Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Midnight Edition • "Guest-starring Wolverine's cold, dead corpse!"

Your Top DC Heroes part 39

Written by Chris Mitchell on Wednesday, January 20 2010 and posted in Features
Here we are, at the halfway point (between 100 and 50, that is).


76. Ice (35 points)

ice.jpg"Any girl that will date Guy is a fan of mine."

Ice is the daughter of King Olafsdotter. He ruled over the magical ice people who lived in a mountain range in Norway. When an engineer named Rod Schoendienst discovered the ice people, he made a pact with Tora's father that allowed her to leave their kingdom. After Rod introduced Tora to Doctor Mist and the Global Guardians she joined the team as the second Icemaiden. Soon after, she became friends with Beatriz DaCosta (aka Fire). After the Guardians lost their U.N. funding, Tora and Beatriz hounded the Martian Manhunter until he let them join the JLI. Changing her name to Ice, Tora fought with the League for years.

Tora and Guy Gardner had a long on again off again relationship that got more complicated as it went on. Ice first met Guy after he had suffered multiple head wounds which caused Guy to have a really goody goody personality. Guy had been a pompous, nasty and boorish superhero. This caused Batman to knock him out cold with one punch causing Guy to hit his head on the floor. When Guy awoke he was very angry and swore revenge against Batman, but first he had to find his ring. He ended up finding it under the monitor station at the Justice League headquarters, but when a mouse appeared suddenly it startled him causing him to hit his head and black out again. It was after this that Guy became the Goody, Goody that Tora met.

Tora never new the "old" Guy and she thought that the Guy she knew was pretty swell. Unfortunately for her, Guy and Lobo got into a huge fight causing Guy to hit his head again and revert back to his old self. This version of Guy was not pleasing to Ice, but she knew that there was a sweeter side to him, and also they always had strong feelings for each other. The only problem was Guy himself. He never knew how to treat her. He even took her out to a strip club on one of their very first dates. Things went really bad after Guy found out that Ice had a crush on Superman. This caused Guy to act even more irrational than he did in the past. He was never a fan of Superman in the first place, but when he felt that he had lost Ice to him he just couldn't handle it. Even after Superman's death things just never worked out between them.

Eventually Guy would quit the Justice League. This meant he wasn't there when Ice was killed. He wasn't even able to attended her funeral.

Toward the end of her career with the Justice League of America, Ice develops greater powers. She doesn't have them for long before she is tragically killed by Overmaster when its alien Cadre invaded Earth.

When various members of the JLI were reunited as the team the Superbuddies, they are transported to a Hellish dimension. Here they find Tora's soul alongside the other damned. The Demon mentions she wasn't supposed to be there, as she is a Nordic Ice Goddess. The Superbuddies manage to barter for their friend's soul and she is allowed to accompany them out of Hell only if they don't look back at her. This is all fine and good, except for Guy Gardner and Fire's deep feelings for her. Fire looks back at her for a moment only to find her disappear.

Tora found Fire's concern for her touching and bade her farewell as she disappeared back to the afterlife, this time implied it will be to Valhalla. Thus, Guy and Bea have to mourn their friend all over again.

Sometime later, the Birds of Prey discovered Tora alive and in a Rocket Red exosuit. Tora awoke during the ensuing battle and proceeds to display levels of power she had never before in order to avenge her own death. Birds of Prey and the Secret Six alike are all targets of Ice's rage. It is only after Huntress slaps her and reminds her of Guy Gardner that Ice reverts to her wits.

It is revealed the villain Keremov was responsible for her resurrection. He needed a Goddess to play on the Russian people's superstitions about Ice Princesses. Tora still felt somewhat loyal to Keremov since he brought her back from the dead. Her loyalty was proven moot as Deadshot dispatched Keremov. Tora then left with the Birds of Prey.

Wanting to return to her normal life as much as possible, Tora met up with her best friend Bea at the Checkmate Compound. They caught up on old times and spoke of current ones. While in Fire's care, Ice ventured out of the Checkmate compound on occasion to meet with other old friends (such as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold) and helped them with their current activities. Most notably, Ice joined other heroes in the Sinestro Corps War. In the aftermath, she reunited with Guy Gardner. they have since begun their relationship anew. Despite telling Guy that she wanted to take things slow, he proposed the idea of her moving to Oa to live with him. When she began to tell him that it wasn't such a good idea for her, he became angry thereby pushing Tora away. She then departed back to Earth with one of the other Green Lanterns

75. Stephanie Brown (37 points)

stephaniebrown.jpg"Well I cannot use the same stuff I usually say for her, save for this. She's still the only light in the darkness of the Batman world. After all she's been through, she still keeps her chipper attitude. It's a long time coming for DC to finally bite the bullet and make her Batgirl. She's like the female Peter Parker to me. She's the everyday girl and she's so frigging human. Even if she made an OOC move TWICE by unleashing a gang war. Damnit DC... anyway. Here's hoping she continues to be that shining light in this universe, until some author decides to grim dark her for the sake of it."

She sucks.

Making a deal with her mother, Stephanie Brown decided to have one last outing as Spoiler. Yet after the events of Batman R.I.P. Stephanie took the mantle as Batgirl. Cassandra gave Stephanie her costume after they took down a group of thugs at the docks. She has become disillusioned after Bruce Wayne's apparent death, and decided to leave while Stephanie was talking to her only to find her cowl. While juggling college and super-hero work. Stephanie catches the eyes of Batman and Robin as well as Oracle. Soon Dick figures out Batgirl is not Cassandra and soon Barbara Gordon/Oracle figures it out as well. Stephanie is then confronted by Gordon, who reveals she is aware of her activities. Note - Stephanie gave up being Spoiler not Batgirl.

Taking the mantle of Batgirl felt as if it wasn’t a big deal, but then the original Batgirl gave her an ultimatum. Demanding Stephanie Brown give up the Batgirl mantle or Barbara would have no choice but to tell mother Brown of her daughter’s true adventures at bed-time. Upset by the words coming out her possible mentors mouth, Stephanie cannot help but ignore and return to her brand new adventures. Turns out the weird events involving a drug called Thrill, which makes the heart rate of the victim soar to high levels, came from the ring-leader - Scarecrow! The first rogue Stephanie Brown also known as the Batgirl must soon confront.

74. Jason Rusch (37 points)

jasonrusch.jpg"Jason gets a hard rap but is a great addition to the Firestorm universe. I have loved him in the league and loved Blackest Night #3 with his turn to shine. Great character."

"Initially not happy about the way Ronnie bit the dust, but I have to admit that Jason grew on me through his book, Trinity and the stuff McDuffie was doing with him in JLA. Shame that he's off the team now."

The "essence" of Firestorm found its way to a young man named Jason Rusch, and imbued him with powers very similar to the original. However, in order to become Firestorm, Rusch needed another person to complete the matrix. Unlike previous incarnations, this was not a fixed set of people. It was Rusch and whomever happened to be nearby.

This was usually a surprise for the other person, which made controlling Firestorm more difficult. There were risks, however. If Jason over-exerted himself, the person he merged with could fade away and die. Also, if he merged with someone strong enough, it was possible for that other person to take over Firestorm and bend it to their will.

At one point, the mind of Ronnie Raymond reappeared in the Firestorm matrix, but didn't last very long. Raymond vanished again, perhaps never to return.

During the Infinite Crisis, Firestorm was part of the team that went into space to close the rift opened by Alexander Luthor. Rusch's companion in the matrix, his friend Mickey, died during the fighting, and Firestorm was saved by the reappearance of the elemental Firestorm, Martin Stein. Stein offered to help him, and Rusch talked Stein into rejoining the Firestorm matrix. They returned to Earth, though not unscathed, and eventually resumed work as a hero.

In the events of 52, Firestorm, with Firehawk, tried to lead a new Justice League, but that proved to be a failure when the new League was decimated by Skeets, the robot companion of the late Booster Gold.

With knowledge of a quarter of the Life Equation hidden in the Firestorm Matrix, Firestorm and Shilo Norman were attacked simultaneously by the New God Orion (who wanted to keep Martin Stein safe), and the Female Furies and Kalibak of Apokalips, who carried out Darkseid's plans to secure the Matrix. Darkseid himself feared that the Life Equation would hinder his Anti-Life Equation. With the combined might of Firestorm and Shilo, Orion, Apokalips and the Female Furies were defeated. But that didn't stop Darkseid from arriving in a boom tube, and snatching the essence of Martin Stein from the Firestorm Matrix. With sheer determination, Jason merged with his girlfriend Gehenna to become Firestorm, in order to find Martin Stein.

While searching for Martin Stein, Jason was later taken down by Lex Luthor, The Joker and Cheetah. After his recovery, he helped the Justice League of America break free of imprisonment and joined them in battle against the Injustice League. After the battle, Firestorm was drafted into the Justice League by Batman.

During the events of Countdown, Firestorm teamed up with Una and Karate Kid to find a cure for Karate Kid's infection in Bludhaven. They were later confronted by the Atomic Knights, but they made quick work of them. Digging deeper into the underground of Bludhaven, the team stumbles upon Desaad torturing Martin Stein. While attempting to stop him, Firestorm was trapped inside of a mystical barrier, and that alone allowed Desaad to take over the Firestorm entity and relentlessly attack Karate Kid and Una with the intent to kill them. The Atomic Knights intervened just in time to separate Desaad (who then fled back to Apokalips through a boom tube) from the Firestorm Matrix. While Firestorm held off the Atomic Knights for another go-around, Karate Kid and the rest of the team continued into the Bludhaven Underground. Meanwhile, Brother Eye and the OMACs arrive in Bludhaven and take over the area, using Firestorm as a power source. During a battle between an OMAC and Red Robin, Firestorm is freed from Brother Eye.

The current incarnation of Firestorm is composed of Jason Rusch and Martin Stein, although not necessarily all the time. He is currently merged with his girlfriend, Gehenna.

In Blackest Night #0, released on Free Comic Book Day 2009, the Black Hand, an agent of the Black Lantern Corps, is seen visiting Ronnie Raymond's grave site. This suggests that perhaps Ronnie Raymond, as Firestorm, will be returning as a Black Lantern. In Blackest Night #1 Professor Stein is seen with Jason Rusch and his girlfriend Gehenna saying that the day Ronnie died he has never stopped praying that he would return. Gehenna then says to Jason that they should become Firestorm as she notes that it is raining but all the plants and everything are dying. Firestorm appears on the final page of Blackest Night #2 saying that he wants "dibs on Flash."


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