An accident has occurred at the Shogun Oil platform off the coast of Japan, spilling oil into the ocean. Environmental activist Mai Miyazaki guides her sailboat close to the platform to protest. A worker fires a flare gun at Miyazaki's boat, and she tumbles into the sea, emerging as the enraged Water Elemental, Naiad. Firestorm talks with Rasputin and learns more of his background. Firestorm visits the Raymond home and the dacha of Nina Arkadin. In Russia, Firestorm helps battle a wildfire and then learns of the strange Elemental near Japan. In Ogaden, Swamp Thing appears at Firestorm's Eden.
Off the coast of Alaska…On a churning sea, a protestor on a sailboat approaches a huge oil rig. Helicopters float overhead evacuating the crew of the rig. The protestor aims a megaphone at the oil rig.
“Murderers! Fools!” the protestor yells. “Don’t you realize that as you kill the seas, you kill us all?! You abandon your platform of death as you abandon your responsibilities! But the world will hear! The world will know! This I vow!”
She guides her little sailboat, the Naiad, through the waves, holding tight to the sail ropes in the wind. “It shames me to admit we were born in the same country!” the protestor cries out. “Shogun Oil’s blatant and consistent disregard for the safety of the hydrosphere dishonors Nippon before the world! Here again is the same monumental arrogance that led to the atrocities on Manchuria in the last World War, only now we practice them on the silent and undefended sea - - against the Mother of All Life on this planet!”
The protestor’s face is speckled by raindrops in the brisk wind. She guides the sailboat closer in to the massive oil rig. “It is a murder-suicice pact, global genocide!” she yells up towards the platform high above. “Oil such as this blocks out energy from the Sun, affecting the carbon dioxide conversion process necessary to the maintenance of the entire food chain! In the United States coastal waters alone, one metric ton of oil is spilled into the sea each year for every million metric tons transported! And Shogun’s safety record is the worst!”
Two men stand on the railing of the towering oil platform. The giant letters ‘SHOGUN OIL’ shine out from the edge just below them. “Last of the crew is gone, sir,” one says. “We’re the only ones left.”
“Who is this cow?” the other asks, staring down at the protestor on her sailboat far below.
“Mai Miyazaki,” explains his companion. “Radical environmentalist. Too radical for Greenpeace. She was advocating violent confrontations with companies like us. She was here for three days, yelling at us, before the accident occurred.”
“So, I have heard of Miss Miyazaki. A real Joan of Arc,” the man replies. He stands in a trenchcoat, its collar blown up by the wind. “Hum. These crusader types give me a pain! Of course, crusaders often become martyrs. And didn’t Joan of Arc die by fire?”
The worker next to him smiles under his hard hat. He steps away to a wall. He breaks the glass of a cabinet labeled ‘Emergency Flare Gun’, and reaches in to remove the weapon.
“I am witness to how your company’s negligence has coated these waters with oil almost six inches deep!” Mai yells through her megaphone. “And I will bear witness before the world of your crimes!”
The worker aims the flare gun at the sailboat.
“This time there shall be no escape...!” Mai yells. Suddenly, her eyes widen. “No…!” she gasps.
PHOOMP! The flare gun fires! BROAAR! The flare shoots towards the sailboat, strikes it, and the little boat erupts in flames! “YAAAAHHH!!!” Mai cries in horror. Fire stretches out and her clothes burst into flame. Oil on the surface of the ocean begins to burn. “GYAAAAHHHHH!” Mai screams. She leaps overboard!
The two men watch for a moment, then turn and run toward a nearby helipad. “Hurry!” the worker directs. “This is the last helicopter!”
The two men scramble aboard the helicopter. The pilot turns to them as they enter. “What happened?!” he asks in shock.
“That mad environmentalist set herself on fire and the seas aflame! Quickly! Get us out of here!” the trenchcoat-wearing man orders. SHWUPASHWUPASHWUPA! The helicopter slowly lifts off.
Coated with oil, the still-burning form of Mai Miyazaki sinks into the sea. She is burning and drowning at the same time. Her soul screams for release from the horror of pain that her body has become. And then something touches her…
“Daughter..,” a voice calls to her in the depths.
SHWUP! SHWUP! SHWUP! The helicopter rotors strain in the winds as it gains altitude. “What is happening in the water?” the trenchcoat man asks. He stares down at a strange, bubbling area of water where the sailboat once floated.
SHA-WHOOOOSH! Suddenly, a gigantic, ethereal woman surges up from the water! She stretches into the air, buffeting the helicopter as she rises.
“What is that?!” yells the trenchcoat man.
“It’s Miyazaki!” shouts the pilot.
The huge ethereal woman reaches her hand out, smashing through the tail section of the helicopter. KRASH! “AIIIEEE!” screams the pilot.
“This…is what caused my death!” Miyazaki says, scowling at the Shogun Oil platform. “This is what’s killing me!” THWOM! She pounds her fist down through the platform, shattering it in a cascade of broken metal.
She reacts without thinking, striking out against the pain and horror. And so doing, she unleashes more pain and horror! “YAAAAAHHHHHH!” Miyazaki rages.
Broken. The well spurts more crude oil from the world’s veins onto the blazing sea, where it ignites with the oil already burning there. The newborn Water Elemental writhes!
Elsewhere, as twilight descends…Krakle! A campfire burns. A solitary man sits next to it, quietly smoking his pipe. FWOOMP! Suddenly, the flames of the campfire take form. “Rasputin!” Firestorm calls out.
“Ah! You’ve figured out how to do that, have you!” Rasputin replies.
“I’m surprised to find you still here,” Firestorm answers.
“I’m mildly precognitive, Comrade,” Rasputin says. “I knew you would have more questions to ask about yourself, so I stayed where you could find me. You do have questions, have you not?”
“Yes! And you will answer them!” Firestorm answers.
“Perhaps,” Rasputin replies. “But to share knowledge is to share power and that always has a price. Are you willing to pay that price?”
“Yes, yes! Whatever it is!” Firestorm says.
“That we can determine later,” Rasputin continues. “But, for now, please - - your questions.”
“I feel myself torn by different desires,” Firestorm begins. “Part of the time I am seized by anger and wish to purge the Earth with fire! I am checked by the memories and emotions for those I cared for in my human lives! Yet doesn’t this betray my very purpose for being? If I am not here to cleanse the world by fire - - why am I here?”
“You are not the first Fire Elemental, remember?” Rasputin adds. “Past incarnations have been mythologized both as Prometheus - - the giver of fire and friend of man - - and Surtur, who destroyed the world with flame. You are made of two natures, one of which is human. The one balances against the other. But you know all this. What is really bothering you, eh?”
“Can they ever return? My human selves?” Firestorm asks, somberly looking down at the campfire.
“Do you want them to return?” Rasputin asks.
“I…I…I DON’T KNOW!” Firestorm yells, suddenly bursting upwards on a trail of light. He quickly rises up into the night sky.
“You are impulsive, Firestorm - - reckless, even,” Rasputin says as he watches him go. “Fly as fast and far as you want; you will fly only into your own fears!”
New York City. Firestorm phases through an apartment wall, standing alone in a bedroom. “Where am I?” he asks. “Why did I come here? Where is ‘here’?!”
The bedroom door opens and Felicity Smoak-Raymond steps in. “Good Lord! Firestorm!” she gasps.
“Forgive me, Mrs. Raymond! I didn’t mean to come back here!” Firestorm blurts, turning to phase back through the wall.
“Wait!” Felicity cries out. Firestorm pauses, standing partially in the room and partially through the wall. “Firestorm, I don’t know how much of you is still Ron but you must have come here because you needed to come here! Please! If you need to talk, let’s talk!”
“Honey? What is it? What’re you doing in Ron’s room?” Ed Raymond asks. He steps inside the bedroom and sees Firestorm. “You!” he says with a scowl and clenched fist. “Give me back my son, you monster! Give me back my son!!!”
Felicity turns to her husband, reaching her arms around his shoulders to restrain him. “Ed! No!” she warns him.
“Your son no longer exists! There is only me!” Firestorm answers. “FIRESTORM!” He turns away. FZAAM! He phases through a window and flies into the sky. “FIRESTORM!” he bellows.
Ed reaches after him. KRASH! His hand smashes through the window glass. “Give me back my son!” he yells. “You hear me?! Give me back my son!!!”
Felicity reaches for him. He stands in the window, blood streaming down his hand onto the jagged, broken glass. “Ed..!” she says.
“Give…him…back..!” Ed sobs, turning into her arms. They slowly sink together to the floor below the window.
A fireball streaks over the ocean, heading east over Europe. A small dacha outside of Moscow. A girl sits on the grass outside the home. The shadow of a man appears in between the long shadows of the nearby trees.
“Hm?” Sofia Arkadin asks softly, turning to look at the man.
“Don’t be scared,” Firestorm tells her, landing in the grass next to her.
“I’m not. Who are you?” Sofia replies. She stands, clutching a small cluster of flowers in her hand.
“A friend,” Firestorm answers.
“Why is your hair on fire?” Sofia asks.
“The fire is my hair,” Firestorm explains.
“Does it hurt?” Sofia asks.
“No,” Firestorm answers.
Nina Arkadin walks out of the dacha. “Our children are just fine, Firestorm,” she says.
“I…uh…no. Not mine,” Firestorm says, turning to look at Nina.
“Wait, Firestorm!” Nina says quickly. “I just wanted you to know that, wherever the children and I are, you will always be welcome.”
Firestorm leaps into the sky, quickly flying away. Nina reaches her hand to her daughter’s shoulder. Sofia waves her mittened hand. “Bye!” Sofia says as she watches Firestorm disappear into the clouds.
“Now where do I go? Where do I run? Where do I hide?” Firestorm thinks as he flies. “For that is what I am doing, isn’t it - - hiding. Rasputin was correct - - I am mortal. It seems I must also accept that I am, in part at least, human! But the other part of me, the Elemental part, still sees! I am angry with what man has done to this world! Part of me still wants to destroy them! Surtur or Prometheus - - which path do I walk?! Mother Earth, give me a sign!”
Firestorm flies low over the ground. He spots something amiss down below. “Smoke. The forest burns. Did man cause this blaze?” he wonders. He flies towards the smoke. Just ahead, a forest fire rages. “This decides me,” he thinks.
Firestorm lands along the fire line where several firefighters work. “You there! I am Firestorm,” he calls to them. “Tell me - - how did this fire start?”
“Lightning set ‘er off,” an exhausted firefighter explains. “The tinder’s all dry and the whole forest is going up like paper! Y’see, normal policy is to just let the fire burn itself out. Clears out the underbrush, they say, so new life can poke through, see? But the recent drought has got everything too dry! This fire ain’t burning itself out, see? It’s out of control and everything’s gonna go! The toll’s gonna be terrible! This entire region’s gonna be devastated for a whole generation! The entire ecosystem - - down the tubes!”
The firefighter walks close to Firestorm. “Look, I seen you on the TV. I know who you are,” he says. “Could you give us a hand, maybe? Create a backfire or firewall so we can bring this thing under control?”
Firestorm nods and floats upwards. “I, can do better than that,” he replies. “All you flames, heed me! Hear my call! Come to me! COME TO ME!”
SWOOOOM! The fire sweeps up and away from the forest. In an instant, the flames leave the forest. “YAAAH-HOOOO! WHOOOO! YAY, FLAMEHEAD!” the firefighters cry out happily.
Firestorm lands back among them and they crowd around him. “Way to go, pal! You can be a firefighter any time!” one smiles.
“Hey, buddy! Smokey the Bear wants to adopt you!” another says, shaking Firestorm’s hand.
“I like this!” Firestorm thinks.
“Yo, ‘Storm! You heard about this?!” a firefighter says, holding up his walkie-talkie. “Radio says a huge oil slick off Alaska has caught fire! There’s some gigantic creature made o’ water that they t’ink caused it! You game?”
“Yes. Tell the authorities I am on my way and will deal with that crisis as well!” Firestorm replies with a smile of determination and purpose. “Tell them - - tell them they have nothing to fear from Firestorm. I have decided I am mankind’s friend!”
Firestorm leaps into the sky, racing upwards. “YAAAAY! GO GET ‘EM, ‘STORMY!” the firefighters call up to him. He races across the ocean above the Bering Sea. Up ahead, the burning Shogun Oil platform looms.
“It is as they said!” Firestorm thinks as he approaches. “Well, first I will deal with the spill and then will deal with the one who caused it!”
Suddenly, a voice yells out to him. “DIE!!!” screams the huge watery, ethereal form of Mai Miyazaki. “Fire killed me, fire torments me! I will put an end to torment, and end to death, by slaying the Man of Fire! I swear this! I…NAIAD!”
Ogaden, East Africa…The valley called…Eden! Snap! Krak! Russstle! A figure takes form and stands. Swamp Thing walks slowly, reaching for a strange pink orb covered with vines.
The green…has been disrupted…The land has been warped…down to the sub-molecular level! First…this must be set to rights…If I can. And then…whatever caused this abomination…must be found…and dealt with!