Just about Speedball in The Home Front. I cut out the Youth in Revolt stuff and there are full previews of issue #6 at the source.
- In Avengers Academy #20, Speedball will make an annoucement shocking both his students as well as his teammates. Probably of him moving on from teaching.
By Jim Beard
As Fear Itself races to its end, waves of fear continue to ripple out and into the lives of the Marvel heroes. FEAR ITSELF: THE HOME FRONT and FEAR ITSELF: YOUTH IN REVOLT also rocket towards their conclusions, but not before the spit really hits the fan for its stars.
“Expect the return of the Sisters of Sin,” says HOME FRONT writer Christos Gage of the book’s upcoming installments. “Longtime CAPTAIN AMERICA readers will remember that Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter, who is currently raising hell as the Serpent’s right hand gal, had some partners in crime; runaways and orphans indoctrinated and given powers by The Red Skull. Well, they’re back, and they’re not happy with what Miriam Sharpe and Speedball are up to.”
THE HOME FRONT features the latest escapades of Speedball, a character Gage says has already learned a few new things about himself in the series, lessons that should stay with him on his troubled journey.
“I think for me, the exciting part about writing this story was the chance to take Speedball into a new phase,” he notes. “Sort of resolve the character arc that began with the Stamford disaster and continued during his time as Penance, in the Paul Jenkins stories, through what Warren Ellis did with him in THUNDERBOLTS, to his trying to become Speedball again in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE and AVENGERS ACADEMY.”
“When we’re done with HOME FRONT, he’ll be ready to move into that new phase. Not that what happened before is irrelevant—it’ll always affect him—but he’s no longer just reacting to all that, he’s looking to the future. He’s really becoming the person he’ll be as an adult—finally moving on as a result of what happens in our story.”
Fans of THE HOME FRONT will also want to seek out a copy of October’s AVENGERS ACADEMY #20 where Speedball makes what Gage calls “a pretty significant announcement that surprises his students and colleagues alike!”
When looking back on his HOME FRONT experience, Gage recognizes his fellow creators as highpoints, above and beyond the book’s characters.
“From a creative standpoint, working with [artist] Mike Mayhew has been wonderful,” he points out. “We’ve wanted to work together for quite a while and I’m thrilled that editor Lauren Sankovitch made it happen. His work is so realistic and expressive, I’ve found myself using a lot of storytelling techniques I would use writing a screenplay, when I know talented actors are going to act it out.”
“We’ve all seen comics where the only difference between the characters’ appearance, aside from gender, is the color of their hair and their clothes. Mike is the opposite; every person on the page is a distinct person, which is so important for a story like this, where the average individual on the street is such a major part of things. Rain Beredo’s color art complements Mike’s work so well it almost makes the story seem painted. I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
By Tim Stevens
Madeline Berry presents as a female in late adolescence of average physical fitness. Currently, the client is enrolled in the so-called “Avengers Academy” where she is seeking to master her “powers,” the ability to change her body into various gaseous forms. She asserts that this is in order to fulfill a personal goal of being a hero and to do so in a way that is safe and responsible.
This motivation initially led her to join what she believed to the Initiative when invited by Norman Osborn. In reality, Osborn had tricked her into a situation that allowed him to experiment on her extensively without the knowledge of anyone not connected to the project. The experimentation was more akin to torture, but Berry seems largely recovered from the psychological traumas of the experience. She has demonstrated great resilience in this way. Unfortunately, the experiments altered her body chemistry in such a way that she is slowly dissipating. This is what the client identifies as her target concern: coming to term with this essentially terminal diagnosis. While clearly someone dedicated to making a mark on the world—as evidenced by her acceptance of Osborn’s offer and current enrollment in the Academy—she has become even more driven to do so. As such, she often engages in hasty decision making, resulting in risking and under-informed choices that do not necessarily reflect her personal values. This is, of course, further exasperated by her age as the teen years are often times of impetuous judgments even without a terminal illness or time away from home further fueling the problem. Many teens are able to acknowledge their errors later and recognize they are part of the process of finding oneself. Berry, however, exhibits perfectionist tendencies and therefore tries to overcompensate following decisions she is admonished for. Most recently this was demonstrated when she utilized a piece of equipment she was not trained on and brought back the cosmic being know as Korvac.
Currently she and this writer are working on principles of radical acceptance, development of stronger sense of self and self-esteem, and learning to tolerate personal mistakes rather than to overcorrect in an attempt to ease her distress and earn the attention and affection of those she views as teachers and role models. If and when her health begins to markedly decrease, therapy will shift more towards preparation for and acceptance of death with grace and dignity. At this time, however, with the possibility of a cure raised by her instructor, Doctor Henry Pym, this writer is focusing on managing expectations and being able to stand setbacks and disappointments regarding the cure.
Details from Christos Gage on the Avengers Academy five-issue story arc starting in issue 15.
By Ben Morse via Marvel
In a large way, fear founded the Avengers Academy—specifically Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ apprehension that the super-powered youths experimented upon by Norman Osborn would grow up to become the world’s most terrifying super villains without the proper guidance. However, the institution’s staff and students alike will find much more to be afraid of when they plunge into the Fear Itself event beginning this June in AVENGERS ACADEMY #15 for a five-issue story arc.
“From the moment I first started writing AVENGERS ACADEMY, I knew that sooner or later there would come a big crisis like this, and it got me thinking about how those who fight wars tend to be disproportionately young people,” reflects writer Christos Gage. “So I really want to explore what it’s like for kids this age to suddenly find themselves on a battlefield, with stakes as huge as they get and death all around. It’s an experience that leaves no one unchanged, and that’s absolutely going to be true for these guys.”
While the series to date has employed the narrative element of having each issue told primarily from the perspective of a single cast member and the focused placed on them, Gage says the spotlight will be spread throughout this particular story with different characters seizing the baton.
“Both the kids and the faculty will be in the thick of the action, though not necessarily all in the same place,” he notes. “I can promise major changes coming for more than one of them.”
One Academy teacher who will be plenty busy during Fear Itself promises to be Speedball, who will be starring in FEAR ITSELF: HOME FRONT, also written by Gage, who explains the stories will complement each other, though not be dependent on one another:
“Naturally there are going to be moments where events converge to one degree or another. I’m taking the approach I usually take to these things: Either story can be fully enjoyed on its own, but if you get both you see the larger tapestry.”
While the general unrest of Fear Itself will present the primary challenge in AVENGERS ACADEMY this summer, expect at least one surprise guest to increase the threat to one faculty member in particular and every student to undergo their greatest trial to date.
“I have to be a lot more cryptic than I want to be, but I’m definitely excited about Giant-Man having a rematch with a deadly enemy he’s faced before, though the circumstances will be very different,” teases Gage. “And to see the unexpected ways the kids respond to the harshest crucible of all.”
What is Speedball most afraid of?
Christos Gage: Speedball is equally afraid that what happened at Stamford will happen again, and that he will never be able to atone for [the events] he views as his fault.
How does this affect and inform the way he lives his life and does his job?Well, right now it very much affects his job itself: he’s teaching the kids at Avengers Academy to use their powers responsibly, trying to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes he did. As for how he lives his life, we’ll see in HOME FRONT that he is going back to Stamford, disguised as a civilian, and performing charity work as a way to give back to the community he feels he hurt.
How does he deal with his fear and manage it on a day-to-day basis?
Mostly by trying to spend his time doing positive things and with the support of his friends. But whether he has other ways of dealing with it remains to be seen—as does how effective they are.
Has he made any progress with these fears since the inciting event occurred? Are things better or worse for him now than they were in the immediate aftermath?
Things are better. He’s made a lot of progress. He’s no longer focused on punishing himself. He knows he can’t undo what happened, so he’s focused on making a positive difference going forward. Training others to avoid the same mistakes; helping those who need it. It’s no longer about what happened in the past but what will happen in the future. But that’s not to say he’s forgotten. The Stamford disaster still looms large in his life and probably always will. He still feels tremendous guilt over it, as we will see.
In Speedball’s mind, what is the most frightening scenario he can imagine
Something like Stamford happening again—and it being his fault. Because he didn’t anticipate something he should have, or he didn’t act in time.
Cut some of the text out, and kept only what was related to Speedball/Robbie Baldwin. Entire article is on Marvel.com.
By Kevin Mahadeo with Jim Beard
FDR told us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. But for Robbie Baldwin, the hero known as Speedball, an angry mob from Stamford with nothing but vengeance on its mind seems pretty terrifying as well—and he has to face just that in the upcoming limited series FEAR ITSELF: THE HOME FRONT beginning this April.
The lead story of the seven-issue series sees writer Christos Gage and artist Mike Mayhew following Speedball’s continuing quest for personal redemption he has sought since his role in the tragedy that kicked off Civil War.
“This actually harkens back to the first of these types of project, CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE, which [had] a story in it following Speedball as he deals with the repercussions of the Stamford disaster [and] we’ll actually be revisiting that here,” explains Gage. “In the first issue, we’ll see that Speedball has been secretly, in disguise, going back to Stamford regularly as a civilian and getting involved with charity work to try and atone for what he feels is his responsibility for the people that died there. He happens to be there at a time when the affects of Fear Itself start to take hold and that leads to a very charged set of circumstances.”
Those circumstances find the hero’s identity revealed to the populace of Stamford and their reaction, unsurprisingly, leads to some serious conflict. Gage says that we’ll not only get some insight into Speedball’s views, but on how the regular citizens of the Marvel Universe see things as well. He teases that not everyone immediately hates the hero; some people befriended Robbie while in his alter ego and their reactions to the discovery of his real identity make for interesting emotional conflicts.
Gage also promises that the series does not take place solely in one location. As Fear Itself constitutes a Marvel Universe event, THE HOME FRONT starts in Stamford but extends out into all areas of the world.
“I don’t want to get into how, but in the AVENGERS ACADEMY book you have Hank Pym’s infinite Avengers Mansion with its dimensional doors,” hints the writer. “So that should give you an idea of how we’ll be looking at a variety of different locations throughout the Marvel Universe. [Speedball] starts off in Stamford but [the story] ends up becoming global just because the Fear Itself event has a global scale. He still remains the focal point as events that happen in Stamford lead him to go to various other locales and try to help against the rising tide of fear and other things that are happening.”
Mike Mayhew adds his skills to the title, and Gage assures there’s nothing to fear there, as the artist’s pencils fit the tone of the title perfectly.
“His style is very realistic and very real world,” Gage comments. “I think it brings a verisimilitude to everything. If you’re creating a story in which the focus is on regular people, Mike can make you believe those people live and breathe. The way he conveys Robbie out of costume, I thought he really captured him. And he can draw Speedball in his costume with the kinetic energy effect and make it look really great. The thing about Mike is that when you see his characters, you believe that they just seem real.”
The series marks an important chapter in Speedball’s continuing emotional healing. Gage already chronicles the character’s journey monthly in the pages of AVENGERS ACADEMY and plans to continue Robbie’s recovery in HOME FRONT.
“Immediately after Stamford, [Speedball] became Penance, [and] I would say he was very affected by it and probably expressing something close to post-traumatic stress,” he notes. “He took all of it upon himself. He personally blamed himself, as the public did. As time has gone by and Speedball got help from Doc Samson and other people, he has come to have a more healthy view of what he did. He’s certainly still consumed with guilt and it’s something that he carries with him. You can’t just flip a switch and change your suit and go back to being the guy you were before something like that. We’re all affected by our experiences, good and bad. So, hopefully he’ll come out at the end and figure out a way to live with it and go forward with his life.”
By TJ Dietsch (September 30, 2010)
The kids will not be alright this winter.
The Young Allies, the Avengers Academy students and the latest Spider-Girl won’t just find themselves amidst a teenage wasteland in January’s “Game On” crossover, but in Murderworld itself! The evil Arcade has his sites set on the young heroes of the Marvel Universe via Paul Tobin who will be running the event through three Annual one-shots.
”It seemed like such a natural idea for some of the younger heroes to team up,” Tobin says. “But, of course there was the problem of getting the Avengers Academy heroes out of their house. So we just decided they should all be kidnapped. This is similar to how I used to break my own curfew, really.”
At this point you may be wondering why a villain like Arcade-who builds fancy deathtraps that would make the killer in “Saw” wet himself with envy-finds himself focusing his machinations on such youthful targets.
“He’s got the proverbial chip on his shoulder, because his career really hasn’t been going all that well, and plus the most sane brain cell in his head is still mostly insane,” Tobin explains. “Arcade lives pretty much at whim, so when [he has] the idea of kidnapping one young hero in order to prove the worth of Murderworld, he feels he might as well go all the way. There’s no halfsies with Arcade.”
With the Avengers Academy students captured and the Young Allies attempting to mount a rescue, don’t expect your average meet and greet session in the midst of this story.