A man behind Dr. Frost steps up impatiently. “Don’t hog the man, Frost,” he interjects, adding, “Professor Stein, my name’s Loew…and I’m Project Director for Mohole One.” Loew turns to two other men next to him. “This is Doctor French and Professor Clair,” he continues, adding, “We’re all looking forward to working with you.” Dr. Frost looks perturbed that she has been pushed out of the way. Dr. French extends a handshake to Stein. “Zair is much we have to discuss, mon ami,” French says. Clair nods in agreement. “Quite. Your paper on thermal resistance was truly illuminating, Stein,” he adds, suggesting, “Let’s get inside - - out of the cold.”
Dr. Frost fumes at her colleagues. “Yes, why don’t you?” she thinks, “And while you’re at it, ignore me completely?” She stands watching the men exchanging pleasantries. “It’s been this way since the project started. This male clique…isolating me, shutting me out…simply because of my gender!” she thinks angrily. “Well, now that Martin’s here, that will change…”, she figures, announcing to the others, “Gentlemen, if you don’t mind…Professor Stein came here for a purpose. With your permission, I’ll show him our problem.”
Soon, in the massive refrigeration unit which dominates several acres of the project compound… “Don’t let the others mislead you, Martin…This is my brain-child,” Dr. Frost explains as she and Stein observe the huge and complex system. Dr. Frost raises her arms with pride as she looks over her creation. “Because of the tremendous heat we’ll soon be piping up from the planetary core, we need a super-efficient system,” she explains, “This…What I call the Thermafrost!” Stein surveys the complicated machinery and equipment. “An automatic relay keeps the temperature in here comfortable when the central door is open,” Frost continues, “But when it’s shut - - the unit drops to minus 1000 degrees Centigrade - - instantly!” Frost leads him along the pathway next to the machinery. “If you’ll step outside, I’ll show you where the difficulty lies…” she directs him as Stein makes some adjustments to his condenser prototype.
“It’s so good to be near him again, to know that we’re finally together, after all these years…” Dr. Frost thinks happily. “All my life, I’ve wanted only one thing…To be respected for myself, not for my womanhood or my beauty,” she recalls, “Throughout childhood, I was constantly tormented by my peers for my aloofness…but I’d hoped, when I entered college, that the tormenting would stop…”
Dr. Frost’s mind drifts back to her time at Hudson University. “For a time it seemed that it had,” she remembers, “Studying engineering physics under Professor Stein, I found myself accepted as a scholar first, a woman second…I think that’s when I fell in love with Martin Stein…and I believe he secretly fell in love with me…As for other men - - I found them boring, patronizing and aggressive. None of them desired me for my mind, as I’m sure Martin did.”
She thinks back to encounters with men on campus. “When I snubbed them, they called me ‘The Ice Maiden,’ because they thought I was afraid of love…” she thinks, “But the truth is, I’ve never been afraid. I’ve only wanted one man, a man who would treat me as an equal…not like Loew or French or that idiot Clair. They ignore me because of my womanhood…but Martin…”
Stein examines the equipment as she reminisces. “I think I understand your problem, Crystal,” he announces, “You’re pulling too much power through your condensers. Using my device…” Dr. Frost peels off her glasses and walks up behind Professor Stein. She wraps her arms around him, resting her head just behind his shoulder.
“To hell with the project, Martin. Isn’t it time we were honest with ourselves?” she tells him softly, “I love you, Martin. You see me as more than a woman…” Stein is shocked by her amorous advance. “Of course I do, Crystal. You’re a scientist, I’m a scientist…How else should I see you?” he answers a bit nervously, “And what in God’s name has all that got to do with love?” Dr. Frost’s smile melts away and she looks horrified. “You - - don’t - - love me?” she asks in dismay. “Crystal, I’m confused,” Stein answers, “Didn’t you ask me here to help you with the cooling system?” Dr. Frost anxiously steps away. “Yes! No! I…” she stammers, “Damn you! Of all the men in the world, I thought you’d understand me! But you don’t care!” She turns and starts to storm off. “Crystal, what…?” Stein asks. “Oh, go talk with the rest of the men!” she scoffs, “I hope this gives you all a good laugh!”
She walks alone back to the Thermafrost unit, upset and emotional from Stein’s rejection of her feelings for him. “I should have known. I was a fool to think Stein would be different…but like every man, he’s blind…and stupid!” she fumes. “How could I have made such a fool of myself?” she ponders, “Behaving like some schoolgirl, simpering and whining - - as though I needed him! It’s not like me, not like me at all!”
She notices the door ajar to the system’s interior. “Eh? The Thermafrost unit - - we left the self-locking door open!” she worries, “As long as it’s open, the unit holds a normal temperature…and the unit isn’t build to operate in such heat! Some crucial element might have been damaged!” She hastily walks inside to check the system. “This is all Martin’s fault! If he hadn’t distracted me, I would have seen this…”
Suddenly her shoulder bumps the door and it starts to swing closed. “Oh my God,” Dr. Frost gasps in horror, yelling, “The door - - I’ve knocked it shut!” She watches helplessly as the door latches closed, automatically triggering the unit to instantly plunge the room temperature to minus 1000 degrees Centigrade!
Several hours later, Dr. Frost’s absence has been noticed by her colleagues and they gather near the Thermafrost unit. “…no sign of Doctair Frost anywhere, mon ami,” Dr. French observes in his heavy accent, “We have searched zee compound twice in zee past two hours. She is nowhere!” Stein shakes his head with worry. “I can’t help feeling this is my fault…” he says somberly. “You can’t mean that, Stein,” Clair questions.
Stein sighs. “I do, Clair,” Stein explains, “As a student, Crystal was always withdrawn…perhaps psychotically so. She seemed to be in constant conflict with herself…and because I once tried to draw her out I’m afraid she misinterpreted my motives…When we were talking earlier, she said…” Loew quickly interrupts, asking, “Where? Where were you talking?” Stein nods at the unit. “Here, outside the Thermafrost unit,” he replies, “Then she told me to go away, and I…” His voice trails off with fear. “Lord…you don’t suppose…?” he asks nervously.
Doctor Loew rushes for the door, grabbing the locking wheel. “Quick! Someone help me get this door unlocked!” he cries out, “Maybe the unit malfunctioned! Doctor Frost might still be alive, by some miracle! But we’ve got to hurry!” He finally forces the locking wheel to budge, rotating it quickly to unlock the heavy sealing door. “There! It’s opening!” he says, warning, “Stand back, there’ll be a blast of cold air from…” Stein peers inside. “Great Jehoshaphat!” he yells in horror, “Someone’s in there! Moving! It’s Crystal!
TRABOOM! The door blasts open and a huge angry tempest of frozen air sweeps out from the Thermafrost unit! The group of men is blown back helplessly by the power. A female form slowly emerges from inside. “Wrong, Martin Stein! Crystal Frost is dead, killed by your rejection! And the instant she died - - Killer Frost was born!” she hisses as she walks towards them. “Something happened in that super-cold Thermafrost,” she explains, “Every atom and molecule in my body has been frozen…crystallized!” She walks next to Dr. Loew and reaches her hand to his chin. “You men once called me an Ice Maiden,” she says, “Now you’ll see how right you were…” She kisses Dr. Loew. Instantly, he freezes solid!
The other men look on in terror and scramble to get away. “What’s wrong, Martin? You’re running from me,” Killer Frost calls, asking, “Don’t you love me anymore? Won’t you hold me in your arms?” She walks slowly after them, the body of Dr. Loew standing behind her. A look of horror is on Loew’s face, his body covered head-to-toe in arctic blue ice. “Or are you afraid…you’ll become…like him?” she asks.
Several armed soldiers suddenly appear in the corridor. They sprint toward the Thermafrost unit with their rifles at ready. “What’s this? You’ve called the Project Security Force?” Killer Frost says as she watches the guards approach.
“Cripes, what kinda girl is that?” a soldier asks in shock. “Whatever she is, we better surround her till General Casper gets here!” another answers. “The scientists have all fled! It’s just us…” a third soldier yells to his squad mates.
“True, fool! And soon it shall be - - just me!” Killer Frost shrieks at them. She raises her hands, pointing at the soldiers, and…SHHSH! Icy beams flow from her fingertips into the oncoming men. Instantly, ice begins to form over them!
“She’s throwin’ ice!? Lookout, before it - - AAAHH!” a soldier cries out. “Unn - - freezing over! Can’t move! Can’t even - - yuhh!” another groans as super-cold waves flood his body.
With a brittle laugh like ice breaking, Killer Frost rises on a swirl of cold air, in swift pursuit of the fleeing scientists - - and one scientist in particular named Stein!
And, at that very moment in Manhattan’s Bradley High...The gymnasium stands are filled with students and spectators to watch tonight’s basketball game. “Ha! I’ve got you cornered, Hamilton! Ain’t no way you can make the basket from here!” a defender yells. “I can’t,” Hamilton answers, “But Ronnie can! Do it brother!” Hamilton feeds a pass to his teammate Ronnie trailing the play. Ronnie grabs the ball and dribbles to the post. He jumps and shoots and…
“It’s a score by Ronnie Raymond!” the P.A. announcer calls excitedly, “Bradley High leads by twelve points!” The crowd cheers happily as the teams start the next play. “Go, Ronnie, go! Go, Ronnie, go!” yell several students. “Heeeey Ronnie!” Doreen sings out to him as he runs in front of her. “I don’t care if I am mad at him!” she thinks, “Ronnie makes the rest of these guys look like they’re standing still!”
Ronnie jogs into position. “Wow, I just wish Dad were here tonight, instead of at his newspaper!” he thinks as he surveys the happy crowds, “It’s great to feel part of something - - to have people like you! After all the other schools I’ve gone to, this is…” He suddenly recognizes his girlfriend waving to him excitedly. “Hey, there’s Doreen!” he thinks.
Something unusual near her catches his eye. “But - - isn’t that Principal Hapgood in the row behind her?” Ronnie thinks, “He looks upset - - worried! Who’s that guy he’s talking to?” A man in a long tan trench coat leans next to Hapgood. He rests his hand on Hapgood’s shoulder and his wide-brimmed hat is pulled low, obscuring his face. “Dr. Hapgood is one of Dad’s oldest friends!” Ronnie thinks, “If something’s wrong with…” Hamilton’s voice nearby interrupts Ronnie’s thoughts. “Wake up, Ronnie!” Hamilton yells, “It’s your ball - - Go, my man, go!”
But fate is about to deal Ronnie Raymond an unkind blow, for, simultaneously - - many miles to the north… “You’ve reached a dead end, Martin Stein…Your own!” Killer Frost tells him ominously as she closes in. Stein cowers against a wall, cornered and unable to get away. “Kiss me, Martin! Kiss your scorned lover!” she says threateningly, “Kiss the lips of Killer Frost!” She clutches his head and kisses him!
“Yeow!” Ronnie yells out in shock. “All of a sudden, I’m freezing!” he thinks anxiously, “Only one possible reason - - something’s happening to Professor Stein!” Ronnie drops the ball and sprints off the court as his teammates look on in bewilderment. “Ronnie, are you nuts?” Hamilton calls to him, “It’s your shot!” Opponents scramble for the loose ball. “No time out was called!” the referee tells the players, “The ball is still in play!”
The crowd gasps, unable to comprehend Ronnie’s sudden turnover and quick departure. “Bradley High - - loses ball - - recovered by Rollins” the P.A. announcer calls out. “What a bozo!” Cliff snorts, “I knew it all along!” Doreen glances at Cliff. “Oh, Ronnie…” she worries.
But, in the locker room, out of sight of teammates and audience, Ronnie Raymond is undergoing a dramatic change, a change that sends him hurtling through space instantaneously - - to form the composite Nuclear Man…
“Holy Hannah! This is danger?” Ronnie thinks as he looks in the instant after fusion to find himself in the arms of a woman that is kissing him. “Wow, I could handle this sort of trouble all the time!” Ronnie thinks, kissing her back, “I must’ve misread the Prof’s signals, but just so the trip isn’t a total waste, I’ll - - huh?” He quickly feels something amiss. “What’s going on? I can’t break away - - and I’m starting to ice up!” Ronnie thinks nervously, “I’m freezing!” Ice starts to form across his face as he struggles to pull away.
It takes only seconds, and then, drawing back, Killer Frost finally sees her victim, and snarls with anger… “Impossible! Somehow Martin slipped away while I was reaching for him, leaving this costumed fool in his place!” she rages. She quickly turns and moves away, floating mysteriously a few feet above the floor. “He may have escaped me momentarily…but he will not stay hidden for long!” she vows as she heads off down the corridor.
Ronnie stands motionless, ice hanging thickly down from his body. “Professor…help me…” Ronnie pleads. Ice obscures his face, and the flames of his hair have gone out. “You can’t imagine my gratitude for your appearance, Ronald,” Stein answers, “but I can provide little help but advice! Only you can provide the decision to act! Use your nuclear heat, Ronald! Thaw yourself - - quickly, before the frost reaches your brain!”
Dimly, as though through a curtain, Firestorm hears distant shouts, the tinkling of ice, a high-pitched laugh…The sounds are a spur, and with an effort, he stirs his cold-numbed thoughts, and activates the atomic furnace of his body…while, in the distance, the shouts grow fewer…and fainter…with each passing moment! Seconds become minutes, and, when ten of those have passed, a threshold is reached - - and exceeded - - with a satisfying - - SHOOM!
Ronnie flexes his body and the ice crackles off and falls away! His hair erupts in nuclear fire! “I’ve cracked the ice! I’m free!” he cries out, leaping in pursuit of the Ice Maiden. “One thing I just don’t get, Professor: Why is it Ronnie always travels to where you are, when we become Firestorm?” Stein thinks for a few seconds, then looks at Killer Frost. “An interesting problem, Ronald,” he answers, “perhaps suited for pursuing another time.” Ronnie follows in the direction of the sounds down the corridor. “Gotcha, Professor,” he replies, “Once I pass through this wall, I can…”
Ronnie lowers his atomic density and phases through. “There she is!” he yells as he flies into the room. SKRASK! Killer Frost attacks, unleashing a barrage of jagged ice shards! “Whoops! So much for the benefit of surprise!” Ronnie thinks as he barely dodges the frozen daggers, “I blew that one - - big!”
Ronnie lands and aims his hands quickly at Killer Frost. He unleashes bursts of nuclear heat at her. “You better fill me in on this lady fast, Professor,” Ronnie asks, “But until you do, I’ll stall her with some heat blasts! After all, if she can toss icicles like spears, then she’ll probably just hate - - say what?”
Incredibly, Killer Frost smiles and basks in the radiant heat flowing from Firestorm, absorbing it with no apparent harm! “She’s eating it up!” Ronnie yells in disbelief, “She actually likes the heat treatment! But that doesn’t make sense!” Killer Frost seems to be gaining power. Ronnie halts the heat blasts. “She should be melting, and instead, she’s grinning - - and she’s stronger than ever!”
Killer Frost raises her hands above her head, aiming cold blasts into the ceiling. “Now what? Firing blasts of her ice-power into the ceiling?” Ronnie asks anxiously, asking, “Has she flipped - - or have I?” Suddenly, the ceiling collapses! “Gangway! Now I get it” Ronnie cries out, “Icing up the ceiling, she made it too heavy to support its own weight! It’s coming down like a hail of cannonballs! If even one of them hits me…” THOOM! KRASH!
Ronnie ducks and dodges the heavy debris. “Only one way to deal with that!” Ronnie exclaims, “Besides heat, I’ve got another nifty power: I can rearrange atomic structure with a flick of the wrist, changing those ice spears - - into half-pound snowflakes the size of Frisbees! Put that in your hat, Ice-Lady!” Killer Frost looks on in amazement. “Whoever you are - - whatever you are,” she gasps, “Your power is incredible!”
Ronnie turns to face her. “Glad you think so, sister - - ‘cause here’s where I use it on you!” Stein tries to stop him, yelling as Ronnie unleashes a restructuring burst, “Ronald, don’t try it! You’ve never used your nuclear touch on organic, living beings! The reaction is unpredictable!”
ZAWHOOM! The nuclear touch ricochets right back at Firestorm! “Yaaah!” Ronnie yells as the blast smashes into him, knocking him to the ground. “You sure called it, Professor…My blast must’ve boomeranged,” Ronnie says, rubbing his neck, “and it whomped me something fierce!” Killer Frost sees her target down and moves away around the hallway corner. “You may be dazed, Ronald, but apparently you’re not seriously injured,” Stein observes, adding, “Just don’t lose Doctor Frost!”
Ronnie quickly gets up and leaps down the corridor. “Lose her? If I had my way, I’d never go near that crazy lady again!” he replies, “See what I do for you, Prof? Still mad because I use us for a bus sometimes?” Stein replies, “I see that you are a complicated young man, Ronald. You have a good heart - - though you are somewhat immature!” Ronnie turns the corner and sees Killer Frost just ahead. “Oh, yeah? This conversation’s getting on my nerves, Prof!” he answers, “Why don’t we just put it on hold until after I - - yeeowie!
KRASH! A section of wall slams into Ronnie’s chest, knocking him back sharply! “You underestimated me, boy! Because of my femininity, you thought me weak!” Killer Frost yells out, “But I am strong! Strong!” The huge wall section settle to the ground on top of Firestorm! “This frozen wall will have flattened you…a pity, since I have so many questions!” Killer Frost says, asking, “Who were you? Why were you here? How did you get your powers? Now those questions will never be answered…” She kneels down next to the wall. She curls her hand around the edge to lift it, looking underneath. “Eh?” she blurts in surprise, “Gone?”
Below her, Ronnie looks up at the floor overhead. “Good thing I can alter my atoms to slip through solid objects…otherwise there’d be more on that floor than a puddle of melted ice! Whew!” he thinks as Killer Frost grows enraged. “So now what, Professor?” Ronnie asks, “Like the lady said, she’s a heckuva lot more powerful than I ever imagined! Which brings up a point you’ve never explained - - who is this Killer Frost cutie? And howcum she had you in a bearhug when I arrived?”
Stein sighs, explaining, “Crystal Frost is a sad woman, Ronald, a victim of social pressures which demanded more than she could provide…” Ronnie nods. “Too bad for her. I mean, I’m sorry she’s had a tough life - - but right now, she’s trying to kill us, so let’s drop the psychoanalysis stuff and figure a way out of this mess! She’s got ice powers - - what else?” Overhead, ice begins to seep through the ceiling from the floor above and faint cracking noises ring out. “Apparently, she also absorbs heat - - otherwise your nuclear fire would have melted her,” Stein explains. “Uh-huh…go on…” Ronnie listens.
Literally lost in conversation with himself, Firestorm doesn’t hear the creaking of freezing beams above him…Her hearing sensitized by her icy shell, Killer Frost has pinpointed the murmur of Firestorm’s voice, and though she can’t understand the words, she doesn’t really have to…She knows what she wants…and what she wants is his death!
SHOOM! Suddenly, the weakened floor gives way! Killer Frost plunges through on top of Firestorm! “Oboy!” Ronnie gasps, barely dodging out of her path. “Don’t you ever quit?” he asks, “This is getting monotonous!” She lands and gets to her feet, aiming another salvo of ice lances at him. “Ronald, I have it!” Stein announces excitedly. “So give it to me, already!” Ronnie tells him as he ducks.
“When you first arrived, you tried fighting her with heat…and we quickly realized that she was immune to temperature changes,” Stein rapidly explains, “But, Ronald, we were wrong!” Ronnie bends to dodge another ice barrage. “That’s what you think! I could toss this lady in a furnace and she wouldn’t even bat an eye!” Ronnie exclaims.
“Exactly, Ronald!” Stein continues, “To review - - she first showed herself when the Thermafrost unit was opened, and by opening the unit, we activated the automatic controls - - which raised the temperature instantly to ‘normal!’ Until then she was immobile - - frozen! In the same way, she absorbed heat from the men she kissed - - freezing them by the absence of warmth, not the presence of cold! This leads us to one conclusion, Ronald! Killer Frost needs warmth - - she thrives on it, lives for it! Without it - - she should be helpless!”
Ronnie quickly surveys the room. “And that gives me an idea!” he exclaims. He takes aim at Killer Frost. “Imbecile! What are you doing?” she shrieks at him, “You can’t harm me with your - - eh?” The bursts from Firestorm rocket past her and the walls begin to transform. Killer Frost looks back and forth around her quickly. “Or - - can you? You didn’t aim at me,” she blurts, “You’ve changed the atoms in the walls - - created some sort of - - refrigeration unit?”
Killer Frost trembles suddenly, feeling her energy weakening. “NO!” she yells, “You’ve turned this room into a Thermafrost unit!” Ronnie turns from her and lowers his atomic density. He thrusts himself through the wall. “Come back! You can’t do this!” Killer Frost yells after him.
Ronnie passes through the other side and quickly lands. He turns back, facing the Thermafrost unit’s window. “That’s where you’re wrong, Frost,” he calls back, aiming a nuclear burst into the system controls, “I’ve already activated the freezer…and it’s already begun…”
Killer Frost looks out at him through the window. “Noooooo! she cries. She steps next to the window, a thick pane of glass the only object between her face and Firestorm’s. “Please…I just wanted…to punish them for hurting me…Please don’t leave me…in here…please…” she begs tearfully. She quickly resumes her rage. “Damn you! You’re like the rest! Like all of them!” she yells in fury, “If I could get out, I’d kill you! Kill you! K-k-kill - - k-k-k-k-k….”
Her voice gets softer and softer. Slowly, she stops moving, her body frozen in an angry, tormented stance. Ronnie looks through the window into the unit at her. “Did…Did it have to be this way, Professor? I never wanted to hurt her…” Stein looks in at his anguished former student. “You had no choice, Ronald,” Stein says reassuringly, “Perhaps now, for the first time, you understand the responsibilities of your power…Perhaps the brash young boy…is becoming a man.” Ronnie walks slowly out of the Thermafrost unit area. He walks past a long line of frozen soldiers and scientists, encased in ice as if time has stopped. “I just wish it didn’t happen so fast…” Ronnie says softly. “It always does, Ronald,” Stein replies, “It always does.”