New Warriors FTW!

Nate Winchester comments on my affection for the New Warriors from Marvel Comics:

New Warriors? Man your tastes really ARE plebeian. ;) (said with all the fondness and love I can muster)

Plebeian? I’ll say. NEW WARRIORS are the most starchy, idea-free, second-hand collection of Z-list supers ever. I achieve the state of a paragon of bad taste by liking them.

Night Thrasher is a badass cut-rate Bruce Wayne ripoff on a razor-sharp bulletproof skateboard. Except if Alfred were a crazed Vietnamese extradimensional witch who wants to eat his soul.

I can hardly explain my fascination with this trainwreck of a bland, unimaginative superteam of fourth-rate third-stringers. Except that I have a fondness for the overlooked lesser gods of any pantheon. (This is why, in my stories, one is more likely to meet Phobos or Eros, Iris or Glaucon, than Apollo or Venus.)

Namorita is female Namor the Submariner. Firestar is female Human Torch. Speedball is Bouncing Boy, except not as fat. Nova, the Human Rocket, is the Green Lantern in a dumb helmet except without the power ring. Marvel Boy is male Marvel Girl, except later they gave him the lamest most on-the-nose name for a super ever, Justice.

And not one of them has a backstory, or an innate human drama, a love interest, dependent NPC, or even an ability to quarrel with the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, even half as engaging as the originals of whom they are cheapest possible knock offs.

Later, other and lamer heroes or heroines were added to the roster or subtracted, including Rage, a poorman’s version of Luke Cage, and Silhouette, a lame female version of Nightcrawler, who was apparently added merely to keep HR happy about diversity hires.

She was a three-fer: female, minority, crippled in the legs. Unlike the more dignified Professor X or Oracle, however, she mixed it up in brawls with her tricked out laser-ninja crutches.

So every fight scene she was in was like watching a scene written by a demented hack version of Charles Dickens, where ninja wire-fu Tiny Tim beats the snot out of slumlord-warlord Ebeneezer Scrooge in cyborg power armor or something. Except not that realistic or entertaining.

Although, and for the same reason I love Night Thrasher, the latest incarnation of the team includes Sun Girl, who I also love: she is a teen girl with a solar powered jet pack and a a solar powered laser pistol. She may be Japanese or Spanish also, but I cannot tell these things in a comic, unless the writer puts the character in a kimono or a sombrero. I actually think it is awesome to live in a world where anyone with a flying suit can just be a superhero. But Sun Girl had a no-retreat, never-say-die attitude, which won me over.

(see also Turbo, also a New Warrior, and a twofer hired for diversity reasons. Her power was … wait for it … she could fly. So she was like Warren Worthington III, but not wealthy, or like Hawkgirl, but not a reincarnated Egyptian princess, or like the Rocketeer as drawn by Dave Stephens, but without the hot girlfriend or the cool retro helmet.)

The latest incarnation of the team also starred Red Spider, literally a poorman’s clone of Spiderman, who more than made up for his overall lameness by being a total badass and playing the ‘wolverine’ style character on the team. Except, in his case, he did it well.

You see, lameness is not a matter of lame powers or dull backstory, but bad execution. The most trite and outworn concept, if executed with craftsmanship and panache, becomes cool.

My heart was won over entirely by Hummingbird, a teen-girl flying empath from Mexico, whose goofyness matched that of Speedball nicely. And the writer fooled me, I who am so proud of his knowledge of mythology! You see, Hummingbird is from Mexico, and she is not a mutant nor an inhuman, but a demigoddess. Get it? I did not. She is Lefthanded Hummingbird, a character from Aztec legend.  She is Huitzilopochtli. Brilliant.

My main reason for admiring the team was that when Night Thrasher was first introduced, he was psychotically brave and devoted to fighting evil … and he was a ninja on a skateboard.

Thor #412 - Skateboard

A costumed goodguy on a skateboard? Now I’ve finally seen it all.

You tell ’em, Marko.

I have always had great affection for Robin on Teen Titans, or Hawkeye, or Wildcat, or Moon Knight, or any of the other underpowered supers trying to fight menaces like the Juggernaught, who (as you can see above) can swat these underpowered heroes like flies. Because they still go in.

… Armed with a boomerang or a bow and arrow, or some other archaic and useless weapon, but they still go in.

I also liked Night Thrasher because his bulletproof, flameproof armor is tricked out with infrared goggles, breathing gear, various arms and weapons and explosives, including, oddly enough for the day, an Uzi. At the time in the marvelverse, he was the only Cape who carried a firearm aside from The Punisher (whom he bested in hand to hand combat, by the bye.)

Thor #412 - New Warriors

We intend to fight for justice! Punish the guilty and crush them like vermin!

You tell it like it is, Dwayne! Keepin’ it real!


And hit that parallel-time Babylonian supercreep with your razor-skateboard.

nw skateboard to face

Ninja-skateboard to the face! Did Iron Man or Thor ever defeat a foe by pounding said ne’er-do-well in the kisser with a ninja-skateboard? I think not.

‘Nuff said.