The first Firestorm was an amalgam of two people - high school student Ronnie Raymond and university professor Martin Stein.
Ronnie Raymond was new at his high school, he was a football and basketball player and just wanted to fit in. Ronnie tried to impress a girl named Doreen Day . He finally caught the attention of Doreen, only for a jerk named Cliff Carmichael to decide Ronnie was his rival. Cliff made Ronnie look like an idiot so he had to find a way to redeem himself, and impress Doreen. In order to achieve this task Raymond joined an anti-nuclear activist group led by Eddie Earhart. (Later it was noted that Earhart was using this group as a cover up for his criminal activities) Ronnie tried to stop them when their protests turned violent. The group wanted to blow up an experimental nuclear power facility that had been designed by Martin Stein. Unfortunately for Stein his former assistant Danton Black (later known as Multiplex) who he had fired after he claimed that he was the one who created the plant, and Stein stole his credit rigged the plant to explode. The Anti-Nuclear Activist group knocked Stein unconscious, and tied up Ronnie Raymond, thus leaving them both to die. Earhart told Raymond, that he would pin the explosion upon his head as he was planning to blow the facility up as well. The explosion then breached the nuclear reactor, and caused the atomic blast.
The explosion that followed fused them into one being. Ronnie being the one who physically controlled the body as he was the only one conscious during the blast, and Prof. Stein acting as a voice in the back of his mind. (usually portrayed as a disembodied head) Ronnie then realized that the explosion had given him extraordinary abilities. He had flaming hair, could shoot "fusion blasts" from his hands, phase through solid objects, and re-arrange atomic matter. They adopted the monicker Firestorm, and set out to be a hero.
When Raymond and Professor Stein split, however, problems emerged. Stein couldn't remember his time as Firestorm, and could not trigger the hero's manifestation. When his time as Firestorm ended, Stein would often find himself in a strange place or situation, with no memory of how he got there. He turned to alcohol and was bent on self-destruction. Unfortunately when Stein took to drinking, the Firestorm persona would sometimes appear inebriated when summoned. Eventually Ronnie revealed the truth about Firestorm to Professor Stein, and he slowly began to remember his double life as Firestorm. Ronnie, and Stein later became great friends. Unfortunately they had to be very careful as both of them had the ability to summon the Firestorm persona. It wasn't until Ronnie showed the Professor photos of the merger was he able to recall any time as Firestorm. Eventually he developed the ability to remember his adventures thus making it easier on his consciousness.
Raymond, on the other hand, was trying to balance the life of a student with that of being a super-hero. He would often find himself battling a rogues gallery of strange villains, often while trying desperately to hide his double identity. It was later revealed that Ronnie Raymond's actual name was Ronald Rockwell, but his surname was changed to Raymond after a gangster bombed the Rockwell's car killing Ronnie's mother in the process.
Firestorm became a popular hero, and a member of several incarnations of the Justice League of America. Fans were able to relate with the secret identity aspect of the character, and enjoyed Martin's constant guidance. Firestorm was bestowed the honor of being the youngest member of the Justice League.
Later Ronnie graduated from high school. He was worried that Prof. Stein, and him would be unable to continue as Firestorm because they would be so far apart as Stein was going to be teaching at the University of Pittsburg. He later realized that he could attend that college in the future and did, guaranteeing time with his friend Martin Stein, and becoming Firestorm when needed. When Crisis on Infinite Earths came around it matured Firestorm. Captain Atom was a product of the event, and a new nuclear hero. Ronnie was jealous of this new hero, and tried many a time to oppose him. He regarded Captain Atom as his rival, but they later reconciled and Captain Atom became a mentor towards Ronnie until drastic events changed Firestorm forever.
A Blank Slate
After a few years, Professor Stein was diagnosed with malignant cancer. The realization that his death would also be the death of Firestorm led the hero to try to leave a legacy, in the form of forcing the nuclear powers of the world to give up their arsenals.
This flagrant opposition to American and Soviet leadership led the two superpowers to try and bring him down. To do so, the Soviets sent their own Nuclear Man, an experimental soldier code-named Phozar, to bring him down. The resulting battle resulted in a massive nuclear explosion and the birth of a new, tripartite Firestorm.
This Firestorm was made from the physical forms of Raymond and Phozar (whose real name was Mikhail Arkadin), but was proven to be controlled by the disembodied and amnesiac mind of Martin Stein. Not knowing who he was, or anything about the world he was in, the new Firestorm was a dangerous force in the world. Fortunately, this incarnation was short-lived.
An Elemental Change
Firestorm was revealed to be the potential Fire Elemental, and gained yet another form. This new form was composed of the combination of Ronnie and Mikhail, but had its own mind. Stein's mind was returned to his comatose form and regained consciousness.
The elemental Firestorm also struggled to find his place in the world, consulting other elementals, such as Swamp Thing, Naiad and Red Tornado to find out what he was supposed to be doing. His quest was cut short, however, by the appearance of the Apokolyptian villain, Brimstone.
During the battle, the technoseed that powered Brimstone was hurled into the sun, where it threatened to cause a chain reaction that would set off a supernova. In order to stop it, Firestorm would have to leave Earth, but as an elemental, he was bound to the planet. Martin Stein found a solution - he piloted a high-altitude jet into low Earth orbit with the assistance of Firestorm, flying as high as he could. Once that point was reached, Stein triggered an explosion that resulted in the destruction and re-formation of Firestorm. Mikhail and Ronnie were returned to themselves, and Stein became the sole possessor of Firestorm's powers.
He dove into the sun and destroyed the technoseed, creating a wormhole that flung him into the far reaches of the universe.
Death at the Hands of a new Crisis
Ronnie Raymond did not escape unscathed. He soon discovered that he had leukemia, and underwent treatment for it. During these treatments, the Firestorm powers reasserted themselves, giving Raymond another chance to be a hero. But he was a sick hero, and it took the combined efforts of the Justice League and the surprising return of the elemental Firestorm Martin Stein. Martin wanted Ronnie to merge with him so he could live forever, Ronnie declined which enraged Stein. Eventually with the help of Extreme Justice Ronnie was able to come to terms with the professor thus allowing him to edit Ronnie's molecular structure and curing his cancer. He kept his powers and worked with Extreme Justice, The Power Company, and the JLA . He battled alcoholism during that time, which hindered his ability as a hero. He contemplated quitting many a time, but took on his addiction and eventually won by seeking help.
Raymond continued to act as Firestorm from that point, while he attended college until his untimely death during Identity Crisis. He was impaled on the Shining Knight's sword by The Shadow Thief. Knowing that his death was imminent Ronnie fled the scene by flying into the sky seconds later he exploded. Marking the end of an era.
The Torch is Passed
The "essence" of Firestorm found its way to a young man named Jason Rusch, and imbued him with powers very similar to the original. However, in order to become Firestorm, Rusch needed another person to complete the matrix. Unlike previous incarnations, this was not a fixed set of people. It was Rusch and whomever happened to be nearby.
This was usually a surprise for the other person, which made controlling Firestorm more difficult. There were risks, however. If Jason over-exerted himself, the person he merged with could fade away and die. Also, if he merged with someone strong enough, it was possible for that other person to take over Firestorm and bend it to their will.
At one point, the mind of Ronnie Raymond reappeared in the Firestorm matrix, but didn't last very long. Raymond vanished again, perhaps never to return.
During the Infinite Crisis, Firestorm was part of the team that went into space to close the rift opened by Alexander Luthor. Rusch's companion in the matrix, his friend Mickey, died during the fighting, and Firestorm was saved by the reappearance of the elemental Firestorm, Martin Stein. Stein offered to help him, and Rusch talked Stein into rejoining the Firestorm matrix. They returned to Earth, though not unscathed, and eventually resumed work as a hero.
In the events of 52, Firestorm, with Firehawk, tried to lead a new Justice League, but that proved to be a
failure when the new League was decimated by Skeets, the robot companion of the late Booster Gold.
With knowledge of a quarter of the Life Equation hidden in the Firestorm Matrix, Firestorm and Shilo Norman are attacked simultaneously by the New God Orion (who wanted to keep Martin Stein safe), and the Female Furies and Kalibak of Apokolips, who carried out Darkseid's plans to secure the Matrix. Darkseid himself feared that the Life Equation would hinder his Anti-Life Equation. With the combined might of Firestorm and Shilo, Orion, Apokolips and the Female Furies were defeated. But that didn't stop Darkseid from arriving in a boom tube, and snatching the essence of Martin Stein from from the Firestorm Matrix. With sheer determination, Jason merged with his girlfriend Gehenna to become Firestorm, in order to find Martin Stein.
While searching for Martin Stein, Jason was later taken down by Lex Luthor, The Joker and Cheetah. After his recovery, he helped the Justice League of America break free of imprisonment and joins them in battle against the Injustice League. After the battle, Firestorm is drafted into the Justice League by Batman.
During the events of Countdown, Firestorm teamed up with Una and Karate Kid to find a cure for Karate Kid's infection in Bludhaven. They were later confronted by the Atomic Knights, but they made quick work of them. Digging deeper into the underground of Bludhaven, the team stumbles upon Desaad torturing Martin Stein. While attempting to stop him, Firestorm was trapped inside of a mystical barrier, and that alone allowed Desaad to take over the Firestorm entity and relentlessly attack Karate Kid and Una with the intent to kill them. The Atomic Knights intervened just in time to separate Desaad (who then fled back to Apokolips through a Boom Tube) from the Firestorm Matrix. While Firestorm held off the Atomic Knights for another go-around, Karate Kid and the rest of the team continued into the Bludhaven Underground. Meanwhile, Brother Eye and the OMACs arrive in Bludhaven and take over the area, using Firestorm as a power source. During a battle between an OMAC and Red Robin, Firestorm is freed from Brother Eye.
The current incarnation of Firestorm is composed of Jason Rusch and Martin Stein, although not necessarily all the time. He is currently merged with his girlfriend, Gehenna.
In Blackest Night #0, released on Free Comic Book Day 2009, the Black Hand, an agent of the Black Lantern Corps, is seen visiting Ronnie Raymond's grave site. In Blackest Night Professor Stein is seen with Jason Rusch and his girlfriend Geheena saying that the day Ronnie died he has never stopped praying that he would return. Geheena then says to Jason that they should become Firestorm as she notes that it is raining but all the plants and everything are dying. Firestorm appears on the final page of Blackest Night saying that he has "dibs on the Flash."
Black Lantern Firestorm is only made up of one re-animated corpse (Ronnie Raymond), so he attempts to capture Barry Allen for use as his "nerd brain" so that he can make use of more complex chemical reactions and atomic restructuring for Nekron's assault on all life, knowledge that a scientist such as Barry would have. He fails, but in the attack on the JLA Headquarters he manages to separate the Jason/Gehenna Firestorm, and corners Gen. When Jason tries to push Ronnie away, he ends up fused with the Black Lantern, and forced to watch Ronnie torture and murder Gen by turning her into a salt statue. He cries out that he loves her, but she is unable to hear him as Jason was the inner personality that was invisible and inaudible to the outside world. The anguish that Jason feels is used by Ronnie to power up the Black Lantern power levels.
He then leads the resurrected Black Lantern villains from the JLA crypts on an attack on the few remaining defenders, but Jason briefly manages to take control and warns Mera, the Flash and the Atom to evacuate earth in light of Nekron's imminent arrival, but Ronnie quickly regains control and continues the attack. After the heroes escape, Ronnie, along with all the other Black Lanterns, heads straight for Coast City where Nekron rises and attempts to extinguish all life.
In Coast City he comes into conflict again with the newly deputised Blue Lantern Barry Allen and Saint Walker, who try to use their power to free Jason using a Gehenna construct, and nearly succeed, but they are interrupted by the newly risen Reverse Flash, and so Jason is still trapped.
Eventually, Nekron is slain when Black Hand, his tether to the world of the living, is resurrected by the Entity, wielded by Hal Jordan and his temporary White Lantern Corps. Black Hand then vomits several white rings, one of which pushes through Nekron and destroys the central Black Lantern, releasing the Anti-Monitor. Nekron, infected by the white, is then obliterated by a blinding white light which releases 12 white rings, one of which resurrects the real Ronnie Raymond. Jason still struggles to free himself, and causes Ronnie such pain that they finally separate. Jason remains traumatized and blames Ronnie for killing Gehenna. Ronnie seems to have no memory of what his reanimated corpse did as a Black Lantern.
As of Brightest Day Jason is still mourning his late girlfriend Gehenna. Ronnie's first act of business after returning from the dead was to party with his old classmates from Pittsburg University. At Jason's funeral Prof. Stein admits that Ronnie has been acting strange and has barely said a word to him after his return. Ronnie shows up at the funeral only for Jason to question his credentials he still blames Ronnie for killing Geheena, and Ronnie tried to re-assure him that it was the Black Lantern Firestorm and not him. Jason becomes enraged and strikes Ronnie across the face, thus initiating the Firestorm transformation. Ronnie appears to be now in charge of the Firestorm body, with Jason acting as the disembodied floating head offering advice. It appears that Jason believes Ronnie has stolen the matrix.
Jason and Ronnie are seemingly permanently bonded together as Firestorm, much to Jason's chagrin. Jason is still bitter towards Ronnie for killing Gehenna, while Ronnie's body was under the control of the Black Lantern ring. Ronnie does not even wish to be firestorm anymore, wishing only to party with his friends and live the life he has gotten back.
The Atom and Professor Stein have discovered something is wrong with the matrix. Changes have began to take place, as the matrix has a disturbance within it. When the Atom penetrated the matrix in order to discover what the flaw was, it exploded. Ronnie has also experienced weird instances like seeing a composite of Gehena made completely of salt which exploded. Other strange occurrences within the matrix is a voice heard by Ronnie alone, it is now clear that it is the voice of Black Lantern Firestorm currently thriving inexplicably deep within the matrix. The entity within the White Lantern has also made Ronnie the voice within Firestorm, and Jason the one controlling it after claiming that, "Ronnie Raymond of Earth you need to study", and "Jason Rusch of Earth you need to get your head out of the books". A reader can be led to believe that Ronnie is learning as sometime in the future he may need to operate the Firestorm persona without a merge partner. In Stein's lab, the boys are practicing their changed positions as Firestorm. Stein explains to them that the matrix is the spark that began the universe. He also explains that they can also end the universe if they have another burst of anger.
Eventually the Black Lantern Firestorm manifests itself, giving himself the moniker of "Deathstorm". He separated Ronnie, and Jason and begins talking to the Professor and then abducts him within his consciousness. It is obvious that he is a play at the extreme style of comic from the nineties by the way that he speaks. Ronnie, and Jason merge and seek revenge while Deathstorm abducts Alvin Rush within his head as well.
A battle ensues yet, Jason and Ronnie are not triumphant against Deathstorm and he ends up resurrecting the other Black Lanterns by stealing the white lantern and in turn corrupting it. Ronnie, and Jason arrive at Justice League headquarters seeking aid as they appear to be almost blowing up. Something happens, and they find themselves against a horde of Shadow Demons on the other side of the universe.
Firestorm is transformed into the element of fire. Firestorm, with Martian Manhunter, as Earth elemental, The Hawks as the Air elementals, and Aquaman as Water elemental are placed within the new Alec Holland Swamp Thing. Alec Holland was returned to life and seconds later becomes the new Swamp Thing. The two Swamp Things battle and the new incarnation wins. Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Hawkman are expunged and looking intact. Hawkgirl uses her life to keep the new Swamp Thing corporeal.
Ronnie and Jason are looking through Martin Stein's records and Jason finds a file that states the matrix was damaged by Deathstorm and they only have 90 days left.
Ronnie and Jason are Firestorm in the Flashpoint universe they seem to be incarnations of where Brightest Day left off. Shortly after separating for the night, after a patrol Jason is killed by Heat Wave, who wants to become part of the Firestorm matrix. Ronnie exclaims that it's impossible for him to become part of the Firestorm matrix by killing someone, and runs away after a battle commences.
The New 52
This is a new incarnation of Firestorm. Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch are both high school students once again, Ronnie is the star quarterback and Jason works for the school newspaper. Ronnie and Jason are not fond of each other at all. Martin Stein is seemingly dead and he left Jason one of several Firestorm Protocols. After a terrorist group, led by a mercenary named Cliff Carmichael, attacks the school looking for the Firestorm Protocol, Jason unleashes the matrix and both he and Ronnie become nuclear men. Jason wears a yellow suit while Ronnie is in red.
Jason and Ronnie are now separate Firestorms and do not have to combine to become Firestorm. The creature Fury is created when both of the Firestorms combine their powers. A military group called The Hyenas are being paid to hunt down Jason and Ronnie and the Firestorm Protocol to their financially backed global cabal. The Zither Corporation eventually had all the other Firestorm's from different nations killed. When Ronnie and Jason finally were able to defeat Zither Corporation and went off the radar they found they could combine into Firestorm together.
Powers and abilities
Firestorm has the ability to rearrange the atomic and subatomic structure of inorganic matter, rearranging subatomic particles to create objects of different atomic characteristics of equal mass. He can not only change and transmute the atomic composition of an object (e.g., transmuting lead into gold of equal mass) but he can also change its shape. He cannot, however, affect organic matter without painful, even lethal, feedback. This organic limitation does not extend to his person as he can change himself at will, allowing him to regenerate lost and damaged tissue, boost his immune system, shapeshift, and survive indefinitely without food, water and air. Much like a Green Lantern's limitations, Firestorm can only create items the "driver" of the Firestorm matrix is able to understand the workings of. Unlike a Green Lantern's creations, Firestorm's alterations are permanent unless he reverses them. Following Raymond's resurrection during Brightest Day, Firestorm gained the ability to switch "drivers" between Ronnie and Jason at will. Firestorm has also demonstrated the ability to fly at fantastic (but unmeasured) speeds, to render himself intangible and thereby pass through solid objects harmlessly, to generate destructive and concussive blasts of fusion energy from his hands, to absorb radiation harmlessly, and superhuman levels of strength and resistance to injury.
Possesses the ability to transmute both organic and inorganic matter with ease. This ability is limited by his will, imagination, and scientific knowledge. It is not limited by weight or volume. He can also transmute organic and inorganic matter just by looking at it.
Can shoot concussive force, heated or charged particles, and powerful 'fusion blasts.'
Possesses quark vision, allowing him atomic interactions and the structure of molecules.
Can see the ultraviolet spectrum.
Can see and detect thermal signatures.
Possesses microscopic and telescopic vision.
Superhuman speed in flight. He can fly up to speeds of 600 mph.
Possesses great superhuman strength. He is able to lift in excess of 100 tons.
Possesses superhuman durability.
Possesses superhuman reflexes and reaction time.
Can easily regenerate injuries many times faster than normal human beings.
Possesses elemental reconstruction.
Can self-sustain himself for extended periods of time with food or water. He can survive in space without equipment.
Can become intangible and phase through solid objects and energy without any harm. This ability is a more stable version of Ronnie's.
Can playback memories of the Firestorm Matrix.
Possesses the ability of limited time sight, allowing him to see the Matrix's past or future while dreaming.
Has a psychic connection with the Elemental Firestorm.
Was able to communicate with Gehenna through a telepathic link before her death.
Base of Operations: Walton Mills
Television & Other Media
Firestorm (the Raymond-Stein mix) appeared in the later seasons of the Superfriends. Due to the non-violent nature of the show, his powers were mainly limited to transmuting objects, mostly turning villains' weapons into harmless items or neutralizing Kryptonite for Superman. Of course his weakness, namely an inability to alter "organic materials", was known to all his enemies and exploited in every episode, mainly because he talked about it every two seconds. Silence is golden, kid.
Justice League Crisis on Two Earths
Firestorm made a short lived appearance in Justice League's Crisis on Two Earths animated movie. The appearance was by the Jason Rusch Firestorm. In the film he was easily defeated by the counter earths heroes. It seems that this version of Firestorm is quite inexperienced. Hopefully that if there is a sequel he will be more experienced.
Batman: The Brave & The Bold
Firestorm recently appeared on Batman the Brave and the Bold in an episode entitled "A Bat Divided". The Firestorm which appears in this show is one we've never seen before. While it is part Ronnie Raymond, and Jason Rusch they are completely different characters then their comic book personae. In the cartoon Ronnie is a football coach with a hurt knee, and Jason is a chemistry nerd. Also they have a different origin story, and the Professor is absent entirely not once making an appearance. In this series Jason is in charge of the Firestorm body while Ronnie offers advice through the invisible head Firestorm is famous for. In the show, Firestorm is created when Dr. Double X attempts to steal nuclear energy, but his scheme is foiled by Batman. Double X then triggers a meltdown that not only fuses Jason and Ronnie together as Firestorm, but separates Batman into three different entities: a soft-spoken genius, a blood-thirsty brute, and a laid-back slacker. The genius Batman experiments on Firestorm to figure out how to fuse the Batmen back together, but the brute Batman attacks a bar full of costumed criminals after getting bored in the Batcave. The two other Batmen and Firestorm arrive to collect the brute Batman, but Dr. Double X kidnaps Firestorm and takes them back to his lab. Double X drains the energy from Firestorm, becoming more powerful and separating the hero back into Jason and Ronnie. Jason and Ronnie willingly reverse the machine, fusing back into Firestorm and draining Double X of his power; then Firestorm proceeded to lay the smack-down on Dr. Double X