New Warriors #1
Issue(s): New Warriors #1
Luckily, this reactivates Rich Rider's Nova powers, something that Night Thrasher will later say had a 35% chance of happening, based on having hacked SHIELD's defunct computer systems which had a copy of research that Rich Rider had asked Mr. Fantastic to do.
The next morning, we see Vance Astrovik, still going by the name Marvel Boy, heading to the Avengers shuttle building (see Considerations!), hoping to join the team. But he's trapped by the building's automatic defenses...
...and then Captain America tells him to come back in a few years.
This does raise an interesting point. The Avengers don't have a "juniors" program the way the mutant groups do. Why not? We've seen the Avengers grow more institutional recently, with the addition of a large civilian staff. It would make sense for them to add a wing for adolescent super-heroes. Just turning them away ensures that they'll wind up in paramilitary mutant groups or with outright villains. Since most teen super-types are mutants, it did make sense for them to be referred to Professor X, as Mr. Fantastic did for Karma and (less successfully) Willie Evans. But once Xavier left for space and turned the school over to Magneto, you'd think the Avengers might have given this some thought, and the appearance of Speedball among the candidates in Captain America #352 should have caused them to kick that thinking into high gear. And Justice here, as Cap knows, has already worked with the Thing and, in an alternate timeline at least, will grow up to be one of the Guardians of the Galaxy, so he's not a complete newbie unknown. He would have been a good student to start a program with.
And to be clear, it's not like Captain America is telling him it's too dangerous for him to be a super-hero. Just that he's not ready for the big leagues yet. So go spend a few more years fighting super-villains on your own, and if you survive, hey, come on back!
Anyway, with Cap giving him the bum's rush, Vance is pretty receptive to two strangers inviting him to join them. It turns out that hot dog vendor across from the Avengers' building is on Night Thrasher's payroll.
Vance is even more impressed when Night Thrasher takes them back to his midtown penthouse and introduces them to his awesome computer system and his two legal guardians, Chord and Tai.
Night Thrasher also wants to recruit Firestar, whose potential he knows is being wasted as a tertiary New Mutants character. I mean, she was in the Amazing Friends! She had more visibility with mainstream audiences than almost any other Marvel character, and you stuck her on a team of quasi-villains that appears maybe once a year? What were you thinking, Marvel?!
Night Thrasher isn't exactly thinking clearly either, based on the way he contacts Firestar.
But it does get her to show up.
Before she can use her microwaves to make Night Thrasher sterile, an emergency breaks out. For that, let me jump back a bit to Namorita, who is observing a clean-up of a polluted park.
That machinery was designed by a company called Genetech to clean up the soil, but it reminds me of BRUTIVAC from Sub-Mariner #28. But AILEAC turning out to secretly be BRUTIVAC isn't the threat. It's the emergence of Terrax.
So that's the threat that causes Firestar to at least temporarily team up with the rest of the group.
I think Nicieza and Bagley are both doing a good job infusing these characters with personality. I hate Nova's brown costume (or, ok, it's red; see Comments), though, and i definitely hated it a lot when this issue first came out, since i had a couple issues of the original Nova series. I also hated that they called him "Kid Nova" on the cover.
While Namorita is holding off Terrax alone, she wishes that her cousin, or the Avengers, "or Wolfpack, even", would show up.
Wolfpack was a Graphic Novel and series by Ron Lim (and a couple of different writers) that i'm still not convinced is in continuity. Namorita's thoughts here are clearly a joke, and could easily be replaced by some other pop culture reference, e.g. "or the Smurfs, even".
Terrax, meanwhile, is upset that he isn't going to be invited to Acts of Vengeance, so he's created an Axe of Vengeance.
Another player in this issue is Robbie Baldwin, who we see here going through a rebellious phase, with his mullet and sleeveless rock n roll shirt.
He watches on television while the rest of the teen heroes arrive at the Terrax fight and get dubbed "new warriors" by the media.
So he gets permission from his absent-minded mother to go down and join the fight.
You may notice that Terrax doesn't look quite right...
...and he's also demonstrating some unusual powers that even Night Thrasher's skateboarding can't counteract.
Regarding the skateboarding, and since i've also got some Rocket Racer appearances that will be placed around this issue, let me link to this complaint from Dwayne McDuffie on the subject.
Namorita observes that Terrax screams in pain when she lifts him off the ground, but she's also busy wondering how Nova could risk her wrath by calling her "babe".
When Speedball shows up, he and Marvel Boy perform a cool power trick.
But it's getting Terrax off the ground that finishes him off.
Note the "Blue Blazes!" interplay. It'll be reversed when Namorita utters a "Suffering Shad!" later.
Nova and Namorita are unhappy to learn that their actions have seemingly killed Terrax, but a Genetech scientist on the scene named Walter Rosen tells them that Terrax wasn't really alive exactly anyway; he was just sentient energy that was animating the earth around him.
Then the Avengers show up and it's an overt "we'll take it from here, little people" moment.
Night Thrasher has a somewhat ominous "I would have preferred four" thought, but he invites the entire team to join up, and they agree, taking the media assigned name New Warriors.
Marvel putting out a Teen Titans comic could have turned into a really corny affair, and we'll look at their debut in Tom DeFalco's Thor in a separate entry. But Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley do a good job with making the characters seem modern and interesting, regardless of their ages and, in some cases, derivative powers. I did resist this book when it first came out, for a few reasons. First, as mentioned, i didn't like the depiction or look of Nova. I didn't like "Kid" Nova (designed in part to distinguish him from Frankie Raye), or his red (brown!) costume, and i didn't think the Nova i knew would continue to hang out with someone who dropped him off a building not knowing if he would live or die. He also seemed somehow younger here than he did when he was in his own series. I also was predisposed to not liking these characters after they muddled up what should have been an awesome Thor/Juggernaut fight, but we'll come to that soon enough. And we're also at a point where the art styles were changing, so this comic looked too different to me compared to the Byrne or Buscema style art that i associated with quality team books, and yet it wasn't the really modern and kewl looking art that i was seeing on books like X-Men or Hulk. In retrospect, though, Bagley's art is a nice blend of the mid-80s style with a more modern feel to it, and both he and Nicieza do well giving the characters distinct personalities. And it's a good start to a new team book.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the origin story for the team which takes place before their first published appearance in Thor #411-412, which were Acts of Vengeance issues. A big continuity error here is the location of Avengers Mansion, which is shown to be Manhattan. Since this was meant to take place before Thor #411-412, this takes place at a time the Avengers were either based on Avengers Island or were homeless (the island is destroyed during Acts of Vengeance). Not sure if this is rectified somewhere, but my No-Prize solution is that back in Avengers #301 Mr. Fantastic was working on plans for a shuttle between Battery Park and the Island. So maybe the building that Marvel Boy is walking to houses the shuttle. It would also have to have defenses set up, and there's no reason Cap couldn't have been there for whatever reason or maybe he quickly jumped on the shuttle when the alarm went off. The location doesn't really look like the Battery Park area, but who can say for sure, or maybe the location got changed before it was built. As Michael notes in the comments, a further wrinkle is added by a story in Marvel Comics Presents #82-87. That story takes place after Destiny's death in X-Men #255, which takes place after Wolverine #19-20, which are Acts of Vengeance issues. So that means that the Marvel Comics Presents story and this one must both take place during Acts of Vengeance despite the fact that in Thor #411 Firestar thinks to herself that she's been dreading the activation call from the rest of the team "for weeks" (either AoV takes place over a period of weeks or we write that off as a temporal reference). This takes place after Fantastic Four annual #22 for Namorita; she said she was going back to school in that issue, and she's here with an environmental science class to watch the park clean-up. She also obviously has ditched S.U.R.F. at this point.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (17): show
This is a good idea for a team and a nice way to use a bunch of likeable peripheral characters. I was never really a fan of the comic, though, as the plots to me seemed to contrast with what should have been the more enjoyable retro, fun style seen here.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | November 3, 2014 5:14 PM
After all these years, it is just now that I realize they called Rich "Kid Nova" in order to distinguish him from Frankie Raye. Go figure.
Good thing it did not stick.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | November 3, 2014 6:03 PM
A letter writer in the New Warriors 4 tries to No-Prize the Avengers Mansion problem by claiming that the Avengers are in Avengers Park following the events of Avengers 311 and the Mansion is a holographic projection. The letters page humorously claims that's what they intended all along.
Posted by: Michael | November 3, 2014 9:40 PM
I loved the first 50 issues of the New Warriors; a fun series! It may have helped that I was a teenager at the time this came out. I practically fell in love with Firestar, she was like the awesome girl-next door (who happened to be a superhero).
Posted by: Bill | November 3, 2014 10:07 PM
@Michael - thanks regarding the first appearance of Tia and Chord; removed that. I'll sort out placement relative to Acts of Vengeance when i start filling that in.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 3, 2014 10:21 PM
Their first appearance in Thor was awful, but I thought their solo book was actually very good for the first two years or so. Very impressed with the work done with these characters by Nicieza and Bagley. One of the few problems was the discontinuity between Namorita as she was in this book and Byrne's Namor, but that was addressed subtly later on.
Posted by: Chris | November 3, 2014 11:06 PM
Here is how old the characters are. Kid Nova and Namorita are 19, Marvel Boy is 18, Night Thrasher is 17, Firestar is 16, and Speedball is 14.
Posted by: Steven | November 4, 2014 12:12 AM
Alien Nation. Now that was a good TV show.
Fnord, or anyone else. How does this series compare to the latest New Warriors book?
Posted by: JSfan | November 4, 2014 7:07 AM
At least this book didn't take four issues just to get the team together and it had action from the get go. What is the page length of this book?
Posted by: JSfan | November 4, 2014 7:13 AM
It's a standard length book. ~23 pages. I'd say the latest New Warriors book was very much in the spirit of this issue. You're right about the pacing, though.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2014 7:50 AM
You know that the Avengers have a "junior team" (several of them in fact), right? It just took a few years. And the New Warriors do get hitched to a franchise (The Spider-man franchise, oddly enough) later on.
Also given that this issue (and the series as a whole) is drenched in 90s style MTV-esque "youth rebellion," they wouldn't have worked as a offshoot of the more "Establishment" Avengers in any case
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 4, 2014 4:50 PM
Ugh. Night Thrasher. Pretty much everything thats wrong with "Kewl" 90 characters can be summed up in him. Jerk personality, bad ass poses, "youth" skateboarding culture, pointless bandanna, doing stuff like risking peoples lives for no reason.
Without him, I might have tried this book, but two pages of him in marvel age told me to stay the hell away. Just another death knell for good comics.
Posted by: kveto from prague | November 4, 2014 4:57 PM
I like Night Thrasher. He's a little 90's but not too much.
Posted by: Thanos6 | November 4, 2014 6:15 PM
@Jon, do you mean beginning with the Initiative and later Avengers Academy? Or is there something earlier? I know that Justice and Firestar later become Avengers-in-training during Busiek's run, but if there's something earlier than that i'm not aware of it.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2014 6:55 PM
I meant that currently we have the Young Avengers and Avengers Academy, who both have connections with the "parent" team. So the Avengers DO develop the ideas you suggest, Fnord, (ironically enough, for the same reasons you stated too), it just take them a couple of decades (and a few different EICs) to do it.
Too be fair, we should also remember that kids didn't go to the X-Men to be superheroes (they did anyway, because it's comics), but to control and handle their oft-out-of-control powers. The Avengers don't really do that sort of thing and it's a bit different from being merely inexperienced. Also, since the Avengers are the "establishment" super-team, with rules and regulations and everything, maybe they couldn't legally have any underaged people around in any capacity (something that actually becomes established the NEXT time the New Warriors meet the Avengers.)
I really liked New Warriors and this was a great debut that firmly establishes the personalities and character beats that would be followed throughout this series and beyond.
Finally, as a Black man I always had mixed feelings about Night Trasher.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 4, 2014 8:30 PM
Thanks, Jon. I wanted to make sure i wasn't aware of something that was coming up soon that rendered my musings obsolete.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2014 8:51 PM
Having had no interest in skateboarding back then(any high school kid who tried to skate in my college dorm tended to be literally tossed out the door) or in keeping up with kids' slang, I asked myself then and ask again today:
Why the hell would the word "thrash" get associated with skateboards to begin with?
Seriously, who would thrash around while on a skateboard? You'd fall off and break your teeth on the sidewalk.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 8, 2014 5:06 PM
I enjoyed this title far more than I thought I would. It shows what some intelligence, creativity and respect can do for characters that seem third string, derivative, or lame.
Night Thrasher had too obviously a Batman origin rip off feel to it, so I was expecting something would be done to subvert it.
Posted by: Chris | March 23, 2015 10:10 PM
Nova's costume looks red to me, rather than brown as the entry says. Is this a matter of color-blindness? John Byrne used to say he thought Iron Fist's green costume was brown. Sorry for the personal question, but seeing Nova's costume referred to as brown twice in the entry brought to mind the Byrne story.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 28, 2015 11:55 PM
Looks like we're getting into "White and Gold / Blue and Black dress" territory...
Posted by: cullen | March 29, 2015 12:25 PM
Yeah, i guess i have to admit that it's really red. But somehow when offset by the yellow highlights it looks brown to me, even though the same thing doesn't happen in reverse for Firestar. Funny thing is that i wrote this entry a while back, then switched gears for a backissue add. Then when i came back to this year and wrote the entry for Thor #411-412 i started writing brown to describe Nova's costume and then caught myself. But i didn't think to re-check this entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 29, 2015 12:54 PM
Color perception does vary a lot beyond clinical daltonism.
For what it is worth, I would definitely call this costume of Nova brown instead of red, albeit approaching reddish shades.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 29, 2015 3:08 PM
To be fair, these picture make it seem particularly reddish. Seeing Thor #411-#412 or even the cover of this issue makes the brown color more evident.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 29, 2015 3:11 PM
Was just coming to rant about my distaste for Night Thrasher, but, unsurprisingly, I see that's well-traveled territory. Carry on.
Posted by: TCP | April 1, 2015 9:56 AM
Couldn't get into this book because I found the art rather ugly. MB would drastically improve over the years.
Never much cared for his work on Cap backups at the time, either.
And I especially hated the way Namorita has been depicted from this point forward. I preferred Namor's spunky little cousin, as Everett created her, to the blonde amazonian giantess that debuts here.
Posted by: Bob | June 8, 2015 5:49 AM
I don't know. I read that issue years ago, in highschool, and I felt that the gathering of the team felt a bit contrived. I look at these scans today and... it still feels contrived.
I mean, Vance decides do join the Avengers. They show him the door. He flies off and is met by two strangers who tell him "Want to join a team? Join ours". And he joins. As if being a superhero was something akin to being in a garage rock band, with dozens of teams being around and doing castings for members...
Posted by: Piotr W | January 29, 2016 3:35 PM
New Warriors as a team are very appealing to me. Great selection of characters that work well together. Except their lousy leader.
Thrash is about as bland as they come. He is never interesting, he usually is selfish and annoying and him being leader is frustrating. Of all the characters in the book, he is the only new creation. To create a new character and have him be leader over the 5 established characters just irks me. Not to mention, Nova and Namorita are regressed and the former made into a total jerk to justify it.
Posted by: AF | March 10, 2016 3:44 PM
What's worse than calling a character 'Night Thrasher'? Calling his miniseries 'Night Thrasher: Four Control'.
Posted by: Oliver_C | March 10, 2016 5:26 PM
@AF- I wouldn't call the Nova of Nicieza's first year a total jerk. He just understandably had problems following a leader that tried to kill him!
Posted by: Michael | March 13, 2016 10:05 AM
That's the bulk of it but there's bits around that where he comes across as just a jerk, rather than a justified jerk. He's consistently between sleazy and sexist with Namorita, he is nasty and dismissive to Speedball (and a few times Vance) and he has an off-hand racist remark about Tai in one issue.
Maybe it's the brown costume that was making him be such a knob.
Posted by: AF | March 13, 2016 11:19 AM
"Since most teen super-types are mutants, it did make sense for them to be referred to Professor X, as Mr. Fantastic did for Karma and (less successfully) Willie Evans."
And Jamie Madrox, wayyy back in the day.
Excellent series during the Bagley run, meandering thereafter, but with the occasional high point. Still love/hate Evan Skolnick so much for #73; that's bordering on BtVS "Passion" territory, there.
And yes, Dwayne is a dick. But every team needs one.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 22, 2016 2:44 AM
Comments are now closed.
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