New Warriors in battle mode.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1989
Creator: Ron Frenz
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There are many reasons a comic book publisher might launch a superhero team. Sometimes it's because the heroes all have a common origin, like The Fantastic Four. Sometimes it's because they share the same general theme, like X-Men. Sometimes they hope to galvanize reader interest by putting their most popular heroes all in the same comic, as they did with The Justice Society of America or The Avengers. Occasionally, they just get their signals crossed, which was the case with The Champions. With The New Warriors, Marvel Comics seemed motivated mainly by a desire …

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… to keep some of their less stellar trademarked characters in the public eye, to avoid the danger that they might lapse into the public domain.

One new character, Night Thrasher, was created for the group, as a nucleus around which to build it. The new guy was like Batman, in that he became a superhero out of anger with criminals in general because of the murder, before his eyes, of his parents, but with a little more "id" going into selecting his name. He carefully studied contemporary and recent superheroes, hoping to put together a group like The Fantastic Four, in which he imagined himself taking the Reed Richards-like leader and all-'round smart guy role.

It isn't hard to see why he chose Firestar, originally an animated companion to Spider-Man, as his analog to The Human Torch — her reason for existing was as a replacement for the Torch, whose rights were tied up elsewhere. And since he was super-strong, Nova in place of The Thing wasn't too big a stretch if readers ignored the original's other attributes. The fact that Nova had quit superheroing as a result of losing his super powers wasn't an obstacle — Night Thrasher was able to reactivate them simply by putting the hero in mortal danger, and doesn't seem to have been troubled by his conscience, if any, for having done so.

But it's hard to imagine Marvel Boy, who had been named after an earlier hero published by Marvel, as being in any way analogous to The Invisible Woman. He'd been introduced in the '60s as a member of the future-dwelling Guardians of the Galaxy, but his back-story had made him available for use in a late 20th century setting. Still, Marvel Boy is who was chosen for that position. The character later called himself Justice.

Also turning up for their first adventure were Namorita and Speedball. The former was the clone daughter of Namora, who had originally been a contemporary of Marvel's Sun Girl and Blonde Phantom. The latter, who was just then starting out in his own comic, fulfilled the dictum that a superhero team needed at least one character who appeared regularly without the group. But Speedball, whose title lasted only ten issues, quickly joined the ranks of former stars who could benefit by being promoted as a member of a group.

Later members included Silhouette (who had family ties to Night Thrasher), Power Pax (survivor of the old Power Pack series) and The Silver Spider (an old Spidey clone, currently without a series). Later plot developments include a revision of the Night Thrasher origin, where he'd been manipulated by family members into becoming a superhero in the first place, and a stint in which Namorita, who later called herself Kymaera, was the team leader.

The fact that these were among Marvel's younger heroes led to many fans' comparison of the team with DC's Teen Titans. The fact that that group, in various parts of its tenure, featured The Hawk, The Dove, a renamed version of The Doom Patrol's Beast Boy and other cast-off relics of defunct series, is merely another of their many points of similarity.

The New Warriors made their first appearance in The Mighty Thor #411 (December, 1989). The writer was Tom DeFalco (Dazzler), who was also the company's editor-in-chief at the time, tho he was working from a plot assist by Ron Frenz (Thunderstrike). The artist, Joe Sinnott (Ms. Marvel), also worked from Frenz's rough outline, in this case in the form of layouts.

The group moved out into its own title just a few months later. The New Warriors #1 was dated July, 1990. This appearance was scripted by Fabian Nicieza (Cable) and pencilled by Mark Bagley (Strikeforce Morituri). The inks were done by Al Williamson (Secret Agent X-9).

The title met with moderate success, lasting more than half a decade — 75 regular issues and four annuals, ending September, 1996, and a couple of years after it had run its course, was revived, with a new #1 dated October, 1999. This time it only lasted ten issues, but it's been back a couple more times since then.


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Text ©2009Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.