New Warriors #5-6
Issue(s): New Warriors #5, New Warriors #6
He really has nothing to do with the previous two Star Thieves. They were both characters that literally stole, or snuffed out, stars, and had other parallels (they were both deprived of their senses and turned their minds inward to develop their powers). This one had a satellite fall on him and his family. His family was killed, but he absorbed irradiated cosmic energy that he now uses to prevent the Earth's governments from launching anything else into space. Very different, and no indication in this story as to why he would take the name, and a vaguely similar look, to the first two Star Thieves.
The way that the New Warriors get involved is pretty interesting. We start off with Night Thrasher getting Chord's assessment of his teammates.
Note the comment about Firestar's powers. But for now, the most interesting thing is that Night Thrasher, who to date has been a pretty difficult character to be around, is sticking up for Speedball, and i think taking to heart the idea that Marvel Boy is a "team player" and Night Thrasher's "Ace". Because when Marvel Boy comes to him right after this with a video tape recording of a report on Star Thief's actions, Thrasher's initial reaction is to say it's "not really our style" and suggests passing a message over to the Avengers or the Fantastic Four. But he relents very quickly when he sees that Vance feels strongly about getting involved.
It's a side of the character that we haven't seen before, and it seems to me to be character growth, from his interactions with the team over the past few issues plus Chord's coaching. Pretty impressive, although it does seem to defang the character a bit. Night Thrasher is a teddy bear in these issues as opposed to previous ones.
The follow-up on Star Thief doesn't happen for a day, since most of the New Warriors have to go to school and Thrasher has to go to a board meeting for the conglomerate that holds the financial interests that he inherited from his father (and through which the New Warriors are funded).
Conveniently, Namorita is also approached with information that will relate to the Star Thief plot. One of her professors has a husband that works for Stane International, and he's learned that the company is planning on dumping chemical waste in space using a rocket.
We also check in with Speedball, whose parents are fighting as usual, with Speedball's mom going to Brazil to work with environmental activists over her husband's objections. The argument causes Speedball to miss his train into the city. I love the idea of his hometown of Springdale being some kind of early 1960s throwback, a nod to the style of his solo series.
Speedball's solution to getting to the city probably makes the other people on the platform assume the worst, though.
Mark Bagley is getting really good with the art. Those faces are impressive.
Speedball is seen bouncing back and forth outside the New Warriors' window in the next scene, where the rest of the team discusses the Star Thief. As the group arrives at the island where the Stane rocket is going to be launched, there's a little debate about whether or not they should be stopping the rocket. Night Thrasher and Marvel Boy are finding it hard to believe that Stane (which is still a legitimate company in the eyes of most people) could actually be planning to risk their NASA contracts to dump pollution in space.
Then Star Thief shows up, so the members of the New Warriors that can fly go to fight him while Speedball and Night Thrasher try to confirm Namorita's info about the contents of the rocket.
Marvel Boy gets knocked back to Earth, so he joins the ground team. They find that the rocket is guarded by Mandroids.
So, a battle on two fronts.
Star Thief and several of the Warriors (Firestar, Namorita, and Marvel Boy) wind up on the rocket just as the Stane employee, Robert Hanklin, orders it launched into space. It is confirmed that it is full of chemical waste. There's a twist, though. The rocket isn't just going to dump the waste into space. It's going to drop it on the moon.
Again, that's a fully formed Bagley face there. Bagley has always looked like Bagley, but i feel like there's been a major solidifying of his style between issues #4 and #5-6 of this series.
A lot of little moments there, too. As Speedball observes, Night Thrasher is playing the unusual role of peacemaker. We also see Nicieza developing a style of having characters mutter jokes to themselves in a slightly smaller font, which is a great way to slip in some wisecracking humor while downplaying the verbosity. And i love Nova, who's been depicted as something of a neanderthal in this series, reacting to Hanklin's jargon about NIMBY with violence.
And actually the "NIMBY" argument isn't really correct, anyway. Stane actually wants to take over the Inhumans' property on the moon.
Night Thrasher, Nova, and Speedball help put out some fires started by Star Thief, and that endears them to the Mandroids, who force Hanklin to let them leave without any kind of legal trouble.
The grounded New Warriors then try to contact the Avengers and the Fantastic Four to get help in going to the moon, but neither team responds, so they have to sit the rest of this story out.
Inside the rocket, Namorita is overheating, in part due to the fact that Star Thief has to vent his suit every so often. And Marvel Boy reveals his secret ID. Then a flash of light, which is actually Lockjaw teleporting the occupants of the rocket to the moon.
Namorita wakes up in water and is greeted by Triton. Nice to see the characters acknowledging each other.
Less happy to see the Inhumans is Star Thief, who find the idea of a civilization on the moon to be a violation of what he's fighting against. This is explained in the clunkiest bit of exposition in these issues.
Good thing you knew all that, Marvel Boy.
The New Warriors and (mostly) the Inhumans put Star Thief on the run.
And he winds up running away to the Watcher's house.
This changes Star Thief's perspective on things, and he agrees to stay with the Inhumans (after he, Firestar, and Black Bolt fly back into space to stop the rocket).
Some set-up for future issues. First is the White Queen, who has found a way to be wearing even less clothing.
Someone is hacking into the Hellfire Club's computer to get info on Firestar.
And we also see a woman that we can safely assume was the person observing that Nova was back in action in issue #4. She accesses a pyramid where she says she was previously entombed.
This is another fun set of issues. The appearance of the Inhumans, the Watcher, and Stane International show that this is a book that is going to be playing around in the larger Marvel universe. But there is a lot of focus on internal character development as well, with each of the New Warriors clearly having a distinct personality (even with Night Thrasher mellowing out). A little bit alarming is a response in the lettercol for issue #6, which says that "Almost all our stories will generate from either a team members' internal conflict or team member's interpersonal conflicts." The fact that next issue's story is going to focus on Speedball's search for his mother (who goes to Brazil to work with environmental activists - or "terrorists" to hear Speedball's father tell it - in this arc) is brought up as an example. But the idea that the book is going to be driven by internal conflicts doesn't sound that appealing to me. It brings to mind Alpha Flight during the Mantlo period where it was all about characters fighting with each other and going crazy. The fact that this issue's plot happens because Justice brings a news report on Star Thief to the group is also cited as an example, but that's actually the opposite of a story driven by internal conflict. That's a lot closer to being proactive. The team sees a problem in the world and they decide to go do something about it. Or if it's not being proactive, it's a traditional super-hero approach: bad guys do a bad thing, heroes go out to stop them. And i like that better, especially for this team. They're a colorful group of characters, and they have the theme of being inexperienced kids working for them. I would not want them getting bogged down in interpersonal squabbles or deep backstory issues. And with the exception of issue #2, they've been dealing with external threats and it's been a lot of fun. That doesn't mean that the characters that have backstories shouldn't see some of their old villains resurface, and that's happening with the White Queen and (sort of) Sphinx.
We'll see exactly what they mean by internal/interpersonal conflicts soon enough. Just interesting to see the early thoughts on the direction of the title.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This should take place after Daredevil #283 when Gorgon and Karnak decide to go back to Attilan.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAndrew Chord, Black Bolt, Firestar, Gorgon, Justice, Justin Baldwin, Karnak, Lockjaw, Maddie Baldwin, Medusa, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Nova (Rich Rider), Speedball, Sphinx II, Star Thief III, Tai (Dragon's Breadth), Triton, Uatu the Watcher, White Queen (Emma Frost)
I'm sure Emma isn't embarrassed about wearing that dental floss thong but surely she must have heard the snickers over those mismatched boots.
Posted by: Robert | July 1, 2015 3:25 PM
Man, reading these reviews really take me back! I loved this book... it felt very fresh to my young eyes.
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | July 1, 2015 4:59 PM
Bagley is really coming into his own in these issues.
Unfortunately, Frankie Raye had to be murdered by Morg so that Richard Rider could get his proper name back.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | July 1, 2015 5:19 PM
"Nova has an unreasonable mad on for you, Night Thrasher. He better grow up and get over it."
Gosh, why would the guy have a mad-on? Could it be because he dropped you off a building with the possibility of killing you when he first met you. Just so he could pose looking cool. That Nova sure is immature and unreasonable, ain't he?
This team might have been fun without the Ninja skateboard jerk.
Posted by: kveto | July 1, 2015 5:20 PM
Unfortunately,"the Ninja skateboard jerk" is funding the team.;)
Posted by: clyde | July 1, 2015 6:04 PM
Kveto, as we'll see in issue 14, Night Thrasher acknowledges that Nova's problems with him are entirely his own fault and apologizes.
Posted by: Michael | July 1, 2015 7:43 PM
@Clyde, oh, he has lots of money? Ok, that makes it fine for him to endanger his teammates and be a jerk, then.
Posted by: kveto | July 2, 2015 12:32 AM
These two issues are great. Probably the New Warriors story I remembered mostly fondly from my reading of the 17 issues available in trade. Maybe I liked this one most because Night Thrasher is shunted off to the background and we also get the start of the Vance/Angelica romance here.
Also, I'm intrigued by the Watcher's view-screens. Iron Man 2020, some sort of alien(?) Captain America and a black suit Spidey holding a female body. Are these last two references to something specifically? I remember a few months earlier in Quasar, the screens in Uatu's observatory had references to an issue of What If.
Posted by: AF | March 12, 2016 2:13 PM
I always liked Firestar and Marvel Boy as a couple so it's nice to see the beginnings of that relationship.
Posted by: Mizark | July 21, 2016 6:15 PM
Those images on Watcher's screen are from What If 19 "What If the Vision Had Conquered the World" (images of Captain America & Iron Man) and What If 20 "What If... The Amazing Spider-Man Had Not Married Mary Jane?" (image of black costumed Spider-Man holding woman's body)
Posted by: fragsel | January 30, 2017 12:44 AM
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