New Warriors #29-30
Issue(s): New Warriors #29, New Warriors #30
To replace Firewall, who changed her name to Silk Fever and joined the Folding Circle, they've recruited the current Firebrand. That was potentially an interesting choice, since the original Firebrand would have fit in very well with them as radical activists that are super-villains because of their anti-establishment motivations, not because of personal greed or anything like that. But the current Firebrand is very much a self-interested mercenary, so that's a lost opportunity.
Along those lines, it's worth remembering that Skybreaker is really the evil Inhuman Aireo, and Aqueduct is actually Water Wizard, so their current environmental motivations are pretty new for them anyway, and we've never really seen what caused them to change their ways. The only one whose motivations can't really be contested is Terraformer, since he's literally a plant, and that's only thanks to the fact that he was originally intended to be Plant Man but Plant Man wasn't available. In this story it's said that they all look "fiercer" and that they've been driven to the edge of insanity because they've been involved in the war for "several Weeks".
With the New Warriors is Sprocket, their "pilot", but she gets much more involved than that.
This story is told in flashback after the main events have occurred. Namorita is debriefed by the Superhero Commission while some of the other New Warriors go on a talk show.
It's weird to see American based superheroes interfere in another country and get off with just a scolding from Henry Gyrich. Namorita claims she's not a US citizen, but still.
The crux of the story is where Namorita has an opportunity to shoot someone in order to stop them from killing someone else.
The cliffhanger for issue #29 is her telling the Commission that she did kill the person, but we find out that she means that she killed them through inaction.
To say that Darick Robertson gets a little drama out of the scene is probably understating it.
There's also a moment where Firestar unleashes her full strength, melting every armored vehicle in the area. It's said that she's unleashing her frustration about Marvel Boy being in jail, her father losing his job, and about being not put on the space team during Infinity War.
The Vanisher watches the New Warriors at the talk show. He was hoping to see Silhouette because he wonders if her powers are Dark Force based. But then he disappears.
The final page of the story is really odd. First because, as i said, i feel like the Commission would have really done a lot more to a group of teen superheroes meddling in foreign affairs. But even beyond that, the page is just structured very oddly.
What's with the Pepsi panel? And that final panel sure is emotional, huh?
Left to my own devices, i would have considered this to be just a rehash of the end of War & Pieces. Basically a situation where a character is put in a no-win situation, meddling in complicated foreign affairs. Rick Jones looked for an easy solution and assassinated the former ruler of Trans-Sabal, and then wasn't prepared for the emotional fallout. Here, Namorita is faced with a difficult choice, chooses not to do anything about, and yet similarly is emotionally affected. To vastly over simplify, Rick acted, Namorita didn't, and neither choice felt like the right one. And to be clear, i don't think it's bad for Nicieza to rehash that situation. I think it's good for writers to use the playgrounds of other writers, and Nicieza did put his own spin on it.
As i said, that's what i would have come away with left to my own devices. But Michael's comment on Hulk #394, which showed some follow up to the original Trans-Sabal story, makes me wonder if Nicieza wrote this as a rebuke to Peter David. I don't know that David was editorializing one way or another on whether Rick's action was correct. But Nicieza definitely shows that the situation has worsened, at least temporarily. Hulk #394 said elections were coming, but the country is now in civil war. I didn't get into all the factions, some funded by the US government, some with ties to the neighboring Even Worse Country, but suffice it to say that Rick's assassination of Farnoq Dahn resulted in a power vacuum and chaos (which sounds familiar). I don't know if Nicieza was editorializing either, or if he was just playing things out to what he thought was the logical conclusion, or if he just wanted to create a scenario that would present Namorita with a difficult choice.
While i like what Nicieza did in that regard, i think other aspects of this story are weaker. Well, first of all, i don't think this is a good New Warriors story, period. It's very dark for them. Robertson is a good artist suited for fun adventures for our teen super-heroes. Asking him to show Namorita staggered with grief over her inaction seems to not be a good fit for him. And i think the fact that Robertson is a good artist for this book but fails with that is a good symbol of how this story is just not going in the right direction. The original Trans-Sabal story worked because X-Factor is a government sanctioned group and the Hulk is associated with an outlaw organization. I don't see how the New Warriors get themselves into this situation, or how they're not put on lockdown once they get out of it. The New Warriors shouldn't even be on the government's radar screen at this point, in my opinion. The premise just seems way off on multiple levels.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: As is usually the case, i'm counting the characters that only appear in the flashback part of the story, since the flashback is just a narrative device; it takes place right before the main story. There is a General Standish, a member of the Superhero Commission, in this story that also appeared in a flashback in Nomad #1. But the flashback in the Nomad story took place well before the main story, so i didn't list him as a Character Appearing there, and this is his only other appearance, so i haven't listed him here either. It's said to have been "over a week" since Silhouette was last seen; as Michael notes in the comments, she won't be seen again until New Warriors annual #3. Night Thrasher is said to be in Japan, "takin' over their stock exchange or something like that". I don't think that's mean to be a reference to the Night Thrasher mini-series, since the Warriors were better appraised of what Night Thrasher was doing (although this is coming from Nova, who may not have been paying attention) but whatever the intention i'm assuming it's a case of Night Thrasher going back to Japan after shoring up his business, to attend to further business in Japan.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAireo, Firebrand II, Firestar, Henry Peter Gyrich, Justice, Namorita, Nova (Rich Rider), Rage, Silhouette, Speedball, Sprocket, Terraformer, Valerie Cooper, Vanisher, Water Wizard
Fnord, I disagree with your criticisms of this story being too dark. The New Warriors is a dark book in general- a running theme throughout the series is that some times there are no good solutions. Already, we've seen Vance kills his father. A few issues from now, we'll see Nita get Rage's grandmother killed by having drunken sex with a criminal.
Posted by: Michael | April 26, 2016 9:51 PM
Namorita has become completely unrecognizable as a character by this point.
Posted by: Bob | April 27, 2016 11:12 AM
Well, first of all, i don't think this is a good New Warriors story, period. It's very dark for them. Robertson is a good artist suited for fun adventures for our teen super-heroes.
Er...doesn't Darrick Robertson also draw The Boys? Trust me, that ISN'T a lighthearted "fun adventure" book.
Actually I don't think this book is "dark" either. It's very "topical" and "issue-heavy" and those issues (especially in the 90s) can be a bit...heavy but I don't think it reaches Daredevil/Punisher level of bleakness.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 3, 2016 11:16 PM
It's possible that Nicieza wanted to write a rebuke to PAD's story, but for me I always associate Nicieza with international/political stories, so him wanting to use Trans-Sabal in his own story seems a natural fit for his interests.
My favourite work of Nicieza was his run on the Psi-Force, which was basically the New Universe version of the New Mutants, i.e. teenagers, mostly American, with powers. The moment his run started, he gave them a Russian arch enemy and got them involved in an international group of mercenaries with unpronounceable names from every part of the globe. For the former half of this run, with Ron Lim's art, this was a great improvement, fun & fairly commercial. The latter half of the run ended up being mostly set in Siberia (and also Afghanistan) with even more unpronounceable names & less commercial artwork. I still liked it but I seem to remember even the letters page wondered if they were leaving behind some of the readers with this Siberian storyline.
See also: Nicieza's interest in the Soviet Super Soldiers (both on their own and in the Avengers storyline 319-325) and his later Cable/Flag-Smasher in Rumekistan. I haven't read most of his work but expect there's other examples. To me, he seems to go for stories of international/political intrigue a lot more than most comics writers. Maybe if in the rest of your day job you've had to do NFL Superpros and script Liefeld artwork, you decide to aim for something more highbrow when you can...
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | September 4, 2016 6:52 PM
I think that you're being too easy on PAD and too hard on Nicieza, Omar. For starters, PAD's story had Farnoq's people fanatically loyal to him because their religion teaches submission to rulers. Real life Muslims aren't like that- heck, I don't think any real-life people are like that- push them too far and they turn against their leaders. Besides, why would Farnoq need to terrorize his people so much if they were so loyal to him? And PAD's story leaves open the possibility that Rick's actions saved the country- the problems that result in a dictatorship like that don't go away overnight.
Posted by: Michael | September 5, 2016 9:02 AM
You're right, Michael. I might disagree a little about people inevitably pushing back on such oppressive rules, but the examples I can think of wouldn't apply to the real places that Trans-Sabal is meant to represent.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 5, 2016 9:12 AM
Moved a major off topic digression about The Boys to the forum.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 6, 2016 9:20 AM
Comments are now closed.
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