By Marc Guggenheim (writer), Barry Kitson (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Antonio Fabella (colors)
The Story: If you’re looking for Spider-Man, you’re gonna have to wait another week. This issue focuses entirely on Flash Thompson and his tour of duty in Iraq. What’s more, the story also deals with events in Flash’s past that molded him into who he is as well as a dramatic event that dramatically changes his physical makeup.
What’s Good? The even pacing takes its time as it builds towards the story’s climax. Being a war story, it could be easy to dismiss this book as something almost cliche, but because it’s inspired by the true story of a real solider (and Spider-Man fan, no less), the events that transpire cut through the glossy pages and go straight to the reader’s heart. What happens to Flash happens everyday to the soldiers serving in the “hot spots” of the world and it’s no laughing matter. The end of this issue will have even the most jaded superhero fan in tears and while also gaining new found respect for Flash Thompson.
Barry Kitson deserves high praise for going the extra mile in bringing this story to life. It’s obvious that he did a lot of research when preparing to draw this issue and it shows.
What’s Not So Good? Finding out how Flash got his nickname. Yikes!
Conclusion: This is easily the best thing Marc Guggenheim’s ever written. The ramifications brought to the character can’t be undone while the ending is noble, fitting, and agonizing. If you buy this issue make sure you read the letters column afterward. There’s a great, emotional piece in there by Steve Wacker.
– J. Montes