Two of the three titles I reviewed earlier this year, Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk, came with high recommendations, especially as a jumping-on point for readers new to Marvel or even comics in general. The third, All-New Invaders, while still an above-average comic, just did not leave that same good impression on me after two issues. Today, the All-New Marvel NOW! comic reviews continue with New Warriors #1 and #2, from the creative team of Christopher Yost and Marcus To.
At first glance, looking at the cover to #1, featuring the familiar faces of Speedball, Justice and Nova, there seems to be a very palpable connection to the original New Warriors from 90’s, a team so popular that the first volume of the title lasted six years. The big question is: will this throwback title reach out to a new generation of readers and prove that lightning does strike twice in the same spot?
If you’re like me, you thought the New Warriors were a pretty big deal, because they always were the little team that could, despite all odds. For the more recent comic book readers, however, the New Warriors have been pretty much synonymous with modern Marvel’s industry-redefining crossover Civil War, which essentially saw them vilified as an inexperienced team of superheroes that caused the deaths of 612 people in Connecticut.
This new series seeks to recapture that same team dynamic from two decades ago. It’s a tall order, but if anyone can do it, I believe it is Christopher Yost. Yost is one of Marvel’s many unsung heroes, who has written for both television and film, with projects from the animation X-Men: Evolution to last year’s blockbuster hit Thor: The Dark World. Yost understands that good characters practically write their own stories, and that good stories don’t happen by accident.
The first arc of the series begins not with the heroes, but with the villain: the High Evolutionary who utters the chilling words: “You were never meant to be. And judgement comes even for the innocent.” Immediately, we realise that this team is not formed intentionally, but reactionally, unlike the original team. This is a team brought together against a common foe, one that is targeting enhanced humans, mutants, clones, Atlanteans – basically anyone who isn’t homo sapiens.
This genocide on multiple levels, naturally brings together a motley crew of heroes, each representing a different kind of origin: Justice is a mutant, Speedball is “super-human”, Scarlet Spider is a clone, Nova is a human/alien hybrid, Aracely is a demigod, and new heroes Faira sar Namora and Haechi are Atlantean and Inhuman respectively. Only Sun Girl is human, but her heroic quest naturally finds her protecting the mutant Morlocks from the High Evolutionary’s murderous culling spree. Though the rationale behind the villain’s seemingly uncharacteristic acts is only hinted at at the end of #2, Yost has mentioned in an interview with Newsarama, that “there are larger forces at work in the recreation of the New Warriors”.
Yost takes the opportunity to tell more stories of characters he’s created in the past. Those who liked his work on Scarlet Spider, and Superior Spider-Man Team Up will be happy to see Kaine, Aracely and Selah Burke again. For those that have never heard of them before, not to worry! Yost makes it easy for new readers to get in on the action by not relying too heavily on needless exposition or referencing previous comics. It is a difficult balance to please both long-term fans and newcomers, even for the experienced writer, but Yost does it exceedingly well.
I also definitely appreciated the diversity in this new team. Yes, consisting of different species is already an allegory in representation, but Yost doesn’t just deal in symbols. Aracely is Mexican, Haechi is Korean, Selah Burke is African-American. Of the eight members of the team, five are male, three are female. Considering the editorial mandate for the team was for four white men (namely, Justice, Speedball, Nova and Scarlet Spider), I’d definitely give credit to Yost for choosing four characters that bring balance the rest of the team.
Marcus To infuses this new series with very dynamic artwork and despite the bold lines, there’s definitely an almost-frenetic energy to the first two issues, undoubtedly complementing the multiple points of view needed to tell this first arc. Colorist David Curiel brings each page to life with a bright, strong palette that leaves no doubt that this book is firmly entrenched in the superhero team action-adventure genre.
Issue #3 of New Warriors comes out today. If you’re a fan of the original team, or indeed, any team of superhero underdogs, be sure to support this new series that promises the same high level of adventure.