The Past Was Close Behind: That Time Dan Slott Predicted Speedball’s Future as Penance

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The Past Was Close Behind: That Time Dan Slott Predicted Speedball’s Future as Penance

This feature spotlights moments, exchanges, etc. from older comics that take on a brand new light when read in concert with later comic books. Here is the archive of previous installments.

Today we look at a 1991 Dan Slott story that, in hindsight, seems to allude to Speedball’s future role as Penance.

In 1991’s New Warriors Annual #1, Dan Slott wrote a very good back-up story that tells of Night Thrasher experimenting with Speedball’s powers. He gives Speedball a serum that will allow them to monitor Speedball’s powers so they can study him further. Speedball just has to activate his powers for it to work. As it were, Speedball’s powers activate when his body makes solid impact with something, like if he jumps off of a building his powers will activate when he hits the ground (until his powers activate and he transforms into Speedball, he looks like a normal teen). Well, throughout the story, Speedball keeps trying to jump off things but various superheroes keep saving him before he lands. In the end, we learn that the serum actually temporarily DE-ACTIVATED Speedball’s powers, so the heroes all actually DID save his life.

In any event, early in the story, there’s this classic exchange…

Of course, after the events of Civil War, Speedball becomes Penance and he does, indeed, have spikes all over his body…


Thanks to reader Beacon for the suggestion!

NOTE: Years later, Slott (along with former New Warriors writer Fabian Nicieza) had a good deal of fun making fun of Speedball’s change into Penance in a Squirrel Girl story that you can read about here.

EDITED TO ADD: Commenter Brandon Seifert correctly pointed out that later in the New Warriors story there is a great panel where Night Thrasher is designing a new costume for Speedball based on the spike suggestion…

Very funny.

If you have a suggestion for some other hilarious in hindsight comic book related item, drop me a line at!