The NWCC Roundtable is back to review the 2-part “Reunion” story. First up is part one, New Warriors #7 by Kevin Grevioux and fill-in artist Jon Malin.
Our regular crew is back to give their thoughts, although the holidays ate up James Hunter for this pair of reviews. He’ll be back. In the meantime, Corey, Flank and Jeremy are here and their review thumbs are itching. Read on…
New Warriors #7
“Reunion Part One of Two”
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Penciler: Jon Malin
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Cover artist: Nic Klein
Production: Rich Ginter
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley
The second story arc opens with the first half of a two-part look at what the old New Warriors think of the new New Warriors, focusing mostly on the new Night Thrasher and his past relationships with the original Night Thrasher and his ex-girlfriend Silhouette. Meanwhile, the rest of the team familiarizes themselves with the technology that gives them their powers, and the government super-hero program the Initiative opens up a new Junior Guardsmen program, led by former Warrior Ultragirl.
The Night Thrasher sequences, while starting a bit heavy-handed, ended up being engrossing. Apparently some time between Bandit’s appearances in GAMBIT and the first issue of CIVIL WAR, Donyell and Dwayne Taylor made amends, grew close and started reading poetry together. (The quoted poem is ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley from 1875. The title is Latin for ‘unconquered”.) Silhouette’s extremely coincidental arrival leads to a worthwhile conversation that is the real meat of this plot thread. It feels authentic and true to what has come before for these characters. And then there’s the cliffhanger arrival of Midnight’s Fire. I fear new readers might be left cold, as he isn’t identified at all. But I think it’s pretty clear by now that deeper than normal knowledge of the Marvel Universe is strongly suggested for this title.
I liked the dynamic between Donyell and Sil better than I have any character stuff in this book so far, and it definitely improved as it went along. The reveal of Midnight’s Fire threw me initially, until I realized what his dialogue meant was that he thinks it’s Dwayne in the armor.
I agree with Corey that this requires background knowledge, and that such a thing is pretty normal for the book thusfar. My big concern here is do you guys think that Sil sounded right? Dialogue has been such a weakness of this book, and I am really torn on Kevin’s use of Sil’s voice here. I’d say, to my ear, it felt about 25% genuine, but then again we haven’t really heard her voice in new material since 1994, so evolution is to be expected. I just felt like the conversation between the two of them assumed that their relationship worked in a way that was quite contrary to my understanding (or supposition) of the relationship. This could just be Kevin trying to make me respect Donyell as a hero, which at this point I have troubles with.
Next we have the team practicing with their power-granting technology. This was a little frustrating, as I’m still learning to recognize these characters. This is probably the first time we’ve seen all of them out-of-costume. It’s all a bunch of good-looking young adults with bulges in all the right places. Maybe I’m being too hard on the cast, but I still feel like a stranger with these characters. It’s getting better, though. This scene also introduces sub-plots of Barry’s conspiracy theory, which obviously will turn out to be true, and Chris’ mourning of his sister, which felt like a shoehorned afterthought.
What isn’t made clear in the text is that Barry’s conspiracy theory is out of a two-issue Marvel miniseries called CONSPIRACY (http://www.ffplaza.com/commcenter/articles/Conspiracy.shtml), which ‘revealed’ that the origins of Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and other heroes and villains were actually orchestrated by Control, a U.S. government shadow agency. (Whether CONSPIRACY is in-continuity or not has never been entirely clear.)
I had trouble telling Ripcord and Angel apart in this scene, and I’d say the reason Corey feels like a stranger to these characters is because we’re still strangers to these characters.
The Conspiracy intro was handled very poorly, but I look forward to where it is going. I really warmed to most of the cast in this sequence, which is sad. Sad mostly, of course, because I should have warmed to the core cast 4 issues ago. Mostly I still have lots of unanswered questions, but it felt like this issue was designed to start patching those quibbles up.
The technology selection scene made for an interesting concept, especially when framed by Jono’s story. Nice moment. It almost makes me forget about the painful new supporting character, P-Jack. I really don’t think this book needs its own HERBIE.
I really like the bits with Jono, but P-Jack needs to go away. We’ve already got too many wise-cracking people with attitude problems in this book.
I can not for the life of me understand what impetus brought that metal monstrosity into our continuities. Plus side: He seems to, thusfar, be mutually exclusive with our intrepid detectives.
The nice thing about the Junior Guardsmen concept is that I don’t really know where it’s headed. It’s not incredibly exciting, but I didn’t really expect to see this kind of element used. And it was a nice way to bring Ultragirl and Justice in.
Also, I felt like that was the same characterization of Suzie and Vance that we have been seeing in Avengers: Initiative. When Kevin is playing with the toys from other people’s sandboxes, he is the kind of writer I want to read more from.
And the art – probably the biggest disappointment. After being rather excited by early previews of black-and-white pages, I’m a little confused as to what happened. Was it the inker? Was it the colorist? Is my monitor defective? There are moments here and there that show a glimmer of interesting layout and design. The Bandit flashback at the top of page 4 is one instance. Later on, there’s an all-black panel with only Night Thrasher’s helmeted face, which is rather striking. When he plays with shadows and contrast, I get interested. Otherwise, people seem really stiff and awkward. Occasionally anatomy or perspective seems unintentionally off without being a serviceable element to the story. The only interesting and unique body types are found in the background of the press conference. (I appreciated the cameo of the old man from FAMILY GUY.) Maybe I’m still mad that Nic Klein isn’t doing the interior pages. He’s been churning out cover after cover of really interesting work. His design sense and layout skills are great. His ability to capture mood and tone are exceptional. His figures always feel real and weighted in genuine emotion. His backgrounds are interesting and serve the context of the image.
It took me until about halfway through to realize there was a different artist on this issue — I thought it was just Medina doing a much poorer job than usual. And I personally hated the FAMILY GUY cameo — nothing pulls me out of a book quite like an artist changing their art style to include a figure who’s clearly a refugee from some other media or is a real person they know.
100% on board with Corey here. Art was a let down compared to the strong early sketches we saw. The artist had commented about being excited to reveal the inner workings of Decibel’s machinery, but I really don’t feel like we saw enough of those things to generate that kind of buzz on his end. Maybe next issue? As it stands, I am still badly wanting a run-down of who can do what on this team.
All in all though, this is within the range of quality where I feel happy picking it up every month. This book is finding its footing and that excites me. We’re getting great focus on the stars of the book instead of peripheral characters. I’m more optimistic than ever of where this book is going.
Personally, if I wasn’t a Warriors fan to begin with I wouldn’t be one from this book so far. It’s certainly improving now that we’ve got through the over-stretched mysterious introduction, but the cast is still too big, nobody sounds anything like their previous incarnations, and there’s several elements that are crucial to the concept that we’ve only barely glimpsed (like the way the Warriors are suppose to be a movement with wide youth appeal rather than just a superhero team — so far we’ve been told that a lot, but barely shown it).
I think Flank’s desire to see more of the ‘movement’ is on the near horizon for us… and I concur with Corey that the book is thusfar not outside my ‘acceptable’ range. This issue went a long way towards allaying some of my fears, and the TANGIBLE connection to the old Warriors is finally falling into place. But I have to wonder if the market will continue to give this book the time it needs to find the right balance of factors needed to push this book out of the malaise of ‘Acceptable’ and into the stratospheric heights of ‘Amazing’ that I so badly want it to be.