I think it stinks mostly.
The comedy directions in the New Warriors have been largely horrid. Vol. 3 was a crime; Skottie Young purists (who are out there) dig it for his art, but the book was a mockery that self-destructed the whole concept. As a huge New Warriors fan, I rue the name Zeb Wells and that blasted mini-series.
On the inclusion of Squirrel Girl; I’m not at all a SG fan. Whatever she is, she isn’t a New Warrior. Jeph Loeb has consistently demonstrated he is interested in deflating , toning down, or making fun of comic books in the traditional sense, and I have little faith in his oversight. Rest assured, this will be something that mocks the property, not uplifts it.
Let’s be honest, in my opinion New Warriors have only truly worked during two (classic) moments; most of Vol. 1 worked when the book was a serious teen drama in the vein of Teen Titans. They had a steady progression under mostly one writer, and a long run with only a few artists. As such, readers saw a specific core team grow, a nurtured concept, and the evolution of the players into something else. (growth)
Let’s forget Vol. 2 in its entirety. (Though I confess, I thought Aegis had some potential) I’ve already discussed how bad Vol. 3 was, and how detractive it was for the property.
The second moment NW truly clicked was during the Dan Slott (and Christos Gage) post-civil war years when he was basically writing them as “Counter Force” within the Avengers Initiative book. I know this is tough to grasp, but that was the classic team reassembled, serious, with good characters and a writer who cared about them, more or less picking up where they left off and having limitless potential.
DnA seemed to flirt with the notion of an old core take on them, but it never took off from a fleeting reunion in a few issues. (Edit: I also want to mention the brief Robert Kirkman League of Losers arc in Marvel-Team Up, which was an extremely solid tale of former New Warriors and related characters)
I’ll add for the record I personally enjoyed volume 4 as a comic on its own and though many disagree with me, I thought Kevin Grevioux had a solid plan for a nice teen book, albeit the execution was a bit decompressed. It was just more or less a Night Thrasher 2 story, not a New Warriors book. His best stuff came later, when Counter Force crossed over and Griev’s stepped up his pacing trying to wrap up the last time-travel arc with Iron-Man. By all reports KG wanted to use the real team but was denied. At least he had them fighting big threats and made them a team who wanted to be taken seriously.
The last volume (5) was competently written, yet middling and unimportant. That being said, it could have worked if it wasn’t so strongly (yet unimportant within that event) tied to an event everyone had cast aside. Further, this volume seemed to blow off older readers and de-age all the development that Justice and Robbie Baldwin had gone through (including physical development, they looked 17 again). Couple that with no Night Thrasher, the controversial use of Sam Alexander Nova, the ignoring of DnA’s revival of Namorita, not enough Rage, Darkhawk or others and many of the core fans skipped it. Even still, it had a few decent moments.
Let me add that, as any reader of my blog knows, I’m also a huge Night Thrasher fan. To me he defines the NW, and any attempt at the property without a good grasp of him is hollow, empty and doomed to failure. The character was very popular for a stretch, having a couple spin-off mini-series and an ongoing in the 90s. He had a rich supporting cast and was fleshed out by FabNic with a host of neat directions (Welllspring, Folding Circle, Bengal, Midnight’s Fire, Silhouette) Let’s not forget the character had a TV show in preplanning for UPN which got lost in the shuffle. It’s very likely that fact convolutes the rights and eliminates him from usage, that and the grim and gritty crew like Loeb and Joe Q hated the character and made fun of him.
Most importantly, as always, let’s talk Nova; its highly doubtful Jeph Loeb would green-light the use of Richard Rider over his creation, Sam Alexander, and lord knows we don’t want Rider anywhere near this. Therefore, I think it’s logical to assume its Sam or nothing for this series….which I think is also unlikely seeing how the MCU and TV folks are so split these days. I’m just doubting using the Nova corps is something they would allow, but maybe not. Also, using Sam would implicate some higher budget demands, which I’m doubting they want to do.
Namorita may be tied up in the Namor rights.
(help me, I’m in creative limbo!)
Justice is not as clear, but if Gunn is interested in cornering off guys like Yondu and Stakar for GOTG, I’m doubting he would give Vance Astro up so easy and want viewers so confused with potential alternate versions. That being said, I would guess the series will feature some form of straight-laced “Cap wannabee” for the antics of SG to play off. Loeb is that predictable.
I’d have to think Speedball will likely be on the show, though once more it was a character the Joe Q and Marvel Knights crew hated.
Whatever this turns out to be, my stance is that it can do whatever it wants; I’ve zero confidence it will catch on and be a hit, especially as AoS winds down and ratings drop, Netflix stuff is floundering (until Punisher that is, which looks good). Runaways and Cloak and Dagger are coming out, which will water down interest. It’s on a 3rd rate cable channel, Freeform? I mean Teen Titans fans don’t fret Go! As some sort of killer to their characters and concepts back in the books, maybe we shouldn’t fear this.
I don’t have a lot of other suggestions on the roster, no telling who Loeb will pull out of his butt….expect to be underwhelmed. Aegis, White Tiger, Ultra-Girl, Rage, Turbo, Darkhawk. Prodigy and any of those lesser warriors like Debrii or Microbe could be possible, though obviously disappointing to see them hijacked. I’d say Slapstick has a shot due to his recent series, though I can’t imagine SG, Robbie and Slappy on the same squad….that’s comedy overload. Loeb tends to pluck his own creations or want to set-up his own properties stemming from the films, so expect a few new characters. Tarene is one that’s possible, as he likes using Asgardians. I’d add Phobos to the mix. Whoever it is, expect blue jeans and converses with glowing eyes, not spandex, gravimetric blasts and space-age adventures. Toned down and on a budget.
I personally feel like the Warriors are at that point where they need to get back to their roots. The old core team. Serious book, big threats. Fun. I’ve said this for years now, and the tune is the same. If Marvel ever wants New Warriors to work, they need to elevate them back into something cool, something even badass, and do it on a big stage, the same stage they deconstructed them on for no real reason. Frankly, what we don’t need is to make fun of them and the fans of the older material yet again, ad nauseaum….and god knows, we don’t need Jeph Loeb anywhere near this process.
Heroes for the 90’s baby.