Podcast reveals how Yost and To’s New Warriors came to be and what’s to come

To promote the release of New Warriors #1, writer Christopher Yost and artist Marcus To sat down with dyed-in-the-wool New Warriors fan and Marvel editor Ben Morse and Marvel Digital executive editorial director Ryan Penagos for an episode of This Week in Marvel NOW! at Marvel.com. Listen to the entire podcast for the full details. Here is a rough overview (with parenthetical comments by me to give some background info here and there):

Yost reiterated his love for the original New Warriors series by Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley. Marcus To is newer to the characters and brings a fresh perspective to the team.

The book is, in a sense, a spiritual successor to Yost’s Scarlet Spider. Yost knew at around Scarlet Spider #2 that it wouldn’t last forever. They felt it did tremendously well for a book about a clone of Spider-Man, but around the middle of the second year, they started looking for what to do next. He started working with editor Stephen Wacker on the next phase for Kaine and hit upon the idea of a new New Warriors. For a time, it was going to be “an all-clone book”. But because of the relaunched Nova series, and guest appearances by Speedball and Justice, they thought “maybe there’s an appetite for getting the band back together”. The book then transitioned into a “new take on the New Warriors”.

Editor Sana Amanat took over shepherding the book, and when she asked Yost if he had an artist in mind, he immediately suggested Marcus To from their collaboration on Red Robin at DC Comics.

Yost explained that the first story arc is the team coming together with a specific threat occurring at the same time. Again looking to the first series, Yost noticed that the original line-up consisted of a “microcosm of the Marvel Universe”, with a couple of mutants, a superhuman, an Atlantean, a space-based hero, etc. They took that concept to the next level with one of every type of hero in the Marvel Universe. This is what’s being targeted by the villain the High Evolutionary, who thinks he’s saving humanity from being wiped out from these stray species. (This is reflected in the recent High Evolutionary Journals posted to Marvel.com.)

Yost and To then ran through the newer characters joining the team for the first time:

Sun Girl is a regular human whose father was the villain Lightmaster. Her equipment is based on his technology. She is a classic hero and an idealist who had a run-in with the Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus’ mind in the body of Spider-Man, believe it or not).

Water Snake is a brand new character. She’s an Atlantean and her mission on the surface world, which will “speak to New Warriors fans pretty clearly”, will be revealed as the series progresses. She has a connection to Namora (Namorita’s “mother”).

Hummingbird, from the pages of Scarlet Spider, has an Aztech deity residing in her mind, making her a demi-god. She can control people’s emotions. She is 15 years old and is bright and excited.

Heichi is an Inhuman with the power to absorb energy. He will be introduced in New Warriors #2. He will first be seen riding the subway trying to cover the large horn on his head after being transformed. He ties in to the recently concluding Infinity and upcoming Inhumanity events. He is drawn in to the battle with the High Evolutionary.

Marcus To said that Water Snake was one of his favorite character designs to create. For Justice and Speedball, their designs remained mostly the same from their appearances from the recent past. In addition to the cast, he’ll be drawing the Salem Seven, the Morlocks, a character named Hybrid from the fondly-remembered ROM series, along with dozens of other stops throughout the Marvel Universe.

Regarding the ages of the team, Yost speculated that the team roughly ranges from 15 to 24. Scarlet Spider is the oldest at about 24, although being a clone, they guessed he’s really about 3 years old. Sam Alexander is the youngest at about 15 (along with Hummingbird). Speedball was speculated to be about 18 years old. Yost also talked about how life experiences factor into readers’ perceptions of the characters’ ages.

The team dynamic was further discussed. From early on, Yost and Wacker saw the team as becoming a group of heroes that want to be together – “If they weren’t out saving the world, they’d be hanging out, having fun.” They’ll bicker and fight, but they will get along. By the end of the first year, it will be a tight knit group. At issue 5, “they just hang out”.

Getting more specific, Yost considers Justice the linchpin of the team. Sun Girl is the little angel on his shoulder and Kaine is the little devil on his shoulder. They both yell in Justice’s ear to try to influence him in opposite directions. That trifecta will drive the book often. Kaine and Water Snake will form a mutual respect for each other after initially duking it out when they first meet (in issue #2). Hummingbird will have an “unfathomable crush” on Speedball. Everyone will put Nova through the ringer because he’s the rookie.

For callbacks to the original series, Yost said that Namorita will be a presence. He has a soft spot for Silhouette, so he’d be surprised if she didn’t show up at some point. “If I had my way, I would’ve had Firestar in here from issue one.” (Firestar currently has a spot on the team starring in Jason Aaron’s Amazing X-Men.)

Yost described his New Warriors as an old school Marvel comic with big adventure and a lot of fun. It is in the tradition of classic Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and is the “flagship title of the Marvel Universe right now” that is influencing every other book whether they know it or not.

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New Interview and New Appearances Added

A third interview with writer Chris Yost posted this morning at Comic Book Resources. Check it out!

Also, this is what happens when I have Columbus Day off the day after a new New Warriors series is announced: Yesterday I updated every character page with appearances up to the present. Keep in mind that most have not yet been confirmed, so the order of many is bound to change, and some may yet be removed or added as I find a way to read these issues (probably through comiXology’s Marvel app and/or the Marvel Unlimited digital subscription). Limbo Part 4 has not yet been updated. Please feel free to chime in on corrections/additions/etc. in the comments of each character page or here.

My goal is to soon add pages for the new Nova (Sam Alexander), Scarlet Spider (Kaine), Hummingbird, and the rest of the soon-to-be new members. NewWarriors.com has already beat me to the punch with a Sam Alexander page. If you haven’t checked out that site, you should definitely do so, along with its Facebook page and forum.

The New Warriors set to return February 2014

New-Warriors-Marcus-To-Variant-Cover
New Warriors #1 cover by Marcus To

10/14: UPDATED with news from Twitter and Tumblr comments confirming the first villain, a Marvel.com interview, the possible logo, and an endorsement from Fabian Nicieza.

Announced during Sunday’s Superior Spider-Man & Friends panel at New York Comic Con, New Warriors will be relaunched as part of the All-New Marvel Now! branded titles in February 2014. The creative team will be writer Christopher Yost (Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes animated series, Thor: The Dark World feature film, Scarlet Spider) and artist Marcus To (Adventures of Superman, Batwing, Red Robin) with a team roster that includes original Warriors Justice and Speedball with the new Nova (Sam Alexander) and the current Scarlet Spider (Kaine). The cover at right, incorporating the familiar New Warriors triangle into the background, is by To.

The creative team of Yost and To previously worked together on DC Comics’ Red Robin. Yost’s Scarlet Spider ends with issue #25, followed by the character showing up in this series.

The book was first promoted in one of a series of teaser images released in the week leading up to New York Comic Con. The ‘War’ teaser (pictured below) was released on October 4th.

Comic Book Resources posted first about the news in their coverage of the Spider-Man panel. Editors Steve Wacker and Sana Amanat provided the details to attendees:

The final announcement of the panel, revealing the project behind the “War” teaser: A new New Warriors, coming in February from writer Chris Yost and artist Marcus To. Members include, according to Wacker, Justice, Nova, Speedball, Scarlet Spider and Sun Girl. Amanat said it brings together members of various groups in the Marvel Universe — mutants, aliens, clones and more — who have been “deemed a threat” by the High Evolutionary.

Along with the action, Amanat said, it’s about the cast becoming friends and learning to work together. Wacker said the creative team is going for a vibe somewhere between the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans and Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways.

Later in the panel, a Q&A session included a fan asking for everyone’s favorite version of Spider-Man. According to CBR, editor Tom Brennan answered, “I’ve been editing Scarlet Spider for a little under two years now. I kind of love Kaine.” Brennan then praise the Scarlet Spider creative team, thanked fans for their support, and encouraged them to buy New Warriors, where the character will be.

Minutes later, Newsarama provided their own panel report, which provides some additional small details:

Next, the teaser for “War”: Chris Yost and Marcus To will be taking on New Warriors.

Nova, Speedball, Justice, Scarlet Spider will be part of the team, as well as Sun Girl and a new Inhuman, as well as an Atlantean and a mutant. “We’re assembling superheroes of all backgrounds and all races, and they’ve all been deemed a threat,” Amanat said. “They must protect the people that they love.”

What is the purpose of the New Warriors when we have a powerful team like the Avengers? Amanat said that would be discussed in the book. “It’s about these kids coming together and getting to know each other and exploring who they can become outside of the Avengers.” Wacker said the vibe of this book was around Marv Wolfman’s Teen Titans and Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways. It’s due out in February.

Teaser-WAR
War teaser

Newsarama quickly followed that coverage with an exclusive first interview with Yost about the new series. The writer opened with his professing his love for the original series: “I’ve been a fan of the New Warriors since day one, when Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley launched it.”

Yost provided a quick take on the core members. “Justice isn’t sure the New Warriors are needed in an Avengers world, especially given how tainted the name became after Stamford. Speedball needs the New Warriors more than ever as he struggles with his personal demons. And Nova… he’s the new kid on the block, curious to be on a team with people who knew the previous Nova.” He also mentioned the possibility of other past members returning in the future. “Members like Silhouette, Turbo, even newer members like Debrii… maybe down the road.”

Yost stressed a sense of fun would be present, along with a look at all corners of the Marvel Universe through each of the characters.

Beyond the recognized team members, Yost described the rest of the cast: “Sun Girl, a human. Haechi, an Inhuman. Aracely, a Demigod. Water Snake, an Atlantean. And a Clone by the name of Scarlet Spider.” Aracely has been a supporting character in Scarlet Spider.

He ended the interview with what seems like a mission statement of sorts for the series: “The stakes are high. The action is huge. The hero-ing is super. This is old school Marvel Universe action that’s international, interplanetary, inter dimensional. There’s drama, romance, and world saving. And it’s fun. Remember that?”

Yost has also been talking on Twitter, where he revealed a possible first appearance for one of the new members.

He also gave a teaser for the book’s first villain:

10/14: UPDATE: A subsequent tweet confirmed the planned use of the High Evolutionary as “one of the villains”.

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Slideshow at NYCC

Marcus To has also been talking about the new series on his Twitter and Tumblr accounts. He revealed that the cover image above was the first time he drew the characters together, so they may end up looking a little different. Also, regarding ages, he stated that while he does tend to draw characters looking younger, the characters’ ages will remain consistent. Roughly, Nova is 14, Kaine is around 26 and most of the rest of the cast is about “17-18-19 ish”.

Marvel.com posted an interview with the two creators, which confirmed that Sun Girl will appear in an upcoming story arc in Superior Spider-Man Team-Up. It also revealed Aracely’s codename will be Hummingbird. There are good comments from both about their take on the characters and their plans for the series, which will be firmly set in the Marvel Universe.

Original New Warriors writer Fabian Nicieza also provided his thoughts, both on Facebook and Twitter:

Because I’ve been asked to comment by enough people already, here is what I honestly think of Marvel’s NEW WARRIORS series announcement: #1) It would have been nice to have been asked to write it. #2) If they weren’t going to ask me, then Chris Yost and Marcus To are an absolutely GREAT team to launch a new series!

Finally, Bleeding Cool got a picture of the slide shown at New York Comic Con, which might indicate the logo. It looks to be a variation on the logo used late in the original series.

This is all looking good to me! More info as I see it. I might even start updating character appearance pages again, along with new pages for our new New Warriors, schedule permitting.

This will mark the fifth Marvel comic book to bear the New Warriors title and the fourth ongoing series. The last series ran for 20 issues from 2007 to 2009. A 6-issue mini-series preceded it in 2005. The first relaunch occurred in 1999 and only lasted 10 issues (plus a special zero issue included in an issue of Wizard Magazine). The original series successfully ran for 75 issues from 1990 to 1996, and produced four spin-off titles (two ongoing series and two mini-series).

Slott & Gage on the old New Warriors

Marvel.com recently posted an interview with Avengers: Initiative writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage about the roster of the newest New Warriors team, consisting of former members Justice, Rage, Ultragirl, Slapstick and Debrii. Some excerpts:

Slott on Justice:

“Vance is a complex character, but above all he’s a man of principle and a true hero. He’s proud to be both a New Warrior and an Avenger. The man’s got many facets. He joined the Initiative to be there for the young recruits, the way [Captain America] was there for him. But even Steve Rogers fought the system and became Nomad when he didn’t agree with what was going on. Maybe it’s time for Vance to take a chapter from that book. Maybe that’s the kind of person the kids need looking after them?”

Gage on Rage:

“Rage is young, much younger than he looks. He clearly [feels the New Warriors got] a raw deal from the public and the government. There’s [also] some regret there. Maybe he feels things were left unsaid [between him and] those who passed away.”

Slott on Slapstick:

“I think that Steve Harmon is starting to realize that being Slapstick is more than having toon-like powers. It might also mean having toon-like thoughts. And that’s kinda dangerous. Would you want your friends acting like Bugs Bunny in real life?”

Gage on Ultragirl:

“We’ll see in [Avengers: The Initiative #12] that Ultragirl has a lot more to her involvement with the Initiative than just her feelings for Justice.”

Gage on Debrii:

“See Avengers: The Initiative #12!”

For more on each character plus two pages of Avengers: The Initiative #11, read the full article.

Nova writers talk

The Nova Prime Page speaks with Nova co-writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (collectively referred to as DnA).

Regarding the upcoming storyarc with Galactus and the Silver Surfer:

“We’ve not tackled Galactus and his herald properly before, and this will be their first major appearance since the aftermath of the original Annihilation event. We are going to play around with scale, and try to portray Galactus in a way he’s not been seen before. We want to remind people how awesome he is. Imagine a story about a lone cop on duty in a city when a huge hurricane hits town. Rich is the cop, Galactus is the hurricane.”

In response to which scenes in Nova Annual #1 recounting Nova’s origins are actual memories and which are distortions:

“All and all! The Phalanx had clearly affected his memories of the past, but we were also trying to gently modernize those moments, whilst paying respectful homage to the original creators. As to the veracity of the future vision, we (and Richard) will have to wait and see what the future holds. If that is the future, there are going to be an awful lot of questions to answer!”

Regarding Nova’s involvement in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy spin-off series:

“He won’t be joining the team, but he will play a part into its creation and work with it when necessary. The Guardians are going to be Peter Quill’s brainchild, and Rich will back his friend’s efforts all the way.”

On the possibility of Nova’s involvement in this year’s Marvel event Secret Invasion:

“Yes. It’s in the planning stages now. We don’t think he COULDN’T be. He’s a cosmic champion, the last centurion, and he’s from Earth. The Skrulls will make sure he’s involved.”

Read the full interview.

Nova Week Wrap-Up at Nerdage

Time once again to play catch-up from the last week of New Warriors news.

The Nerdage blog concluded its Nova Week theme with more interviews and articles:

  • Nova Prime Page webmaster Doug Smith Interview Part 3 and Part 4
  • Heroes for the 90s, an article about Nova in the New Warriors
  • Reviews on What If? Annihilation and Nova Annual #1
  • Nova editor Bill Rosemann Interview with a sneak peak at a page from Nova #11 by Paul Pelletier. Rosemann confirms that Pelletier’s run will be 2 issues (#11 & 12) and that Wellington Alves will return for a 3-issue run. No news yet on whether Alves will be the new regular artist or if someone will take over with issue #16.
    • Excerpt:
      • Rosemann: “Currently, a vicious virus is racing through Nova’s system. What’s fun about that (for readers, at least) is exploring the question: What good is the ability to soar through space and hurl massive force beams if your own body is betraying you? You can see how that fight is taken to it’s ultimate level in Nova Annual #1, on sale next week. Then he’ll confront the afore-mentioned Warlock in March and April. Will he help Nova in his current quest to take down the techno villains known as the Phalanx? After that…yeah, it’s time for Galactus and the Silver Surfer! What can our Human Rocket do against a giant who eats planets? You’ll have to come along for the ride in May to find out!”
  • Nova Gets First Annual article from local newspaper The Oklahoman, which hosts the blog Nerdage
  • New Warriors volume 2 writer Jay Faerber interview where he talks about his time writing Nova and the New Warriors
  • Podcast reviewing Nova Annual #1

Nova Week continues at Nerdage

Nerdage, comic book blog of The Oklahoman newspaper, continues it’s Human Rocket celebration with the second part of their interview with Nova Prime Page webmaster Doug Smith, as well as a feature on how the Nerdage blogger came around to being a fan of Nova.

Read part 2 of the Doug Smith interview.

Read the Learning to Love Richard Rider article.