Flash Thompson


Flash Thompson
Flash Thompson
Amazing Spider-Man 574.jpg
Flash Thompson in Cover of The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2, 574 (Dec, 2008).Art by Barry Kitson.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
Created by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Full name Eugene "Flash" Thompson
Supporting character of Spider-Man
Notable aliases Venom

Eugene "Flash" Thompson is a supporting character in Marvel Comics’s Spider-Man series. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962).

Flash is a star high school football player and classmate of Peter Parker (secretly the superhero Spider-Man) who mercilessly bullies Peter. On the other hand, Flash greatly admires Spider-Man, an irony in which Parker takes some gratification. After graduation, Flash joins the United States Army and is haunted by his combat experiences, leading to alcoholism. Later, Flash and Peter become best friends. Flash has appeared in several other media adaptations of Spider-Man, usually in his earlier bullying incarnation.

Contents

Fictional character biography

High School

In his early appearances, Eugene "Flash" Thompson is a high school classmate of Peter Parker. In high school, Flash is a stereotypical jock who continually bullied Peter. Flash was physically abused by his alcoholic father, Harrison Thompson, leading to Flash's own violent, bullying nature.[1] It is Thompson who dubs Peter with the derogatory nickname "Puny Parker" and humiliated him daily in front of the whole school. Ironically, Flash admires Spider-Man, Peter's other identity, forming the first "Spider-Man Fan Club" and vocally supporting his idol wherever he goes, even criticizing J. Jonah Jameson and his editorials to his face. When Spider-Man was seen committing robberies, Flash was one of the few to stand up for him claiming that he could still be innocent. It soon turned out that Spider-Man had been framed by Mysterio and Flash boasted about how he was always right. Peter Parker, who openly stated that he wouldn't "trust [Spider-Man] any further than I can throw him", took some secret pleasure in that Flash supported his alter-ego.[2]

In a very early issue, Flash and Peter square off for a boxing match in the school gym. Initially expecting an easy victory, Flash is astonished to discover that he simply can't lay a hand on his opponent (due to Peter's enhanced speed and reflexes), and a single tap from Parker's fist knocks him clear out of the ring.[3] After this episode Flash's bullying is restricted mostly to verbal harassment. Over the next few years, as the two become rivals for Liz Allan's affections, Flash is only willing to confront Peter when he (Flash) is surrounded by his friends. Peter, for his part, begins to laughs off his threats with good-natured comebacks (much to Flash's annoyance, as well as bewilderment). This subtle reversal of their positions is typical of Lee-Ditko character developments in the title.[4]

Towards the end of Ditko's run on the title, Flash was employed mainly as comic relief, more a local buffoon than a serious threat. Major changes in his personality took place subsequent to issue 39, when John Romita, Sr. took over as artist for The Amazing Spider-Man. Following Romita's take in place, Flash was made into a more sympathetic character and his clean-cut image was similarly emphasized to give him an "All-American" persona.

College and adulthood

After Flash enters Empire State University, his relationship with Peter becomes progressively less hostile.[5] While the two still trade the occasional insult, Flash has grown to respect Peter's intelligence and is surprised by his popularity with the girls (particularly Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson). Both Flash and Peter are friends with Harry Osborn, whose presence serves to defuse the tension between the former rivals.

While in university, Flash enlists with the United States Army and serves in the Vietnam War (although, due to Marvel's sliding time scale, this was later retconned to some unspecified overseas conflict). Unlike many students of the time, Flash was never conscripted - instead, volunteers for service of his own free will. Although Flash was absent from the strip for months at a time, his frequent stateside visits kept him familiar with the readers. He returns from the war a decorated hero. Flash's tour of duty profoundly changed him from a reckless and immature youth to a tormented and conflicted man. Finding no comfort in his military decorations, Flash turned to alcohol for years.

While in Vietnam, Flash's unit bombs an ancient temple whose acolytes had earlier sheltered Flash when he was wounded. Flash tried and failed to stop them. When he returns to America, he drops his antagonism toward Peter. Peter, in turn, begins to respect Flash's new found maturity and the two become close. However, Flash soon finds himself tailed by mysterious assassins, former acolytes of the temple who think that Flash had betrayed them. Spider-Man holds off the assassins long enough for Flash to explain his side of the story. Sha Shan, the leader of the assassins, forgives Flash and even dates him for a while, but leaves him when she finds out he is cheating on her. When Sha Shan is attacked by the Hobgoblin, Flash makes the mistake of insulting the villain on television. The Hobgoblin takes his revenge by abducting Flash and framing him as the Hobgoblin's true identity. Spider-Man is aghast that his old friend is a villain, but Flash is legally exonerated when the Hobgoblin's true identity is revealed.

After a bout of severe depression Flash went drunk-driving and was badly injured in a crash. Soon afterward Norman Osborn offered him a job at Oscorp as his personal aide in order to annoy Peter Parker. Not knowing the reasons behind this, Flash became loyal to Norman for giving him a second chance and turning his life around. During this time, Flash meets the hero Prodigy, not realizing he is also Spider-Man in disguise. Later, as part of a plan of driving Spider-Man to murderous violence by attacking his family and friends, Osborn kidnaps Flash (under the pretense of picking him up from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting), force-feeds him whiskey and has him crash a truck into Midtown High School, where Peter works. Flash survives, thanks to his excellent physical condition, but he suffers severe brain damage that leaves him in a coma. Liz Allan Osborn, although widowed and raising her son Normie all on her own, becomes Flash's caretaker, and hires a full-time nurse to care for him. Peter, blaming himself for what happened to Flash, makes a point of visiting his friend as often as he can.

Flash awakens from his coma during the "The Other" story arc. Flash takes a job as the physical education teacher at Midtown High School, where Peter teaches science. However, Flash suffers from severe memory gaps and again treats Peter like a nerd and picks on him, as he did in their high school days. Flash also flirts with Miss Arrow, unaware that she is a villain there to attack Peter. When Peter unmasks himself as Spider-Man Flash dismisses it as a trick.[6] Flash eventually believes Peter is Spider-Man after witnessing him fight with Daniel Berkhart and Francis Klum. Flash briefly appeared at the beginning of the "Brand New Day" story arc, attending a welcome home party for Harry Osborn. Flash and the rest of the world's population no longer remembers that Peter is Spider-Man, due to the machinations of the demon Mephisto.[7]

Iraq War

After the events of "One More Day", Flash willingly leaves his place as a P.E. instructor to rejoin the Army and fight in the Iraq War out of patriotic zeal, inspired by the selfless life of his lifelong idol, Spider-Man. He is still in a close friendship with Peter, as he is seen, lying in his hospital camp bed, with a greeting card by his best friend, and an iPod loaded by Peter himself with "Christmas in Fallujah" .

Flash's platoon is ambushed, and Flash suffers several bullet wounds in both legs but continues on in an attempt to save his superior officer from danger. He willingly endangers himself, reasoning that Spider-Man had often committed the same sacrifices for everyone else, and glad to have had the opportunity to imitate him. His actions further damage his legs. This results in the need for them to be amputated below the knees. Flash's sacrifice is enough to earn him a recommendation for the Medal of Honor.[1] He returns to New York, only to shock Peter with the loss of his legs. He reveals to Peter that Spider-Man was his inspiration in Iraq. Harry rents a condo just for Flash, in order to help him out.[8] He later competes in a paraplegic sporting event at the local YMCA, managing to come in first place.[9]

Flash later accepts an offer to join Mayor Jameson's office of veteran's affairs. He attends the wedding of Parker's Aunt May.[10] When the Chameleon (disguised as Peter) meets Flash at the subsequent press conference, he cruelly mocks him, calling him "puny Flash".[11] Flash is seen going through his stages of grief backwards, even so far as to use dangerous experimental procedures to regain his legs, but comes to terms with his condition, thanks to the support of his friends, family, and his new rehabilitation trainer Sha-Shan.[12]

Venom

In an interview with Newsarama, Flash Thompson was revealed "by accident" as the new Venom host.[13] Marvel confirmed Flash will have his own comic as a military style Venom. He will star as a hero working for the military, and he will encounter many heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe.[14] He made his premiere as Venom in The Amazing Spider-Man #654 (Feb. 2011), and will continue in his own Venom ongoing series following the special The Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 issue.

He cannot stay bonded to the Venom symbiote for more than 48 hours to prevent the symbiote from gaining control of him. The consequences of this are first seen when the suit causes Flash to go berserk and brutally slaughter a group of enemy operatives during his second mission, and again during a brawl with the Jack O'Lantern.[15] While on a mission in the Savage Land, Flash finds himself being hunted by Kraven the Hunter who mistakes him for Spider-Man.[16]

During Spider-Island Venom is sent in to capture a spider-like beast that is fighting Firestar and Gravity. Venom manages to capture the Spider-King and discovers that he is an enslaved Captain America. Venom disguises himself as the Spider-King in order to track the infestation to it's source.[17] The Queen and Jackal send him to kill Anti-Venom because he is curing people who have gained spider-powers, but his superiors order him to take him to Mister Fantastic to help develop a cure. Flash and the Venom-symbiote fight each other because Flash wants to bring Anti-Venom to Mister Fantastic and the symbiote wants to kill Anti-Venom for previously rejecting it. This leads to Venom and Anti-Venom fighting. Venom wins the fight and delivers Anti-Venom to Mister Fantastic.[18]

Relationships

Thompson has had romantic relationships with several of the same women as Peter Parker:

  • In high school he dates Liz Allan. Liz went on to marry Flash's former roommate Harry Osborn.
  • Flash briefly dated Gwen Stacy before he went on his first tour of duty.
  • Flash is briefly romantically involved with Mary Jane Watson in college. After he and Peter put their antagonism behind them and become friends, Flash serves as best man at Peter and Mary Jane's wedding.
  • He has a long, on-and-off relationship with Betty Brant.
  • Felicia Hardy (the Black Cat) dates him in order to make Peter jealous, but is surprised when she actually falls in love with him. She eventually proposed marriage to him but Flash breaks up with her, as he feels he cannot keep up with her high-speed lifestyle.

Powers and abilities

The symbiote grows a pair of legs for him while he's in the suit.[19] He also uses various firearms provided by the military.

Other versions

House of M

In the House of M: Iron Man series, Flash is a commentator for 'Sapien Deathmatch'.

MC2

In the MC2 continuity (the alternate future of Spider-Girl), Flash Thompson is now on the faculty of his old high school. He is the coach of the girls' basketball team. He married Felicia Hardy, but later divorced her, and they had two children, Felicity and Eugene Jr. He still is unaware of the fact that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, and is similarly unaware that Peter's daughter, May, is Spider-Girl. Felicity, on the other hand, is aware of all of this, and briefly assumed the identity of the Scarlet Spider in attempt to partner with Spider-Girl.

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

In Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Flash is the star football quarterback at Midtown High. Flash bullies Peter and refers to him as Puny Parker. Flash recently started dating Liz Allan again; this ended after she dumped him at homecoming for declaring his love to Mary Jane in front of the whole school.[20]

Ultimate Flash Thompson

Ultimate Flash Thompson.

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, Flash Thompson is again a jock who attends the same high school as Peter and bullies him. Later, Flash challenges Peter to a fight. Peter merely blocks a punch from Flash and manages to break his hand. Flash hangs out with another student named Kenny 'Kong' McFarlane.[21] When Peter joins the basketball team, Flash's attitude changes, as he is loyal to his teammates. When Flash suddenly wants to talk to Peter alone for a moment on at least two occasions, Peter turns him down rather furiously, believing he just wanted to bully him in private. It was revealed after Gwen Stacy's death that he had a crush on her and was actually trying to ask Peter for help in approaching Gwen for a date. During the Silver Sable arc Flash is kidnapped, after being mistaken by the Wild Pack for Spider-Man, who had only moments before disappeared into an alley Flash happened to be standing in. After realizing their mistake the group considered killing him. Flash is able to escape. This experience gives Flash a new level of popularity within the school especially after a TV movie is made about his ordeal. As revealed in Ultimate Spider-Man #65 his real first name in Ultimate Marvel continuity is Fred. Unlike most versions of the character, Flash doesn't idolize Spider-Man (that trait was primarily passed on to Kenny before he found out Peter is Spider-Man).

In other media

Film

  • In the 2002 film Spider-Man Thompson was played by Joe Manganiello. He is depicted as Mary Jane's boyfriend at the start of the film, and, like his comic book counterpart, is a bully who torments Peter, and sometimes Peter's friend Harry. Later on in the film, after Peter accidentally uses a web to splash Flash with a tray of food, a fight between them breaks out in the school's hallway, which Peter wins, accidentally, by discovering his new powers and sending Flash down with just one punch. Mary Jane later tells Flash that he was grateful to Peter for not hurting him more. At graduation he and Mary Jane break up. He makes a cameo at the end of Spider-Man 3 attending Harry's funeral.

Television

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

The television show, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was Flash Thompson's first animated appearance, and was voiced by Frank Welker. In the episode "Video-Man", he finds out that Angelica Jones and Firestar are one and the same person. But he is unable to remember that in the end. In "Spider-Man Unmasked", Sandman learns Spider-Man's true identity as Peter Parker and Firestar tricks Flash into wearing a Spider-Man's costume to a party, which successfully mislead the Sandman into thinking he made a mistake. In the end, Flash tries to take some credit in Sandman's defeat but Peter throws him some sand, scaring him.

Spider-Man (1994 TV series)

In the 1994 Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Flash tries to have a relationship with Felicia Hardy (Black Cat), which didn't work out and he later found a new, more comfortable, relationship with the brainy Debra Whitman. Flash does not physically bully Peter but insults him on various occasions. He is also a fan of Spider-Man, not believing Jameson's news when the Insidious Six were on the rampage when Spider-Man was framed by the Chameleon.

Although Peter and Flash continue their rivalry, he is invited to Peter's wedding where he meets Felicia again. Flash tries to get along with other beautiful girls but always fails, sometimes being pushed back by Debra Whitman.

He was voiced by Patrick Labyorteaux.

Spider-Man: The New Animated Series

In Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, Flash appears in the episode "Flash Memory", voiced by Devon Sawa. This version is based on the high school Flash, although his dislike for Peter is actually pushed to a new extreme: instead of often making jokes at Peter's expense, he instead insults him up front, and at one point in the episode is shown to be even willing to endanger Peter's life.

The Spectacular Spider-Man

Eugene "Flash" Thompson appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Joshua LeBar. He continues to bully Parker, even when Peter already has his super powers and Flash is always trying to outsmart him but usually fails. He is similar to his original portrayal in the comics, dating Liz Allan until they break up in the episode "Reaction", seemingly due to Liz developing a crush on Peter. In "The Uncertainty Principle", he had to be a cheerleader for Halloween due to a bet he lost to Peter in an earlier episode, but convinced the rest of the football team into also dressing as cheerleaders. He and Mary Jane had also been voted the king and queen of the Fall Formal, which leads him to try asking out Mary Jane, but she denied Flash as she did not want an actual relationship. After seeing Peter in his Spider-Man costume, (he claims it was his Halloween costume to protect his identity) he argued that Peter looked nothing like Spidey and he should've dressed up like the wall-crawler. After Peter becomes angrier and easily agitated from the symbiote suit, it is Flash that snaps Peter back into reality by reminding him that his friends only want to help. Flash later shows his more heroic side when he and his friends help save Gwen Stacy from falling to her death at the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In "First Steps" it is revealed that he and Peter were best friends in Nursery School. Peter also gave Flash his trademark nickname because of his tendency to streak as a little boy. He is also shown to have an attraction to the show's version of Sha Shan, who doesn't want anything to do with him. However, she eventually went out with him after he reported Harry's use of the Goblin serum on the team, feeling that it's better that he earn trophies fair and square.

Stage

References

  1. ^ a b The Amazing Spider-Man #574
  2. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #13 (June 1964)
  3. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #8 (January 1964)
  4. ^ As noted by Daniels in Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics (p.130) Ditko's plotting emphasized the more subtle aspects of human relationships, stressing (for example) Aunt May's quiet strength over Flash's macho posturing.
  5. ^ Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. pp. 30–33. ISBN 1-14653-141-6. 
  6. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #533
  7. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #545 (Nov. 2007).
  8. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Extra #3
  9. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #591
  10. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #600
  11. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #603
  12. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #622
  13. ^ Ching, Albert (January 28, 2011). "Marvel 'Next Big Thing' - Rick Remender on VENOM - LIVE!". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-next-big-thing-venom-110128.html. 
  14. ^ "The Next Big Thing: Venom". http://marvel.com/news/story/15094/the_next_big_thing_venom. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  15. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #654.1
  16. ^ Venom vol. 2 #2
  17. ^ Venom vol. 2 #6
  18. ^ Venom vol. 2 #7
  19. ^ The Amazing Spider-Man #654
  20. ^ Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (December 2005 – July 2007)
  21. ^ Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (October 2000)
  22. ^ "Christ Zylka as Flash Thompson". movieweb.com. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NElDTbvMSFdmpn. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 

External links


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