It’s not unusual for comic books to explore the real life issues affecting everyday life. Iron Man Tony Stark became an alcoholic, Captain America became patriotically disenfranchised after Vietnam and Watergate, the Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy had a drug addiction, and an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man dealt poetically with the sorrow of 9/11, and that’s just to name a few. Following in this tradition, the latest version of Venom, Spider-Man’s friend Flash Thompson, is about shown in a very personal struggle that a lot of armed forces vets will be able to identify with, and Marvel Comics is working with the Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) to make it as real as possible.
In case you don’t keep up with the latest from Spider-Man in comic book form, Flash enlisted in the army and served in Iraq where he was wounded in action; his heroics got Flash a Medal of Honor, but he lost his legs in the process. Then the opportunity came to continue to serve, this time as the new host of the Venom symbiote. Flash accepted and being Venom gave him his legs back thanks to the alien’s transformative powers. But in an upcoming storyline in Venom: Space Knight, Flash will choose to undergo the same struggle that thousands of real-life war vets are going through: learning to walk again on prosthetic legs.
According to a Marvel press release, they wanted to take “an eye-opening look at the everyday struggles and incremental victories that wounded veterans face as depicted through Flash Thompson’s rehabilitation process in the story.” To do that, Venom writer Robbie Thompson consulted with WWP spokesperson and double amputee Dan Nevins.
“Working with Wounded Warrior Project has been an invaluable part of the process of writing Venom: Space Knight,” said Thompson. “Dan Nevins’ insight was inspiring, generous and deeply moving, allowing us to create a more realistic character and story for the book. I’m forever grateful for their ongoing help and guidance.”
“Marvel’s team has put so much time and consideration into the development of the Flash Thompson character as he faces this physical and emotional battle that many combat veterans have faced and are facing right now,” added Nevins. “While the story itself is clearly sci-fi/fantasy, this storyline will bring awareness to the very real struggle of the obvious and not-so-obvious challenges in having lost limbs in combat, and to ultimately showcase the fortitude and resilience of the warriors Flash Thompson represents.”
The storyline will begin in Venom: Space Knight #3. Some preview art from that issues is below.
Click here to learn more about the Wounded Warriors Project.