“From the Ground Up!”
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Mark Bagley
With the upcoming release of 52 Crappy First Issues from DC, I thought it’d be relevant and contemporary to go back and find 52 OTHER Crappy First Issues from DC and Marvel. Since everybody knows that “FIRST ISSUES” are the most-sought after pieces of crap…errrr, collectibles… around!
I’m lazy and slow-to-update, so while I may not do 52 FIRST ISSUES, I’m sure I’ll find enough comics that have been sitting around collecting dust. Maybe I’ll do one a month; sorta’ like the old recurring joke in “GROO” comics, where each issue was “New #1 First Issue…for this month”. Nonetheless, why should I spend 2.99 for yet another FIRST ISSUE when I have a gaggle of equally worthless FIRST ISSUES laying around?
So, even as a teen, “New Warriors” was a title I instantly hated. They had a brief two-part appearance in 1989’s “Acts of Vengeance” cross-over when they popped up in “Thor”. Yeah, appearing in “Thor” is always a great place to launch your title. When their official title debuted in early 1990, they were dubbed a “Team for the 90’s”. However, the team actually contained three heroes from the 70’s (Nova, Namorita and Marvel Boy), two from the 80’s (Firestar and Speedball) and only one new hero from the 90’s (Night-Thrasher). Their stories read like a rip-off of 1980’s “New Teen Titans” yarns and the characters annoyed me to no end.
Not to mention that the team name was weak. I mean “New Warriors”? Has a superhero ever been referred to as a “warrior”? Warriors were either the eponymous street gang from the 1980 movie (“come out and playy-ayyyyy”), the “Heroic Warriors” who hung out with He-Man, or bad-ass pro wrestlers of the painted face variety. To use it to refer to superheroes is a tough sell. I’m guessing the creative team tried and tried to come up with a team name, but could only arrive at “New Heroes”. So they opened up a thesaurus and came up with some alternates for “heroes”.
The gist of the team is that they’re not the Avengers…so they decide to team up. To flesh out the role call more, we have:
Dwayne Taylor, an orphan who saw his parents murdered at a young age. He’s now dedicated to fighting a war on crime and has committed his life to endless physical training. Armed with a plethora of gadgets, he takes nightly ventures to the rooftops of Gotham City…errrr, New York City… as Night Thrasher! Or, to sum it up: he’s like a rip-off of Batman with the Rocket Racer’s gear. Y’see, just like the Racer, he uses a skateboard. Hence the name “Thrasher”…which means the writer probably saw the skateboarding magazine of the same name and thought it’d be “cool and contemporary”. OK, but I remember “Thrasher” being all the rage… in 1986. Even weirder is the fact that the skateboard isn’t really a huge part of Night Thrasher’s costume, nor his personality. He’s definitely not Tony Hawk, nor a member of JFA. It’s a tough sell to think someone would do the Batman thing, but opt for a SKATEBOARD gimmick. Unless this means a flying skateboard came into young Dwyane Taylor’s study one night?
But wait– he’s also a COMPUTER WIZ who hacked into old SHIELD info to discover everyone’s secret identities. Finally, he has his own Supporting Cast: craggy old bald-headed dude Chord (and you should never mistake a “cord” for a “cable”) and psuedo-mystical Asian lady Tai!
Richard Rider, former star of his own mid-70’s title and a guy who had basically disappeared from Marvel as soon as his comic ended. He instantly returns to action and regains his powers when Night Thrasher threatens to drop him from a rooftop. He also decides to craft himself a new costume with red and yellow buttons. He’s billed as “Kid Nova”, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, since he hasn’t gotten YOUNGER. That name sounds like a boxer’s nickname and I’m guessing the main reason they ran with it (for awhile) was to distinguish him from the other Nova (Frankie Raye).
Vance Astrovik, the younger self of the more famous Vance Astro from the Guardians of the Galaxy. While his older self never bothered me, this version was a bratty know-it-all with an ego the size of Eurasia. He has telekinetic powers and his gimmick was that he had always wanted to be a superhero, worshipping them and becoming an uber-fanboy. Might sound harmless enough, but it did not play out well. Even when he poped up in “Avengers” in the late 90’s, I couldn’t stand the little shit. Like I said, he came off as a brat, as we’ll see in the story summary below.
Angelica Jones, she of the popular “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” TV show. Yet in the comic world, she had done absolutely nothing of merit and had basically been in limbo for the past 5 years. She’s basically like the Human Torch; can fly around and shoot fire. Marvel had teased big things for her since she appeared in “X-men”…and they still haven’t arrived.
Robbie Baldwin. From his own short-lived 10 issue 1988 series (which was about 9.5 issues too long for my tastes). Probably the most vanilla character to debut in the 80’s, I always felt that Speedball was given a freeride at Marvel simply because he was created by Steve Ditko. I’ve said before that Ditko was great… for the 60’s.. but in the 80’s his stuff seemed out-of-place and amazingly ordinary. There was an issue of “Speedball” where he fought a guy in an animal mask with a gun… yeah, that was the entire story. I should also mention that when Robbie appears in his civilian ID in this story, he’s wearing a sleeveless POISON t-shirt and a mullet. Just Like Every Rose Has its Thorn, Every Turd has its Lump.
Nita Prentiss, the little sister of Namor the Sub-Mariner. Only she’s blonde, wears a full swimsuit and isn’t as much of a bitch as Namor is. Another character who had been floating around in limbo since the late 70’s. Here, she seems to have a Mutant Ponytail and sports a 12 foot hairdo, kinda’ like the Titans’ Starfire. Amazingly, she was the one member of the team who didn’t bother me too much. Strange, considering I’ve always her brother Namor to be THE most annoying character in comic history.
As for the story…well, it all begins wth the aforementioned Nova/Night Thrasher meeting. Why did Night Thrasher find Nova? Because he wants to start a group. That’s it. No alien invasion, team brought together by fate, or anything like that– one guy wants to start a superhero group.
It continues when Marvel Boy brazenly walks right up to Avengers Mansion and demands to join the Avengers. Why should he join? Because he’s Marvel Boy, by golly! Captain America, acting like a bigger tool than ever, tells him to take a hike. After all, he says, the Avengers don’t have the facilities or time to train a youngster. Okay, despite the fact that they had Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) as a trainee for years, plus Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hawkeye, Mantis, Hellcat and a few others who joined the team with no real training. And I think the Avengers were also messing around with the youngster Rage at this time. Yet the more I think about this scene, the more I want to give Cap a load of Cool Points. He simply thought Marvel Boy was a dork and politely told him to hit the gravel. Thus, it’s the American Way to dislike Marvel Boy! If you like him, then you’re an Anti-American Jackass! Get out of our country! Love it or Leave it! U-S-A! U-S-A! Let’s shoot someone!!
Ahem… Marvel Boy is about to cry as he flies off, but Night Thrasher and Nova see him and simply ask: “you want to join a group, do you?” Yup… more amazing “brought together by fate” antics. The creativity continues, as the three simply call up Firestar and ask her to join.
Finally the “brought together by fate” antics DO happen. A company called Gene-Tech, the obligatory “Shadowy Corporation With Their Teeth in Everything” has a giant… umm… Beetle-looking vacuum machine, which is supposed to clean up Groundwater Contamination. Oooo…ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES! This really is “for the 90’s!!” Do I sense a MESSAGE?!
Not sure how it’s supposed to work, but the Beetle-thing chews up the ground and suddenly Terrax the Tamer sprouts from its abdomen.
Terrax speaks in SOUND EFFECTS!
Namorita had been at the site with her college class, so she dukes it out with Terrax. Speedball and the Four Heroes Who Felt Like Hanging Out show up because… they all saw it on the news. Of course, Terrax is defeated (with a LOT of meaningless techno-babble added in as an “explanation”) and the heroes decide to stick together. Complete with the cliched “let’s put all our hands together” shot. Sorta’ like something a womens softball team would do before a game. “All together, now! Go Pandas on 3! 1-2-3– Goooooooo Pandas!”:
At the end, an Avengers contingent of Captain America, She-Hulk and Quasar shows up, but the six heroes feel slighted by the heavyweights. I really just wanted to mention Quasar, because I always forget that he was in the Avengers for about two years.
Anyways, the six heroes need a team name, so Speedball mentions something he overheard a news reporter say: “who are these new warriors who have joined the fight?” I suppose it could’ve been worse, at least the reporter didn’t say “who are these Frickin’ Idiots who have shown up?”
I’ll admit that it’s tough to come up with a truly original “team origin” story. Usually it’s a little bit of villain manipulation, widespread disaster or alien invasion that causes the random hereos to come together before realizing: “hey, we should be a team”. Yet this story feels so tacked-together that it’s tough for me to get excited. Like the impetus for their creation was: “umm, we need a new hero team. Who do we have laying around?” Fans had been pining for more Firestar for years, but I find it tough to believe that there were requests to see these other idiots.
Thus began the “saga” of the Frickin’ Idiots… otherwise known as “New Warriors”. Apparently, they landed enough fan support to stick around for about 6 years, followed by a few different revamps and updates. Including THREE more FIRST ISSUES! Will any of those pop up here?! Keep reading and we’ll see you in 30, True Believer!
Summary: Random heroes team up for the hell of it. Fight Terrax and put their HANDS together.