Credits: Len Wein (writer), Ed Benes (penciler), Brian Garvey (inker), Clem Robins (letterer), Lee Loughridge (colorist)
Summary: Gunfire races to V.H.I.’s headquarters to witness a test of the laser drill that will harness geothermal energy. Not long after the test begins, Ragnarok enters with his genetically mutated monsters. Gunfire and his friends fight the monsters, but when Gunfire charges the air around him for a final strike at Ragnarok, he’s tricked into firing the energy down the shaft. Ragnarok boasts that the blast will trigger a chain reaction that will destroy the earth.
Review: The letters page announces Gunfire’s cancellation, aborting such promising storylines as “Yvette makes a deal with the devil” and “Gunfire moves to the moon to protect the planet from his powers.” Surely, this is a terrible loss. A fan letter blames the glut of DC releases from this era for the book’s premature end, but it’s hard to imagine Gunfire standing out even without the competition. The hero has no compelling motivation, his personal life isn’t that interesting, and most of his villains have been a joke. It’s hard to find a reason to care, and it’s even harder to discern why Gunfire wants to be a hero in the first place.
The issue opens with Gunfire racing to the demonstration, chiding himself for being late, when he sees a mugging in an alley. He makes a joke about the futility of pretending he can ignore the crime and proceeds to stop it, which would be fine if his name was “Spider-Man,” but at no point in this series has the audience witnessed a convincing character arc that brings Gunfire to this point. He’s gone from reluctant hero to generic superhero pretty quickly, without developing much of a rogues gallery or supporting cast along the way. (Ed Benes’ inhuman artwork hasn’t helped either. Even when the females in this issue run for their lives, they’re still striking Penthouse poses.) He’s a boilerplate hero dressed in ‘90s fashions, and the combination of “bland” and “silly” doomed this book early on.