In the opening arc of the latest volume of Marvel’s “New Warriors,” writer Chris Yost and artsit Marcus To brought together eight superheroes with very different backgrounds. Together, the mutant Avenger known as Justice; the altered-human Speedball; the teenager turned super-powered intergalactic cop Nova; the clone of Spider-Man known as the Scarlet Spider; the potential demigod Hummingbird; the Atlantean Water Snake; the high tech weapon-wielding Sun Girl; and the newly-evolved Inhuman Haechi form the latest incarnation of the titular team, joining forces to foil the High Evolutionary’s scheme to exterminate the Earth’s population of superhumans.
While the nascent team was successful in their battle, the war is far from finished. The High Evolutionary has not abandoned his crusade, and in the aftermath of their fight the New Warriors found themselves targeted by an even deadlier foe, the demonic Elder God known as Chthon. Fortunately, the team has made some new friends as well, like Jake Waffles and Mr. Whiskers; a dog and cat that were hyper evolved by the High Evolutionary and now serve as the New Warriors support staff. CBR News spoke with Yost about his plans for the “New Warriors” and how their antagonists and allies figure into them.
CBR News: Chris, there was a lot going on in these first six issues of “New Warriors.” Perhaps the biggest development is that the team now has not one, but two big villains gunning for them in the form of the High Evolutionary and the demonic Elder God Chthon. What made you want to bring these two villains into the book?
Chris Yost: Arrogance, probably. If I could have Scarlet Spider fight Galactus, I probably would. I love the unwinnable fight, the against all odds kind of thing. So, in the case of the New Warriors, comprised half of new, inexperienced characters, I wanted to give them a real trial by fire. The selling point (for me, anyway) was that this book could also tackle any corner of the Marvel Universe. I wanted to show that range quickly. So, super-science evolution and elder demons were up first.
The High Evolutionary became an enemy of the New Warriors because a mysterious figure revealed to him that the only way to save humanity from the wrath of the Celestials is to purge the earth of fantastic beings. Will we learn more about who this character is in upcoming issues? And is this figure an established Marvel character? Or a new creation?
Yes, we will — in issue #10. It’s an established Marvel creation, with a big, long history. There’s already been a mention of it in the book for the eagle-eyed reader.
Chthon has also become embroiled in the New Warriors lives because of the actions of another figure, Caninus, now known as Jake Waffles. The chess game in issue #5 that we saw between Chthon and Jake suggests that the canine New Man made a deal with the devil to save himself and his friend Mr. Whiskers from the High Evolutionary. Is that what happened? And what can you tell us about Jake’s motivations? Does he understand what he’s getting into by helping Chthon?
Jake’s motivations are pure. His judgment is bad. He understands one thing about making a deal with Chthon: he just saved the life of his best friend.
What inspired the creation of Jake and Mr. Whiskers? What kind of impact will they have on “New Warriors” moving forward? Are they sort of the support staff for the team? How would you describe their dynamic with the Warriors at the end of issue #6?
Jake Waffles was mine; it’s based on a dog we know. I wanted to put a cat with him; I think former editor Steve Wacker came up with that name. We both wanted a laugh, and voila. But yes, they’re absolutely the Jarvis of the New Warriors. I always loved when teams had support staff.
I think the team is split on Jake and Whiskers. Most think they’re weird, others think they’re adorable, and Scarlet Spider hates them. Justice has allergies.
While we’re on the topic of larger dynamics, how would you describe the dynamic of the team going into issue #7? From the end of #6 it looks like they’re really starting to enjoy each other’s company.
Going into #7, they’re still strangers, but they’re getting closer. #7-8 really focus on Haechi, and by the end of it, he’ll know where he belongs — with humans, with Inhumans or with Warriors. Issue #9 has some serious partying/bonding in it. By the end of #12, they’ll all gives their lives for one another without even thinking about it. Except for one.
What’s it like juggling a cast of eight characters? And Nova was absent from the book for the last couple of issues. Will he return to “New Warriors” soon?
It’s horrible. I should have stuck with six. Look, I love a ton of characters. And I try to make all the little moments count, but by the time I give each character one issue, the year’s almost done. Nova having his own book helps, and yes — he’s absent for #5-7. In #8, he gets lost trying to find Singapore. He’s back for #9-12.
Let’s move from characters to the stories you have lined up for the next several issues. It looks like we’re getting three separate stories in “New Warriors” #7-10; a two-parter focusing on Haechi, a done-in-one with Justice and Scarlet Spider, and then the beginning of a new three-part arc. What are these next few stories all about?
#7-8 is my insanely late “Inhumanity” tie-in. A tribe of Inhumans comes recruiting Haechi by blowing up his old life. Another tribe gets involved, and things go south quickly. It’s Haechi and Sun Girl trying to survive while the rest of the team mounts a rescue mission.
Issue #9 is Scarlet Spider doing his best to quit the team, with Justice and a hundred foot-tall guy in a bear suit making it difficult for him. Meanwhile, the rest of the team goes to a rave in Prague.
And then #10-12 continues the big story — the return of the High Evolutionary, and the secret of who’s the power behind him.
They’re all about this team coming together and fighting for their right to survive.
Artist Marcus To returns to the book for these next few issues. What can we expect from his work?
Nick Roche brought the fun in #5 and #6, and Marcus is back with #7-8 — and they’re amazing. I throw a lot of new characters at Marcus in these issues, and he knocks each and every one of them out of the park. He’s really been amazing, capturing the youth of the characters, but the awesomeness as well. His energy is phenomenal.
Let’s wrap things up by talking about the antagonists your cast will be up against over the next few issues. What can you offer up about the villains appearing in “New Warriors” #7-10? Will Chthon or the High Evolutionary factor into these stories at all?
Well, the Inhumans are mostly new characters, except for Lash from [“Inhuman”]. There’s Hollow, Fume, Spark, Nightfall, Jack Chain — 3-Eye and Razor Girl — Inhumans are fun. Issue #7 has some Chthon follow-up, and then three of my all-time favorite henchmen show up in #8, they’ll be big down the road. And then in #10-12, yes — the High Evolutionary and the Evolutionaries return with the mysterious benefactor and his people. That story is called “Always and Forever.”
Also, Silhouette’s going to show up, Water Snake may be Namorita, and we’re up to almost five original New Warriors! Tell your friends. And enemies.
“New Warriors” #7 goes on sale July 7 from Marvel Comics.