New Warriors annual #2
Issue(s): New Warriors annual #2
As i noted at the beginning, the first three issues of this story were by David Michelinie and all focused on his kind of villains, mainly Justin Hammer and his minions. But at the end of Michelinie's three issues, he revealed that the Sphinx was the one behind Hammer. Now an entirely different creative team takes over for the final issue.
The Sphinx doesn't have his Ka stone any more. So he's been kidnapping super-heroes to steal their powers. It seems kind of odd that he'd bother with super-heroes since Hammer is working for him, and Hammer had a number of villains working for him. Many of Hammer's villains are tech-augmented, but several of the ones that appeared in this storyline have actual powers (Hydroman and Speed Demon, for example, and the Rhino's power can't be all in his suit), and i don't think that Hammer would have qualms about betraying them.
I mentioned in the previous entry that Spider-Man wasn't exactly playing the role of adult supervisor in this story. Indeed, it's Nova and Night Thrasher that have to get him back on track.
It's actually Speedball that frees everybody. Sphinx has been draining his power, but in the meantime Speedball's powers are going haywire, and he's able to use the energy to escape.
The Sphinx fights back with Speeball's powers as well as what i'd guess were Auric's.
Notice that everyone except Spider-Man has an idea about how to defeat the Sphinx.
All of the heroes are captured except Speedball, Firestar, and Spider-Man. The Sphinx celebrates by trying on a suit.
Sphinx says that he has "no clue" how he came back from the dead, and he interrogates Nova about the female Sphinx that has replaced him in the meantime. Nova protests that he doesn't recall much about that encounter, but manages to give a pretty comprehensive accounting of it. This Sphinx is intrigued to hear that there's a woman out there that's in love with him, but he's more concerned with figuring out how much power he'll need to defeat her.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man, Speedball, and Firestar begin their rescue operation.
They get past the grunt troops and the Sphinx sends Hammer's super-villains after them. Firestar calls them second-stringers.
Firestar is actually getting pretty aggressive.
Sphinx then detonates bombs that have been placed in his generic guards' armor, so that he can absorb the energy that the bombs release.
This makes Nova "fed up" with the Sphinx, which is actually a pretty mild response.
Meanwhile, Silhouette convinces the villains to switch sides and fight against the Sphinx.
Eventually Speedball tries to absorb his powers back from the Sphinx.
This results in an explosion. Sphinx disappears, which upsets Speedball because, according to him, everything that's happened is "all because I can't control my stupid powers". But Namorita smacks him upside the head and Spider-Man gives him a little speech, somehow managing to bring it back to 'with great power comes great responsibility'.
This annual leaves some questions unanswered. For one thing, we were told that a lot of heroes were being kidnapped, but we only saw Auric, Silver, and Speedball get captured. And we don't ever see Silver get rescued (and she and Auric will be undead in their next and final appearance, so i guess Silver didn't make it). It's also not clear what the final plot of the Sphinx had to do with the wave cannon that the consortium was testing out in a random city in the first chapter. And nothing really comes of the likes of Justin Hammer and especially Jonas Hale and Carlton Drake being part of the Sphinx's consortium. Overall, it's kind of a weird shift from the Michelinie corporate intrigue to a take over the world kind of threat by the Sphinx, but the middle chapters were mostly random filler fights against automated weapons and genericized super-villains anyway. This is actually a somewhat better chapter, and i do like Brandon Peterson's art for the most part.
There is another Top Villains feature in this annual. But the other back-up is a nice collection of mini-character vignettes, with five chapters, each focusing on a different New Warrior. The first is about Firestar, and shows her dealing with the fact that her boyfriend Marvel Boy is in jail. We also learn that her father has been laid off from his job at the plant.
The second story shows Nova getting into a fender bender with a woman, Laura Dunham, that becomes a love interest for him.
The third story shows Silhouette going to Mr. Fantastic. She's learned that the costume that she's been using was stolen by one of the companies that Night Thrasher owns, and it illegally obtained a patent for Mr. Fantastic's unstable molecules.
Mr. Fantastic tells her to keep using the costume, and that he's happy to make costumes with unstable molecules for all of the New Warriors, as long as they promise not to steal the Pogo Plane like they stole the Avengers' Quinjet.
In the fourth story, Speedball learns that his parents are getting a divorce.
He's told he's going to have to choose between saying with his dad in Springdale or living with his mom, who is moving to Manhattan.
The final story has Namorita at the trial of Sea Urchin. With her are Omar Barrenos and Michael Shauneghann, of the radical environmentalist group Project: Earth. It's worth remembering that Shauneghann is the one that gave Namorita the tip about Sea Urchin's activities. And now they are trying to get her to join them. Namorita refuses to do so on the grounds that they are murderers (Shauneghann gently chuckling over her outrage seems a little weird)...
...but when Sea Urchin wins his trial, she changes her mind.
This is actually the last appearance of Barrenos and Shauneghann, but we will see Namorita working with Project: Earth to take down Sea Urchin fairly soon.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the fourth and final part of Hero Killers. Based on the back-ups, i'm placing this before New Warriors #26, when Silhouette references her conversation with Mr. Fantastic. But the MCP actually split the back-ups off and place New Warriors #26 prior to this annual event. I want to avoid doing that. More on that entry.
Crossover: Hero Killers
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showBart Jones, Bombshell, Constrictor, Firestar, Hydroman, Jonas Hale, Jupiter (Firestar's friend), Justin Baldwin, Justin Hammer, Laura Dunham, Maddie Baldwin, Michael Shauneghann, Mr. Fantastic, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Nova (Rich Rider), Omar Barrenos, Rhino, Roberta, Sea Urchin, Silhouette, Speed Demon, Speedball, Sphinx, Spider-Man, Stiletto, Whiplash (Blacklash)
IIRC, the Leader once boosted the Rhino's strength with gamma rays - no mention of the suit there.
Posted by: BU | March 8, 2016 4:12 PM
We never do get a full explanation as to how the Sphinx returned.
Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2016 9:21 PM
Regarding Hammer and his goons, remember- Hammer's a BUSINESSMAN. He's pragmatic enough to know that if he screws over the people working for him badly enough they're not going to want to do business with him. I couldn't stand the Spider-Man Unlimited story where Hammer promises to remove a villain's weaknesses and ends up removing his brains- Hammer isn't some demon like Mephisto that delights in twisting his promises.
Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2016 10:46 PM
And there IS another example of Spider-Man providing adult supervision- Night Thrasher tells Firestar to use her powers to get them out of there and Peter stops them realziing the attempt would kill them.
Posted by: Michael | March 9, 2016 8:18 AM
...I was wrong. The suit WAS mentioned the time I was thinking of.
HowEVER, I'm pretty sure the Rhino demonstrated super strength w/o the costume the time the Leader woke him from a coma and took over his mind to fight the Hulk. He wasn't wearing it when he broke out of the hospital...
Posted by: BU | March 9, 2016 9:22 AM
I think the back-up stories DEFINITELY take place after #26. The idea Firestar could go from accepting her situation here to trying to break Vance out next issue is genuinely not very good. It feels a lot more naturally reading it after #26 and seeing Firestar continuing to cope.
This storyline is pretty lame. Here's a 4-part story that features an army of super-villains and then the Thanos-level baddie the Sphinx and instead we're going to spend 2 parts having the heroes fight Dreadnoughts.
And I don't think it's coz I'm reading it as part of the New Warriors omnibus, I generally dislike Michelinie anyway, but it definitely stood out as a pretty disappointing ending to the omnibus.
Now to wait for New Warriors Omnibus Vol. 2... ha. I am never gonna get to read anymore New Warriors.
Posted by: AF | March 20, 2016 2:58 PM
Although, Silhouette's works better before #26 since in #26 she's working on "new costumes".
Posted by: AF | March 20, 2016 3:00 PM
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