Are these your New Warriors?
How about these?
Because they’re not mine. Thanks to the ridiculousness of Zeb Wells’ Realiteevee Warriors, the unforgiveable treatment and murder of them by Mark Millar and the pathetic D-list reboot by Kevin Grevioux, the name of the New Warriors has been drug through the mud.
It isn’t a surprise, I suppose. The various reboots and adjusted incarnations of the Warriors over the years has never matched the original runs of the first 50 issues.
Let me take you back to a simpler time in comics. A time when Rob Liefeld was the biggest name in the business. *shudder* A time when story was more often than not superceded in favor of art and editorial mandates. A time when Wolverine was still in ever comic, but only on half the teams. Good times.
The New Warriors was a semi-original concept. Take a bunch of D-List, unknown characters and turn them into the junior- Avengers. Among the many members over the years (or at least ones you may have heard of) were Nova, Justice, Firestar, Namorita, the Scarlet Spider, Darkhawk, Power Pack (well, one of them), Dagger’s breasts… and the world’s greatest hero: Hindsight Lad.
The Warriors were created when Batman-analogue Night Thrasher decided someone needed to handle the threats that the Avenger considered themselves too big to touch. Curiously, they were formed primarily by accident when a bunch of random heroes converged to fight former Galactus-herald Terax the Tamer. Which is pretty much the standard origin for all Marvel super-teams. They decided to stay together, and eventually formed a family. So yes, they were basically Marvel’s new version of DC’s Teen Titans. But what flowed from that concept became lightning in a bottle.
The book was being written by Fabian Niceiza, the man who is single-handedly responsible for turning Rob Liefeld’s X-Force into a readable book. The art was being handled by Mark Bagley, who was simulataneously drawing Amazing Spider-man during a period where I believe the title was occasionally coming out bi-weekly. Despite this, for 25 issues, Bagley turned out what I consider some of his strongest work. When Bagley left the book after issue 25, he turned the reigns over to a then-unknown. A little guy by the name of Darick Robertson. Sure, he’s a big name now, but back when he first started on Warriors, his work sucked. But slowly, after almost a year on the book, Robertson seemed to gain his footing as a serious artist.
Then there’s the subject matter. Being a fringe book, Nicieza had more leeway to tell the kind of stories he wanted to tell. Stories that included homophobia, child abuse and even the delicate subject of slavery was tackled in a mature manner that eludes most Politicians. Have you ever read an issue of Avengers where a teen superhero accidentally murders his father while trying to fend off the father’s beatings? It happened in New Warriors.
And there’s the relevence to modern comics. Richard Rider may have seen a resurgence in the pages of Nova (thanks in large part to Annihilation) but his initial storyline was merely revisiting (not re-hashing) the Starlost arc in issues 40- 42.
Former Warriors characters have recently returned to prominence. Power Pack has enjoyed smaller success through all-ages miniseries in the last few years. Rage showed up in The Initiative after the Civil War. (Though curiously, he was wearing his old leopard print gimp mask instead on his metal bondage mask.)
As mentioned previously, Nova is now the biggest hero in Marvel’s cosmic sector. And Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are trying to do the same for Darkhawk. (Thank you DnA!) But did you know there is a Warriors connection in Guardians of the Galaxy as well? Enigmatic hero from an alternate future, Major Victory was the leader of the original Guardians. He also happens to be an alternate reality version of Vance Astrovik aka Justice.
Warriors fever is creeping up all over the place. Now if only Marvel would quit wasting our time and get Nicieza back for a REAL reboot. Make it happen Quesada! You owe us for One More Day!
In the meantime, if you want to read one of Marvel’s best series from the 90s, run down to BSI and have a look through their back issue bin.