Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: Upper Hand (interior) or Burn, Bloodhound, Burn! (cover) – Part I of a II-part cross-over with Bloodhound #5
Firestorm created by Gerry Conway & Al Milgrom
Bloodhound created by Dan Jolley & Drew Johnson
Written by: Dan Jolley
Pencilled by: Liam Sharp
Inked by: Andy Lanning
Colored by: Chris Sotomayor
Lettered by: Patrick Brosseau
Associate Editor: Steve Wacker
Editor: Peter Tomasi
DC’s Solicitation for Firestorm #7
“Part 1 of a 2-part crossover with BLOODHOUND featuring guest art by Liam Sharp and Andy Lanning! Jason’s past returns to haunt him when Stevie Golek’s boss comes looking for answers. How will Jason’s life be affected by this… and the vicious Travis Clevenger?”
Who is ‘Bloodhound’?
The Nexus‘ own Chris Delloiacono sat down with writer Dan Jolley to get the scoop on his current and upcoming projects. In that Caught in the Nexus interview Jolley explains the Bloodhound series thus:
“The story centers on an ex-Atlanta police detective named Travis Clevenger, who has a pretty good knack for understanding the way metahuman criminals think. These are not the obvious, costume-wearing bad guys; they’re the kind who don’t want anyone else to know about them. While he was on the job, Clevenger had the best record in APD history at collaring metahuman perps — but he was also very thoroughly corrupt, and ended up screwing himself over so badly that he killed his own partner and landed in federal prison. Bloodhound focuses on Clevenger after the FBI gets him out of prison to help them track down a suspected metahuman serial killer; he’ll soon be getting into a new kind of life as an FBI consultant, though on a very very short leash (so to speak). He’d honestly rather be left alone, and back in prison; Clevenger has realized now exactly what a monster he is, and would rather see the world at large without him in it. But the serial killer is targeting his late partner’s daughter, and Clevenger can’t let that happen”. Check out Bloodhound #1-4 to learn the fate of his late partner’s daughter.
Who is ‘Firestorm’?
In my retro review of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #1 (1978) I quoted Jolley’s take on DC’s “new” Firestorm from an interview he gave to our friends at Newsarama:
“…an all new start for an all new ongoing series starring an all new character as Firestorm. Instead of a merged form of Professor Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond (as originally created) or just Ronnie Raymond (as later modified), this Firestorm is a young kid named Jason Rusch and… well, whoever is nearby at the time…. Jason Rusch is a 17-year-old African-American Detroit native; he’s just graduated from high school, and he’s desperately trying to scrape up money to pay for Fall term at college.”
The Firestorm #7 Review
THE Miami drug kingpin, Luis Salvador, the self-titled “King of I-75”, comes a-call’n for Jason Rusch to find out what happened to his drug point man in Detroit, Stevie Golek, who Firestorm killed accidentally killed in his first fiery foray. The I-75 that Salvador is the King of is a major drug corridor, but a regular I-series highway that weaves through the eastern seaboard and goes inland from Miami to Canada. It also happens to cross through Atlanta (the home of Bloodhound) and Detroit (the home of the “new” Firestorm).
Salvador’s been told Jason saw him last and he comes to his home and lays the beat down on Jason’s loving, but abusive dad (there’s some characterization) and our protagonist. Predictably, once Jason makes eye contact with the King, boom, they’re Firestorm.
Hijinx ensue and we learn more about Firestorm’s powers as will power seems to be a major prerequisite to determine who will wield the power. Salvador overpowers Jason and takes control of the power and goes a-reveng’n… on Bloodhound!
The story itself is not a bad one with a very logical connection between the worlds of Firestorm and Bloodhound.
I don’t think the merging of Jason and another villain is “new” for the series, but readers and Jason learn more about the Firestorm powers through that plot device. I also continue to hate how Jason’s dad is portrayed. He is, shamefully, the ultimate stereotype.
I’ve followed Liam Sharp for years, but I don’t think his pencils suit Firestorm. However, this is a dark story so it does fit with this arc, but that’s still a bit of stretch.
I also didn’t like how the King-controlled Firestorm looked. There was an opportunity to create something truly new and evil and all we get is a new Firestorm costume based on Salvador’s tattoos. Not very original.
Having said that, with the revelation that will power is key to the Firestorm power, its interesting that visually when Salvador takes control his Firestorm looks different from Jason’s. The reason that’s interesting is because when Jason first became Firestorm his looked like a modified version of the original. Hmm. Is Ronnie Raymond lurking somewhere in this new Firestorm? Stay tuned!
I would have also preferred to see the covers for Firestorm #7 and Bloodhound #5 have some uniformity whether the same artist, style, inter-locking, or some trade dress to link the two. The cover to Firestorm #7 pales in comparison to the cover of Bloodhound #5 IMHO.
While I think its still early in each of these titles for a cross-over, I do think Bloodhound is a gem of a property not getting the sales it deserves to match its accolades. ANYTHING that will give Bloodhound more exposure I will support, no matter how forced or contrived as this cross-over is.
Tune in for Part Two in Bloodhound #5 also out this week!
DC’s Solicitation for Bloodhound #5
“Continuing the crossover with FIRESTORM #7! Will the new Firestorm learn the wrong kind of lesson from Clevenger? And what will be the shocking result when Firestorm decides their only chance for survival depends on merging with Bloodhound?”
Bloodhound #5 Review
Check out Tim Stevens’ Bloodhound #5 review here.