New Warriors annual #3
Issue(s): New Warriors annual #3
In recent years, Marvel's annuals were all crossovers, but this year Marvel tried a different gimmick of having each one introduce a new character. The idea was that the annuals would be done by the regular creative teams, and it would increase the likelihood that the new characters would get used again in the regular series, thus increasing their viability. In practice, very few of the new characters survived past their introductions. Darkling, ostensibly the new character for this annual, does indeed have some additional appearances. Not many, but enough that he's distinct from most of the 1993 annual characters. And yet i have to disqualify him on a technicality, since he was introduced in the previous parts of this story in the regular series, not this annual.
Anyway, the Forces of Darkness, Forces of Light features a bonanza of guest stars but mainly has all the characters fighting blobs of Darkforce and possessed heroes.
Firestar's power has been shown to be effective against the Darkforce, and at the beginning of this annual she says that she could end it all right now, but the fear is that the use of her power would irradiate the entire city.
So while the heroes struggle against the darkness, we see Dr. Strange send the Eye of Agamotto around town, where he notices various other people dealing with the invasion of Darkforce.
We see Chord at physical therapy. He's saved from the Darkforce by Sprocket. And we see someone in Chinatown named Kimeiko talking with his girlfriend Hnang about how his honor has been challenged because Night Thrasher beat up his gang.
And we see a boy named Carlton, who is at Speedball's mother's apartment.
He notices a scrapbook with clippings on Speedball.
Somehow i feel like this has less to do with the current plot and more about Fabian Nicieza trying to hook readers back into the regular series with some subplots. It ends with the Eye locating Cloak and Nova resolving to get back into the main fight, and the narration says that the eye has "seen what it needed to see". But in the end, Firestar does unleash a major blast of microwave energy...
...which frees the possessed heroes and drives the darkness away from Darkling. Dagger then shows up to blast Darkling with light, and then Dr. Strange fills his head with images of all the people that the Eye saw, which convinces him that people aren't all bad or whatever. Silhouette, who was happy that the Darkforce allowed her to walk while it was affecting her, reaches out to Darkling as a friend. Darkling then leaves, saying that he needs to learn to control his power in order to use it right.
This was all just sort of underwhelmingly average. I've always been fascinated with the Darkforce, but despite the use of it and many Darkforce characters here, we don't really learn anything and the characters don't really get much use. I've noticed an increased tendency for writers to bring together a bunch of characters because they have similarities, and then not really do anything with them. We've been seeing this with Mark Gruenwald. His Serpent Society worked because, yes, they were all serpents, but there was also a great idea there with the super-mercenary organization. His "all women villains" story and "all feral characters" story were much less successful because nothing was really done with them aside from just having them there. And that's how i feel about this "all Darkforce characters" story from Nicieza. Yeah, they're here, but so what? (It's also worth noting that this is the last appearance of Quagmire, a character that came over from the Squadron Supreme universe and got yanked out of the middle of a Quasar story to stand around and do nothing here.)
On top of that, the additional guest stars get in the way more than they add anything, and then there's the Care Bear ending. It's worth noting that all the 1993 annuals all come with trading cards, and Darkling's card lists him as a villain despite the ending, but we'll actually see that a few times with the cards.
While the 1993 annuals are generally thought of as a failure in terms of the new characters, i for one was looking forward to getting away from the crossovers of previous years, since they felt increasingly forced. But of course this story is effectively a crossover anyway.
We also don't get away from the pointless back-up stories. There's a Speedball story written and penciled by Darick Robertson, showing the character refraining from using his powers to fight a bully, and making a (girl) friend in the process.
And there's a story written by Evan Skolnick featuring the two Turbos going to a comic book convention where Fabian Nicieza is attacked by an X-Force looking character called Weapon Y.
As i wrote in the note on Namor annual #3, i'm listing all of the characters introduced in the annuals so that they'll appear on the category and search pages (even if they never appear again). This annual is unusual in that it's not the first appearance of Darkling. But i'm still listing the character so that he'll show up with the others.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from New Warriors #32-34. The back-up stories can take place after the main story.
Crossover: 1993 Annuals
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAndrew Chord, Angel, Cloak, Crystal, Dagger, Darkhawk, Darkling (Asylum), Dr. Strange, Firestar, Hindsight Lad, Hnang, Kimeiko Ashu, Namorita, Nova (Rich Rider), Rage, Sersi, Shroud, Silhouette, Speedball, Spider-Man, Sprocket, Thing, Turbo, Turbo II
"And yet i have to disqualify him on a technicality, since he was introduced in the previous parts of this story in the regular series, not this annual."
Posted by: clyde | September 1, 2016 6:27 PM
DC also introduced new characters in all their Annuals in 1993, although that was part of an actual crossover.
Posted by: Michael | September 1, 2016 8:09 PM
Michael - Bloodlines was both worse and better. It was a clear "Aliens" rip-off which made it exciting to me. However, most of the characters were killed off later on.
Posted by: clyde | September 1, 2016 8:16 PM
Darkling actually did identify himself as such at the end of NW #34.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 1, 2016 8:34 PM
Whoops, totally missed that scan you put up.
Posted by: clyde | September 1, 2016 9:48 PM
I was a kid when this came out so all the heroes teaming up made this story better than average for me lol.
Back then I quit New Warriors when Bagley left and this Darkling annual was one of the few Warriors comics I picked up after that. Looking at the Darick Robertson art in the scans here from the main Warriors series I kind of wish I'd stuck around. Interesting how you can appreciate art when you're older that you didn't like as a kid (and vice versa).
Posted by: Red Comet | September 2, 2016 12:21 PM
Is Abyss, one of the Horsemen in Age of Apocalypse, the AoA counterpart of Darkling/Asylum? I've always assumed so--Nicieza created both, and they're both Darkforce-wielding mutants--but I've never read ant stories with the Darkling/Asylum, so I'm not sure. New Warriors was one of the few titles I never read back in the day.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | September 3, 2016 9:04 PM
I'm reasonably sure they later introduced a 616 version of Abyss, but I don't remember much about him.
Posted by: Thanos6 | September 3, 2016 10:28 PM
Abyss, I think, was suppose to be one of Nightcrawler's half-brothers
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 4, 2016 12:52 AM
No Darkstar? I guess she would have just taken control of the darkforce and there'd be no story. Lol!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | September 4, 2016 1:05 AM
fnord, any possibility of posting a scan of the scene that introduces Kimeiko Ashu?
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 27, 2017 8:30 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | January 30, 2017 9:10 AM
Thanks, fnord. I never read New Warriors annual #3 or the Night Thrasher miniseries, so I was always a bit confused when Kimeiko Ashu showed up in the monthly NW book seeking revenge.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 30, 2017 10:40 AM
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