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Once he was an ordinary high school kid. He excelled in sports, and his grades were average, but then a strange and wonderful thing happened. In a freak accident, his very atomic structure was merged with that of a scientist, and the two joined to become Firestorm, The Nuclear Man!

Those days of a shared existence are forever over, but now College student Ronnie Raymond carries on the tradition he started with Dr. Martin Stein , as he fights the good fight, and struggles with maintaining his grades as well as knocking the villain of the week back into the last one! He has the power of atomic manipulation, can fly through space and can fire nuclear blasts capable of leveling a city block! But he still can't get to class on time!

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man

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Screams in the night

The Scream Killer Epic, Part 1

By Ralph L. Angelo Jr

Plotted by Ralph L. Angelo Jr and Barry Reese

The transporter tube shimmered in the JLA's Moonbase headquarters, as a figure materialized within. The red ,yellow and white image coalesced into Firestorm, the nuclear man. As he opened the transporter tubes door, a young woman waited on the other side, arms crossed angrily her own form shimmering in nuclear fires. Firehawk's demeanor matched her current disposition.

"So, you finally show up ? What, a week late? Without even a call to say you're sorry?" She looks at her wrist as if she was wearing a watch before glancing back to him.

Firestorm sighs "Look Loraine, I screwed up, I admit it. Things got...hectic back home. I know I should have called, but I had a major battle with Stormfire, and then everything else with school and all just shot me to hell the past week."

She stares at him, her eyes becoming slits. "Let me show you something, Ronnie."

She starts walking, he follows in step, showing no emotion as they enter a monitor room, where Plastic Man sits. He turns his head around 360 degrees and smiles "Hey Firestormy! What's up mi amigo? Que pasa ! "

He stretches out his hand from the monitor chair across the room and grabs Firestorms, shaking it vigorously.

Firehawk grabs it and disconnects it from Ronnies. "Plastic Man, we need some privacy, you mind?"

"Naaahh, not at all beautiful, I'll catch you guys later." He becomes a ball and bounces out into the hallway, before Lorraine Reilly shuts the door behind him.

She silently walks over to a monitor and punches up a stored image, as Ronnies heart sinks.

"You were busy, huh? I see how busy you were. What's the blondes name, Ronnie?"

The image is of Ronnie Raymond and Jennie Graf walking through a park, laughing and talking. The time and date stamp is the Saturday he was supposed to be with Lorraine.

"I was worried about you, I thought you were in trouble. I-"

"So you spied on me?" He cuts her off angrily. "Hey Lorraine, it's not like we were going steady. We were dating, that's it. There's no commitment here. If there was, I wouldn't have been walking in the park with Jennie. YOU'RE the one who had the 'Take it slow' stuff going on, not me. So I forgot a date we had set up two weeks earlier, the last time I saw you by the way, I'm human. These flashy powers don't change that , you know"

"So you go and cheat on me?" She shoots back.

"How can it be cheating? I hardly see you! And like I said, nothing was steady or definite between us, LIKE YOU WANTED !"

She slams her hand down on the monitor board, shutting the image off. "You know what I want now? You out of here. I should have known better then to try to rekindle things with you." Then almost as an afterthought "You're still a kid."

Firestorm turns toward her angrily. "Maybe I am, maybe not, but at least I don't string people along for my own benefit, or because of a lack of self confidence."

"GET OUT!" She shouts at him.

"With pleasure, lady. Why I bothered trying to get back together with you in the first place is beyond me."

He flies through the JLA headquarters, entering the transporter room. Setting down, he presets the controls and is about to step onto the pad, which will automatically start the transporter sequence, when Firehawk flies back into the room.

"Ronnie?" She speaks his name.

"What Lorraine?' He answers icily.

"Thanks for coming after me, you know, during Cold Armageddon."

He looks at her, and his anger softens "That's alright Lorraine. I had to make sure you were okay. I still cared ."

"I know." she answers softly, as she walks out of the room.

Firestorm walks onto the pad and a moment later he's standing in the New York city JLA embassy. An instant later, he's flying skywards, his anger beginning to abate.

While below, a furtive figure watches Firestorm fly away. A figure wearing a heavy overcoat and wide brimmed hat in the warm spring air, who stands in the shadows watching amusedly, while a shiny dagger is pulled reflexively in and out of a small sheathe at his side. "Soon they will all know chaos again. And again, and again..." He cackles softly to himself, before adding "And fear, oh yes, fear... Hahahahaha." He turns and fades into the shadows the dagger slipping in and out of its sheathe with a stealthy "Shlift" again and again.

Firestorm lands back at his colleges campus, and immediately changes to Ronnie Raymond. "So much for Lorraine Reilly and I ever getting back together. That's two women I've alienated in the past 24 hours*. I think I'll try to find Jennie again, at her dorm. I have to be able to explain to her what that was about. But I'm not even sure myself. " He thinks. "Why'd she get so bent out of shape when she heard Lorraine's voice? We really just started hanging out a week or so back. But Lorraine had the same reaction to seeing Jennie and I together. Women, who can understand them?"

*See Ronnie's problems with Jennie last issue

He walks across the crowded campus, entering the dormitory, going up a stair case, until finally he comes to a door, and hesitates a second before knocking. But finally he does.

"Come in." a female voice answers.

Ronnie walks in, "Jennie?" But his face falls immediately when he sees Jennie's roommate Sue, instead.

"No Ronnie, she's not here. She went home for the weekend."

"What Sue? When did she leave?"

The brown haired girl shakes her long hair side to side before answering "Why should I tell you? You broke her heart. What do you care?"

"First off, this is none of your business , Sue. You have no idea what that phone call was about, or who it even was. Secondly, Jennie and I hardly know each other . But that doesn't mean I didn't want to know her better."

Sue looks at Ronnie and sighs. "She just left about ten minutes ago. She's probably in a cab heading to JFK now. I don't know if you'll be able to catch her or not, but you could try."

"What about her cel phone?" Ronnie asks

"You could try, here." She hands him the cordless from her night stand, and he quickly dials the cel number.

"Damn." Ronnie says as he puts the phone down. "It's just her voice mail. I have to go, I have to see her before she goes to North Carolina."

"North Carolina? She's not going to North Carolina, She's going to Atlanta."

Ronnie turns quickly back to Sue. "I thought she was from North Carolina?"

"Maybe originally."Sue answers, "But her family lives in Atlanta now."

"Okay, gotta go Sue. Thanks again."

He runs out the door, and once clear of prying eyes, a nuclear flash heralds the departure of Ronnie Raymond, college student, and the appearance of Firestorm, the nuclear man!

Unknown to Firestorm, watching his streaking departure from the dark confines of her campus office is Professor Jacobs, Ronnie Raymonds Bio professor, who watches his streaking trail intently, and then turns away , and smiles. On a desk nearby is a copy of todays paper with the headline "Scream Killer Strikes again--Coed disappears seconds after leaving friends in midtown movie theater

Firestorm lands at one JFK's food delivery entrances for the aircrafts, again, making sure no one is around, he changes to Ronnie, and walks in with other passengers and well wishers.

"Where do I find her? I don't even know what flight or airline she's on?" He thinks nervously.

As he walks he views the flight boards scattered all over the airport, and finally sees a flight leaving for Atlanta in an hour. "That's gotta be it." He thinks, as he heads towards that flights terminal.

Nearby, the dark coated miscreant we saw earlier slides out from under a bus, where he had hidden himself, which has just arrived at the main terminal. "She is here." The madman thinks to himself. "The blade calls to her, yes it does. I hear its song. And soon, oh so soon, I will have my life energy back at full strength, and another harlot will be dead at my hands, and chaos will be satiated once again." All the while he continuously removes the dagger at his side, and slips it back into it sheathe "Shlift" "Shlift"

Meanwhile, Jennie Graf disembarks the very bus that the Scream Killer has hidden upon, her small bags held tightly, the pretty girl with the shoulder length blonde hair makes her way to check in, while Ronnie waits just inside, unbeknownst to her.

Jennie walks through the turnstiles ,and Ronnie calls to her immediately.

"Jennie! Jennie! Over here!"

She turns towards him, and at first smiles, then suddenly drops the smile and turns away.

"Damn." He mutters and heads towards her. "Jennie, wait up. I need to talk to you."

She turns towards him "Ronnie, please. I-I'm not sure I want to talk to you, right now."

"At least let me explain, Jen, c'mon. Give me a chance here."

He places his hand on her arm lightly. She softens and nods gently.

"C'mon, lets go out side, there's a bench nearby I saw when I came in."

"Okay Ronnie." The two walk outside and sit on the bench, back behind the tree line, basically hidden from street view.

"Look Jennie, before I met you, I was seeing someone, the girl you heard on the phone. She was an old girlfriend, and we were trying to rekindle things, but we never had time for each other. The last time I saw her was almost three weeks ago. She wanted to keep things going slow, and to be honest, I was losing interest. But then you came along, and, well I like being around you. You're different from the girls I'm used to dating. You seem more, I don't know, real? Look" He holds both her hands as he speaks. "I like you, If I didn't I wouldn't have flown out here to catch you."

"Flown?" she asks impishly.

"Uh, you know what I mean." He stammers nervously.

"So you really like me?" She asks smiling as she grabs his arm.

"Yeah, I do." He leans in closer to her, she to him and their lips touch, gently.

And then all hell breaks loose, as a bizarre long coated figure leaps from the bushes behind them to rip Ronnie away from Jennie powerfully "Away from her, she is the one! I know her scent, the blade knows!"

"What???" Ronnies shouts as he hits the ground, and rolls to his feet, leaping at their attacker.

"Back boy! She is mine I know her and need her!" The bizarrely garbed figure slashes at Ronnie with his dagger, cutting his arm.

"Unnghh!" Ron shouts as he doesn't hesitate, and kicks his attacker in the face, knocking the dagger from his hand, and the wide brimmed hat off his head, revealing a face out of nightmare! Jennie sees the face and screams immediately! Bone showing beneath tightfitting flesh, teeth pulled back in a garish smile from hell itself, the Scream Killer backhands Ronnie with his free hand, while he holds Jennie by the throat. Ron slips backwards, and hits his head against the bench they were seated on only an instant before! He slumps to the ground unconscious...

An interminable amount of time later, light begins to filter through to Ronnies eyes, as he awakens slowly, his head throbbing dully. Slowly his vision clears as he hears an unfamiliar voice saying "He's coming to. He should be alright. I'll leave you two alone with him."

Ronnie's vision suddenly returns with great clarity, as he sees his father and step mother standing by his bedside.

"Wha-where am I?" He bolts upright, immediately feeling his head throb in dull pain.

"Relax Ron." His father eases him back down into the bed with his hand.

"What happened? Dad, I-I remember a fight with a guy who looked like a he missed a casting for the next Jason movie." He rubs his head painfully where he fell. "Where's Jennie?" Ronnie asks suddenly.

Felicity and Ed Raymond exchange nervous glances and then Felicity speaks. "Ron, she's gone. That...Scream Killer got her. The police don't know where they are, or where they went. They combed the airport, but couldn't find any trace of them. This creep , this monster disappeared into thin air again."

Ronnie steps furtively out of the bed. "I have to go."

"What?" his father says, seeking to stop him, "You can't go anywhere, the police are doing all they can. There's nothing you can do."

Then Felicity grabs Ed hand, "No Ed. Let him go. Trust me, if anyone has a chance at helping Jennie, it's your son."

"What are you talking about Felicity?" Ed Raymond asks his wife, the woman who shares Firestorms secret.

"Trust me honey, your son can take care of himself. If he wants to go, let him. The Dr said he's okay to leave."

"Felice, how long was I out ?" Ronnie asks

"Over an hour." She answers "We got here as fast as we could."

"Okay. I gotta go, I love you guys. And dad, I'll explain everything when I get back, I promise."

Felicity walks Ed back out into the hallway, when Ed Raymond suddenly turns around and pushes past her back into the room "Wait a second, Ronald--" But the room is now empty, and even the window is closed. "Wh-where'd he go? How'd he get out?"

Felicity holds her husbands arm and sighs inwardly as they walk out of the room.

Outside, Firestorm streaks across the sky, arcing back to Kennedy airport, where he lands amid Police lines and bustling Cops.

"Hey!" A burly patrolmen yells at him as he walks quickly towards the young hero. "You can't cross that, you have to get back."

"Get back yourself," Firestorm waves his hand disdainfully, creating a steel barrier between himself and the cops. An instant later he digs a small blade out from under s tree where it fell when he tussled with the Scream Killer. He looks at its handle and grip, then pops it into his suit and flies away, instantly dissolving the wall he just created, as he speeds south, leaving the gape jawed law officers behind.

Next : Go to Hawk and Dove #7, then back here for the conclusion of the Scream Killer epic

Nuclear Reactions C/O


This issue was one Barry and I discussed in the spring. He wrote his part, and I never wrote anything else for quite a while, here, while I was trying to catch up with other projects along the way. Finally, I came back to Stormy , and came up with all new stuff to put him through in the next few issues, including the return of an all new Classic Firestorm villain. Makes no sense, does it? But it will soon. Anyway. Make sure you check out Hawk and Dove #7, then stop back here for issue #10 for teh wrap up of the Scream Killer story. Oh, by the way 11 and 12 will feature that nefarious do-badder, Dr Zero. So y'all come back here soon, hear?