Love them or hate them, a new #1 can signal a perfect opportunity to try new characters. I have always wanted to try “New Warriors” on for size — both the characters and their title — so Christopher Yost and Marcus To’s “New Warriors” #1 provided just that opportunity, but with mixed results.
Yost has a big job in this issue, introducing at least six core characters and a few others either featured on the cover or get a lot of panel time and feel as if they are intended to be ongoing major players. Yost juggles it all surprisingly well. The plotting reads a bit more for those who know the characters and prior events, with details mentioned that have no context for a new reader like myself — for example, the final reveal will mean nothing to those without an intimate knowledge of Nova. On the other hand, the character introductions are probably a bit dull for longtime readers but completely necessary for the new kids, like me. On the whole, there’s just enough to keep everyone at least mildly entertained without losing one part of the audience or boring the rest. That said, while it’s a balanced and well-considered approach to a first issue, it also feels conservative and possibly even uninspired.
As a reader, I would have been more likely to come back next month if the story had really impressed itself upon me, even if I did occasionally feel lost. If there was something truly spectacular here, I don’t think it would matter if readers were a bit lost, they’d still come back, but that’s not the route the editors and creators took — they played it safe. Time will tell if that was the right call.
To’s art does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping things clear and easy to follow. His character designs are clean and distinctive — there is simply no confusing one character for another, which is an asset considering how many players on the board. To’s character work is good, but not great. His body language and story choices are generally strong but his acting could use a little work. Similarly his action scenes are a bit mixed. The big “pin-up-like” reveals of Faira Sar Namora, The Evolutionaries, and even Justice’s power freak out are all rather magnificent. They’re given the space needed to feel important and sing within the story. However, the smaller fighting action scenes are not particularly resonant. They’re easy enough to follow, but don’t draw readers into the action — it’s more like watching a typical action scene that all feels rather repetitive.
With a variety of interesting power sets, the book really would benefit from some creativity when it comes to their visual realizations. For example, Hummingbird has a power that just begs to be translated into something interesting on the page, but instead is not dealt with at all and thus dialogue must explained her actions. It’s a big missed opportunity and there are a few moments like that throughout. Daniel Curiel’s colors have a bright superhero sheen, perfectly appropriate and expected for a superhero book like this. The colors are clean and crisp overall and a great fit for To’s art, and like To, he makes the most of a couple of moments, most notably the first time readers see The Evolutionaries — bathing them in orange and giving everything a gritty dangerous feeling. But like To’s art, and possibly in part because of what Curiel has to work with, there are other moments that feel like they could be pushed further.
All in all, “New Warriors” #1 is completely competent and an enjoyable enough superhero comic, as well as one that deserves kudos for handling a tough reintroduction to a large roster. However, it’s just not an issue that’s going to leave an impression over time, and unless you’re already very attached to the characters, I’m not sure there’s enough to compel readers to return.