- Yeah, you better run.
- — Jason Rusch src
The second dominant half of the Firestorm Matrix is Jason Rusch, who became Firestorm after Ronnie Raymond's death. Unlike his predecessor who worked almost exclusively with Martin Stein, Jason merged with a number of people, including Mick Wong, Gehenna and, reluctantly, a revived Ronnie.
Jason Rusch was a seventeen year old teenager living in Detroit, who wanted nothing more than to escape his home city. He lived with his father, who had turned abusive after he lost his hand in an industrial accident. His mother left his father sometime after the accident, leaving the young Jason with his father. Jason later recalled that his father had hit him on four occasions. With the loss of a job he needed to fund college, so Jason turned to a local tough for money, accepting a job as a courier. It was on that job that he encountered the Firestorm Matrix, searching for a new host after Ronnie Raymond's death.
Ronnie had been fighting a supervillain called the Shadow Thief. Taking the Shining Knight's sword, the Shadow Thief drove it through Ronnie's chest. The magical sword ruptured the Nuclear Man's containment field, resulting in Firestorm's body exploding, and his residual essence funneling into Jason's body. In the aftermath, Jason struggled to cope with his new identity and powers - a struggle that led to the death of the man who had hired him.
Eventually, Jason managed to develop a degree of control over his powers. Unfortunately, being Firestorm drew a lot of attention towards him, some of it unpleasant, and Jason found himself up against a number of supervillains - some interested in Firestorm's power, others seeking revenge for the actions of Ronnie's Firestorm. However, when Jason initiated a merge with Lorraine Reilly, the superheroine Firehawk, something in the combination brought out Ronnie Raymond, or at least that part of him which remained in the Firestorm Matrix. Ronnie remained with Jason as part of Firestorm until he appeared to dissipate during battle with Cliff Carmichael, the Thinker.
Shortly after Jason's eighteenth birthday, a few weeks after Ronnie's dissipation, Jason was kidnapped by the new Secret Society of Super-Villains for use as a power source in a hidden complex. Freed when the new Secret Six launched a raid on the complex, Jason discovered two important things: he had a fellow prisoner (a mysterious girl named Gehenna), and his imprisonment by the Society had significantly depowered him.
Together, Jason and Gehenna escaped the complex, destroying it in the process. Gehenna disappeared in the aftermath but telepathically promised Firestorm that she would see him again. Donna Troy recruited Firestorm - this time comprised of Jason and his best friend Mick Wong - for her outer space team to fight the oncoming disruption from the Infinite Crisis.
Firestorm was fatally wounded in the line of duty during the Crisis, but Jason was rescued by Martin Stein, still alive in space as the "Elemental Firestorm" (unfortunately, Martin had been unable to save Mick). Martin linked with Jason in a variation of the merge, promising him a new Firestorm body to let him return to battle, and asking him about the fate of Ronnie Raymond. While Martin had retained his link to the Firestorm Matrix, he had been unaware of Ronnie's death, and the Matrix's transfer to Jason.
Accepting Martin's offer, Jason asked him to become the permanent second member of the Firestorm Matrix. Sensing his "errors", including Mick's death, were the result of his youth and lack of experience, he sought the experience and maturity of the elder Professor Stein. Martin refused at first, but Jason managed to find a spark of humanity in the distanced and apparently cold Martin - his sorrow for both Ronnie's death, and the deaths of a planet of aliens he had watched over. Martin finally accepted Jason's request, thus ensuring both a new Firestorm body and the reconstruction of human bodies for both Jason and Martin.
Firestorm returned to action, confronting the source of the instability, the cosmological interference of Alexander Luthor, which had torn a rift in space. Firestorm's intervention stopped Alex's interference at a critical moment, closing the rift.
The sealing of the rift unleashed a reality-warping wave across the region. The assembled heroes attempted to use a Zeta Beam to teleport themselves back to Earth, but something went wrong, and the fractured Zeta Beam ended up either drastically transforming the heroes, or sending them to places far removed in space or time. Firestorm ended up back on Earth a month after the Crisis, fused with Cyborg in a twisted parody of the Firestorm merge, their nervous systems joined together. Fortunately, the two were eventually separated.
Over the months that followed, Martin helped Jason in dealing with the trauma of the Crisis, talking him through it, being patient with him. As Jason managed to get his life back in order, he thought of going to Lowrance University, near Detroit, but Martin encouraged him to go to Columbus University in New York. Martin got himself a job teaching physics at Columbus, and assisted Jason in getting financial aid.
Firestorm also joined a shortlived Justice League, which quickly fell apart following a devastating attack by a possessed, upgraded, Skeets.
When Gehenna's father disappeared, she turned to Jason for help, as the only other person she knew. Jason agreed to help Gehenna find her father, once his life settled down. Unfortunately, things only got more complicated when, shortly afterwards, Martin was kidnapped.
Jason turned to Lorraine Reilly, asking her to be his temporary partner until they found Martin, but the two soon discovered that they were now unable to be more than a mile apart, forcing the two to share each other's lives. Eventually, they managed to find Martin, who had been captured by a villain called the Pupil, eager to learn as much as he could about Firestorm. With Martin back, the unstable bond between Lorraine and Jason was broken, and Martin returned to being Jason's partner.
That settled, Jason turned his attention to tracking down Gehenna's missing father, only to find it was Henry Hewitt, the supervillain Tokomak. He had given Gehenna to the Society, knowing that Firestorm would rescue her - and that in time, she would seek Firestorm out. In an attempt to restore his lost powers, Tokomak had arranged to set off nuclear explosions worldwide, intending to collect and absorb the energy into himself. Jason managed to stop him, leaving Tokomak on the verge of death.
Before dying, Tokomak claimed to know who Jason truly was, and why he had become Firestorm - and that once he died, Jason would never find out. Also left unanswered on Tokomak's death was the question of why he had arranged for Gehenna to find Jason.
The New Gods
Some time later, Jason and Martin were attacked in quick succession by Orion of the New Gods, and the Female Furies of Apokolips. During the ensuing conflict, Martin and Jason learned that one quarter of the Life Equation - the counterpart to the Anti-Life Equation - was embedded within the Firestorm Matrix, the Matrix being the source of power for Earth's Fire Elemental. The other pieces were contained within the power sources of Earth's other Elementals.
The forces of Apokolips and New Genesis were seeking Martin for his work in trying to solve the part of the Life Equation represented by the Firestorm Matrix. Ultimately, it was Darkseid who triumphed, taking Martin captive. In need of a new partner to become Firestorm, Jason merged with Gehenna, and together, the two of them set out to find Martin.
While apprehending Killer Frost in the commission of a heist, Jason is severely wounded by Lex Luthor, the Joker, and Cheetah. While still recovering, he goes to aid the captive members of the Justice League. Upon freeing the members of the League, he joins the battle against the Injustice League. After this victory, Firestorm is drafted into the League by Batman.
During the team's encounter with the planet destroying villain Starbreaker and the black-ops team the Shadow Cabinet, Jason eventually faces Shadow Thief, the villain who killed Ronnie Raymond and inadvertently caused Jason's transformation into Firestorm. Sands mocks Jason for being an unworthy successor and nearly kills him like he did his predecessor, but Jason rejects the villain's insinuation that he is inferior, and emerges victorious. After Sands is defeated by Jason's teammate and friend Kimiyo Hoshi, Jason contemplates executing him in order to avenge Ronnie, but is dissuaded by a lecture from the vigilante Hardware. At Kimiyo's suggestion, Jason instead uses his abilities to seal Sands' mouth shut with duct tape, preventing him from utilizing the shadows within his body, thus rendering him powerless. He later assists Icon and the rest of the Justice League in the final battle with Starbreaker.
After this, Jason plays a minor role in the mini-series Justice League: Cry for Justice. He first appears after being sent to Gotham City in order to retrieve the corpse of Delores Winters after she mysteriously drops dead during a confrontation with Batwoman. He later attempts to stop Prometheus after he infiltrates the Watchtower. Realizing that he is vulnerable to magic, Prometheus easily defeats Firestorm by hitting him with a missile forged from the gauntlet of a barbarian king, temporarily undoing the merger and sending Jason and Gehenna hurtling to the floor. A short time later, Firestorm is seen helping search for survivors alongside Animal Man and Starfire after Star City is destroyed by Prometheus.
Jason and Gehenna visit Ronnie's grave with Professor Stein.They are later attacked by Ronnie himself, whose body had been reanimated as a Black Lantern. Ronnie absorbs Jason into his body, and turns Gehenna into salt. Ronnie used their mental link to slowly absorb Jason's emotional energies, providing the Black Lantern Central Power Battery with even more power. Ronnie then sets his sights on Barry Allen, but Jason is able to take control of the Firestorm Matrix long enough for Barry to escape. Sometime after, Barry, now deputised into the Blue Lantern Corps, uses his power ring to create a construct of Gehenna, instilling enough hope in Jason to attempt to break free of his link with Ronnie. However, the Black Lantern Bart Allen attacks Barry, dissipating the construct, and Jason is imprisoned once again. In the wake of Nekron's destruction, Firestorm is restored to life, with Jason and a now resurrected Ronnie Raymond separating once the battle is over. While the other heroes celebrate their victory, Jason blames Ronnie for killing Gehenna.
In the aftermath of the Blackest Night, Jason is shown attending Gehenna's funeral in New York City. Professor Stein and Ray Palmer attempt to comfort him, when Ronnie, still clad in casual clothing from a party the night before, arrives at the funeral. He offers an apology to Jason, who angrily tells Ronnie that he probably does not even remember Gehenna's name. Enraged when Ronnie is actually unable to remember her name, Jason punches him in the face, causing the two to merge into Firestorm once more. The two then begin fighting and arguing inside the Firestorm Matrix while Palmer and Stein attempt to figure out what is happening to them. Palmer manages to separate Jason and Ronnie, but not before the Firestorm matrix causes a huge explosion, transmuting everything in the Professor's laboratory into table salt. While recovering in the hospital, Stein explains to Ronnie that it seems to be very dangerous to fuse into Firestorm again. Some time later, Jason inadvertently uses a lingering connection to Ronnie to create an avatar of Gehenna out of table salt to attack him. Jason is asleep at the time, so is not aware of the event.
Not too long after, he is lying, recovering from a massive binge, when Jason again forces the merge to help several construction workers endangered when the girders at the site are transmuted without warning to bubble gum. This time, they again hear the mysterious voice taunting them, and Ronnie accepts he remembers killing Gehenna, and they realize something else is lurking from within the Firestorm Matrix.
As Firestorm, Jason and Ronnie, visit Stein in an attempt to find out what is happening to them. Stein reveals to them that the Black Lantern Firestorm still exists in the Firestorm Matrix. Firestorm is then told by the Entity that they must learn from each other and defeat the Black Lantern Firestorm, before he destroys the Entity. Somehow, Jason and Ronnie apeear to have traded places.
- Firestorm Matrix
- Density Control: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix have complete control over molecules and as such can change the density of solids, liquids and gases to as light as hydrogen or as heavy as uranium.
- Eidetic Memory: Also called "Matrix Memory Recall", elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can access the memories of each and every single being that has ever been fused into the Matrix. New elements are allowed to automatically download surface information.
- Energy Absorption: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can absorb massive amounts of energy as well as being able to absorb many different types of energy. Most commonly the elements and energies associate with life and the human body are absorbed. Also solar energy is a possible source of energy that can work as a "emergency battery" for elements out of power.
- Energy Projection: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can project massive amounts of different amount of energies. Naturally occurring energy projected by Firestorm are "Nuclear Blasts" however elements can project a number of different energies at will.
- Enhanced Vision: Also called "Quark Vision", elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix have access to enhanced vision due to their nuclear nature. Different visions experienced are X-Ray Vision, Microscopic Vision, and Thermal Vision.
- Flight: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can soar through the sky at amazing speeds. At first it may be difficult to achieve flight through Firestorm's nuclear nature though most master it quickly. Firestorms have been clocked at over 600mph theoretically they can fly much faster.
- Molecular Reconstruction Elements tied together into the Firestorm Matrix to create Firestorm have one main ability which all other stem from. Their "atomic fusion" or "nuclear nature" stem from nuclear physics tempering with the user's mixture of psychic energies as well as physical properties. Users accessing Firestorm or the Firestorm Matrix are called "elements" as they individually make up the Matrix. Firestorms can break down and reapply subatomic particles as well as break up the molecular structure of elements and rearrange them. To do this the element must know the exact elemental make-up of the object or human. Most Firestorms cannot affect living tissue but it is possible though very unstable.
- Phasing: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can phase their bodies through solid objects. Although they have direct control over an object's density they can use this ability on themselves and only themselves and affect living tissue to pass through objects.
- Psychic Link: Sometimes called "floating heads", elements that embody the Firestorm Matrix appear mostly as floating heads to represent their psychic link to the other human being or other element in the Matrix. They can be represented however they'd like but the Matrix defaults them to a disembodied head. Even disconnected an element may have latent psychic traces of the previous user.
- Regeneration: Though a majorly untested power as well as being as much a reaction from shape-shifting and a direct result of molecular reconstruction; nonetheless, Firestorm elements can regenerate large sections of misplaced or destroyed physical properties.
- Self-Sustenance: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can survive in space unaided, never need to eat to sustain life and never truly need another element to be processed or broken down by their bodies. Although users may feel these needs and would enjoy producing such bodily functions it is unnecessary.
- Superhuman Durability: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix receive an increased amount of physical resistance and durability. They can survive bullets and stab wounds as well as the physical damage of exploding constantly.
- Superhuman Strength: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix receive an increased amount of physical strength and muscle mass. Certain elements can tap into this energy and become large hulking entities however such strength can be quite destructive to the host if not used sparingly.
- Transformation: Elements tied to the Firestorm Matrix can transform from their "normal" human forms into Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. However other entities may take whatever form they want; such as, Black Lantern Firestorm and Fury. Furthermore, elements can transform their body or body parts at will with concentration with an unknown level of restraint.
- The original Firestorm concept was created by writers Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom. Jason Rusch was created by Dan Jolley.
- Jason's dual identity is known to a number of people, including his father, Gehenna, Firehawk, Pozar, his fellow JLA members, the New Gods, the Pionic Man, and Doctor Otaki, one of Jason's former neighbors.
- To lessen his reliance on Professor Stein, Jason has taken up reading flash cards with chemical formulas on them. He also reads them when he is troubled.
- According to Infinite Crisis, had the Pre-Crisis Multiverse continued, Jason would have been a native of the original Earth-Eight.
In chronological order
- Stevie Golek
- Nicole Garcia
- Mick Wong
- Luis Salvador
- Fredo Burleson
- Lorraine Reilly
- Ronnie Raymond
- Doctor Kennedy
- Prozac User
- Martin Stein
- 176 Appearances of Jason Rusch (New Earth)
- 61 Images featuring Jason Rusch (New Earth)
- 13 Quotations by or about Jason Rusch (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Jason Rusch (New Earth)
- Firestorm (Jason Rusch) biography page at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Firestorm biography at Firestorm 2 HQ
- Museum of Black Superheroes: Firestorm
- Justice League of America (Volume 2) #32-33
- Justice League of America (Volume 2) #34
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #5
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #6
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #7
- Blackest Night #1
- Blackest Night #3
- Blackest Night #4
- Green Lantern (Volume 4) #50
- Blackest Night: The Flash #2
- Blackest Night #8
- Brightest Day #0
- Brightest Day #2
- Brightest Day #3
- Brightest Day #4
- Brightest Day #6
- Brightest Day #7
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
|White Lantern Corps member|
This character is or was a member of the White Lantern Corps, guided by the Life Entity to wield the White Light of Life.
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