“The End and the Beginning”
Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Scott Clark, Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Inkers: David Beaty
Editors: Eddie Berganza
Firestorm arrives at the Anti-Monitor’s battle ship in the antimatter universe, where the universal destroyer is performing tests on the White Lantern. The Lantern steals information in the form of energy from the Anti-Monitor, giving Firestorm the opening he needs to attack. Although he strikes hard and fast, Firestorm is split into Ronnie and Jason by the Anti-Monitor. Deathstorm attacks Jason, but the newly-freed Professor Stein leaps in front of the youth and is transformed into salt. Jason and Ronnie merge into Firestorm, but can’t save Stein. After they resolve to work together, the Entity of the White Light restores Ronnie’s life and teleports them the Star City forest. Boston Brand arrives on the scene and demands that Firestorm give him the White Lantern…
Page 1: Firestorm last appeared in Brightest Day #17.
“I was here before.” Back in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12.
“Ronnie was here.” Glad to see that, in between fighting the Anti-Monitor and trying to flee the antimatter universe, Ronnie had time to leave behind some super-powered graffiti.
Pages 2-3: Deathstorm last appeared in Brightest Day #18.
The Anti-Monitor last appeared in Brightest Day #3, although he did appear, as a voice only, in Brightest Day #12.
Page 5: “Stein and I barely held our own against him alongside Superman, Captain Atom and like thirty others.” Ronnie must be remembering things wrong, or is having pre-Crisis flashbacks. In the Post-Crisis DC Universe, Captain Atom didn’t appear until shortly before the events of Millennium, months after the Anti-Monitor was defeated. Ronnie must be remembering the Earth-4 Captain Atom, who did accompany the heroes of the Multiverse to the antimatter universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12.
“I’ve been holding myself back.” If, what you mean by that is that you’ve been a whiny little bitch for a while now, then, yes, you are correct, Ronnie.
“Anti-matter universe information needed.” So what information does the Entity of the White Light need? And is this why it resurrected the Anti-Monitor back in Blackest Night #8 in the first place? For information?
Page 6: Well, it’s about time Ronnie started acting something like a hero…
Page 7: “It’s Meathead and the Brain!” Presumably a reference to the WB cartoon Pinky and the Brain. And if I have to explain that to you, then you’re really missing out…
Page 8: “The Hindenburg” refers to the LZ 129 Hindenburg, a German passenger airship that caught fire and was destroyed at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, NJ on May 6, 1937.
Page 10: Ouch. Looked like that hurt like hell…
Page 11: “Oh, Ronnie…before I turn you into salt, let’s take a trip down memory lane…” Deathstorm has a fascination with salt-people; he, as Black Lantern Firestorm, transformed Jason’s girlfriend Gehenna into salt in Blackest Night #3.
“Do you remember when you died? The Shadow Thief split open your nuclear guts and triggered a countdown.” This transpired in Identity Crisis #5.
“But you didn’t panic. Instead you acted selflessly. You flew far away from your friends to protect them from your inevitable explosive demise.” He did, saving the Shining Knight, Vixen and Captain Marvel in the process.
Page 13: “I’m starving…how about some rage, Alvin?” Black Lanterns like Deathstorm feed off the emotions of their victims when they kill them.
“Hey, Jason! Say hi to your girlfriend!” The aforementioned Gehenna, whom Deathstorm killed. He’s not a nice guy, now is he?
Page 14: Awwww, first Rupert Giles has his neck snapped, and now Professor Martin Stein is transformed into salt. It’s getting to be that there aren’t any cool middle-aged mentors to young heroes these days…
Page 15: “Not everything can be fixed with a thought.” Great. Stein’s about to die and he starts doling out words of wisdom on how to live your life…
Page 16: “Save him, dammit!’ The Entity of the White Light has its own plans, and only saves those that serve it in the grand scheme of things.
Page 17: “I know Jason better than you. And he will be a better partner than me if you both accept the shared responsibility.” This is a shift from the old paradigm of Firestorm, with a mentor and a student. If Ronnie and Jason act as equal partners, then they can learn from one another and, in turn, become better.
“You weren’t like a son to me, Ronald. You were a son.” Crap. I think I’m gonna cry…
Page 18: “Ronald Raymond of Earth. Mission accomplished. Life returned.” In Brightest Day #7, Ronnie and Jason were told that they needed to learn from one another so that they could save the White Lantern from Deathstorm. Having done this, Ronnie’s life has been restored.
Page 19: “He is not our concern. He is dead.” What did I tell ya? The Entity can be one cold-hearted bastard…
Page 20: Boston Brand last appeared in Brightest Day #21.
“Do what he says. Earth depends on it.” Yeah, and you need to be transformed into a fire elemental, Firestorm. Actually, you used to be a fire elemental, so this isn’t exactly new to you…