New Warriors #1 Review

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They were called ‘the super-team for the ’90s.’  Can they get the job done in the 21st Century?  Your Major Spoilers review of New Warriors #1 awaits!

NewWarriors1CoverNEW WARRIORS #1
Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Marcus To
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Sana Amanat
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in New Warriors:  Long, long ago, in the faraway land called 1991, Marvel Comics united several of their teenage heroes (The Sub-Mariner’s cousin, The Thing’s old wrestling partner, a retired Nova Centurion, a Saturday-morning-cartoon outcast, 1986′s attempt to recreate Spider-Man and a kid who rides a skateboard) under the name of the New Warriors, eventually enveloping more heroes, and reaching an almost unprecedented level of diversity, even by today’s standards.  That team eventually drifted apart, lacking enough guys with blades on their hands, but has returned repeatedly to try again.  In one of their last attempts, the New Warriors were present at the disaster that destroyed a city and kicked off the superhuman Civil War.  Now, two of the team’s founding members have a plan to get the band back together…

HARD TO CAPTURE THAT OLD FAMILIAR FEELING

The story opens with a moment that is a bit difficult to understand without a big of knowledge, following poor, bloodied Bova (a cow-woman created by the High Evolutionary decades ago, best known for midwifing Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch) crawls away from the other denizens of what I believe is Wundagore mountain, before being murdered in cold blood by a shadowy figure who is clearly the Evolutionary himself.  We cut to New Salem, Colorado, where the surviving members of the original New Warriors (Justice and Speedball) seem to be getting into a super-villain fight…

…but looks can be deceiving.  Yost does really good work with the characters here, managing to pull of a Speedball who keeps the goofy, over-the-top mannerisms of his classic adventures while keeping him likeable.  We discover that there’s more to Salem than there seems (you really don’t want this part spoiled), then we find the Scarlet Spider, clone of Pete Parker, somewhere in Mexico with his new partner, Hummingbird.  Yost again manages to give us interesting and varied characterization, which is key to capturing the magic of the old New Warriors, while keeping the story interesting with the use of mysterious alien/robot monsters who have it in for creatures of not-entirely-human descent.

SCARLET SPIDER WAS A WARRIOR BEFORE…

Kaine’s bit of story is really well-handled, which is probably to be expected given that Yost handled his solo series, and the introduction of a new Sun Girl is likewise very well-handled.  Interestingly, she fills the “eager young hero” role that Justice had in the original New Warriors, while the introduction of a new Atlantean character comes across as a natural part of the story rather than a conscious attempt to replace Namorita.  The use of the mysterious *coughHighEvolutionarycough* villain to draw everyone together works well in its early stages.  Artistically, this issue is wonderful, giving us clear and well-defined art, and even making the cloying and difficult-to-like character of the new Nova look better than in his solo series.  (For one thing, here he has a normal-sized head.)  Sun-Girl’s introduction is a beautiful panel, and all the combat sequences really pop, while the design of the villainous Evolutionaries is excellent (if somewhat Iron Man-adjacent.)  The fact that a brief scene in the Morlock tunnels under Manhattan features recognizable versions of Callisto, Sunder and Marrow (at least one of whom was previously dead, I thought) is a lovely touch, while the body language of all the characters is truly excellent.  To’s art reminds me a bit of Jim Cheung’s work on Young Avengers, a very positive comparison for me.

THE BOTTOM LINE: AN INTRIGUING START

In short, while I do hope that more classic Warriors appear (are Silhouette and Rage dead yet?), this book has the makings of something interesting, and helps to cushion to loss of the latest chapter of Young Avengers, filling the niche of “teen super-duper teamup” admirably and looking great in so doing.  New Warriors #1 may be the sixth volume or some such, but it manages to make the concept of the group attractive for the first time since Version 1.0, introducing some cool new characters and making me happy to award it 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m hoping for a lot more Sun Girl, as well…