New Warriors #22-25
Issue(s): New Warriors #22, New Warriors #23, New Warriors #24, New Warriors #25
This arc gets to the mystery around Night Thrasher, Chord, and Tai, as well as Midnight's Fire and Silhouette, all of which has been building since at least issue #2 of this series. I personally find the whole thing uninteresting, and that goes double for the cast of characters known as the Folding Circle. So let me get this out of the way: Tai is the evil leader of a Cambodian Dragons Breadth cult.
She forced a platoon of American soldiers (including Chord and Night Thrasher's father) from the Vietnam War into having babies with women from the cult (called the Daughters of the Dragon; don't tell Colleen and Misty).
She later manipulated Chord into killing Night Thrasher's parents so that Tai could oversee things better. All of the babies grew up to have super-powers, except in one case the father took the powers for himself (Left Hand). Now Tai is doing some mystical something and she needs to kill off the Folding Circle, but it seems she also has the option of sacrificing the New Warriors instead of the Folding Circle. I'm probably getting some of this wrong and feel free to elaborate or correct me in the comments, but that's the gist of it.
The New Warriors eventually go to rescue Night Thrasher, who was conscripted into the Folding Circle.
They recruit Darkhawk and Rage to replace Marvel Boy (who is on trial) and Night Thrasher.
Firestar also stays behind, because the New Warriors are on notice that they're going to have to testify at Marvel Boy's trial (note the acknowledgement that both Speedball and Darkhawk have lawyers for parents).
There's an attempt to explain why there are so many mystical temples in Asia. It's not really much of an explanation, but there is something that appeals to my geek brain about the idea that they're all related. On the other hand it just seems kind of randomly thrown there. The real reason there are so many mystical temples in Asia in comics books is because Asian mysticism has long been a cliche in comics. And this is really just adding to that, not explaining or fixing it.
It's also said that Dr. Strange won't detect the thing that Tai is doing because the Dragon's Breadth temple veils the energy.
To me, the most interesting bit of this half of the plot is that the Warriors decide that the Avengers won't listen to them about Night Thrasher and Tai, so they convince Rage to steal a Quinjet, and then they lie to the Cambodian army, pretending that they are there on Avengers business, and then the Quinjet is stolen. So Rage and probably all of the New Warriors are in a lot of trouble.
Much more interesting to me is Marvel Boy's trial. The details here were vetted by Bob Ingersoll, the legal columnist for the Comics Buyer's Guide, who has been a critic of how matters of law are dealt with in comics. So this trial is more involved and presumably more accurate than your average comics court trial, and it's an interesting topic regardless. I actually think making this event The Trial of Marvel Boy, with the mystical crap being relegated to subplots would have been the better move. It's the more innovative storyline, something we haven't seen before.
I do (of course!) still have an objection to the trial. Prosecutor Rachel Dreyfuss is clearly trying to show that Marvel Boy has good control of his powers, and that therefore he should have been able to stop his father from beating him without hurting him. Dreyfuss basically told Foggy and the Warriors that last issue, and it becomes obvious that that's her strategy (in fact he plays right into it in the scan above).
But Foggy doesn't make the case that Vance was emotionally distraught and therefore not in control of himself when he lashed out. You can prove that i have enough control of myself that i can pick up baby bunnies without crushing them, but it doesn't mean that i might punch back too hard if someone attacked me. You'd think that it could have at least gotten Marvel Boy down to manslaughter instead of the "negligent homicide" he's charged with (which i'm assuming is worse).
Vance does have grounds to appeal, based on this little stunt.
Foggy asks for a mistrial. The judge refuses but says that it does give him grounds for appeal. I'll take Bob Ingersol's word on that. But in any event Vance is feeling guilty and decides that he doesn't want to appeal. He's sentenced to the "minimum security wing" of the Vault (sounds like an oxymoron) for a period between fourteen months and three years.
I guess i did leave everyone hanging regarding the mystical plot (ha, ha).
The New Warriors (and friends) and the Folding Circle eventually team up to fight Tai.
Most of the Circle flee when the going gets rough, but Left Hand sticks around because he's trying to take power for himself. There's also a debate about whether or not the Warriors should be fighting to kill. Eventually, Night Thrasher opts to kill, and pulls the gun out of his backpack and shoots Tai.
This does kill her. Left Hand also falls down her magical well and this seems to be the end of him as well.
This does mark the beginning of a new chapter for Night Thrasher, since he's been motivated by getting revenge on the people that killed his parents.
Bagley is really good about drawing big fights with lots of characters, so even though i'm not enamored by the Folding Circle, it's good to have them around along with Darkhawk and Rage just to let Bagley do his thing. But it's almost like there's two separate Fabian Nicieza's plotting this story. He brings his A game to the trial, but the Tai plot is so generic, with the big villain standing on a stage narrating pages and pages of flashback and exposition. That said, the scripting is lively throughout and with Bagley (mostly) on art, it's on balance more than decent.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Begins 14 hours after last issue, based on how long it's said for Night Thrasher to recover from having been knocked out. Silhouette escaped Tai's blast from last issue by slipping into the Darkforce Dimension, and she appears in front of the rest of the New Warriors at the beginning of this arc, so i guess she was in the Dimension for a while.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (10): show
Unfortunately, this was the end for the good issues of New Warriors (IMO at least). I didn't much care for the stories or art after this, but I will say the crossovers they had in their annuals were usually fun.
Posted by: Red Comet | January 27, 2016 5:56 PM
One legal inaccuracy readers complained about was that there was no way a murder trial could start less than 4 days after Vance hired his lawyer.
Posted by: Michael | January 27, 2016 8:34 PM
The Warriors stealing the Quinjet works for me if only because we've seen that the Warriors think the Avengers don't take them seriously. They don't have to be right about that to believe it
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 27, 2016 9:23 PM
Fnord, Firestar says Vance's control over his powers increased after they fought someone but they don't remember the details of the fight. That's clearly meant to be a reference to New Warriors 11-13. Should that count as a reference?
Posted by: Michael | January 30, 2016 3:44 PM
I've added it. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 31, 2016 2:04 PM
What disappointed me most of all was reading this and realizing that Nicieza basically does this exact story set-up with an unrelated "Wellspring of Power" in New Thunderbolts (he even uses some of the Folding Circle characters).
Wonder why Bagley felt the need to change Rage's mask to now show more of his face? I kept thinking he'd forgotten to pull his mask all the way down.
Posted by: AF | March 19, 2016 5:46 PM
One other thing of note in this story- Angel's dad reveals he knows she's been playing Firestar again.
Posted by: Michael | March 22, 2016 10:53 PM
I'd argue that the mystical plot shows impressive long-range planning, and I find it really cool that the "reason for the team" is not the cliched "We'll fight crimes the Avengers don't touch!" or even "Night Thrasher seeks the secrets of his past", but "these suckers have been played, and they're set up to be human sacrifices". I thought that was a very nice twist at the time.
Where it falls down, for me, is that the rest of the cast is so damn uninteresting and the names are so stupid. Fabes may be going for some pseudo-Asian mysticism here but "Smiling Tiger" and "Bloodstrike" and "Midnight's Fire" needed to be tossed back into the Supervillain Name-Generator until something better came along. And it doesn't help that we haven't seen any of the cast before this…if Left Hand had been lurking in the background every time we saw Midnight's Fire and Silhouette, it would have added layers of mystery to the story. If some of the "lost platoon" who had sold themselves for power were characters we'd seen before (Gideon, Walter Rosen, even Father Janes), it would make the pontification about moral dilemmas more on point for what is supposed to be (I take it) an examination of US soldiers using and disposing of Vietnamese women, abandoning the Bao Dui the moment they could get out of there.
But this isn't exactly "Miss Saigon" here…although imagining Chord busting into song has its pleasures, it's true.
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 18, 2017 3:12 AM
Although I rather wish that Silhouette had gotten to make a "noble sacrifice" and get sucked into the vortex with Bad Granny, no matter how much fun seeing Dwayne finish things off with his Chekhov's Gun might have been. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be ableist, but seeing her fling herself around like an action hero when she's paralyzed from the waist down never really worked for me. Look at that "dramatic" shot of the Warriors and Future Warriors, with her hunched over her sticks.
A once-off character or even a recurring girlfriend role would have been fine. A full member of the team just strains my credibility on this issue to the breaking point. (I would say "pardon the pun", but it was a bullet, not Bane, that got her spine, so never mind.) So I'd rather have seen her take the dramatically-suitable exit ramp here. Oh, well.
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 18, 2017 3:18 AM
So what you're saying, Dan, is a Paralympian should never be allowed to compete with Olympians?
Posted by: Chris Cohen | February 18, 2017 5:29 PM
Really late to comment, but as Dan mentioned, I like the long-term planning, but Tai had been evil from basically issue 1, so it all feels like it's just hitting plot elements they set up, not being sure the book would make it. It's a shame her scheme and the Folding Circle doesn't amount to much. Bagley is great, and his two years on the book really saw him grow. I also liked the logistics of the Warriors stealing a Quinjet, and how they rationalized it as their only option.
As a lawyer with some amount of trial experience, negligent homicide is just a jargon-y term for what most people know as involuntary manslaughter. Speedball gets the definition of cumulative evidence exactly backwards (cumulative evidence is the objection if you want to call multiple witnesses to tell the same information; it wastes the court's time), but maybe it's just the character being wrong. The judge ruling against a mistrial isn't inherently surprising, but it's a pretty gross move, because it's introducing "evidence" of his powers (which I don't think is really in question) in live court when he's not even on the stand. Overall it's still way above most trial scenes pre-Slott She-Hulk (and it's hard to miss when writers like Mark Waid and Peter David completely overhaul books to avoid courtrooms).
Posted by: Christopher Dobson | January 7, 2018 6:04 PM
"To me, the most interesting bit of all of this is that the Warriors decide that the Avengers won't listen to them about Night Thrasher and Tai, so they convince Rage to steal a Quinjet, and then they lie to the Cambodian army, pretending that they are there on Avengers business, and then the Quinjet is destroyed."
Fnord12, I think you mean the Quinjet detector/automatic pilot was destroyed (by Nova). The Quinjet itself, IIRC, was stolen by the junior members of the Folding Circle.
@Christopher Dobson, was Tai really portrayed as evil from issue 1? I seem to remember her being crytic, then mysterious, then manipulative--specially in the issue in which the New Warriors fought the Hellions, and even then, only to Emma Frost, and, of course, the readers. I recall not seeing her as evil until late in the storyline.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 1, 2018 4:51 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | May 1, 2018 6:22 PM
Happy to oblige.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 1, 2018 8:41 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|