New Warriors (Vol. 4) #14

 Posted: 2008


The New Warriors, heirs to the original team, are unregistered heroes who not only fight crime but also serve as symbols of what young and rebellious individualists can achieve.

Mostly what they achieve is teenage angst, but what else is new?

Story 'Invaded'

The New Warriors, in civilian garb, are taking in breakfast at Al's Diner, which helpfully writes its name on the inside of its streetfront window, so that people already dining there can know where they're eating. There's ten of them here—leader Donyell "Night Thrasher" Taylor is back at team HQ—so it's a bit hard to distinguish among them, especially for the Secret Invaders amongst us who have just picked up this book for the first time. Thankfully, the team seems to be made up of an array of gender, ethnic, and regional backgrounds, which helps to keep them all straight.

(Remember, budding writers out there: speaking in dialect equals character development!)

The team is worried about Night Thrasher, who's recently strained his team's trust in his leadership. He put the team at risk to pursue a pet project, and since then he's been unavailable to his colleagues, having cloistered himself in the lab. The rest of the Warriors run the gamut from concerned to resentful to blasé, but their deliberations on how to proceed are interrupted by a rumbling noise outside.

The source of the noise is the Skrull armada that has arrived over New York, as seen in Secret Invasion #2. The Warriors, without their gear or costumes, are in no position to fight, and decide to retreat to their HQ to regroup. Meanwhile, Night Thrasher studies incoming footage of the Skrull attack. He's less concerned about the threat to human civilization than he is about the possibility, which has only now suggested itself, that the original Night Thrasher who died at Stamford was a Skrull impostor. It's understandable that he feels this way—the original Night Thrasher was his brother, Dwayne—but his sense of timing needs work, I think.

The rest of the team, arriving by teleportation portal, feels the same way. They're shocked that Thrasher orders them to stand down until the team has "assessed the [Skrull] threat". Then, without telling them what he's doing, he takes off in his private, costume-themed jet (!) to investigate his brother's safe house, to see if has been recently disturbed.

As Thrasher flies off, the New Warriors pursue him, flying under their own power. Unfortunately for them the skies are filled with Skrull invaders, and a superpowered melee breaks out. Huh; the Skrulls don't seem to have interfered with Thrasher at all. Is this a plot point? No, just poor writing, I think.

The Skrulls haven't interrupted Thrasher's search for his brother, but the Old New Warriors (for lack of a better name) have. Justice and his crew—Slapstick, Rage, Debris, and the Scarlet Spiders, all last seen in Avengers: the Initiative #12—have been looking for Night Thrasher, and bugged the safehouse. Hearing his activity there, they arrive on the scene to brace him. They've got questions about the activities of the New New Warriors (for lack of a better name), but Thrasher's got no answers: he's as brusque and unhelpful to Vance and his old colleagues as he is to his new ones. Baffled by this attitude, and by the fact that Thrasher secretly organized a New New Warriors team in the first place, Vance is forced to conclude that Thrasher might be a Skrull agent. Thrasher refuses to answer this charge, and inevitably a fight breaks out.

Night Thrasher comports himself pretty well, but he's badly outnumbered, and he's quickly subdued. Fortunately for him, though, the New New Warriors arrive by teleport gate in time to even the odds. Looks like next issue will feature a royal rumble indeed.

General Comments

I haven't read any previous numbers of this title, and I suspect that's true of many readers who, like me, only picked this up to read all of the Secret Invasion titles. From that perspective, how does this issue perform?

Quite poorly, I say. This issue should aim at introducing the New Warriors to new readers, making it clear who they are, what they can do, why they do it, and why we should care. And yet there's no attempt to do any of this, really. Instead of meeting the characters one at a time, we meet about ten of them at once. We aren't told their names, or what they can do. We see them in civilian garb, so we don't have any easy way of distinguishing them, other than skin colour and dialect, which feels more like pandering than anything else, as if the cast of MTV's The Real World had superpowers. "You want diversity? We'll give you diversity... young, sexy diversity!" Sexiness aside, these guys come off as irritating rather than cool. The low point is probably the smug Indian who feels the need to educate the others on the finer points of South Asian culture, which would be much more impressive if he (or rather the issue's writer) knew how to spell Mahabharata correctly.

So much for who these guys are. After reading the book I'm no clearer on the other questions: why they do whatever it is that they do when no Skrulls are knocking about. Speaking of Skrulls, the Secret Invasion seems shoehorned in as an afterthought, mostly to give a credible excuse for the two teams to engage in a brawl. This lack of interest in the Skrulls explains, I think, why the actual super-Skrull invaders disappear from the story so quickly. But given how small a role the Skrulls play in the story, it hardly seems fair to tag the book with the Secret Invasion label. I had thought Marvel no longer forced its books to particpate in these big summer crossovers if they didn't want to, but the payoff for that should be that books which do participate have to take the premise of that crossover seriously, not exploit it to entice new readers. Naked grabs for cash and attention of this sort only serve to annoy readers.

Overall Rating

Very little happens; what does happen isn't very interesting; and new readers catching the crossover train are given no help at all in putting anything in context.

Slapstick has some funny lines, at least, so that's something. One web.

 Posted: 2008