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The New Warriors: Beginnings. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Tom DeFalco. Pencilled by Mark Bagley and Ron Frenz. Inked by Al Williamson, Joe Sinnott, and Larry Mahlsedt. New York: Marvel Comics, 1992. 1v. (unpaged). $12.95. ISBN 0-87135-916-2.


Adults, teens, kids; superhero violence

NOTE: This book reprints New Warriors #1-#4 and The Mighty Thor #411-#412.

A young, black, grim superhero named Night Thrasher recruits five superpowered teenagers to join his team. Although some of them are unwilling, they ultimately agree to join. They fight the reborn Terrax, Juggernaut, Night Thrasher's enemy Midnight's Fire, the Mad Thinker and his android, and a group called Psionex created by a corporation that wants to create a new generation of superbeings.

The New Warriors were created to give a bunch of minor-league teen heroes a book of their own. The trouble is that second bananas remain second bananas when they're put into starring roles unless they started out with a lot of promise or were considerably revamped, and none of these heroes was ever much of anything or has been improved for this book. Night Thrasher, Nova, Marvel Boy, Speedball, Namorita, and Firestar--not exactly household names, and so poorly done in this book that all they are is names. They have the usual one-dimensional personalities of Marvel heroes, and occasionally not even the ones they started out with in other books; for example, Firestar was a shy girl in her miniseries and is now a self-confident teenager (and I thought initially an orphan, but here she has a father), and Speedball (he of the awful name) was a reasonably polite boy in his series and in Damage Control but is now a motormouthed slacker. Frankly, the brief appearance of Speedball and the others in Damage Control was considerably more interesting and displayed more personality than can be found in this entire book.

The stories aren't even worth talking about; as with The Power of Shazam, this stuff has been done countless times. There are numerous feeble attempts at humor, many coming from the revamped Speedball, but again, the Damage Control appearance was considerably funnier (partially because it poked fun at the stupidity of some of these heroes; for example, Night Thrasher zips around on a skateboard. A skateboard? And I thought the Silver Surfer's board was stupid... at least it can fly and is under his mental control). Maybe the humor was squished out by the weight of the committee that created this book, or maybe the writers were simply not capable of being genuinely funny. Choose whichever interpretation you prefer. The end result is the same.

Hard to tell from my remote pinnacle how popular this series is, especially eight years later. I guess if it's popular it belongs in comprehensive library collections, but those of you who haven't heard of it have no reason to read it or purchase it unless for some bizarre reason you really, really like these characters.


Copyright 2000, D. Aviva Rothschild


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