Spider-Man foe Venom and Peter Parker foe Flash Thompson are two characters that found new purpose when they bonded together as a secret agent, superhero, and guardian of the galaxy. Currently they co-star in the ongoing Venom: Space Knight series in the role of cosmic protectors in outer space.

The alien symbiote Venom has become a sort of prosthesis for Flash, a wounded veteran who lost his legs in combat, but regained mobility by wearing the symbiote suit as a costume. A story from writer Robbie Thompson and artist Ariel Olivetti will show Flash Thompson taking off the suit and learning to walk with prosthetic legs in order to reassert his independence, and the story has been developed by Marvel in consultation with the service member support organization Wounded Warrior Project.

Dan Nevins, a spokesman for WWP, acted as consultant on the story. Like Flash, he is a veteran and a double amputee. In a press release from the publisher, Nevins said, "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.

"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."

This is a rare but welcome attempt by a major publisher to look at the realities of life with a disability and the experiences of wounded veterans in a superhero setting, where such challenges are often sidelined by super-science. It's encouraging to know that Marvel is working directly with the people whose stories they want to explore, and hopefully this can open the door to letting more people with disabilities tell stories of their own.

The storyline begins in Venom: Space Knight #3, on sale this week. Check out a partially-lettered preview, with stunning art by Ariel Olivetti, below.




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