45 years ago - Martin Stein is born.
27 years ago - 18-year-old Martin begins his undergraduate studies.
23 years ago - 22-year-old Martin begins his graduate studies.
19 years ago - 26-year-old Martin begins his doctoral studies.
17 years ago - 28-year-old Martin earns his first Doctorate.
16 years ago - 29-year-old Martin earns his second doctorate.
15 years ago - 30-year-old Martin is awarded the Nobel Prize for physics.
12 years ago - 33-year-old Martin begins working on an experimental Nuclear Matrix Reactor with his lab assistant Danton Black. He is aproached by Henry Hewitt of Hewitt Energy who tries to acquire his research to prevent it from disrupting his energy monopoly.
11 years ago - 34-year-old Martin first meets Ronnie Raymond when his assistant Caitlyn Snow tries to get him expelled.
10 years ago - 35-year-old Martin rejects Caitlyn Snow's attempt to seduce him the day of the Nuclear Matrix experiment. Unaware that Henry Hewitt has paid his assistant, Danton Black to sabotage the experiment he is caught in the resulting explosion with Ronnie Raymond & becomes the secondary host of the Firestorm Matrix. Together, they join the Justice League as Firestorm.
9 years ago - 36-year-old Martin & Ronnie Raymond battle Danton Black, Plastique & Caitlyn Snow. Their connection is ruptured, forcing them to reduce their time as Firestorm. The Justice League collapses.
7 years ago - 38-year-old Martin & Ronnie Raymond again battle Caitlyn Snow who has discovered the nature of the Firestorm matrix.
6 years ago - 39-year-old Martin & Ronnie Raymond are attacked by Henry Hewitt using his new Tokamak containment suit. they are nearly killed before they are saved by Lorraine Reily. Hewitt winds up in a coma.
Part of what made Firestorm a great character was the contrast between Ronnie and Professor Stein. Ronnie was a classic young heroic character, but in order to really make his powers work, he had a genius physicist in his head. Brilliant scientists like Stein are practically stock characters in comics, but at least Martin got to be part of one of the most powerful superheroes in Justice League History.
Martin Stein's Comic History
Martin Stein appeared for the first time, along with Ronnie Raymond and Firestorm himself in Firestorm, the Nuclear Man #1 in 1978. He and Ronnie were both present in a nuclear explosion that combined them into the Firestorm Matrix, and because he was unconscious at the time, it meant that Ronnie was the primary person inside the matrix, leaving Stein as a voice inside Raymond's head, depicted by a floating illusory head. Back in the early days of the character, the Professor actually didn't retain any memory of his time within the Matrix once he was back in his own body, leaving him worried about his constant blackouts. Classic comics seem to be very comfortable with stripping characters of their agency, aren't they?
Eventually, of course, he learned about his role as one-half of one of the most powerful superheroes in the world. In fact, he actually learned that he was in fact the one who was destined to become a fire elemental, and it was only Ronnie's presence that got in the way. He became the sole host of the Matrix, and had a series of solo adventures out in space.
Our Martin Stein Story
In building out the history and backstory of Firestorm and his villains, we actually found it very useful to use Stein as the factor that ties a lot of the story together. first of all. we've invented the idea of the "Matrix Reactor", suggesting that the Firestorm Matrix is a result of a specific innovation in Stein's research, rather than a random trick of nuclear fusion that, frankly, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Comics don't HAVE to make sense, but every time they do they become a bit more fun.
Also, we've made a lot of Firestorm's villains like Killer Frost, Tokamak, & Multiplex all tied into Stein's history as a professor, and a revolutionary thinking in energy research. The seeds of those ties were already there, but it all makes more sense once it's explicitly stated.
Finally, the transition over the Firestorm Matrix over to Jason Rushe was always a little loosely defined, so we've made it clearer by establishing that it's the death of Professor Stein that causes it.