Oh No, Can It Be? We’re Heading for a Heatwave

My listening has been really passive and boring–oddly, close to the listening I did years ago, which I’ve been wanting to get back to. A shuffle of 5 or so albums in the car (a burnt copy of No Coast which includes my digital copies of the Forgetters 2×7″ and J.
Robbins’s Abandoned Mansions acoustic EPThe Wombats Present…This Modern GlitchWhile a Nation Sleeps, etc) and at home just the set-it-and-forget-it approach to my digital collection (a few hours of chronological Fall, Cure, Smiths thanks to an issue of Secret Avengers (pictured right!).

I’d like to talk about music, but continue to feel as if I’m just continuously attempting to catch myself up on comics. I had to stop where I was reading (while listening to XTC straight through, incidentally–still in the White Music and Go 2 era stuff right now) and comment on Yost’s New Warriors. I never found any interest in the original–it wasn’t the eye-rolling 90’s glut of dark ‘n’ gritty, but it definitely carried (I thought¹) the feeling of forced new heroes with questionable depth (Hey! Another mutant! Who has fire powers! Because we haven’t done that…repeatedly…). It wasn’t fair (and it still isn’t!) but I never read the book as a result. I accepted the characters readily but I felt most of them weren’t going to last (in many cases, I was right).

This leaves the new book in an awkward place. I picked it up because it continues the Scarlet Spider², whose solo book Yost also wrote, and maybe someone else will pick it up for Sam, the new Nova, or what have you. But commentary and reviews are not encouraging–we have angered old-New Warriors fans³, and lame reviews (lookin’ at you, CBR).

After finishing issue 5, I was so amused by the dynamics and the approach to the book–it’s fun, but with post-Penance Robbie and Kaine here, there’s no shortage of undercurrents–that I had to say something. I was hoping others would find the book’s quality, as I got that feeling of dread–the suspicion that the book may not last. The comments around are NOT encouraging.

So, if anyone stumbles into this post: read the new New Warriors book! Give it a chance! Please!

It’s modern story-telling, so it’s not chock full of exposition to explain everything⁴, but Yost does the best thing that can be done with this style: characters are serendipitously engaged with each other, but not unreasonably so, and immediately begin grating or gelling, and developing interplay and dynamics. We get some emotional shorthand for all that lost exposition to explain why every character is who they are, and nudges to tell us there’s more going on if it’s going to be an ongoing mystery or development. I know modern Kaine pretty well, having read most of his solo book, and I read Civil War so I know something of what’s in Speedball’s history, but almost everyone else is a complete mystery to me–at best, I knew some of them existed. But I’m already getting a good feel for them, and that includes a nicely realized idea of who they are, with no prior knowledge.

The humour, the darkness, they’re contrasted appropriately–not a meted balance, but a properly paced one. It’s a fun book that doesn’t ignore the stained history of the New Warriors name (in-universe), but doesn’t linger on it, either. Stakes are high at start, giving everyone reason to gather (largely unintentionally), and reason to join together, though it remains tentative at best for now.

Give it a go–drop preconceptions and just run with it.

¹I’m continually surprised to find out how old the character of Richard Rider (Nova) is. And Speedball was no real-world spring chicken, either.

²To clarify, if you’re out of the loop, this is the Kaine Scarlet Spider, not the Ben Reilly one. Kaine, of course, used to look like this and murder people, like Doc Ock (made for a fun Superior Spider-Man story…). His power set is slightly shifted (no Spider-Sense, more strength, “stingers” in his wrists, that kind of thing) and his attitude is shittier. Cold, acerbic, self-loathing. Good times!

³Has any Marvel team ever been truly stable? Even the fucking Fantastic Four haven’t been able to retain all four members, having traded Ben for She-Hulk in the 80s, to start with. The Avengers–good lord, just TRY to find a definitive core team. Ain’t happening. And now, like the X-Men, they’ve split into 37 splinter versions, so don’t even. In other words: get over it, New Warriors fans.

⁴This irritates me to no end. Yes, you can do it badly, and you can do it not-as-badly, but the point is to allow people to jump in and not be confused out of their minds. There’s a lot of history to pretty much any given Marvel character. This would be easier to follow for people who were given some notes as they read. We don’t even get many editor’s notes anymore 😐