Review – What If? Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)

What If Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man #1
  • Writing - 7/10
  • Art - 7.5/10
  • Overall - 7.3/10


Writer: Gerry Conway

Artist: Diego Olortegui 

Ink Assist: Walden Wong

Colorist: Chris O’ Halloran

Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Maturity Rating: Teen

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Release: October 3, 2018

In a world where Flash Thompson was bitten by the radioactive spider, does he become the hero that everyone needs?


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What If? Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man

Marvel Comics has starting publishing What If? comic stories again, to my great delight. What If? stories have always been some of my favorite stories to read. They usually have that strange eye-catching premise and are usually surprisingly depressing! What If? Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man is exactly what the title implies. We follow Flash Thompson as Spider-Man. What happens when Peter Parker’s bully gets all the proportional abilities of a spider and yet none of Parker’s responsibility? Nick Fury “The Watcher” is here to guide us through this universe!


What If? Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics) cover by Patrick Zircher
Cover by Patrick Zircher

Gerry Conway pens What If? Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man #1. He does a good job of fitting everything into 28 pages of story. Probably the hardest part about What If? stories are that they are basically just one-shot stories and you have to cram a lot into them. As readers, we expect not only to see what Flash Thompson is up to, but also how this affected Peter, and other characters as well. Conway does a pretty good job of cramming a lot into this issue. The pacing is a little rushed and storytelling not quite as tight, but it all still works pretty well.

I liked the idea that Flash Thompson still saves the day and everything but he acts nothing like a hero. He is basically still himself with extra powers. Gerry Conway plays a lot with the whole “what makes a hero” story with this issue. The whole notion of the bully becoming even stronger and how does he learn from that is an interesting notion and the way Conway plays out the story is definitely not anywhere close to where I thought he would take it.


Diego Olortegui (with ink assist by Walden Wong) does some good artwork in this What If? issue. The costume design for Flash Thompson Spider-Man is very well done. Dark black makes up the bulk of the costume, letting the red that starts at about his chest to head and runs down his arms really stand out. Olortegui’s style has that nice mix of being a little cartoony yet “realistic” at the same time. For me, he hits that nice in-between spot. I like his panel layouts as well; he gets to do some fun stuff throughout the issue. 

Chris O’Halloran’s colors are solid as well. I like the bright sheen he gives to Flash Thompson’s Spider-Man costume. It almost makes it look dark blue instead of black in some scenes, which is a nice effect. I do like how he tones down the coloring in flashback scenes as well. It does seem, though, that in a few scenes that are not more action oriented the colors seem less dynamic which is a little strange.


What If? Flash Thompson Became Spider-Man #1 is a solid What If? issue. It fits just about everything you want into a What If/alternate universe one-shot story, with little changeups and twist and turns. I guess it falls into the same problem of every What If? story in that it is easily forgettable after reading it. Yes, it was good and a fun read, but like most What If? stories, you probably won’t remember much about it after you set the book down.

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