New Warriors (Vol. 1) #66

 Lookback: Filling Gaps
 Posted: 2006


The Scarlet Spider is now on the team. Firestar's power might be doing something to her body. Namorita has been found in the hands of the enemy, brainwashed to do his bidding. A strange woman has come to the Warriors to warn them of the death of Speedball in the near future, which has left him plagued with strange nightmares at the same time his powers decide to become unstable.

Story Details

Speedball has returned to his home town of Springdale in the hopes of finding out what's going on with his powers lately; a concern proven by the unwanted emergence of his speed bubbles as he exits his bus. Finding some privacy, Robbie Baldwin transforms into Speedball to take himself the rest of his way home. Unseen by him, however, Niels the bouncing cat makes a break through that very same alley to escape some pursuers.

Speedball arrives home and transforms back as his father pulls up. They greet each other and his father takes him out for a welcome dinner. As they pull away, Niels and his would-be captors happen by at the same time. At the local pizza place, Robbie fills his father in on his adventures with the Warriors and his need to see Dr. Benson at Hammond Labs about his powers. And yes, Niels passes by again.

Back in New York, Justice knows he should be focusing on Warriors business, but all he can think about is Firestar's sudden desires to speed up their plans to have a family before her powers claim that ability from her. Lost in thought, he's surprised by the Scarlet Spider who drops in for a chat with him, almost resulting in his squishing the spider. Scarlet pleads his case about how he feels about the team as well as a vague sense of his personal troubles. Justice admits to being on edge as a new leader and perhaps being unduly harsh on the web-spinner. He asks Scarlet to prove his comfort level with the team by revealing his identity. Unfortunately, Scarlet feels he can't at this time and takes his leave. Justice returns to his thoughts, only to receive an unnerving and ill-timed phone call from Sabra in Israel.

Back in Springdale, Speedball heads for Hammond Labs while Niels' luck just about runs out. The Harlequin Hit Man shoots the cat, causing a reaction with his speed bubbles to ricochet him into Harlequin's slimy partner, Sticker. With Niels trapped on Sticker, the two race for their van and speed off. Speedball arrives at the labs only to find it shut. As he investigates to make sure nobody is around, a car and the van pull up carrying every two-bit villain he's ever fought and all of Niels pursuers: The Bug-Eyed Voice, The Ghost of Springdale High, Bonehead, Leaper Logan, The Harlequin Hit Man, The Basher, The Two-Legged Rat and the Sticker, complete with Niels on his chest.

Speedball recalls how Niels, Benson's cat, would always be underfoot as Robbie worked in the labs. When the kinetic energy of the kinetic dimension went out of control, both he and the cat were bombarded; a fortunate occurrence that let Benson study his cat and keeping Speedball from being stuck as a lab rat. Speedball watches as they enter the lab and decides to make his move. Easily, he dispatches his one-time foes and gives chase to Sticker who took off during the fracas. However, his powers begin to go nuts and try to transform him back into Robbie along the way. He manages to get it together just in time to be taken down by Clyde, aka Rebound.

Speedball awakens to find Niels and himself strapped to a device before Clyde, threatening to drain them of their energy and turn himself into the ultimate super villain. Speedballs reminds him of his last bid for power, and Clyde informs him that all of Speedball's old foes were just failed experiments along the path to his ultimate goal. Clyde beings his foul plans just as Niels coughs up the hairball he's been gagging on for a while now. Charged with kinetic energy, it destroys the lab and messes with Clyde's machine, causing it to hurt him in the process. Speedball gets free and tries to figure out how to save Clyde when a gateway is opened to the Kinetic Dimension before him. There, he sees what looks like himself. Snapping back to reality, Speedball pulls the plug and frees Clyde from his machine.

And so, the villains are rounded up by the police, Niels' disposition has changed for the better, and Speedball is left with yet another mystery on his hands.

General Comments

An offbeat story to interrupt the serious tones of the last few. While the comedy was obviously intended, it was lacking in the story. Speedball's rescue by Niels was a clever and unexpected maneuver by the writer. Also, the mystery with Speedball continues to deepen and take new twists and turns, and the best kind of mysteries are the ones you can't solve easily.

To wrap up the Scarlet Spider's involvement with the team, Scarlet and Justice have a little talk in which both men come to some kind of understanding with each other before parting ways. This was a nice touch and a good note to end on before all hell breaks loose the following issue. (See the Nightmare In Scarlet crossover with Web of Scarlet Spider #1 and following.)

Overall Rating

Three and a half webs. A cute story that was light, and gave Scarlet some good parting words.

 Lookback: Filling Gaps
 Posted: 2006