Characters Appearing: Andrew Chord, Bandit, Bloodstrike, Father Michael Janes, Gai No Don, Gloria Hancock, Impulse (Genetech), Midnight's Fire, Night Thrasher, Silhouette, Silk Fever, Smiling Tiger, Sparrow (Air Force), Sprocket, Tanager, Tantrum, Turk, Tyger Tiger, Walter Rosen
Night Thrasher #2-4
Issue(s): Night Thrasher #2, Night Thrasher #3, Night Thrasher #4
As for the story, it understandably uses elements from the New Warriors series that were Night Thrasher specific, as well as events from his previous mini-series. So it features the return of Midnight's Fire and the Folding Circle. And reveals that the Concrete Dragons, the gang that Midnight's Fire and Silhouette (who is basically a co-star here) used to run with is still in operation. And it also uses the board members that Night Thrasher recruited for his Taylor Foundation. I can't say that i'm interested in any of that but i can't deny it's exactly what you'd expect the first (non-crossover) story in Night Thrasher's solo series to be about. The story is also largely set in Madripoor, just to rub salt in my wounds.
The story starts with Night Thrasher following up on the back-up story from last issue, where he promised a dying boy to avenge his parents' death. Naturally, you do that by horning in on Daredevil's territory and beating up on Turk.
Turk tells him that the parents were actually working for the Concrete Dragons, who are back in operation.
Meanwhile, we see someone who looks like Silhouette beating up members of the Dragons for the killings, not because it was wrong but because they've attracted the attention of Night Thrasher. When Thrasher learns about the beatings, he has Sprocket bring Silhouette to his building. Silhouette denies any involvement, and Chord suggests that someone is trying to frame her, so Night Thrasher and Silhouette team up to investigate, and they find that someone named Chagrin has been impersonating her.
Chagrin (who doesn't seem to have any powers and in any event this is her only appearance) is defeated and reveals that she was hired by Midnight's Fire, and they learn that he's currently exporting goods from Madripoor.
So they head to Madripoor which is of course in the middle of a gang war. On one side is the Folding Circle, and on the other side is Tyger Tiger, who had entered (by force, we'll later learn) into an alliance with a guy called Aardwolf. Now, when i first saw this guy's name, i couldn't help laughing. I wasn't sure if he was part aardvark and part wolf, or maybe some kind of wolf/pirate hybrid (Aaarrrgh!). Turns out, though, that an Aardwolf is a real thing, and the name is one that Aardwolf was given when he was younger and he's kind of embarrassed by it now.
I don't want to kick a guy when he's being self-depreciating, but why would you continue to use a name based on a small termite eating hyena? How do you let that happen? And it gets worse. According to the Wikipedia page, the aardwolf is known for its "habit of secreting substances from its anal gland". At least he doesn't demonstrate that trait in this story.
I will also note that, per the cover of issue #3, Aardwolf is said to be "more savvy than Trump".
Night Thrasher is captured by Aardwolf, who tries to convince Thrash that the Folding Circle are the real bad guys. Meanwhile, Silhouette is met by her brother and Folding Circle. Midnight's Fire tells Silhouette that Gai No Don, the guy that Night Thrasher put on his board to represent a darker view of the world, is actually working with him to smuggle goods into the US. He says that Aardwolf learned about that and was going to blackmail the Taylor Foundation over it. So Midnight's Fire's involvement here is actually a weird way of attempting to help alert Night Thrasher to the problem. Aardwolf shows Night Thrasher evidence that Silhouette really has been involved with the Concrete Dragons, though, and Night Thrasher gets mad and attacks him.
They get separated during the fight and then Night Thrasher runs into the Folding Circle.
Silhouette sucker punches him from behind, and the Folding Circle run off to fight Aardwolf. This is when we learn that Tyger Tiger doesn't really like Aardwolf (he probably soiled her furniture or something).
Silhouette tells Night Thrasher that she was only working with the gang to keep them out of real trouble, but he doesn't like that she's been keeping secrets from him, so they break up (i didn't even realize they were dating). Night Thrasher also goes home and yells at Don. I don't know why he can't get rid of him.
While this is all happening, there is a second thread about a Gloria Hancock, who wants permission to use the Taylor Foundation's airfields in Bosnia to transport what she says are medical supplies for war refugees. The Foundation's board votes to decline her request, on the grounds that Hancock's airline is under investigation for drug smuggling. Gai No Don disagrees with the vote, but goes along with it.
Hancock is upset about the decision, so she contacts a mysterious group of businessmen called the "Aerie", described as "the ruling body of the aerial terrorist organization known as Air Command". And she pays them to send "Air Force" to attack the Foundation. Air Force turns out to be some of the bird people we've seen in the New Warriors series.
This will be the plot for next issue.
Also in these issues, a guy goes around testing people that Night Thrasher has dealt with.
That's Tantrum above, and he also confronts Impulse, who is in a wheelchair in prison.
This character, Bandit, will turn out to be pretty important. Beyond appearing in this series and New Warriors and Fabian Nicieza's Gambit, he'll later become the new Night Thrasher when the current one (his brother) dies.
I want to give Fabian Nicieza credit for always trying to come up with complex plots instead of just "villain of the month shows up and attacks". But i continually feel like he overcomplicates things to the point where i need a corkboard and lots of string to follow what is going on (e.g.). You've got a member of the Taylor Foundation working with a gang associated with Silhouette and her brother to import drugs, but the real bad guy is a rival criminal leader who wants to blackmail them over it and he's working with semi-good guy Tyger Tiger but it turns out that he's forced her into the alliance. But Silhouette really has been working with the gang, and the bad board member really is bad, and... I guess if i cared about any of these characters it would be worth the effort to sort it all out, but it just feels like i'm being forced to untangle a big mystery for no reward.
It makes all of us confused.
When it comes to stuff like this, where i just don't care but i recognize that some effort is being made, i try to give it the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it's just not for me. The problem is that so much time is spent on the plot that there's no space left for Nicieza to make me care. We have a huge cast of characters here, nearly all of whom are ciphers: the board members, Folding Circle, etc.. Night Thrasher has a personality, but it's a deadly serious personality and that makes him a drag which could be counterbalanced with fun supporting characters. But everyone else is either also deadly serious or personality free (granted, Aardwolf has some affected mannerisms, but he's also Aardwolf). Combine all of that with a rushed mishmosh of art and this is not a good start to Night Thrasher's series.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Last issue was a crossover with the New Warriors story that ended in New Warriors #38, so this has to take place after that. The MCP place it between New Warriors #38-39.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Overcomplication is Nicieza's biggest pitfall.
I like that you're writing sentences like "That's Tantrum above, and he also confronts Impulse", as if I'm supposed to remember who those people are :P I applaud Nieceza for introducing new characters rather than just relying on the established stable of Marvel baddies, but the characters he introduces in New Warriors and its spin offs... I see them, I forget about them, next issue introduces new ones, and then I forget about those as well, until I stumble upon their entries on the "Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe" website years later. Even though some of them have quite neat designs, they really don't stick in my mind.
Posted by: Berend | February 23, 2017 4:17 PM
Aardwolf: he'll make Genosha great agai..er, good agai...er, less sucky?
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 23, 2017 4:22 PM
Is that Strong Guy in those scans? Lmao
Posted by: Bonez | February 23, 2017 5:43 PM
Obviously when they called Aardwolf "more savvy than Trump" they were referring to the fan-favorite supervillian who first appeared in Daredevil #203
Posted by: Andrew F | February 23, 2017 5:53 PM
I did appreciate that this gave Silhouette a bit more panel time and some personal storyline. She was always one of my favourite Warriors, but she rarely got much time in the spotlight in the main NEW WARRIORS book.
Posted by: Dermie | February 23, 2017 6:55 PM
At the start of this story, Night Thrasher is considering killing the family's murderer, but he decides against it upon learning that the boy's parents were criminals. Huh? I mean, that might be a reason to reconsider if the parents were the only ones that died, but the kid died as well. I mean, there's legitimate arguments against committing murder to avenge the boy's death, but "his parents were criminals" isn't one.
Posted by: Michael | February 23, 2017 7:54 PM
Andrew F, that's who I was thinking of as well.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | February 24, 2017 2:29 AM
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