The New Warriors.

A decade before he was one half of one of the longest running creative teams in modern comics on Ultimate Spider Man, Mark Bagley was one half of a not quite as long running creative team on one of the greatest comics of the 90s:

The New Warriors.

For 25 issues, Bagley and writer Fabian Nicieza were the perfect combination of art and script. Nicieza’s writing made made even Speedball cool. And no one drew a better Namorita than Bagley (except for maybe that one time Joe Jusko drew her for a Marvel Masterpieces card*). The bikini/short hair combo… ’nuff said.

On the surface, the New Warriors were a teenage Marvel version of Batman and the Outsiders, with new guy Night Thrasher serving as Batman, if Batman had had a bulletproof, razor tipped, rocket powered skateboard (it may seem cheesy now, but it actually was pretty awesome). Recruiting second tier favorites like Nova (who for some reason took a step back from being the Man Called Nova to Kid Nova) and Firestar, Night Thrasher’s team was joined by Namorita and Speedball in the pages of The Mighty Thor, getting a fluke win over ex-Galactus herald Terrax.

From there the group went straight into their own series, which despite what recent incarnations of the title and the description of the team put forth in comics like Civil War, was AWESOME. Particularly of note were the 3 issue Hard Choices storyline, with Thrasher handling the (extraordinarily well done) requisite 90s Punisher guest spot and the rest of the team trying to get Speedball’s mom out of an exo-terrorist group, and the alternate reality storyline of Forever Yesterday, where old Nova foe the Sphinx’s wife creates a whole new reality where she and her husband rule the world. All sorts of Egyptian versions of normally Caucasian heroes pop up to enforce the status quo, as the lower caste mutant population rebels against the reverse racist rule of Mrs. Sphinx and the alternate world versions of the Warriors find themselves being drawn together to fix everything.

Other storylines of note included the return of Terrax, who this time hands the Warriors and villains turned allies Psionex their ass (we’re talking breaking bones and snapping necks) and pretty much creates a full blown apocalypse before the remaining Warriors get a clue and bring in the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer, and the Nothing But The Truth storyline, in which Night Thrasher takes some serious steps away from being a Bat-copy courtesy of his Alfred analogue (an ancient Oriental woman named Tai) turns out to be a total crazy, super powered maniacal mastermind who has been manipulating him his whole life (that storyline’s sub plot was no less intense, with Marvel Boy going on trial for killing his abusive step father).

After Bagley left to take over art chores on the Amazing Spiderman (was the success of New Warriors a direct cause of a young, relatively inexperienced artist getting a shot at one of Marvel’s main books? You can bet your bippy), Nicieza kept going with new artist Darick Robertson. It was still good, with the Poison Memories storyline being a high point, but Bagley was really THE New Warriors artist for me.

By the time Nicieza left somewhere in the mid-50’s, the book was pretty much done. It trucked on until issue 75, but after that it’s greatness was forgotten, and subsequent attempts at a revival were either bad jokes about reality tv or an entirely different series all together. Things ended well for Nova, as he ended up getting a major power boost and once again stars in his own ongoing series, but he was a character who had been around since the 70s and thus had probably the biggest fanbase. And I’m not going to complain, since he was on my favorite cover from that first 25 issues:

So bad ass.

It seems like the higher ups at Marvel just had no respect for the rest of the original team; Namorita and Night Thrasher were blown up to kick off Civil War, Marvel Boy (who changed his name to Justice) and Firestar were Avengers for awhile but then were unceremoniously retired (Justice actually returned and was a major character in Avengers:Initiative, originally serving as an instructor, and then going AWOL to team up with Rage and other late period Warriors as an anti-Initiative resistance, so I guess someone out there still likes him). And we won’t talk about what Warren Ellis did to Speedball…

I’ll just stick with my New Warriors Classic trade paperback (volume 2 out this month!).

Better days. Better days.


©2020 The Noize Corp | Advertise