It's been good to see Marvel mine its library of superheroes to excavate some comic book gold over the past couple years. "New Warriors" has the makings for a book that may become just that. Christopher Yost and Marcus To brought back the team that set off the shot (rather explosion) heard 'round the world that led to Marvel's "Civil War." Yost made good on Speedball's desire in "Avenger's Academy" to reform this team. In issue no. 1, I was re-introduced to Speedball, Vance Astrovik (Justice) and Namorita (I believe) along with a bevy of other heroes. I was surprised to see Scarlet Spider whom I remember was one among many Peter Parker clones. I was introduced to Sun Girl while reading "Superior Spider-Man Team Up." Then there's Hummingbird, Nova and some dude on the cover that didn't in the book. Something wicked brewed as people found themselves swept into a roiling pot of potential genocide. Certainly this threat would bring together again a team that enjoyed better days before events in Stamford, CT.
I don't know of any appearances of the villain team Salem's Seven in recent memory, but Yost seems to be setting up a story that is sure to pit it's members against the forces that seek to destroy them and other magic-born. This seemed certainly true as I was introduced the Evolutionaries, powerful beings who insisted upon culling what they called half-breed mutants. Will the New Warriors finally band together to thwart these "purifiers?"
Marcus To's artwork really fit the feel of this book: fun, humorous, colorful. "New Warriors" no. 1 was a quick read that cut to the chase without a lot of backstory or filler. The narrative provided a certain level of gravitas. Issue no. 1 book felt like another "Mutant Massacre," but for a new audience. This approach, though well-trod, was actually a good thing. Comics are a great venue for educating new and young readers about the pitfalls of racism. Writers have a great opportunity with characters like these to expose the kinds of misguided rationals supposed "noble" people use to justify their well-being and purity above those whom they marginalize.
Although the book held my attention with the cameos and introductions, sadly, there will be no Night Thrasher. Unless Yost applies the device "death is never permanent in comics," the founding member of the New Warriors will remain dead. A major shift, also, was Speedball's personality in comparison with the one portrayed in "Avenger's Academy." Though he'd improved emotionally in light of the events leading to "Civil War," was Robbie Baldwin truly back to the wise-cracking goofball he was before the explosion in Stamford, CT? Will he prove to be unstable?
The whole thought of Salem's Seven being children of the Devil (as opposed to Nicholas Scratch who was the son of Agatha Harkness) was disappointing. I'm not a Fantastic Four aficionado, but I recognized Vertigo, Brutacus and Reptilla from the old "Marvel Super Heroes: The Fantastic Four Compendium" (1987). So I'm guessing Yost and team decided a retcon was in order. I don't know. Though their looks were updated for the Marvel NOW, the whole idea of the Devil having children rubbed me the wrong way as a Christ-follower. I recognized, however, that these were "children" who simply wanted to do what's right. For example, I don't believe Vertigo desires an association with the evil that was their father.
As a side-note, I wasn't sure if another character shown in the subway tunnels under Queens was Marrow or if these Evolutionaries were attacking a mutant group called the Morlocks. I guess I'll find out in later issues.
Readers who are looking for something "new" and fun to read should pick up this book. It's good to see "New Warriors" on shelves again. It was a fan favorite a long time ago. With the writing duties in the hands of Yost, I think it will become a fan favorite once again. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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