You might remember Marvel's announcement that the publisher would be canceling two of their female character driven titles by early 2012. Naturally, following these announcements, fans of X-23 and the new Ghost Rider Alejandra began to look forward to their appearance in the VENOM 'Circle of Four' story-arc. But what do these two ladies have to do with Thunderbolt Ross and Flash Thompson? The release of last week's VENOM #13 brought together some of the most unlikely characters and launched the latest VENOM event.
The brand new arc will be released each week throughout the month of February. The new team includes Ghost Rider, X-23, Thunderbolt Ross and of course, Venom -- all of whom have their own problems to deal with but come together to fight a growing conflict.
If there is one observation to be made about this team is that it is so very different. Each of these four characters come from completely different parts of the Marvel universe, so when the announcement was made that these four would be teaming up for a story, it seemed; well; kind of strange. Particularly since their recent experiences have been so drastically different. The thing is, after reading the first issue of 'Circle of Four' in VENOM #13, the team-up of these four characters actually makes a lot of sense. So what do these characters have in common? Each of them is enduring some kind of an inner struggle; each is trying to uncover and understand who they are.== TEASER ==
For X-23, the struggle to understand herself has been the overarching theme of her entire series. Who she is, where she has come from and how she deals with being brought to earth to be a killer are things that Laura struggled to come to terms with throughout her 20 issue X-23 series. That experience is very similar to Alejandra, who recently became the host for the Spirit of Vengeance.Toward the end of the Ghost Rider series, Alejandra was struggling to come to terms with her new powers as well as understanding how to control them. That struggle, however, isn't really something we will ever be able to see come to fruition considering the Ghost Rider series did not survive the Marvel axe. Giving Alejandra a role in this series will give the character an opportunity to have their identity fleshed out and will further explore her relationship with Johnny Blaze as her mentor.
Venom's series as a whole has dealt with Flash Thompson's struggle not only to control the Venom symbiote, but to also deal with with his addiction to alcohol and his combat experiences during the war. Let's not forget his relationship to Betty, which he insists is "through."
General Thunderbolt Ross had been after the Hulk for years, so becoming the Red Hulk and then joining the Avengers is like doing a complete 180. Whether the effects of what he has endured in his fight against Cable will be touched on in this series remain to be seen, but it's no question that Ross has undergone some major transitions very recently.
The fact that these characters seem to be going through similar changes and experiences would make them a really interesting team. With Venom on the Secret Avengers, Red Hulk on the Avengers and X-23 part of the Avengers Academy, these character may sometimes be overlooked or overshadowed. This sometimes happens with really big teams. A team of four, however, is kind of perfect: you get to know the characters and the writers can focus on both their individual and collective experiences. I am definitely looking forward to the next issue in the 'Circle of Four' story arc and would not mind seeing this group of unlikely heroes team up for a longer run. What do you think of the team? Do you think it makes sense? Would you like to see more of these four heroes join together?