With the news that Squirrel Girl is coming to TV as the leader of the New Warriors, it occurred to me that many of you may not have context for what that means. Fortunately, I keep my back issues numbered for just such an emergency… Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of New Warriors #1 awaits!
NEW WARRIORS #1
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Al Williamson
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $1.00
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $3.00
Previously in New Warriors:
In 1972, Prince Namor The Sub-Mariner first met his teenage cousin, Namorita, daughter of Namora.
In 1975, The Guardians Of The Galaxy traveled back in time to protect their leader’s past-self, one Vance Astrovik.
In 1977, Richard Rider was given the power of an alien police force to protect the Earth as Nova.
In 1985, Angelica Jones discovered she was a microwave-powered mutant and chose the codename, Firestar.
In 1988, a freak accident left young Robbie Baldwin with incredible kinetic powers as Speedball.
But, as with so many comic book characters, they each fell by the wayside as new characters were created and new stories written. Rich was depowered, Vance forgotten, Angelica a minor part of the army of x-characters. That is, until a young man named Night Thrasher arrived with a plan…
I’ve always loved the fact that the first issue (though not the first appearance, as the team appeared in a difficult-to-reconcile crossover with Thor a few months earlier) of New Warriors begins with the team leader throwing the most powerful member off a building. Now once again possessing the powers of The Human Rocket, Nova is understandably angry at the newcomer, but not so angry that he won’t listen to Thrasher’s pitch. Sometime later, Vance Astrovik, now in control of his telekinetic abilities in a way his older self never was, makes his way to Avengers Mansion to petition for membership.
He doesn’t even make it past the security systems…
With two of his proposed team assembled, Night Thrasher takes them back to his penthouse home, full to the brim with the most up-to-date crime fighting equipment. Nova and Marvel Boy also meet his guardians, Chord and Tai, a rather odd pair…
The burly soldier-of-fortune and the elderly Asian woman have their own secrets, but that’s another story. Also another story: The events taking place on the grounds of a company called Genetech, where an experiment being witnessed by a group of college students starts to go awry…
Fortunately, Namorita Prentiss, cousin of the Sub-Mariner is part of this class, and engages the monster in combat. As for Night Thrasher, he makes a call to Angelica Jones, telling her (in what I hope is an unintentionally threatening manner) that he knows what she can do, and sets a meeting place.
This turns out to be a bit of a miscalculation on his part…
With his team members accounted for, even though two of him neither like nor trust him due to his antics, Night Thrasher is ready to look for a mission. That’s when the news of the Genetech incident reaches them. Thanks to handy news coverage, another hero also discovers the emergency and reacts in his inimitable manner…
I’ve always found it interesting that Marvel editorial canonically and intentionally created both Rich “Nova” Rider and Robbie “Speedball” Baldwin in the mold of Peter Parker, trying to catch the lightning of Spider-Man in a bottle once again, but neither really caught on until they were brought together in this book. All six heroes make their way to Queens and engage the monster, now revealed to be Terrax, former herald of Galactus. Night Thrasher engages too quickly, assuming Terrax to be just another monster/villain, and is nearly murdered in seconds for his troubles…
Though his plan had been to assemble four heroes (later revealed to be in direct parallel to the Fantastic Four, for tragic reasons), the group of six find their chemistry to be more than the sum of their parts, as Nova and Namorita together have the power to engage Terrax directly, while Marvel Boy and Speedball combine their powers in an… unorthodox display…
The onslaught of power gives the weakened herald pause, allowing Night Thrasher to mobilize his fliers to attack the herald’s weakness, in a rather pyroclastic manner…
Immediately after the defeat of the villain, The Avengers arrive to take control of the scene. Unintentionally, Captain America blows off the efforts of the young heroes who actually handles the crisis, leaving them angry and out in the metaphorical cold. Night Thrasher realizes that the five heroes before him are an even better team than the three he intended to assemble, offering them a chance to make a difference in the world:
“We can HELP people. Are you with me?”
And with that, the New Warriors are assembled. Their history features a lot of truly amazing adventures (“Days Of Future Present” still stands as one of my favorite stories of all time) and, sadly, a lot of terrible ones as well. The use of the Warriors as sacrificial lambs to kick off the first meaningless superhero Civil War was a bummer, and led to a long decade of Warrior mockery, one that I hope Squirrel Girl’s new TV show can help to erase. Either way, New Warriors #1 is solidly entertaining, well-drawn and just the merest hint of the good stuff to come in this title, earning a very impressible 4 out of 5 stars overall.
Now, if we can just get Speedball out of his emo phase!