Over the skies of Manhattan, two fiery beings soar past the towering spire of the Empire State Building. Firestorm, the Nuclear Man, looks over his right shoulder to see Firehawk flying just behind and slightly below him. She spreads her brilliant flaming wings majestically, trailing fire behind her and clearly enjoying the sensations of flight. “Tired?” Ronnie Raymond asks her. “Uh-unh,” Firehawk replies, “I could keep flying for hours. Now I know how birds must feel.” They dive and swoop together playfully. “Henry Hewitt caused a lot of grief,” Firehawk says, “but I don’t think I can ever hate him as much as I should - - because he made me Firehawk!”
Ronnie comforts her with the old proverb about every cloud having a silver lining. “Keep this up,” pipes Professor Martin Stein, “and I’m going to be ill.” Ronnie quietly whispers for the Professor to back off. “Just because we share a composite person as Firestorm doesn’t mean we have to share everything,” he tells Stein, “Give me some room, okay?” Firehawk overhears Ronnie talking. She asks what he said. “Huh? Oh, sure,” Ronnie backtracks, “I just said, ‘it’s a swell moon, isn’t it?’”
A young couple below on Liberty Island, arms around each other, looks up as the two nuclear-powered lovebirds fly past in a moonlit sky. “When I was a girl, my mother used to call it a Dreamer’s Moon,” Firehawk observes, “What do you dream about, Firestorm?” Seizing the opening, Ronnie slickly replies, “I’ll tell you the truth, Lorraine…these days…I dream about you.” He catches Firehawk in the sky and pulls her close. Soaring over the Statue of Liberty, the two kiss passionately. Up here, few sounds can reach them. Only the autumn wind, and the beating of their hearts.
Lost in the moment and not paying attention to their flight path, Firestorm and Firehawk start descending. SHISSSHHHHHHH! In a cloud of steam and splashing water, they plunge into the Hudson River next to Liberty Island. They rise to the surface, laughing hysterically at the slight miscalculation. “Talk about damping the flames of passion!” giggles Firehawk. “Next time we try that,” Ronnie answers, “one of us had better keep his eyes open!” Stein moans. “Next time? Ronald,” he protests, “have mercy on an old physicist!” But Ronnie doesn’t answer. He is a bit preoccupied by present company, and he and Firehawk happily soar along the coastline.
Interlude: Concord Federal Penitentiary, in upstate New York. Searchlights light the sky and move in lazy patterns along the prison grounds. Two pigeons play in the air together near a prison wall. Inside, a guard clutching an M-16 watches the pigeons. “Wish my kids could see this,” he says, “Pretty pair of pigeons, making like lovebirds. Real sweet. Almost can make a man forget where he is.” An intercom next to the guard comes to life. “Okay, Harris,” a voice crackles through the speaker, “Lower the cell block door.” The guard, Harris, responds, “Any sign of trouble, Warden Jacoby? Give the word and I’ll kick in the emergency freezing unit.”
Down below in the cell block, Warden Jacoby and two workers, Mac and Michaelson, stand ready. They are cloaked in heavy winter gear, and their breath condenses into vapor when they exhale into the cold chamber. Ice lines its walls. Jacoby radios up to Harris that the emergency unit is not needed. “Everything’s under control,” he reports, “Just keep an eye on the temperature readings - - and remember, if they show a rise above freezing in the main cell, hit the panic button.”
Michaelson points down the hallway, warning the warden to watch himself on the icy floor. “Ever since she arrived, this cell block’s been more like a meat packing plant - - without the meat - - than a prison,” he says, “You ask me, it’s not right.” He grumbles about the prison already being overcrowded and then having to transfer a whole cell block just to make room for…her. “I tell you, it’s crazy!” he continues, “Why don’t they just stick her off in Antarctica somewhere?” Warden Jacoby listens to his gripes and responds that, whether they like it or not, she has civil rights. “We’re already getting flack from the courts because we keep her isolated,” Jacoby explains, “Imagine their reaction if we shipped her down to penguin-land.”
“Ours is not to reason why, Michaelson,” Mac chimes in, “What’s the reading on her cell sensor?” Glancing at the gauge, Michaelson reports that the cell is at absolute zero. Entry into the cell can only be made using special protective gear sent over by S.T.A.R. Labs, or a human would freeze solid in five seconds! “Mac, get the suit,” Michaelson directs. Outside, the two pigeons continue their happy flitting about. Harris watches them and listens. “Beat that…they’re singin’ to each other!” he notes pleasantly.
Michaelson helps the Warden to don the S.T.A.R. Labs protective suit. “Have you thought, Michaelson, what her life must be like? Frozen solid…but somehow, still aware?” Jacoby asks. Michaelson is unphased, replying “My heart bleeds, sir. Okay, you’re all set. Be careful in there, Warden. Frozen or not, that lady’s a killer.”
The heavy metal door opens slowly to the isolated cell. Its solitary prisoner stands in icy silence. Jacoby is shocked by the sudden drop in temperature as he enters. “God. Even with the heating unit turned up high, the blast of cold is - - incredible!” he exclaims, “Still without it, how could we hold her prisoner?” He notes that she thrives on any kind of heat. She absorbs it, like some kind of superconductor. A temperature rise of even a fraction of a degree might be just enough for her to break free. He thinks of Michaelson’s warning to be careful, and reaches for a microphone cabled to the outside of the suit. Outside, Harris watches one of the pigeons. “Pretty birds. Huh - - hey!” he cries as it flaps very close to a large power transformer.
Warden Jacoby stands before the icy encased figure of…Killer Frost! She is sealed inside an icy cylinder, connected to energy devices at the top and bottom to maintain absolute zero. Speaking into the microphone, Jacoby announces to her that word just came in from the Governor. The pardon petition from Frost’s lawyer has been declined, and the decision exhausts her last appeal. The courts have reaffirmed the verdict of her trial, meaning that she will be staying with the Warden for a very long time. “Between the two of us, I feel badly it has to be this way - - that you can’t be treated as a normal prisoner,” he tells her, “But you’re not Dr. Crystal Frost anymore, not since the accident up in the arctic - - you’re Killer Frost. Maybe you are insane, like your psychiatrists say, or maybe you’re just a cold-blooded murderer, like the jury decided. But either way, you’re dangerous. We’ve got to take precautions. That’s just the way it is. Damn, I know you can hear me, but I wish…”
At that exact moment, an unsuspecting pigeon connects its feet to the terminal surfaces of the power transformer. Hoping to find a nice spot to perch, it has instead found its doom. KZZAAAZZK! The bird disintegrates in an arc of powerful electric blue flame! The transformer fails and causes short-circuits to occur in rapid succession like falling dominoes. ZZZZZZT! What starts with an electrocuted bird on a pole transformer…SPZZZAK…travels almost instantly to the prison’s main generator, tripping overloaded circuit breakers…and causing a sudden blackout!
In the frozen cell of Killer Frost, Warden Jacoby looks up in shock. “Michaelson…the freezer unit…its shut down! Oh, Lord in heaven…” he panics. The face of Killer Frost looks out, unmoving. Ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly, a small crack appears on her icy cell. Chink! The crack starts to spread, like a bizarre spiderweb. “It’s my survival suit,” Jacoby notices, “It’s radiating so much heat - - raising the temperature in here so quickly! Have to get out before…”
KAKKRAK!!! The ice shatters and Killer Frost breaks free! She kneels slightly, looking down at Jacoby, and extends a hand towards him. “Oh, no, dear Warden Jacoby…You musn’t leave,” she hisses, “You’ve no idea - - I’ve been very lonely!” Jacoby is paralyzed with fear, yelling “KILLER FROST!”
Down the hallway, Mac and Michaelson look on in horror. They call to warn the Warden that the power has gone down, requesting to seal off the cell block until the secondary generator can kick in. Mac looks closer, uttering to Michaelson that something’s wrong! Feeling the wave of cold air coming towards him, the Warden bursts out of the cell, yelling “Run! Hit the alarm! She’s loose! She’ll…” With the fling of her arm, Killer Frost launches deadly daggers of ice into the air. “Naughty, naughty, Warden. I wanted it to be a surprise,” she says as the ice daggers reach their targets and pierce their torsos. THAK! THAK! THAK! THAK! THAK! Mortally wounded, the three men fall to the icy floor.
Other guards arrive, and they too are dealt with, leaving Frost and her keeper quite alone. His face shield shattered, Jacoby tries to lift himself off the floor. “Wounded…can’t breathe…so cold…,” he begs, “Pity…have pity on us…” He lifts his head slightly. Killer Frost bends down next to him, reaching her icy hands out to him. “Pity. That’s what I asked for me, Warden, when I was plain, unattractive Crystal Frost,” she tells him as she reaches under his shoulders, “And pity was what they gave me - - particularly one man. Let me tell you about pity, Warden. Pity kills the soul.” Killer Frost lifts the Warden to his feet and faces him, saying “Pity can break your heart.” The doomed Warden tries to explain, “But - - that wasn’t me, Frost!” She nods in agreement, answering “I know. But you are a man, after all…” She wraps him in her chilling grip and kisses him. Instantly, the Warden freezes solid! “Since the man I really hate isn’t here - - you’ll just have to take his place…Lover.” She points a single finger at the frozen Warden. With a slow and gentle poke, she touches his face. KKKRRAAKKKKK! The Warden disintegrates into a thousand shards of ice that fall lifelessly to the floor.
Meanwhile: Riverside Park, Manhattan’s West Side…Firestorm and Firehawk sit together, snuggling against a tree in the peaceful sunshine. “This is crazy,” Ronnie says, “I think I love you, Lorraine.” She rests her head across his shoulder. “Mutual,” she replies, “Most of my life, I’ve been adrift…bumping from school to school, from guy to guy.” Ronnie replies that he is crushed. Firehawk tells him to get serious. She feels as if she has been looking for some kind of anchor in life. Her Dad, Senator Reilly, is involved in politics, which presents unique challenges for Lorraine as his daughter. “Family comes second…and feelings don’t count,” Firehawk says, standing up by the tree, “Dad and I, we were strangers.”
Firehawk says that getting kidnapped by Multiplex was the best thing that ever happened to her, as weird as that may sound. “Was I scared,” she recalls, “Are you kidding? I was terrified, that’s what I was, when Multiplex and one of his duploids dumped me in a truck…starting a nightmare that just wouldn’t end. At first, Multiplex kept me isolated…in a kind of sensory deprivation tank. Maybe I wasn’t too together to begin with…but that isolation did things to my head.”
Lorraine desperately wanted to hear a human voice. Any voice. The voice she finally heard belonged to Henry Hewitt, Multiplex’s boss. “Good old Hewitt,” she continues, “If Howard Hughes were alive, I bet he’d look to Hewitt for pointers on how to be eccentric.” Hewitt used Lorraine to blackmail her father into voting for a special Senate Bill giving Hewitt Corporation a virtual monopoly on atomic research. “But that wasn’t good enough for old Henry,” she remembers, “He made me a guinea pig in an experiment to duplicate the accident that created you, Firestorm. And then he sent me - - after you!”
Ronnie answers that that is just ancient history. “Why drag it up?” he asks. “Because it still scares me to think I almost killed you!” Firehawk replies, “Our powers are different - - I control a kind of nuclear fire that can burn anything, even steel - - and you can reconstruct matter molecule by molecule. But even so, we were pretty evenly matched. If I hadn’t held back, subconsciously fighting Hewitt’s mind control…Who knows what might have happened?”
“Forget it, okay? Hewitt’s dead - - and at the end of the day, you fought him. Besides, like you said - - maybe we owe the guy,” Ronnie answers as he pulls Firehawk close and kisses her, “For this.” After a tender moment, Lorraine looks away. Something is preoccupying her thoughts. Ronnie asks her what is wrong. “My Dad…He’s expecting me in Washington,” Firehawk tells him, “I’ve gotta go.” Ronnie asks if she’s coming back. “Try to keep me away,” she says as they share a parting snuggle.
He watches until she’s out of sight, unable to tear his eyes away. A scrap of newsprint blows against him, caught by a late summer breeze. He catches it in his hand. “Absolutely crazy,” he wonders, “What are we going to do, Professor?” Ronnie transforms the newsprint into a flower. He starts plucking the petals, a la ‘She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not.’ Stein replies that he has made his feeling clear on the matter. Ronnie starts the transformation process. “The thing is, Professor - - I meant what I said. I think I love her,” he says as they split apart into their separate personas. Stein lands with a sudden thud on the ground. “Whoof! Next time warn me before you change us back, Ronnie,” he says. Ronnie apologizes and the two sit for a few minutes in the park. “Still want my opinion, Ronald? All right, friend to friend - - despite our difference in ages, I think we are friends,” Stein expresses, “You’re too young to know what love is. And isn’t there someone you’ve forgotten?” Ronnie quickly remembers - - Doreen! “Oh my God…Doreen - - I had a date with her tonight!”
Racing to a phone, Ronnie calls Doreen and makes up an excuse that he had a cold. Doreen is not buying it. She had called Ronnie’s house three times and his Dad told her Ronnie was out. “Break us up, if you want,” she says grimly, “But please, don’t lie.” She hangs up the phone, her mood visibly down. “Trouble, little girl?” asks her Dad, Bert. “No trouble, Daddy…No trouble at all,” she replies softly.
The next morning, Ronnie feels like he had a rotten night. “Hard to sleep when you feel like a creep,” he thinks, drying his hair after a shower, “On top of feeling lousy about Doreen, I’m still not used to this new house we’re renting.” He walks into the kitchen, where his Dad is busy working on the gas range. Ed Raymond’s screwdriver snaps off the range and he yells at it. “Give the dumb thing a break, Dad,” Ronnie suggests, “It’s just a gas range, not the Shine family.” His Dad asks what he is talking about. Ronnie reminds him that ‘Shoe’ Shine blew up their old house, but since Shine’s dead now his Dad can’t take his anger out on him. “So I’m trying to beat up a kitchen appliance, is that it?” his Dad asks, “You could be right at that, Ronnie. Son, what do you say to a breakfast burger down at the Bun ‘n’ Bun?” Ronnie happily agrees, provided Dad is buying.
Elsewhere that morning, Martin Stein sits eating a greasy burger. “You’re killing yourself, Martin,” his friend and former colleague Harry Carew tells him. Stein is surprised to see Carew and greets him. “Junk food. Eating that stuff is slow suicide,” Carew warns, adding that his diet now consists only of whole grains and raw fish. Flexing a bicep, he says that Stein will have to work for it if he wants a body like him. Carew grabs Stein by the arm, pulling him up from the table. “We’ve got to run,” Carew directs, leading him outside as Stein tries to resist. They head out to the sidewalk and Carew leads him jogging.
“What happened to you guys yesterday?” Carew asks, “All I remember - - you and the Raymond kid were talking at my apartment - - and then Blouie! I passed out! Came to, you were gone!” Stein suggests that maybe Carew ate some bad fish as they jog down the block. Stein is relieved that Carew doesn’t remember what happened yesterday, suspecting a slight concussion. Yesterday, Enforcer attacked at Carew’s apartment. Stein and Ronnie, as Firestorm, cleared away all evidence of the attack. “Bad fish, huh? Could be, Martin,” Carew replies, “Want to know why I looked you up - - and where we’re going? It’s Concordance Research, kiddo…They want you back working for them.” A sporty red car zips past Carew and Stein as they jog. Looking in the rear view mirror, Clarissa Clemens glances at them. “Dumb Martin, dear, dumb ex-husband…You’re going to fall for it, aren’t you?” she ponders, “Exactly as my new employer hopes!”
At Concordance Research a short while later, Martin Stein is dumbfounded. “I still don’t believe it,” he reacts. “Believe it, Martin - - Quale’s wised up,” Carew tells him as they talk with project manager Quentin Quale, suggesting “Thank the man.” Stein starts to thank Quale. His response is anything but cordial. “Spare both of us, Stein, and say nothing,” Quale says dismissively, “Just do your job, and I’ll do mine.”
Quale enters his office alone and closes the door behind him. He picks up the phone and makes a quick call. “Sir? I’ve done as you asked,” he speaks into the receiver, “Stein’s been reinstated, but I must point out…Yes, sir. Of course. You know best. We’ll give Martin Stein a little rope and let him hang himself…”
Unaware of Quale’s deception, Stein enters his old lab. He finds that all of his equipment has been packed up, but looks forward to the job of unpacking everything. A loose paper on his desk catches his eye. Picking it up to examine it, he realizes that it is a copy of his new contract. He suspects that Quale deliberately left it there for him to find. He starts to go over it and is puzzled to read that Concordance Research is now a subsidiary of Century Industries. “Never heard of them…they must have acquired Concordance while I was away,” he thinks, “That explains it - - someone at Century must have overruled Quale, and restored my position. It seems I have an unknown benefactor.” Martin Stein smiles to himself at the thought - - it’s like something out of Charles Dickens. Amused, he bends himself to his work, too happy to pay much attention to a vague sense of unease…a subconscious warning that someone is watching. From a rooftop across the street, that someone is…Killer Frost!
Sitting along the parapet wall, Killer Frost is focused intently on Martin Stein. She does not hear footsteps approaching from behind her. “Okay, sister…freeze!” a police officer suddenly announces. He stands just feet away with his service revolver pointed at her head! “Hmmm?” Frost says as she turns to face him, “You absurd little man. Are you joking?” The officer says her escape from prison has been reported, and someone spotted her on the roof. His partner is going for backup, and he suggests that she might as well give up.
Unmoved, she realizes the officer is not joking. With the flick of a finger, she touches the barrel of his pistol. Instantly, the pistol and the officer are frozen solid! “Just as well,” she observes, “I have a poor sense of humor.” With a gentle nudge, she touches the frozen officer and he tips over the edge of the roof. The officer falls. KRA-AAK! Bystanders below scatter as the block of ice hits the sidewalk and shatters into dozens of pieces. It takes a moment for the screaming to start below, as sickened pedestrians realize what’s melting around them. By that time, reinforcements have arrived on the rooftop above. Fortunately for them, they find nothing.
Washington, D.C.: National capital and, in a way, mirror of the national soul. Today, that mirror casts a critical reflection, a reflection that threatens someone Lorraine Reilly loves very much…her father, Senator Walter Reilly of New York. Firehawk flies over the city and lands near the Capitol Building. Secluded near some trees, she transforms back into Lorraine Reilly and goes inside to her father’s office. She arrives to find a heated argument in progress. She worries for her father as she watches. “Oh Daddy, it couldn’t get much worse, could it?” she wonders, “Your political enemies - - like Senator Darcy - - are using this to crucify you!”
“Mr. Chairman, if Senator Darcy will let me explain,” Senator Walter Reilly says. Darcy angrily cuts him off. “Explain how you sold your vote to Hewitt Industries, Senator?” he alleges, “Explain how you betrayed the citizens of your state - - and this Senate - - and the Constitution of these United States? Explain yourself to this investigative committee, Senator - - if you can!”
Senator Reilly reacts, “Why bother, Darcy? You’ve packed the committee with your cronies - - you’ve already decided the verdict: to expel me from the Senate! Well then - - do it! But don’t expect me to be a party to this fraud! By God, I’ve had enough!”
Lorraine yells to her father as he storms away. She wonders why he didn’t tell the committee that Hewitt kidnapped her. “Unless - - could he be trying to protect me? But they’ll destroy him…!” she thinks, then yells out again, “Dad!” Fists clenched and staring at the floor, Senator Reilly quickly paces away.
Eleven o’clock. For most people, the work day ended six hours ago. A weary Martin Stein departs from a long evening at Concordance Research, bidding goodnight to George, the night watchman. “’Night, Professor Stein. Nice to see you back,” George waves. Stein remarks that it is good to be back and walks off. His mind wanders to thoughts of having felt so idle. His whole self-image revolves around his work. As Stein walks, he notices a thin coating of ice beginning to cover the sidewalk. He loses his footing and slips! Grabbing the base of a lightpost, he steadies himself and tries to get up. “Wait a moment,” he pauses, “Ice in late October? How could that…Oh my God.” Looking down the block, walking slowly towards him on the ice-covered sidewalk is…Killer Frost!
She walks to face him, cool misty vapor emanating from her body. “Remember me?” she asks Stein, “Crystal Frost…the lost ugly duckling who loved you, once…whose love you spurned. I remember you, Martin. I’ve been waiting for you, avoiding the police…for hours.” Stein recoils in fright, yelling, “No….NO!” Without thought, he flees. Part of him is surprised she doesn’t follow. He quickly concludes that she must have escaped prison somehow, and has tracked him to Concordance. “The woman’s insane - - even before she became what she is, she was on the brink!” he thinks as he runs looking for shelter, “Got to find somewhere to summon Firestorm - - that subway entrance!” He tries to run downstairs but the stairs have been covered in ice! He tumbles over and over to the bottom. Only now does he realize: Frost is toying with him!
“I had time to think in prison, Martin,” she says as she descends the steps from behind him, “Thinking was all they left me. And it came to me…you’re the one who betrayed me. You’re the one I hate. All the other men I’ve killed are just substitutes for you, Martin…” Stein jumps to his feet and leaps over a turnstile to enter the subway station. The rumble and horn of an approaching train starts to fill the platform. Stein sprints towards it. “Where are you going?” Frost asks as she pursues, “I haven’t finished talking to you, yet. The train, Martin? Really, you can’t think you’ll escape me on a subway train.” KRACK! Frost aims a burst of icy cold at him. The subway horn blares loudly as it pulls into the station. Stein dives right at it! “Not on it, Crystal - - under it” he thinks as he falls, the speeding train just feet away, “Now, Ronnie - - wherever you are - - FUSE US, NOW!”
In the blink of an eye, Firestorm appears in front to the subway train. “What the - - ? Professor, what are you doing to us?” Ronnie exclaims. “Never mind that, Ronald - - reduce our atomic density to zero - - quickly, before that train splatters us all over the station!” WHOOOOSH CHUK CHUK CHUK! Clutching his knees like a cannonball dive, Ronnie passes through the train. “Cutting it kinda close, weren’t you, Professor?” he asks. “Closer than you can imagine, Ronald,” Stein quickly explains, “Killer Frost was here - - tried to kill me!” Hopping away from the train, Ronnie looks around at the ice-covered platform. “Was here, huh?” he observes, “She’s gone now, Professor. I guess she figures you for dead after seeing you dive like that.” Stein feels his escape only delays the inevitable confrontation with her. Ronnie speculates that she could be anywhere by now. “But it doesn’t take a psychic to guess she’ll show up again, real soon…,” he predicts, “and when she does, Professor, we better be ready.”
Above, and some blocks away, Killer Frost strides along a deserted street. A mannequin in a department store window catches her eye and she pauses. “Pretty doll,” she says to the lifeless figure, “Your beauty mocks me, mannequin. It mocks the love I’ve never known…the love Martin Stein denied me…” She waves her hand, and an icy chill envelops the mannequin in a sheath of ice. “And he’s now denied me the satisfaction of taking his life,” she continues as she walks away, “Damn you, Martin Stein. Damn you and all men. I ache, I hurt…But my suffering will be as nothing compared to the punishment I will inflict on your sex.” Behind her, the ice-covered mannequin tips on its base. SCRASH! It falls, breaking through the display window and crashes onto the sidewalk. “A cold wind is blowing, ‘mankind.’ Feel its bitter lash,” she says, glancing back at the shattered mannequin, “Tomorrow, Killer Frost will claim her revenge!”