Or – “Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss…”


First off, a warning: I was a huge fan of the original New Warriors title. In my opinion, the first book was cancelled because Fabian Nicieza left and his replacement didn’t understand the character interactions that made the book tick. The second volume tanked because it tried to be an X-Title, and the New Warriors miniseries was a ridiculous trainwreck, hamstrung by the current Marvel editorial caveat that every team must have some sort of schtick that makes them different from the million other super-teams in the Marvel U. Not that Marvel ever really understood what made the Warriors good in the first place…

While I appreciate the concept (that each group needs their own reason to exist) IN THEORY, the execution immediately cripples any new title with “the high-concept hook.” The Loners are a superhero therapy group. The Order is a superhero celebrity group. The Initiative is a superhero fascistic overlord group. The Thunderbolts are… NW1.jpganother superhero fascistic overlord group. By pigeon-holing a team like that, you’ve limited their potential compared to “normal” super-groups like the Avengers, Defenders, et al. By comparison, the “hook” of the original New Warriors was simple: a family built of friends. When you’re a certain age, you find that people expect you to act like an adult, but nobody really tells you what that means. The actual grown-ups regard you as immature, but you know that something has to change, that you have to come up with an identity to call your own. So, you band together with others against… whatever. Society, maybe. You grab onto something (environmental awareness or a certain type of music or performance or writing or sports or, for the Warriors, superheroics) and try to do it better than anybody ever has before. And you $*@& it up. And by $*@&ing it up, you find your own way of doing things, and you eventually realize that NOBODY has the rulebook for being an adult, and we’re all just bozos on this bus. Granted, I WAS that age when New Warriors originally came out, so it was *my* book in a way that I really can’t explain. And when an idiot like Gauntlet makes a punchline out of Warriors, I don’t want to punch him, or write a letter, or read about his comeuppance, I want to drop The Initiative title and find a productive way to spend my 3 bucks and change. (Take note, Marvel!)

Out of much that same sort of frustration (at least on the part of the heroes) comes this revival of the New Warriors concept. We start our proceedings with perennial thirteenth-stringer the Grey Gargoyle, running down an alley as if to escape someone. A mysterious winged person can be seen for a moment, watching him, and radio chatter is the only dialogue we have. “No games. Take him down.” Gargoyle seems to be struck by lightning, and then a hero leaps out of the night sky to engage him. Gargoyle seems disoriented for a moment, as strange bubbles of energy surround him, and he looks up to find himself shrunken to tiny size…


This is Wondra, the first of the Warriors we meet. She seems to have the ability to shrink things. (Has anyone seen Cassandra Lang lately?) As Wondra departs, we are shown the dreams of Sofia Barrett, the new X-Man formerly known as Wind Dancer. Somewhat predictably, she dreams of flying, having her powers again, (though she never had the wings that the dream depicts) but it ends with her falling to Earth like Ikarus. She awakens on the subway on her way to work, and sighs melodramatically at the Thunderbolts toys and Iron Man “Registration: It’s The Law!” posters. The Marvel Universe has become a tragically annoying place to live, much less read about. She stops to talk to a friend, a street person named (apparently) Sammy Sam. She asks if he’s eaten, and offers to buy him a meal. He suddenly remembers that someone gave him $100 to give her something… an incredibly expensive phone. The text display tells her to keep walking while whomever it is patches into her MP3 player…


The voice tells her she’s a ship without a rudder, but not anymore… “WE are your rudder.” It’s all very Mission Impossible. The voice signs off mysteriously, leaving me wondering who’s behind all of this drama. In an alley uptown, police from the NYPD Costumed Division find Grey Gargoyle scotch-taped to a lamp-post in an alley, but also find a tag spray-painted on the concrete: “The New Warriors were here.” The cops immediately want to seal off the alleyway and form a perimeter, even though that never works for Jack Bauer… At the same time, at the Diner where Sofia works, her friends and customers watch The Iron Dictator responding to reports of a new vigilante group operating in New York…


That man has Tony Stark nailed, doesn’t he? Preach on, brotha… Sofia arrives, and when asked what’s new, she replies, “the rent’s due, funds are low, and the man won’t cut me a break.” Y’know, this does not sound like the speech pattern of a girl who had to learn English over a summer before joining the Xavier academy. She’s definitely learned some things, working in the city. Putting on her apron for the day, she’s told that “her little boyfriend” is back at his regular table. Apparently, “Barry” comes in several times a week, always watching her, and always sitting at her tables… Soo, he’s a stalker? But, he’s a pretty stalker, so she apparently doesn’t mind.


Uh… wow. That’s serious flirting, folks. Sofia is so into him as to be nearly wearing his underwear, looks like. Later that night, she finds her new magical mystery phone ringing… Without answering, she snaps “Alright! Who are you and how do you know my name?” Her computer screen lights up (and it’s quite a computer for a woman who’s broke. A gift from her parents?) with a message: “Why the hostility?” She replies that she doesn’t like the Morpheus routine, and I realize that the writer has apparently forgotten that she’s Venezuelan. The screen responds “LOL! We like your style.” “We?” asks Sofia, and the screen responds, “Concerned citizens. Active observers. Conscientious objectors. Warriors opposed to this New World Order.”


Sofia asks why she should even get involved in something so colossally stupid, and the screen responds: “Because you want to.” And she has no comeback for that. Across town, the criminal Anaconda is found webbed to a lightpost, left for the police. Of course, this has always been the motif of one Peter Parker, a former lackey of Iron Man, now on the run and getting more done in one month that I do in six, even while dodging the police…


Now, this plot point confuses me, (though not as much as how Givens gets away with that top in a workplace setting.) Is this meant to be a reference to the real Spider-Man as fighting against the repressive SHIELD hegemony, or a hint that one of the Warriors is using the old web-shooter technology? After all, Scarlet Spider did a stint in the Warriors, back in the day. Or could Ben Reilly himself be back? I don’t know, I just reads ’em, I don’t explains ’em, and the book isn’t too clear on this point. As Sofia waits for the Warriors to contact her, she’s surprised to see Barry the Stalker arrive, since she told him she couldn’t make it tonight. He tells her that HE’S the Warrior sent to get her, and she slaps the taste right out of his mouth. “I thought you liked me…” she whines, but he responds, “I do. Sofia, we’re friends. We always have been, ever since the day I joined the school.” Which former X-Man is he?


Hey, it’s Beak! He was always a favorite of mine during the Morrison X-Men run, now sadly reversed as though it never happened. That’s what I get for reading an X-book, I suppose. Beaks explains that the Warriors are NOT vigilantes, saying that “we are what we are and we do what we do.” And they’re Popeye da Sailor Man! TOOT TOOOT! He leads her through a teleport gate into the secret underground lair (thousands of miles beneath the Earth’s crust… no, not really.) of the New Warriors, and introduces her to his leader…


…NIGHT THRASHER! And an old-school Thrash, at that. Right off hand, I can think of a couple of Warriors cast members who might be in that armor (notably Bandit, Thrash’s half-brother, and Midnight’s Fire, his rival) but given that the two members we know currently are both ex-X-Men, I wonder if I should be looking at actual Warriors. Maybe it’s Xorn in the helmet? After all, he’s had nearly as many origins as the Beyonder. Either way, I’m both excited and disappointed by this issue. I’m excited by seeing Night Thrasher again, and also by Marvel FINALLY admitting that not every superhero is going to fall for their crypto-fascist Initiative scam. I’m excited by the way the dialogue leaps off the page, even when it doesn’t seem to belong in the mouths of the characters who speak it. Most of all, I’m excited that I’m mostly liking the book. But I’m very disappointed that the issue felt so mediocre. Sofia’s characterization isn’t much like what I remember from New Mutants and New X-Men, and we’ve SEEN Beak in his depowered form, and he looked more Micheal Berryman than Michael Shanks. Add to that the incessant “oooh, it’s a MYSTERRRREEEE” that pervades everything at Marvel right now, I’m a bit annoyed. I don’t know anything much about the actual characters on the team, except that two of them are unpowered X-Men. It’s fine for a book to have a mystery, or secrets from the readers, and normally I’m completely supportive of that. But EVERY Marvel title has this shroud of “What the hell is going ON?” right now, which causes me to look at the mystery of the New Warriors and just kind of think, “Meh.” You have to give me a complete story once in a while for me to appreciate the continued narratives with no answers, folks. This is why I stopped reading “Girls.”

Certainly, this first issue is compelling enough to keep me onboard for a while, but once again, it feels like Marvel’s creative teams are writing “for the trade” with little thought as to what each individual issue is going to feel like as a single read. It’s good to have the Warriors back, if only in name, and any book where somebody rightfully points out Tony Stark’s only-child-self-centeredness is alright by me. Still the lack of anything substantive has me troubled. I want to give this book 2.5 stars, but I’m thinking that 2 stars out of 5 is more accurate. Let me point out: it’s not a bad book! It’s an interesting concept, somewhat flawed in execution. I would still recommend the title based on this issue, but not as overwhelmingly as I want to. Of course, the first issue of New Warriors volume 1 is the weakest of the run, too… Make of THAT what you will.



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Plot Point: Barnell Bohusk was slightly uglier than that.

    Plus, he has a Wife and a small hutful of Kids, not least one who still has both of its parents powers. Flirting with a Waitress like that should really, you know, be a no-no.

  2. Matthew Peterson on

    The book name-checks Angel and the babies, but doesn’t tell us where they are…

    And didn’t Beak do a stint in the Exiles that led to his family disappearing from continuity?

  3. Matthew Peterson on

    Mark I: Due entirely to my status as a $&*@#tard, I accidentally deleted your reply…

    However, Bird Boy was sucked into a jet engine and died horribly. :)

  4. No worries. It’s only the New Warriors anyway. If anyone cares I was referencing the Jar-Jar-esque Bird Boy that got New Mutant Cypher killed back in the day, Captain America style.

    But on a brighter note, at least there is still someone to carry on the legacy of Night Thrasher, the greatest African-American, skateboard-riding, edgy 1990s vigilante of all TIME!!! Somewhere, Steve Rogers is wiping away a heavenly tear while playing poker with Ted Kord, Jor-El, Gwen Stacy, and the Ancient One.

  5. Matthew Peterson on

    But on a brighter note, at least there is still someone to carry on the legacy of Night Thrasher, the greatest African-American, skateboard-riding, edgy 1990s vigilante of all TIME!!!

    You dare to attack the Thrash-man???


    Naaah, I got nothing. But I really liked his helmet, back in the day.

  6. Actually, when he returned, he had discovered that they were all back, their ‘Freakish’ powers were gone from all but one child, and they were FREE to live a peaceful life together.

  7. Beak, Angel and there kids are still in-continuity, at least last time I checked. They were wiped out as a result of House of M when Beak was in the Exiles. Beak ending up being sent home during/after House of M and the result was that he, Angel and all the kids but Tiot lost their powers.

  8. Matthew Peterson on

    And, then, horribly, Daddy was needed to help “X up” a new title, and they were never heard from again…

    You have been reading TRUE TALES OF THE QUESADAAAAA… Horror stories with an eye towards quarterly publishing revenues.

  9. I appreciated your warning at beginning of the review. I, too, am a HUGE fan of the original New Warriors with Fabian Nicieza writing and Bags or Darrick Robertson penciling. I think I’m the only person who owns a New Warriors poster. I was definitely disappointed at the last two attempts to resurrect this title. So I was giddy when I picked this up at teh comic store and got home to read it. I understand your apprehension, but I am so hopeful for this title. It’s the only one in all of the Intitiative crap that feels like it could be something special. So I will be cautiously optimistic…

    On another note, Tony Stark has sure become the villain we love to hate, hasn’t he? I’m waiting for Quesada and Marvel to show up and take credit for the shift in characterization as opposed to ignoring continuity and establish any real consistent reason for him turning into a fascist…

  10. Matthew Peterson on

    Aw, don’t be THAT hard on him…I’m sure it’s the Writer’s fault.

    Sorry, but if Joe is willing to take the pats on the back for the awesome things done by new writers, he’s the scapegoat for all that is wrong with Marvel. You can’t have a double-standard, unless it’s about Spider-Man, apparently…

  11. Freak Accident! Ultimate Tony Stark and 616 Tony Stark had a dimensional accident and switched places 25 years ago!

  12. why does joe quesada suck so much? i ask because he seems to let anyone write what ever they want with the characters even if the characterizations suck, and then if he doesnt like it they change the continuity ( ala new xmen morrison run, which by the way got me back into xmen since the early 90s run ( jim lee etc) between those two runs there was much crap to be had in xmen.

  13. Maximus Rift on

    Weirder still is the fact that Tony is still portrayed as a hero in his own book.

    I am also one of the people who loved the book when it first came out in the ’80 and hope that this doesn’t get swallowed up by the current Marvel U.

    I’m also hoping that someone in the stupid Initiative uses it to take over the US so said residents see how much better things are than before.

  14. I’ve been a New Warriors fans since day one. Marvel Boy’s (Justice for the uneducated) trial remains one of Marvel’s best overlooked stories of all time. I can’t think of any other mutant off of the top of my head who has actually used his powers to violently lash out at one of their own parents.

    My favorite Warrior was Speedball, but Joe Q. has destroyed him. Absolutely no one can be bright and cheerful in Joe Quesada’s Marvel Universe. If you’re a hero and you smile, Iron Man will have you publicly humiliated and psychologically tortured until you start appreciating the musical talents of Fallout Boy.

  15. No, wait, I just realised he says ‘We’re Friends’. My bad, I tought he was bordering on an affair. Woopsie.

    Now, THAT must be interesting. Imagine fake-flirting with someone for a month when you know that only last year that same someone thought ‘Oh No, You Again’, every time they looked at you…

  16. Matthew Peterson on

    A trompe l’œil graffiti is a bad idea for a hit & run strategy.

    Five bucks says it’s one of the Warriors powers, a side-effect of super-speed or time distortion…

  17. Add me to the list of fans of the original NW series. I think the appeal was Firestar (rawr) and Nova, though I got to like Night Thrasher enough to where I bought his limited series and about the first twelve issues of the regular series before I stopped caring. He struck me, at the time, as a poor man’s Iron Man (which could be meant literally, too, I guess), so it’s interesting that the NW will be the underground resistance to the Initiative. I was curious when I saw the preview for the new series, and this looks promising enough that I’ll check out the first few issues.

    On a side note, with Marvel’s affinity towards spin-offs these days, how about Jim Henson’s Grey Gargoyle Babies…. so cute, so blandly villianous.

  18. Didn’t the solicitations for the new series suggest the new Night Thrasher has ties to Tony Stark? Perhaps that is War Machine operating on his off hours away from the Initiative.

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