Flashback Friday Review: The New Warriors Vol. 1 #1
Nova, Namorita, Marvel Boy, Speedball, Firestar and the mysterious Night Thrasher are the New Warriors! New Warriors Vol. 1 #1 features the origin of the New Warriors and an incredible battle against the Fantastic Four’s enemy, Terrax and is a self-contained issue that’s pretty fun and holds up after 27 years!
It’s been 27 years since this issue was released and I don’t think I’ve ever read this issue. I vaguely remember it being released by a new team featuring characters I didn’t know didn’t really interest me at the time. Ironically I became a fan of the New Warriors decades later in some of their more recent incarnations that have been released.
This comic really is the origin of the group, not the characters. Written by Fabian Nicieza very little is explained as to who these characters are and why we should care about them. Instead, it mostly revolves around Night Trasher being a dick to recruit folks he thinks he needs to be a part of his attempt to “wage his war” against crime. It’s pretty basic in all of that and each character’s motivations to join him seems to consist of “I’ve got nothing to do” and “you’re an ass but…,” though none of that really makes sense. Night Trasher recruits Nova by throwing him off the roof (his powers were suppressed and that unlocked them). Marvel Boy is recruited when the Avengers say they don’t want them. Firestar is threatened over the phone. Speedball and Namorita join after the battle with Terrax and never really formally asked. It’s weird.
The comic is entertaining though. There’s surprising little that feels weird today or has aged horribly (maybe some stilted dialogue). There’s some sexist comments, but from “kids” it doesn’t feel quite as bad. Speedball for example is interested in getting into the fight to meet “babes.” A male teenager saying that? Feels right. The battle with Terrax too is fun with good action and how he’s defeated feels original as two characters’ powers play off of each other well. The comic as a whole has good pacing, a good mix of action and humor and sets things up well for the future. By the time the comic is over you get a good sense of the team, though not of its individuals. Personalities are clear in how they’ll work together. Motivations have generally been set for the team as a whole as to their rivalry with older superhero teams and being “kids.” And their general dynamic is laid out well.
The most impressive thing to me is that this is all one issue. No one character an issue. No spreading it out over a trade. They all come together and do battle in one comic that you can pick up, enjoy, and not have to read anything else. It feels special in a weird way because of that. And that fact it’s a one and day may be the most dated thing about it.
The art by Mark Bagley with ink by Al Williamson and color by Michael Rockwitz is good and though looks of the time you can see Bagley’s style that I’ve come to love with his more recent work (I really got to know his art when he returned to Marvel in 2011). There’s some of the flow and character design that he still uses today, but styles have changed since this was published so while it’s familiar, Bagley’s work today is very different from this. Still, it’s great to look at and both the action sequences and more chill scenes all work well and flow.
27 years later, the comic is still entertaining and a solid read. It’s not too expensive to pick up either and it feels like the timing is right for these characters to be seeing a revival some time soon, so check it out before they become a “thing” again.
Story: Fabian Nicieza Art: Mark Bagley Ink: Al Williamson
Letter: Michael Hegler Color: Michael Rockwitz
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy