New Warriors #15-17
Issue(s): New Warriors #15, New Warriors #16, New Warriors #17
Genetech call the New Warriors to help them.
Namorita is still wearing the (hideous) Atlantean armor from last issue, since she is still recovering from her injuries.
Big fight from Mark Bagley.
During the fight, Harmon Furmintz, the Genetech executive, becomes increasingly agitated about the fact that his efforts to produce super-humans (that aren't psychotic) have failed, so he goes to where Genetech has been storing the remains of Terrax and tries to absorb Terrax's power. But instead Terrax uses Furmintz's body as a host and reforms with his own personality in control.
Despite the promise of a three way fight in the scan above, most of Psionex leave when Terrax shows up. The New Warriors let them go because Night Thrasher says that "they're screwed up and psychotic -- but they're not criminals", and Terrax is the more immediate problem. Mathemanic and Impulse decide to stay and help (a decision that doesn't exactly pay off for them).
Despite the additional three members (Silhouette in addition to the Psionex guys), Terrax is a more difficult opponent than the first time the New Warriors fought him. With his new body, simply separating him from the ground no longer weakens him. So it's a tough battle.
At least Speedball gets a good hit in.
Mathemanic's powers seem to be arbitrary and potentially way too powerful, but he doesn't have much luck against Terrax (and we already saw Impulse get his bones shattered above).
Since the battle isn't going well, Nova seemingly flees.
But he's really going to get the FF.
The New Warriors are basically relegated to helping bystanders while the FF fight Terrax (except for Nova, who gets to hold one of Mr. Fantastic's devices; i should have included the cover of #17 in my Big Guns of 1991 post). And even the FF can't handle Terrax on their own, but Mr. Fantastic has called in the Silver Surfer.
One limitation of Terrax's new body is that it can't survive in space so after the Surfer subdues him, he is dropped on a planet that is mostly water (but in the early stages of life, with some vegetation).
If the resolution to the Terrax fight feels like the New Warriors are second stringers in their own book, that is exactly the point, and Night Thrasher especially is upset about it. But i think this is a great ending for a teen super-hero book. They are not meant to be the Avengers, and there are some threats that they shouldn't be able to handle yet. The point is also made that they provided a valuable contribution by helping the bystanders, and that is driven home with a scene in the hospital at the end, where it's shown how important their efforts in saving civilians were.
It's amazing how much more depth this series has than the other books that Fabian Nicieza was writing, both using these kinds of themes and just in the interactions between characters. I don't know if it was the characters or Mark Bagley's art, but something in this book brought out the best in him.
Some additional good scenes during the wrap up. Nova returns home to finish the conversation with his parents. They are ok with him having his powers and in fact are proud of him, but they'd like him to move out of their house. It's framed as them being afraid that a villain might track him back to his home, but i think the fact that he's a little old to be living with his parents may be part of the issue as well. We also check in with Speedball, since his mom is aware of his secret ID.
And there's some tension between Tai and Silhouette when they return to the Taylor Foundation building.
I mentioned in the entry for New Warriors #10 that Silhouette was called a "semi-regular" member of the team, but as Dermie noted in the comments there, it seems like she is pretty much a permanent member at this point (despite Tai's seeming feelings on the matter).
Also in these issues, we see a guy named Left Hand recruiting people, including Midnight's Fire...
...and a new character that will be called Bloodstrike.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: This arc opens with what seems like Nova trying out his new costume for the first time, but due to the Silver Surfer's appearance, we're really going to have to assume that Nova is just enjoying his costume without a major threat for the first time (and of course it's really exposition for readers). The Silver Surfer can't appear here prior to Infinity Gauntlet (since he should otherwise be trying to warn Earth's heroes about Thanos' revival), and Nova wears his yellow and blue costume during that mini-series. Even pushing this after Infinity Gauntlet, this (along with a few other appearances) has to be squeezed before the final few panels of Silver Surfer #60 when Surfer leaves for deep space to respond to the Collector's call. I've placed this before Fantastic Four #357-360 to minimize the number of appearances of the Thing with a broken arm without a cast, but after Fantastic Four #356 since the FF seem to meet the New Warriors for the first time in that story, and since Marvel Boy ends this arc with a fractured arm. And this might as well go before Amazing Spider-Man #351 to minimize the number of appearances of Nova in the yellow and blue costume before the opening scene in this arc.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
Note that Marvel Boy is far more powerful this story than before the encounter with the Sphinx.
Posted by: Michael | November 12, 2015 8:25 PM
Bloodstrike was making $35K in 1991 dollars, which is about $60K today. I dunno, seems like a super-powered henchman should be making a bit more than that.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 15, 2015 2:42 AM
On Earth-616, there's a chapter in 'Freakonomics' about the surprisingly low salaries of henchpeople.
Posted by: cullen | November 15, 2015 6:56 AM
Michael, telekinetics always seem to be portrayed with inconsistent power levels Jean Grey and her pseudo-daughter had the same problem. In addution Vance will not only become more powerful, he'll demostrate an improved level of control too.
Do they ever point out why Silhouette and Tai are throwing major shade at each other?
Also, remember when adult children stil, living with their parents WASN'T the norm? Aw, memories.
I liked this story (well #15, the one issue i read anyway) but a big "BOOO!" on the Lifeld-esque guns the F4 is carrying! (I think those are the SAME guns they keep for Fantastic Four 375!)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 15, 2015 9:57 PM
Jon, in this case, Angelica attributes Vance's inceased power to their encounter with the Sphinx in issue 24.
Posted by: Michael | November 15, 2015 10:12 PM
I like Psionex as a team. They have good visual designs and interesting powers. They also have an intriguing origin as they were experiments to create a "new race of superpowered humans".
However, it is hard to see why they would continue to stick together, and even harder that all of them would become villains so the New Warriors can have ongoing antagonists. They need something that makes them viable long term as a supervillain team that still speaks true to their origins and distinguishes them from mere thugs/criminals. Perhaps if whatever gave them their powers created some kind of communal mental or emotional bond, and they needed to work together to understand what was happening them as they continued to develop/evolve - not men nor mutants, but something else.
However, I ended up leaving the New Warriors not longer after this, so I never found out what happened to them.
Posted by: Chris | November 15, 2015 11:14 PM
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