I’ll be at Special Edition NYC this weekend (table N6a) with books, shirts, etc. It’s at Pier 94 in NYC! Information here. See ya there?


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  • Kid Chaos

    Smooth move, Ex-Lax. Nothing like being able to communicate with the people you came to rescue. *eyeroll*

    • deebles

      Poor planning produces piss-poor performance.

      • Zac Caslar

        Fail to plan, plan to fail.

    • Markus

      That’s more a fault on his handlers than it is on him, I think. How much lead time does he even get before stuff like this?

      • Kid Chaos

        Flashback to the tail end of Alison vs. Cleaver. Alison admits to her own violent tendencies, but realizes that you can’t just punch the worlds’ problems away; Furnace hasn’t gotten to part 2 of that realization. He is (IMHO) a bit of a one-trick pony; all he can really do is go around burning stuff right. the fuck. up. Sometimes that’s helpful; more often, not so much. 🙁

  • D. Schwartz

    Sorry to be that person but when a round is fired from a firearm the bullet is separated from the casing holding the propellant. For reference: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-does-a-bullet-work.html

    • Mechwarrior

      Maybe he bought the gun from Cave Johnson.

  • Subbak

    “I don’t speak your fucking language, okay?” is not how you adress people you really care about helping…

    • Mujaki

      Yeah, but does he really care about them? Or anyone, other than himself?

      • Rod

        I don’t get the feeling this is a publicity stunt. The danger is real, and he knows it, and seems to be fearful of possibly losing his life.

        You can still be wanting to help people, while generally being a jerk, not recognizing that blunt communication isn’t the only way to address folks.

        At least, I’m still hoping that that nuance to him is actually in there.

  • danny in canada

    Oh dear, oh dear. I very much hope he didn’t just incinerate all the people he came to rescue.

    • Rod

      I hope not as well, but… things don’t look good. I’m guessing his “Nova Burst” is a new, stronger manifestation of his power, not yet completely in his control. Which is pretty bad for anyone nearby.

      • or he just loses control when he gets scared or is in pain. I’m pretty sure I would still be scared of bullets even I became immune to them tomorrow.

    • Zac Caslar

      Had the same thought.
      Assuming he didn’t move reflexively, those poor chicas are ash -if they’re _lucky_.

  • Abel Undercity

    The jackass didn’t think it through beyond the flashy action sequence. Quelle surprise.

    And now I’m assuming everybody’s dead or hideously burned.

    Via Google Translate: “We cannot fail! The cartel…”

    “They are going after our families if we disappear.”

  • CanuckAmuck

    …Dude has the drop on him and shoots him in the knee?

    Never mind – minor quibble, love the comic.

  • Balthazar

    So just in case typing that all into google translate is a hassle. What she is saying is, that they can’t go with him because if they leave their families will be targeted.

    If your going to be an international hero, hothead, maybe you should at least have a pocket dictionary on you?

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Furnace could very well still in America right now, albiet close to the border. I doubt hero’s have international jurisdiction. And Furnace’s “interactions” with immigrants have been covered since the beginning. Furnace: Horrible Border Patrolman is probably a regular role.

  • Markus

    Pretty sure this is a flashback to the thing that got Furnace branded a murderer when we first saw him way back in Book 1.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Only good things can come from this. Clearly.

  • dbmag9

    Or, y’know, part of his anomaly is that he can turn into flame at will, defensively or aggressively.

    • I don’t think this is “at will” though–the “Fuck fuck fuck!” and expression on his face kind of indicates that he knows what is gonna happen and really doesn’t want it to. he WAS trying to save these people; if his options were to deal with being grazed by a bullet and keep saving them and maybe shoot a flame at gun-dude, or go full on psycho-burn, I’m pretty sure even Furnace would choose the former.

      • motorfirebox

        Never thought of that. This could be one of the ways his powers are getting worse—he’s losing control of when and how much he flames on.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        We saw that first bullet hit him… I think it’s more of a “mode” sort of thing?

        He can be a person, or he can be a creature made of flame. Flame mode responds to bullets by flaring up and presumably hurts a lot less if at all. There’s probably no “controlled” in between mode. He can choose what to be (or at least his body shifts between the two, perhaps it’s partly involuntary in response to injury or threat?) Hence his swearing. He turned or he’d die by bullets, so weather by his own violation or an automatic response, he turned. This will probably end badly for the other people in the room.

  • Metareflection

    I don’t understand the meaning of “El Cartel” (the sign or the poster) in this sentence. What were you trying to say?

    Probably cartel as in “drug cartel,” which is an English term. If this is in Mexico, wikipedia suggests a few likely terms. I don’t think sign/poster makes sense there.

  • Rod

    I’d wager Furnace’s reply is simply to *highlight* the fact that he knows no Spanish. On some older U.S. cartoons wherein anthropomorphized animals occasionally spoke it, one usually heard “vaminos” when they were trying to tell someone to “get out”… that’s what I remember hearing, anyway.

    So, yeah… Furnace’s only acquaintance with the language seems to be Loony Toons references.

  • Rod

    I was kinda thinking that myself….

  • elysdir

    I don’t think he’s actually turning into flame; I’m interpreting this as him projecting a big blast of flame, and the heat makes the image wavery.

  • Rod

    Yep. Often society’s efforts are far too focused on addressing symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Reality is, the cartels could be crippled, and lives saved, and much of this nonsense done away with, all with a few strokes of a pen.

    But the fact that there’s such resistance to the measures that would deal with this issue in the most direct way tells us what society’s priorities *really* are, despite whatever TPTB–or we as citizens–may try to tell ourselves.

    • KatherineMW

      What do you think needs to be done that would solve things with a few strokes of a pen?

      • Preacher John

        By ending Prohibition and the “War on Drugs” – this being the major source of Los Narcos wealth and power. Of course, this kinda needed doing ten years ago, before they established their power base. However, if done now, at least some of them might chose to go semi-legit and maybe the killing rate would decrease.

        • The Mafia continued to be a massive and corrupting factor in American economic, social, and criminal life for fifty years after the repeal of Prohibition. In fact, you could probably argue that it peaked in power and extent some twenty-twenty-five years after repeal, as the bootlegging gangs diversified and expanded to dominate large swathes of the American economy and under-economy.

          There are good and sufficient reasons for decriminalization, but one-punch solving the cartels problem probably isn’t one of them.

      • chaosvii

        If I had to guess what Rod is getting at, it’d be the current legal status, pricing & regulation of the drugs which currently fund the cartels.

        I wouldn’t know how/if the cartels would adapt, but I presume that the leaders would still do their damnedest to maintain control even if Americans cease to be their largest revenue source.

        • The only problem with legalisation is that big tobacco was bad enough for our health. Now, let’s see what the free market does with heroin and meth!
          Still, there’s never a perfect solution. I’m just not really sure on this one.

          • deebles

            Big tobacco had a lot of help getting as big as it did (part of a soldier’ stations in the world wars; doctors touting its health “benefits”; billboards; sponsorships; etc.). If any of the currently criminalised drugs were legalised, however, I’d expect it would be under zero advertising, with clear publication of the health risks etc.

          • Ben

            As a resident of Colorado, I can tell you that pot advertising is rampant in print media here. The gaudy greenhouse casinos, with garish neon signs and bright come hither lights, are as plentiful as the quiet dispensaries. Of course, in the internet age, it’s hard to imagine that the classic ad campaign could be as effective as the poorly founded pop-science studies of the diet industry has been.

      • Rod

        Yes, as others alluded to, ending the “War on Drugs” would definitely help, but there are also other cartel-crippling measures that could be taken (one that might be directly related to this comic: fixing immigration.)

        And no, none of these will automatically spark utopia, but that’s not the choice we’re given in life; the choice is what sorts of ills and issues we will have to deal with. Apparently Western society has decided it would rather deal with deadly drug cartels, the total costs of incarcerating millions of non-violent people, and the neutering of people’s rights, all in a futile, never-ending search for specific plants and chemicals (among other silly attempts at controlling innocent people.)

        I’d personally rather have society recognize it can’t make the world perfect, and just face and deal with the issues of addiction, economic migration, etc. instead (and better yet, the underlying causes.)

  • Rod

    Hey… the “holes” in his costume are grey, not flesh-colored.

    Melted bullets FTW! (And thank you, air resistance!)

  • Mostro

    ‘Vamonos’ means ‘let’s go’, he’s just mispronouncing it.

  • Paradoxius

    “Vamos” means “let’s go”; “vaminos” means “let’s get out of here”.

  • Should be “vamanos”, “we go (leave)”.

  • Preacher John

    “Cartel” = los Narcos, en Ingles (USA).

  • chaosvii

    Some supers have never traveled the world, presumably Furnace is one of them. People can go their entire “good-doing” careers without finding a situation where nobody in the building speaks English.
    “They’re kidnapped immigrants to America, why wouldn’t they speak English?” <-Entitled bullshit, sure, but enough of a rationale for Furnace to not put more thought into what he's doing.
    I'm wondering who gave this guy the go-ahead without checking if he knows even a sliver of Spanish?! Who told him to fry some cartel goons without giving him a run-down on the tactics they use to intimidate civilians into submission?

    Hm, this could very well be the first time he ever did this sort of rescue mission, a flashback if you will. I mean what kind of hero shows up to a cartel-sponsored event with no awareness of the cartel's typical blackmail tactics? The same kind of hero that believes that at least one of the victims speaks English because that's what happens in the movies.

  • strongfemaleprotagonist

    thanks for the fixes, I’ll edit this later on. Sometimes we have to choose between double checking and getting a page out on time!

  • I thought this was a good illustration of why we all need to learn foreign languages at high school.

  • Or just kill any people who could testify against thm

  • Why would he have ever played Splinter Cell?

    • ISIS gunbunnies (and before them, drug-added al Queda frontovichia) reportedly have as much of a FPS addiction as western ground-pounders.

  • Potatamoto

    So, Captain Hotpants is cowardly enough to fry the people he came to rescue in order to save his own skin? I’m think I’m pretty much okay with it if Moonshadow wants to take him out. Have at it!

  • Mechwarrior

    Loco gringo, even.

  • New thought. Maybe it’s actually a special anti-super bullet that is wreaking havoc on his body. Perhaps this is part of a set-up by that mysterious conspiracy to take him out secretly.

    • Kid Chaos

      Who needs a mysterious conspiracy? Just call the Fire Department. 🙂

      • Yes, but that would be too obvious. And in my theory, the bullet is overloading him with whatever fuels powers in this universe.

    • RobNiner

      He’s not a particularly high value target though. He just sets things on fire.

  • I’m assuming your talking about either the fact that they may have sold -themselves- into slavery to help their families and/or the fact that he can’t prevent the cartel from revenge-killing their families, because you can’t take down the cartel culture with pure force. Or am I missing something?


  • Zac Caslar

    Down dere in de comments an idea that’s popped up a few times is that Furnace is on some sanctioned “Mission” and I’m pointing out that it’s not necessarily so at all.

    Clearly he’s underprepared, out of his depth and lacks tactical awareness so I’m guessing he’s got no Supergroup allegiance and isn’t used to have non-hostiles in proximity.

    Given his high mobility and eagerness to prove himself the difficulty of getting him to act might be as high as sending him a FB post. Given the existence of various MRA, anti-Sarkeesian, and Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver “support” groups out there siccing Furnace a on target his demo despises is probably the Mortal Kombat version of “SWATting” and only slightly more difficult than usual.

    I wouldn’t be real surprised to find out that he’s being used as the Human Torch equivalent of a Reaper Drone strike.

  • Zac Caslar

    Actually, thinking on the psychology of Furnace I wonder if there’s an unofficial “Big Sister” program in the biodynamics community to help the newly Empowered get/keep some perspective on what it is and what they can do.
    Someone to put an arm around the noobs and let them know that while they totally get how awesome it is to be a Telepath who can make themselves invisible by blocking the perceptions of others that kinda doesn’t mean they can finally get those full frontal nudes of Angelina Jolie they’ve always wanted.
    Another way to put it is that “Big Sister” would not be about the conventional issues of super-crime or the like, but as a way of checking basic human shittiness -“fuck you I’m bulletproof and I’m taking this bottle of Patrone. And some orange juice. And a canister of beernuts. Hey, can I get a bag..?”

  • Kid Chaos

    You read the “Vorkosigan” series! We are now Best Friends Forever.

  • Perlite

    Yeah, Furnace’s sorta bullet immunity seems involuntary and destructive. He may be an unrepentant ass, but he is trying. His firewall seems to have quite the range, considering the singeing of the gunman.

  • Potatamoto

    It could be involuntary, but I doubt it. In the last page, he just looked scared of the guns and then turned the fire aura on to max. I suppose it might be reflexive, turning on automatically whenever he gets threatened. But I don’t have any particular reason to give him the benefit of the doubt, so until we know otherwise I’m just assuming it’s purposeful.

    And anyway, even if it isn’t under his control, why the hell is he trying to rescue people from armed assailants when he turns into an explosive fireball if anyone so much as points a gun at him? I still see no redeeming qualities in him whatsoever. So, since this is a story and I don’t really have to worry about any of the moral quandary stuff I’d have do deal with if he were a real person, I stand by my desire to see him dead.

  • TheGonzoMD .

    So clearly he doesn’t save women from human traffickers regularly. Anyone else think the only reason he’s doing this specifically is to deflect criticism for being a misogynistic bumbaclot?

    • Mechwarrior

      Or because his handler said it would look good on a resume.

  • chaosvii

    The situation is a tad VOLATILE.

  • Kid Chaos

    Good point. Whose bright idea was this, anyway?

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Woah woah he’s gonna burn the hostages to a crisp at this rate.

    I don’t understand spanish/portugese, but I assume she’s saying the cartel will kill their family if they just up and leave.

  • fairportfan

    Which term allegedly originated with Texians’ love of the song “Green Grow the Lilacs”…

    • Coyotzin

      What’s told this side of the border is that it’s from “Green Go Home” refering to soldiers crossing the border to chase Pancho Villa.

      • fairportfan

        Note that i said “allegedly” – i knew that that is generally considered a spurious “folk etymology”. Since it’s a boring Sunday morning and i have nothing better to do, i checked Wikipedia, and found this:


        The word gringo was first recorded in Volume II of the Diccionario castellano con las voces de Ciencias y Artes y sus correspondientes en las 3 lenguas francesa, latina e italiana (Castilian Dictionary including the Words of the Sciences and the Arts, and their Correspondents in 3 Languages: French, Latin, and Italian, 1787), by Terreros y Pando, wherein it is defined as:

        GRINGOS, llaman en Málaga a los extranjeros, que tienen cierta especie de acento, que los priva de una locución fácil, y natural Castellana; y en Madrid dan el mismo, y por la misma causa con particularidad a los irlandeses.

        Gringos is what, in Malaga, they call foreigners who have a certain type of accent that prevents them from speaking Castilian easily and naturally; and in Madrid they give the same name, and for the same reason, in particular to the Irish.

        The dominant view among etymologists is that gringo is most likely a variant of griego ‘Greek’ speech (cf. Greek to me).


        “Gringo” has been in use in the English language since the 19th century. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of the term in an English source is in John Woodhouse Audubon’s Western Journal of 1849-1850, in which Audubon reports that his party were hooted and shouted at and called “Gringoes” while passing through the town of Cerro Gordo, Veracruz.

        Folk etymologies

        There are several conjectures within folk etymology that purport to derive the origin of gringo from word coincidences.


        Another version of the origin of the word is in the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) When Francisco “Pancho” Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico the US Army was sent to Mexico in the Villa Expedition, so when the American Army asked the people for Francisco Villa, the people answer “Green Go” (“Verde vete”) because of the green uniforms that the American Army were wearing; this version is patently spurious because of the word’s documented usage predates these events by many years.

        All of these explanations (except the last one) place the origin of the word “gringo” in the 19th century, which is a serious problem because the word was documented 50 years earlier in the 1786 Diccionario castellano con las voces de Ciencias y Artes y sus correspondientes en las 3 lenguas francesa, latina e italiana by Esteban de Terreros y Pando, and in South American literature. However, a word known mainly by scholars is one thing, while one that enters the vernacular is another, so it is possible that the word, although pre-existent, only came into wide usage in the areas given during these events. If the word spread through the Mexican troops from hearing the song, the fact that the Mexicans of the era were mostly illiterate would make documentation on the Mexican side of the border hard to find.

  • Hermitage

    Going by his facial expressions over the last two pages, I’m guessing this is involuntary. It actually looks like it’s *painful* for him to go super nova.

    It really doesn’t matter that he can’t understand them. His mission is to hinder the cartel’s business as much as possible in an attempt to thwart their foothold in the country he’s superhero’ing in. So they need to go, their stories don’t matter. I’m sure when he roasts a load of drugs, the drivers and their families are going to get tortured and/or killed too, but no one’s asking about their circumstances.

    And considering the fact the powers that be seem to give less than 0 shits about collateral damage (see MegaGirl inadvertently murdering folks cause she wanted to juggle robots like a badass), I doubt they even care if Furnace returns with these people alive. Either way he exasperates the organizations trying to move product. Having several “shipments” roasted alive is probably even more effective, as people will just take the bullet in their home country rather than risk being immolated across the border.

  • I support the idea of treating people for drug addiction instead of imprisoning them. It’s currently working in Portugal, presumably because it makes it much easier to get help to overcome an addiction. But as I understand it, decriminalizing drugs still means that selling them is illegal, and so drug dealing is still controlled by criminals.

  • Yeah, in English speaking countries we (mostly) just assume that everyone will speak our language anyway, and most people don’t bother (although I’m an exception, I’m learning German).

  • Lostman

    I been thinking about that… who say it wouldn’t happen again?

  • Zac Caslar

    I gradually came to the same conclusion -as an American, and realize how obnoxious that pretense is.
    And frankly how it’s predicated on military power and money, and no so much “culture” as expressed by creative products.

    • Syncline

      It’s easy to assume Americans are jerks. However the current political situation is a hegemony. Much like Rome 2000 years ago, Britain and the US have shaped major components of the world’s interactions and politics, and you either speak English or suffer for it. A pair of nations that collectively invents aviation, the internet, modern shipping, nuclear weapons and dominates world finances for 200 years is the society that you do business with or you suffer for the lack of foresight to do so.
      This is not half a billion people being an ass; this is the force of history.
      English is currently the standard language of aviation and navigation, for example- it simply is not an option if you intend fly or ship goods outside your own nation to NOT speak English. In the same way that Germany’s domination of Chemistry shaped Chemistry’s naming conventions, English has shaped a good sized piece of the world’s social interactions.

      On an unrelated note: why does half the world think entire CARTRIDGES come out of the barrels of guns? The bullet comes out and the other half ejects. Basic physics, guys- something is holding the propellent and that part is getting left behind; only a rocket would be an exception and we call these particular projectiles bullets, not gyrojets.
      I’ve even seen introductory police textbooks show this particular error of illustration, and it’s a stunning bit of ignorance. If you look at a round, it should be clear that a much larger brass object attached to the back of the bullet has no hope of fitting through the barrel.
      Suspension of disbelief requires a basic understanding of how things work. I am now looking for the supervillain who is throwing live ammo around like spears instead of someone with an assault rifle.

  • MrSokar

    I was just under the impression he tends to go off and do things he fells need fixing.

  • I don’t suppose that he is immune to that kind of ‘fire’ is he?

  • thebombzen

    For the record, I don’t speak Spanish. Some stuff is possible to figure out. Also “Que?” was a total guess. I guess I did well.

  • BMPDynamite

    Furnace. Even when you’re actually TRYING to be a good guy you piss me off. How?!

  • Kid Chaos

    “In order to save the village, we had to destroy it.”