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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

X-amining New Warriors #9-10

"Rumble"
March-April 1991

In a Nutshell 
The New Warriors fight the Hellions

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Sam De LaRosa
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Andy Yachus
Referee: Danny Fingeroth
Official Scorer: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Infiltrating the New Warriors' headquarters in the wake of a breach in their computer system, the Hellions attack and subdue Night Thrasher and Silhouette, but not before Night Thrasher manages to alert the rest of his teammates. Prepared for trouble, the rest of the team engages the Hellions in a series of one-on-one battles. Meanwhile, the White Queen telepathically probes Tai's mind, and learns that the data breach was performed by Night Thrasher simply to gain info on Firestar. The two women decide to let the ongoing battle determine Firestar's fate, each hoping to prove the worth of their respective teams. Ultimately, the New Warriors prevail, and White Queen honors her word, allowing Firestar to stay - though Firestar insists she had no intention of doing anything but that. 

Firsts and Other Notables
Issue #9 marks the first appearance of a pair of new Hellions, Beef (a typical dimwitted strong guy) and Bevatron (who speaks with a French accent a la Batroc the Leaper and can generate electric blasts), who appear only in this story before popping up in Uncanny X-Men #281 to be killed alongside most of the rest of the Hellions (the pair then returns along with the rest of the team in the later "Necrosha" story).


As a result of the New Warriors defeat of the Hellions (and, specifically, depending on how you want to look at it, Firestar's defeat of Bevatron), White Queen relinquishes any claim she has to Firestar, though Firestar rightly makes a point that she doesn't really care what White Queen thinks she has a claim to and will do whatever she wants regardless.


Most of issue #9 deals with the conclusion of a story featuring the Punisher; I included it only for the closing few panels, which setup the Hellions' appearance in the subsequent issue and introduce Beef and Bevatron. The title and credits above only pertain to issue #10.

Creator Central
X-Force scripter and future X-Men writer Fabian Nicieza writes these issues (Nicieza launched the series, and remains it central writer for most of its initial run). Mark Bagley, winner of the Marvel Try-Out contest and future Amazing Spider-Man and Ultimate Spider-Man artist, provides the art. 

A Work in Progress
The Hellions involvement in this story revolves around a data breach at the Massachusetts Academy, in which someone was looking for information on Firestar; this occurred in New Warriors #1, as Night Thrasher was recruiting the team. 


Catseye displays an ability to adopt a transitional, werewolf-like form, much like Wolfsbane, though I don't think we've ever seen that before (previously, she was either full human or full cat).


White Queen admits to being affected by her personal feelings toward's Firestar, a reference to the Firestar miniseries which saw her taking a special interest in the girl (albeit for nefarious reasons).



Teebore's Take
From the perspective of the X-books, this story is chiefly notable for introducing two new Hellions, Beef and Bevatron, just in time for them to be killed off along with the vast majority of their teammates in the upcoming Uncanny X-Men #281. But it also represents a rare appearance for the group outside of the X-books while at the same time affirming New Warriors as a sort of honorary X-book, as Fabian Nicieza smartly plays with the history of Firestar to bring in the Hellions and the White Queen (in fact, thanks in part to Nicieza's involvement in both series and their respective initial positions as harbingers of the 90s, New Warriors often reads like a non-mutant counterpart to X-Force), something he'll do periodically again in the future (this won't be the last issue of the series to be examined), leading to the occasional shared storyline between the two books, usually, as in this issue, keying off Firestar and her history with at least some members of X-Force.

Beyond that (and putting aside the bits of characterization and subplot development relevant chiefly only to New Warriors), this story is a pretty decent team-on-team fight. Bagley's art is fluid and energetic, and for the most part Nicieza matches up the teams in fun and engaging pairs. While most such encounters usually end up like this one, a series of one-on-one fights between members of the respective teams, it's always appreciated when such contests are acknowledged as such in-story, as is the case here, with the outcomes of the respective individual matches ultimately deciding the winner of the overall fight.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, "The Promethium Exchange" kicks off in Excalibur #37. Friday, Wolverine hugs a robot in Wolverine #39. Next week, Uncanny X-Men #277.

12 comments:

  1. Man...the Hellion costume, what a mess. Besides being ugly (pink on pink, the weird angular boob cleavage) I don't get the connection to either the team name or its mother organization, the Hellfire Club. What is the point of the white triangle?

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  2. The New Warriors was a great read for the first 60 issues or so. If you insist of reading mutant comics, half of the original team are mutants (Marvel Boy/Justice, Namorita, Firestar). Definitely find the trades or back issues if you like good comics.

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    1. I've had that series (at least the Nicieza-penned issues) on my to-read list for awhile. I generally like Nicieza's writing, the Bagley art is nice, and I've heard good things about it.

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  3. While I'm sad they'd get killed off in their next appearance, I wish Nicieza had put more effort into the creation of New Hellions. Beef (and there's a name) replaces Thunderbird and has 1/10th of the characterization. Bevatron (a replacement for Firestar/Magma?)is a little more interesting, but the Hellions already have a French member in Tarot and he gets the very popular bioelectric blasts which is the go to power for blasters in the 90s. Bevatron may be the first to have that power, which is notable by itself.

    If the original Hellions are setup to be counterparts to the original New Mutants, then Nicieza's version makes the Hellions into a standard superteam, with a strong guy and blaster. I think this is the first time the Hellions formally act on the field instead of being the student rivals of the New Mutants.

    It's a shame there isn't more of an examination of Emma Frost as a teacher/headmaster because she manages to be consistent instructor and she keeps her students under control, unlike Professor X and Magneto!

    CR

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    1. "It's a shame there isn't more of an examination of Emma Frost as a teacher/headmaster because she manages to be consistent instructor and she keeps her students under control, unlike Professor X and Magneto!"

      To be fair, if Magneto had cleavage like that, Bobby, Sam, and Doug would never have left the mansion. (And if he had mental powers, neither would Dani, Rahne, or Amara.)

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    2. In general, the Hellions are a classic case of missed potential - both in being used more as the New Mutants chief antagonists, in terms of their individual characterization, in terms of the avenue they create for comparing/contrasting the teaching styles of Xavier/Magneto/Emma, etc.

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    3. Issues of New X-Men (yes ANY of them) beg to differ.

      Alos remember that this is Emma's "evil" period so she was proabably a lot less scrupulous with the mental torture techniques and manipulation as she is now (where she's only slightly less reluctant to employ such manuevers.)

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  4. Not much to say except that I really like Mark Bagley's artwork. He's been one of my favorite artists since I first encountered him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN circa 1993 or so. He's one of the few artists I check out regularly via Marvel Unlimited even when I have no interest in whatever stories he's drawing these days.

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  5. Ha. I just noticed before posting what an out-and-out lie that cover is. No surprise, okay, it’s what covers do, and it’s a very Marvel kind of cover, but equally Marvel would be one of those shots of the teams facing off in a line.

    // While most such encounters usually end up like this one … it's always appreciated when such contests are acknowledged as such in-story //

    Yep. Although before that it was awfully convenient for Emma Frost to find that Night Thrasher had “mental barriers — so deep — even I can’t read your thoughts!” Really?!? I admit that I know close to nothing about Night Thrasher. What I know about the her, though, is that she’s a Xavier-level telepath and particularly skilled at invading others’ minds, so that felt suspect.

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    1. It was originally implied that the barriers in Night Thrasher's mind were magical and placed on him by one of the people responsible for his family's murder. So like Illyana, that would explain why Emma couldn't read his mind.

      I believe a later writer (Evan Skolnick) retconned it so that he was a mutant because he disliked magic in comics. So Night Thrasher may or may not be considered a mutant.

      CR

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    2. I was going to mention the Night Thrasher block thing, but ultimately bowed out, since it pertains to a non-X-related character, and I don't know the character's history well enough to say whether that was a convenient invention for this issue or a standing part of the character's schtick. CR - appreciate the rundown on the actual situation as well.

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