Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Agent Venom & The U.S. Army

Hi TVS users, J.H. Stryker here (Freddie Block to long term users) and I’d like to tell you about some of the silly and sometimes unforgivable errors present throughout Venom's and Flash Thompson's adventures in regards to the U.S. Army.

Now before you yell me off the internet for nitpicking a comic book, I’d first like to tell you that I still enjoy these comics, I’ve been enjoying these comics since I was 8 years old and picked up Amazing Spider-Man 363 in the back of a long box. 

But now 10 years later I’ve graduated high-school and joined the Army, Armored Infantry is my MOS (MOS means job) oddly enough it’s the same job Flash Thompson had in Amazing Spider-Man 574 (An excellent and very accurate issue), unlike Thompson I’m only a lowly Private. Now being a Soldier myself I sometimes find myself pulled out from the comic by a stupid and easily avoided error.

I know comics are made on a short schedule and the writers don’t always have time to check every single thing they write, just like I don’t expect the artists to know exactly what the uniforms or guns should look like, I get that. And I’m willing to expand my suspension of disbelief a little bit because of that. But when I see Flash refer to himself as a Marine or do something a Soldier would never do, it puts me off a little bit to say the least.

These ‘mistakes’ as I will call them can be broken up into 3 categories: Artistic Mistakes, Writing Mistakes, and Plot mistakes. I tend to be more forgiving of artistic mistakes because hey shit happens and artists don’t always have time to go and look the way all kinds of things look, while most writing mistakes on the other hand can usually be solved by using Google. Plot mistakes are things that the comics portray the Army doing, which they would never do, considering this is a comic book and most characters aside from the Hero are usually relegated to bumbling morons so he can save the day you would probably expect a lot of these, you’d be surprised.

Artistic Mistakes

Surprisingly there aren’t that many artistic mistakes to be found throughout Agent Venoms 57 issue career. Still his record isn’t spotless take this example from Amazing Spider-Man 648.

What does that even mean Indeed Mr.Parker

What USMC stands for is United States Marine Corps. Flash Thompson is a Soldier part of the United States Army. The Army and The Marines are two very different things and they don’t exactly like each other. Military rivalry is similar to the way a Dodgers fan would treat an Angels fan except multiplied by ten-thousand. The only way a Soldier would be caught dead in a USMC shirt is if he lost the mother of all bets. Now being as Flash Thompson is a Marvel character and Marvel isn’t exactly known for their flawless continuity I went back and checked if Flash was ever in the Marines, he wasn’t. The only other time he was in the Military was when he joined the Army during Vietnam. The fact that Thompson served in both Vietnam and Iraq is an issue for another day.

So I guess we can write this off as Flash losing a bet. I could continue to nitpick and point out things like that the Army would force Mackenzie to shave his hippie hair or things like that. But I would rather move on to some real mistakes.

Writing Mistakes 

I know that most comic book writers haven’t served in the military and the closest they’ve come to it is watching Saving Private Ryan but the way they write military characters is ridiculous.

These words literally mean nothing
To be honest the above example doesn’t annoy me very much, I actually find it kind of funny. I don’t really expect writers to look up military phrases id just prefer they just try not to use them. But not all mistakes are as harmless as that.

For example the word Jarhead, it’s a word Remender used often and for reasons unknown to me. Jarhead is used to describe a member of the Marines, once again Flash is a soldier. The thing that weirds me out about this is if you don’t know the meaning of a word why use it?
Apparently the Marvel office doesn’t have Internet.

Plot Mistakes 

Now to most people continuing to use an alien symbiote which already took over and caused you to kill one Soldier might seem a little stupid, that’s because it is. But if you think this is the part where I tell you that the Army would never do something that stupid, you’re wrong.

While I do love the Army and the opportunities it’s given me I’m not going to come out and defend its intelligence, because just like there’s Army Strong, there’s also Army Stupid. You see when the Army makes a decision it usually comes down from some guy up top whose unfamiliar with the whole picture thinking he’s got a great idea and then ordering people to follow through with it, and because of chain of command no one’s going to tell him he’s a goddamn moron for thinking he can contain and use an alien symbiote which has killed more people than Operation: Desert Storm.

What could go wrong?
Honestly if the Army had access to Symbiotes they probably would use them. If anything they would probably do a lot more than what General Dodge and Project Rebirth used Venom for.

The main plot problems with the idea of taking a soldier and having him use the Venom Symbiote lies more with the fact that they would never choose Flash Thompson to be the one to do it. He was Armored Infantry, not Special Forces not a Ranger. They’d probably do something more like Mercury Team from Carnage USA which was a group of Navy Seals and other Special Forces.

This time the USMC shirt isn’t a mistake
They wouldn’t use some random grunt with a crush on Spider-Man. Aside from that though the things the Army does with the Symbiote are pretty believable, that is for a world in which super-powered men dressed in spandex fight crime.

Closing Thoughts

Do Don’t
Use the words Hooah, Roger, or any of the lines from Aliens
Insult the Marines at any opportunity possible
Bring back Anti-Venom

Call Flash a Jarhead, Devil Dog or any variation of Marine
Make up Military jargon, if you want to say something just say it in laymans terms.
Bring back Mac Gargan

With all that being said, I still enjoy reading these comics and I hope you enjoyed this post. In case a Mr. Bunn happens to stumble across this I would like to give him a little list of do’s and don’ts.