|And now, for an expert opinion...
||[Jan. 9th, 2007|09:26 pm]
|||||It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Deathwish - My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Reveng||]|
Those of you who don't follow comics are probably not aware of what's been happening with Speedball (the comic book character) lately.
(Of course, those of you who don't know me in real life probably aren't aware of what's been happening with this Speedball lately, but that's easily fixed. Just read my wife's journal. She talks about all the important stuff before I'd have a chance to.)
Anyways, Robbie's been through hell (not back yet, as you'll see). First, he was the only survivor of an explosion that killed off the rest of the active team of New Warriors, along with 609 innocent civilians. His powers had apparently burned out in the process. Then, he was put in jail in the Negative Zone for refusing to register, in accordance with the new law which came about at least partly because of the aforementioned explosion. On the way to testify regarding his refusal to register, he was shot in the spine by the father of one of the victims.
Now, in a much publicized turn of events, Robbie has discovered his powers are now activated by pain; and with bullet fragments in his spine, you'd think Robbie has that to spare. But, obviously not enough, as he's put himself into an Iron Maiden(the torture device, not the band)-like costume, and renamed himself Penance. Oh, and he decided to now register and help hunt down those costumed heroes and villains who refuse to do so as he originally did.
I read the issue where he finally makes this transformation (Civil War: Front Line #10)multiple times. The first couple of times, I literally could not wrap my head around it (even though by the end of #9, it had confirmed my suspicions pretty heavily). It was like watching a good friend jump off a cliff. The scene where he actually puts the costume on is gut-wrenching (mostly because of the letter to his mom that accompanies the sequence).
(Speaking of costumes, a mild nitpick here. In the issue in question, he burns his Speedball costume. Apparently no one mentioned to the writer that his costume was part of his powers, and wasn't something that he put on and took off. But, I've come up with a No-Prize worthy explanation for it, so that's a not a big deal.)
It's definitely a mixed bag for myself and fellow fans. Penance will be a major character in Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts team, which means he'll be getting a lot more attention in the Marvel Universe than he has recently. But, basically, Speedball as we knew him is dead. Possibly he'll get through this and eventually return to some semblance of his former self, but I doubt it'll be happening anytime soon, even though there is a new New Warriors book coming out sometime this year.
Will I be buying the Thunderbolts with Speedball/Robbie/Penance in it? Yes. It's Warren Ellis, and he's one of my favorite writers, period. Will I pick up every other appearance of the character, like I did up until this point? I doubt it, because it's really not the same character. Read Civil War: Front Line #10, and you'll see what I mean. When he looks the father of the girl who died in the eyes and says "I don't care," you can't see a trace of the fun-loving, bouncing jokester I (and many others) grew so attached to, which is sad. Because it seems that there are so few characters left who actually enjoy being heroes.