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.