New Warriors #3
Issue(s): New Warriors #3
Issues from the villain's perspective are always fun. This issue starts with the Mad Thinker looking around at the suits in Genetech ("I am in a science facility and all I see are suits and ties.") and noting to himself that he "left the private sector" so that he could avoid such trappings. We then get some preliminary thoughts about the Warriors from the Thinker.
The Thinker has hooked up with Primus.
The Thinker then goes around to all of the Warriors, using Primus in different guises to approach each of the team members and give them a little riddle to solve. For Namorita he has Primus turn her college swimming pool into chlorine, causing her to be temporarily disabled while he tells her to meet him at "the spot where you forged the will to fight those who would abuse the ecosphere". For Speedball, who is running out of the house to avoid the latest fight between his parents, he demonstrates that he's been able to catch and analyze Niels the cat, and he tells him to meet at "the second most important spot in your life". For Night Thrasher, Primus transforms himself into an Asian gang banger and confronts Thrasher while he's meeting with Silhouette, telling him to go to the place where he "last had hope". He then watches Nova, who has just been fired from his job at McDonalds and is clearing out his gym locker now that he's got super-powers again; Nova finds a note telling him to meet "where your past, present, and future all met". Firestar is met at school and told to go to the place where she most recently was forced to confront her fears.
The situation with Marve Boy gets a little more dicey. Vance comes out of the shower to find his dad going through a diary on his computer, and learning that he's been using his powers. Things get tense, and the Mad Thinker starts to think that he may have to intervene (a first sign that the Thinker is not necessarily a bad guy in this story).
He doesn't intervene, but Vance does use his powers to prevent his father from hitting him.
Vance then finds a message on his computer to meet where his determination was forged.
Mad Thinker also compliments himself for figuring out that Marvel Boy is emulating Vance Astro from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Having discovered that, he thinks to himself that "Enrico [Fermi], Albert [Einstein], and Reed [Richards] would have been proud of me".
It turns out the answer to all of the Mad Thinker's riddles is the site where they first acted as a team, to fight Terrax. While the Mad Thinker is waiting for them, though, he starts to wonder what it says about him that he might be betraying the hope of an entire generation.
All of the Warriors show up except Speedball (i briefly thought maybe he decided the second most important spot in his life was the local comic shop or something), and the Thinker and Primus reveal themselves. Night Thrasher immediately calls for an attack. Primus briefly gets them to stand down...
...but then Night Thrasher attacks again while the Thinker is in the middle of explaining how Genetech has hired him to collect data on them.
Primus is unaware that the Thinker was in a robot body, so when he sees the Thinker decapitated, he starts to attack for real, yelling that the Thinker was really just trying to warn them about Genetech. The fight stops when Speedball shows up (he was just late).
He explains that he's given Genetech data on the New Warriors, but not their identities.
The Thinker's actions convince the New Warriors that they should stay together as a team.
It's interesting characterization for the Thinker, consistent with when he broke off his partnership with the Wizard in Fantastic Four #301 because their plan may have resulted in the death of Franklin Richards. The plot allows the Thinker to be a competent character without losing to the heroes. And his partnership with Primus is fun. The story also provides a way for us to look in on each of the lives of the New Warriors. We see Night Thrasher reconnecting with Silhouette, we see both Namorita and Firestar having normal lives at school but with different degrees of acceptance (Namorita is confident in who she is, Firestar has a number of doubts, especially about her powers). We see that Nova struggled with life after returning to Earth with no powers. He never went to college and was instead working for minimum wage and living at his dad's house. And since all these scenes are from the Mad Thinker's perspective, it doesn't feel like we're jumping between a number of disjointed subplots. There is of course the self-serving message that the team is important beyond just a collection of kid super-heroes getting together, but that works to convince the team to get back together after the downbeat ending of last issue. Mark Bagley's art in this issue is very dense, allowing for the character driven story with a lot of scenes. His art is still evolving and will continue to get better (and the fight with Primus isn't as imaginative as it could be) but it's a nice compliment to Fabian Nicieza's writing.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Nova says it's been "three weeks" since he last saw Night Thrasher. The New Warriors most likely shouldn't appear in between issues #2-3, and that includes scenes where Namorita mentions going off to visit the team, like in Marvel Super-Heroes #10.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showArnold Astrovik, Bart Jones, Charles Rider, Firestar, Harmon Furmintz, Jupiter (Firestar's friend), Justice, Justin Baldwin, Mad Thinker, Maddie Baldwin, Namorita, Niels, Night Thrasher, Norma Astrovik, Nova (Rich Rider), Primus, Silhouette, Speedball, Walter Rosen
This is really the issue that caused me to think that the New Warriors might turn out to be a worthwhile title. I liked the development of the Thinker. He should be one of those characters whose criminal status is a result of him ignoring the laws that would hold him back from his experiments instead of an inclination to do real harm. It gives his plots some variety and distinguishes him from other supersmart villains.
Posted by: Chris | June 29, 2015 9:57 PM
I loved Bagley on the New Warriors, he was a big part of the appeal. Marvel keeps wanting to reuse the title, but why not approach both Nicieza and Bagley to reunite after all these years, although I guess the specific characters would be the Old Warriors by now.
This is my favorite use of the Thinker, too. But I do not think it stuck, sadly.
Posted by: PeterA | June 30, 2015 1:20 AM
I was always a bit frustrated by Mad Thinker's (correct) logic with working out who Marvel Boy is. It's incredibly fortunate that he just happened to deduce the connection to Major Victory because of similar costumes, when the much more obvious route to go down would be to explore the fact Vance is using a legacy name.
Also by this point the New Warriors have fought Terrax, Juggernaut and Mad Thinker. I think one of the main problems with the New Warriors is they don't ever have an original arch-enemy. They just borrow from others (like here), battle teams of generic villains (Psionex, Force of Nature) or they have villains who are solo villains to a member (Midnight's Fire, Sphinx). For the "super-hero team for the 90s", he were really lacking a super-villain enemy for the 90s.
Posted by: AF | March 11, 2016 1:22 PM
They sort of have two 90s villains, though: Genetech, the morally ambiguous superhuman engineering company, and Tai, the absurdly overpowered, enigmatic, conspiracy villain who reveals that Everything You Know Is Wrong. It's hard to get more 90s than those two archetypes.
Part of what I like about the Warriors' book, at least the first 25 issues of it, is that it's much more about the character interaction than about the arc villain. These days, they'd just plain end the book at #25 on the grounds that Nicieza and Bagley had finished their big story.
And then a new creative team would revise the concept a year or so down the road, probably in a way that pointlessly contradicted what went before and felt like a very different idea shoehorned into an existing intellectual property for branding purposes.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | March 11, 2016 1:53 PM
These days? Nah, it'd be relaunched with the same creative team after 5 issues. And then eventually they'd get rid of all the characters and replace them with Winter Soldier or Quake and introduce new ones based off of their own children and the word "diversity".
Posted by: AF | March 11, 2016 2:22 PM
I love the fact that Marvel's current offerings are more reflective of the demographics of their readership; not really feeling the "anti-diversity" zing.
Posted by: cullen | March 11, 2016 5:56 PM
The only people who feel "diversity" in comics is somehow a negative word are those who, A) have never known what it feels like to be ignored and/or stereotyped by comic books, because the abundant majority of characters have always been from their own peer group (straight white men), and B) don't have enough empathy to understand why others than straight white men might appreciate comic books depicting their lives too.
Posted by: Tuomas | March 11, 2016 6:42 PM
@AF- regarding the Thinker not trying to figure out Vance's ID using the Marvel Boy name, remember that in the MU, names are often assumed by people unrelated to the previous name user. What does the Grapplers' Titania have to do with She-Hulk's Titania? What does the New Mutants' Mirage have to do with the Spider-Man villain Mirage? What does the Marauders' Vertigo have to do with Salem's Seven's Vertigo? What does the New Mutants' Magma have to do with the Iron Man and Spider-Man villain Magma? What do the New Mutants' Warlock and his father Magus have to do with Adam Warlock and his future self Magus?
Posted by: Michael | March 11, 2016 8:12 PM
I don't pretend to speak for anyone but myself, so my issue with "diversity" in comics is the forced aspect of it. Race/gender swapping of characters is lazy and uncreative. All it does is completely alter characters who have been around for many decades, to reflect the current moment. It's disrespectful to the characters and their fans.
Rather than suddenly have a black Nick Fury, why not create a brand new character specifically to take his place? He could just happen to be black. Instead of changing Thor into a woman, why not have Sif be the new wielder of mjolnir? Instead of having Sam Wilson become Captain America, which gets rid of the Falcon (a character I've always liked), why not have the Black Crow become the new Cap (as, I believe, was once intended)? Suddenly turning Iceman gay makes no sense (and no argument will ever convince me that is what Stan and Jack had intended for him); why not create a brand new X-Man and they just happen to be gay?
Having Carol Danvers ditch the Ms. Marvel name and take on the Captain Marvel moniker is a good example of "promoting" her while opening up the use of her old name for a new character, who happened to be Muslim. James Rhodes taking the place of Iron Man made people realize he could stand on his own as a hero. Rhodey WAS Iron Man when I started reading comics, so I always thought he was cool and was excited when he became War Machine later on.
I get it, creating a new character who can stand on their own is hard work, but it can be done. It should be done! Forced diversity feels like some kind of crutch; just a way to use the popular names of established characters to generate headlines. It doesn't respect the characters who have been around longer than most of us have been alive.
The real answer for diversity is to create NEW characters and introduce fresh blood into the equation, not to alter/damage the classic characters in the process. But I'm a straight white guy, so what do I know?
Posted by: Bill | March 11, 2016 9:15 PM
Bill, the problem is that very few new characters created in the past quarter century have stood the test of time. So the writers try to retool the older characters into minorities.
Posted by: Michael | March 11, 2016 9:26 PM
Isn't that more indicative of lack of talent of the creators of those characters rather than a failure of the practice itself?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 11, 2016 9:36 PM
@Mark Drummond - I think the lack of really good characters created in the past 25 years has more to do with writers and artists not wanting their best ideas ending up becoming the property of Marvel now that companies such as Image enable creators to retain ownership of their creations. Seriously, who would want to create an amazing new arch-enemy for the Avengers or the X-Men knowing that the House of the Mouse is going to own it?
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 12, 2016 12:27 AM
The New Mutants were ethnically diverse and, perhaps even more remarkably, had females outnumbering (and out-powering) males. Back in the early 80s, no-one batted an eyelid, but try that now and the MRAs would be agitating for a boycott before the first issue was even printed.
Posted by: Oliver_C | March 12, 2016 4:53 AM
Regarding the idea that creators are holding their best ideas back from Marvel, how many indie superhero characters have stood the test of time? Not many, and really none of the first-wave Image characters. (Can anyone under 30 identify Spawn?) I think the lack of enduring new characters in the superhero genre as a whole is down to the fact that the readers are old and only want to relive part of their youth. They can do that by reading about familiar characters, but not so much by reading, say, Runaways or some more recent creation. Plenty of new characters were still being created a decade ago, and some of them were very good, but who's the market?
It's notable that the '90s is the cutoff: it's the same period Marvel goes retro, with the "New" Warriors themselves being largely '70s characters, at first. Nicieza does try to develop things, here and in other books, but Marvel editorial is determined to sell mostly nostalgia.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 12, 2016 4:58 AM
There are plenty of good characters created in the last few years but they all just get killed off by other writers to make a point. Usually Bendis, Remender or Slott.
And I'm a German married woman. I'm only catered to with incestuous Nazis and constant lectures that marriage is an evil anchor that only ever weighs down every character.
I don't care, the belief that all people are incapable of relating to a white male character is either a complete lack of faith in their writers or is even more racist than anything on paper.
Posted by: AF | March 12, 2016 5:02 AM
And don't get me started on how they ruined my favorite super-heroine by making her Captain Boyscout and cemented it by giving her identity to an "exciting new character".
Posted by: AF | March 12, 2016 5:19 AM
Holy (&(*. Last time I make a glib remark about contemporary Marvel comics.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | March 12, 2016 7:06 AM
@AF- kveto, who is Czech, made a similar point regarding diversity. But he also acknowledged that the US and Europe have completely different perspectives.
Posted by: Michael | March 12, 2016 11:44 AM
If you took Spider-Man and made him a married white German girl, I would think it was absolutely terrible.
I don't know if there was a legion of black readers who simply could not relate to Captain America because he was white and were unable to relate to Falcon because he wasn't Captain America. It's just a lot of absolute rubbish. Characters like Falcon and Ms. Marvel had spent decades with their own identities which they'd successfully build up as their own and now they're just substitutes for white male heroes. How is that diverse in any way?
Posted by: AF | March 12, 2016 12:02 PM
One big reason why those older indie super-heroes don't show up so much is because the creators/owners just aren't that prolific or they've moved on to other fields. One of my favorites, the Flaming Carrot, is still fondly remembered even though Bob Burden wasn't that fast and seems to have quit comics for good.
One argument I could make for creating new characters for Marvel is: if you do have a good idea for a new hero or villain(diverse or otherwise), but you don't want Marvel/Disney to own it...then exactly what else could you do with it? There are more independent comics publishers than ever these days, but how many of them give us Marvel/DC-style superhero genre books? Quite a few companies have titles spotlighting a super-powered characters, but most of them tend to be deconstructionist-type books that don't really allow for Marvel/DC-type super-villains. Image still gives us some super-hero type books, but the majority of Image's output now doesn't fall into that category. Dynamite tends to do quite a few super-hero books, but they also tend to give up on them after about two years max. Self-publishing? Possibly, but that requires skill in managing money and legal matters, which a lot of creative people don't have. These days, there really aren't many alternatives to place a Marvel-type character outside of Marvel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 12, 2016 12:29 PM
One of Marvel's selling points, in fact for some its MAIN selling point, is that they have always portrayed themselves as "the world outside your window." From out the gate there were characters with problems and disabilities, outcasts and working stiffs. They weren't all genius cops and blonde billionaires (and even THEY had heart conditions, issues with addiction, etc.). There was nothing "natural" or "organic" about Marvel choosing to pursue this path, it was a calculated cultural AND commercial move.
Posted by: cullen | March 12, 2016 12:59 PM
I would think Vance's time as an unlimited class wrestler left clues worth following up left, right and center...
Posted by: BU | March 12, 2016 1:05 PM
"Rather than suddenly have a black Nick Fury, why not create a brand new character specifically to take his place? He could just happen to be black."
As, in fact, they already have done. GW Bridge, remember?
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 22, 2016 3:01 AM
Anyway, I loved New Warriors. I actually thought Nicieza was an excellent writer. I stopped collecting in 1993, but started up again in 2015 and it's been surprising to hear how a lot of my favorite writers and artists are not remembered too fondly. Been learning a lot from this site.
Posted by: Mquinn1976 | August 30, 2017 4:33 PM
I'm with AF on this one. The "diversity" we've witnessed is mostly pandering.
As a Black guy from Brooklyn, I never had an issue identifying with Peter Parker, as we were the same. Could I have created web shooters? Maybe. Peter's race was inconsequential to me; Peter Parker was the hero that could be you or I.
I hope saner heads prevail at Marvel Comics in the immediate future.
Posted by: VtCG | February 18, 2018 6:06 AM
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