The heroes for the 90s are here! Again! Recolored and apparently worth three times their original cover price! Is there any chance this could be worth it?
Written by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Frenz, and Tom DeFalco. Illustrated by Mark Bagley and Ron Frenz.
His parents dead, Dwane Taylor – a.k.a. Night Thrasher – set out to create a new family for himself and ended up with the premier super-team of the 1990s! Marvel Boy and Firestar! Namorita and Nova! Speedball! All they want to do is change the world! Decide for yourself how well they managed it in their trials by fire against Terrax and the Juggernaut! Also, featuring anti-heroes Star-Thief and Psionex! Guest-starring Thor and the Inhumans! Collecting NEW WARRIORS #1-6 and THOR #411-412.
When this material was first written, the industry was in a very different place. Writers were hip to use excessive (now dated) slang. In a pitch to be relevant, characters were struggling against contemporary social ills like gangs and drugs. Issues weren’t written for the inevitable collection. Expository dialogue and thought bubbles crowded panels.
While these eight issues have a clear connection – Cool things cause awesome stuff, which in turn causes even more cool things – it’s missing a connective theme to tie all the stories together. Two of the chapters are done-in-ones, and the other six are three two-partners. Thanks to the style of the time, each chapter starts off with one character saying something like “Hey, [other character], can you believe we were doing [activity] just a couple hours ago, and now we’re fighting this villain because [quick recap of last 22 pages]?” Two things help Nicieza smooth over this clunky style. First, he uses time skips between chapters instead of relying on cliffhangers. This helps to avoid the stuttering effect caused by stuttering dialogue. Second, and more surprising for the time period, is the unchanging narrative structure. Every issue has the same narration, and none of them employ a framing device out of sync with the rest of the issues.
There are two pencillers named for the book because it collects issues from “Thor,” not because of a fill-in artist. Mark Bagley handles all the art for the “New Warriors” issues, and Ron Frenz’s work is extremely close in style. If you don’t pay close attention, you may not even notice the change. Both artists provide dynamic action poses, but it’s sometimes unclear what the action actually is. In several instances, one of the Warriors will be delivering a kick, sharing the panel with nothing but motion lines. In the next, the villain will be laying on the ground saying “You just kicked me!” On more than one occasion, Bagley seems to have trouble visually conveying what a villain’s abilities are, leaving Nicieza to explain it with unnatural dialogue. This isn’t always Bagley’s fault. How do you draw “math powers”? The important thing is the consistent style which results in a collection of stories that look like they belong together. The page quality and colors are a step up from the original prints, but looking back at the originals, there are no obvious corrections or improvements.
Of course, nice paper and smoother colors don’t make this worth the cover price when most of the material can be found in dollar bins, or even quarter bins. The real value-adder in this set is the 21 pages of bonus features. There are the standard character designs, which aren’t too different from the final ones. There’s also some scripts for “Thor,” which were written in the Mighty Marvel Manner without specific dialogue, and some interviews and other material from “Marvel Age” and “Marvel Year in Review.” The only thing missing is the letter columns.
The most entertaining bonus though, is the original proposal for the series from Nieciza with the original comments from editor Danny Fingeroth. There are some neat “What could have beens” with the team name (which was originally “The Young Warriors,” and then “The Edge,” with other possibles including the terrible, terrible moniker “The 6 Teens.” It’s also funny to see Nicieza propose a scene with a big red “NO.” from Fingeroth followed by “maybe” in green, then appearing in issue five. It also includes original ideas for the first twelve issues, including a crossover with the Guardians of the Galaxy that sadly never happened.Continued below
In the end, this trade is asking for quite a bit of money for something which is readily available for less. As nicely as the story flows, I’d recommend browsing the bonus pages, and then buying the issues from the cheap bins.
Final Verdict: 6 – A Browse for the 90s!