Next week sees the release of New Warriors #9, the return of regular artist Paco Medina and the start of a new storyline. In the meantime, the NWCC Roundtable sits down for a close look at New Warriors #8, the conclusion to the two-part “Reunion”.
Flank, Jeremy and Corey compare notes to see how the issue held up. Be sure to share your own thoughts on the issue in the comments.
New Warriors #8
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Penciler: Jon Malin
Inker: Victor Glazaba
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
Production: Anthony Dial
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley
Night Thrasher confronts his predecessor’s greatest enemy Midnight’s Fire, while the rest of the team confronts their doubts over the subversive nature of their New Warriors organization. Also, former New Warriors watch the formation of a government youth group called the Junior Guardsmen.
Issue #8 was my least favorite of the new series. In the middle I actually wanted to put it down and not finish it. Much of that was the art — I couldn’t tell the women apart, there weren’t really anything resembling backgrounds, and Jon Malin draws full tier ‘wide-screen’ panels almost exclusively, no matter what the story calls for. But unfortunately, the story had just as much to blame.
Not much to say here but, “Yeah.” The art was not winning me over, and in this issue more than the last I really felt Medina’s absence and began to appreciate how much he brings to the book.
Unfortunately, agreed. And after reading Young Avengers Presents #1 where Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco cranked out work better than any of their New Warriors material so far, I’m hoping they’ll return next issue stronger than ever. I’m still not wowed by Medina but there’s an ease to his style that I hadn’t really acknowledged before.
Half the issue was about the confrontation between the new Night Thrasher, his ex-girlfriend Silhouette, and his dead brother’s old nemesis Midnight’s Fire. The art rendered the obligatory fight totally skip-able, and then we got into the meat of the scene. The meat of the scene is that Donyell wants something Fire can give him, Fire wants something else that apparently only helping Donyell will provide, Silhouette doesn’t approve, and Fire turns out to be working for someone who’s plotting against the Warriors. It’s all terribly mysterious. “Terribly” meaning, it’s a terrible way to do a mystery, because we aren’t given enough hints at what these people might want to actually care about the conflict between them, and instead it was just frustratingly oblique.
This scene was really muddy here, and I don’t think it was really the art that did it. The writing is vague to the point of gibberish, and the only thing that keeps me engaged is the mental gymnastics required to keep straight who is thinking what here. The mystery is bland (like most of the plot threads introduced in the last issue and this one) and the dialogue is… wait! The dialogue is… less awful! Well, at least THIS dialogue.
At least the immense coincidence of Doynell, Silhouette and Midnight’s Fire all happening to visit Dwayne Taylor’s grave was addressed. Apparently Donyell, masquerading as Dwayne, invited Midnight’s Fire. This just leaves Silhouette’s arrival an only slightly less immense coincidence. But this is super-hero comics, so sometimes you just have to go with it when it comes to this type of stuff. Otherwise, yes. Donyell wants Midnight’s Fire to help him in some way, and since Midnight’s Fire will get something or other out of it, he’ll do it. I can’t help thinking the pay-off won’t be satisfying, but I would love to be proven wrong. I did like the mystery of the shadowed person in the back of Aaron’s car. That sequence was another common super-hero element, but was a bit more enjoyable. We’ll see where all of this takes us, but I agree the set up of it in this and the previous issue didn’t quite excite me.
Then there was also the non-debate the team had about whether people could consider them terrorists or not. The initial scene of just the males on the team didn’t make any sense — hands up if you understood who thought they could be considered terrorists and who didn’t. Then it got worse when they brought it up with the rest of the team.
One of the main problems was that the writer, like most of the American public and the current administration, seems to have a shaky idea of what “terrorism” means. Terrorism, by its definition, is performed with the end goal of inspiring terror. It’s right there in the name. Violence is a means to an end in terrorism, not the end itself. So, no, the current Warriors are not terrorists. Would today’s America perceive them as such? In a political climate where popular talk radio hosts call for anti-war activists to be placed in detainment camps and charged with reason? I gotta say, yeah, people would think they’re terrorists.
I thought this was an interesting point, and was looking forward to the individuals taking a stance one way or another, but it quickly devolved into a sort of ramble without a point OR consistent characterization, so the potential “hot-button” sense of the issue was very much wasted.
This could’ve been a really interesting discussion. Instead, I never got a sense of what exactly was being discussed beyond the fear of a label from public perception. No one really voiced exactly what they thought would come of such a label, aside from a generalized fear for their children. Consequences weren’t discussed. They never got into why this label is being applied to them, and whether their actions were influencing the perception, or if there was anything they could do about it by changing their actions. They could’ve discussed any number of more philosophical aspects of the topic, akin to the “freedom fighter” vs. “insurgent” debate. I don’t even see how they got to their hooray, go-team resolution. Everyone just decided to be cool to each other and act like a family, which wasn’t really addressing the concern. This was probably one of the most frustrating scenes of the series so far because the original series was so good at talking about social concerns despite being within a super-hero context. It’s tough type of scene to write and I think that was backed up here.
The solicits for this arc told us we’d get to see the reaction of former Warriors to the new team. We didn’t. Instead, we saw Silhouette and Donyell talk obliquely about their history, and we saw Justice, Ultra-Girl and Rage — but none of them said much about the new team. Instead, we got to hear three reactions to the Junior Guardsmen — or rather, *four* reactions, because Justice went to comparing them to Nazi Germany last issue to defending them when Rage compared them to Nazi Germany this issue. I would’ve loved to see the old members address the new team, and I would’ve loved seeing them all interact even more. Instead we got the Junior Guardsmen, who seem like a really strange, ill-conceived concept, especially in this book. They’re too young and non-powered to be a counterpart to the Warriors, and what is the goal “justice by any means necessary” doing coming out of anything sponsored by the Initiative?
I’ll finally disturb the agreement here and say I liked these scenes. The Juniors could be very interesting, and while I have no idea where that’s going, this may just be a case where Kevin is going to surprise us. Maybe. Plus, even with Vance’s wobbly ethics between this issue and last (which I hadn’t noticed until Flank pointed it out) I can’t bring myself to badmouth any appearance by a REAL Warrior in this book.
There was something disjointed about this scene and Flank did a good job of nailing it down for me. Like I said last time, I think the Junior Guardsmen concept could be interesting. It isn’t yet. I’m not really sure how long I’m willing to remain optimistic about it.
All in all — for me, this one sucked. I thought this was going to be the story arc that got me really engaged with this book. Instead, after this story, I’m not convinced I still want to spend my money on this.
Well, I’m not dropping it yet… but if this issue is an indication of the evolution of Kevin’s writing, I am definitely done buying double issues at #12. (Um, did I just out myself as one of THOSE people?) He’s patching up dialogue and leaving out the annoyances of the Diner and the police… but what is filling that space isn’t really any more desirable. My overall impression of these two issues is “Murky” and that word is pretty darn apt in both the writing and art departments.
If I weren’t such a fan of the characters, and running this site, I would probably have passed on it by now, too. Honestly, I might’ve switched to trades or just not bothered completely after issue #6. It pains me to be this rough on the series. The interviews before the first issue’s release had me very excited. So far, the great concepts and themes discussed in those interviews haven’t coalesced into a great comic book. However, an about-face is always possible, so I’ll hold out hope.