By Matt Powell
For the Marvel Universe, the children really might be the future.
Factoring in the mutant population decimation, the Civil War, the death of Captain America, and now the Secret Invasion of Skrulls on Earth, it seems the current era of the Marvel Universe as we know it might be drawing to a premature close.
Marvel's old guard has done its best to ensure the sun would rise over a free world with each battle won, however, with bigger and more dangerous threats lurking around every corner it would be unwise to believe these giants will walk among us forever. Just as champions like the Avengers and X-Men have chosen to fight the good fight in the name of heroes who have inspired them, a new generation stands at the edge of greatness.
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Over five weeks, Marvel.com will take an in-depth look at the forerunners of this next wave of heroes to determine what the future holds for them and for the Marvel Universe. Today, we look at the teenage anarchists of NEW WARRIORS.
WHO THEY ARE:
Claiming the name of the former team who inadvertently caused the Stamford disaster that kick started the Civil War and perished in the tragedy, the new incarnation of the New Warriors features a host of young, previously de-powered mutants who have all assumed new identities and abilities to fight against crime and for freedom as unregistered heroes.
Financed and assembled by a new Night Thrasher, aka Donyell Taylor, brother of the original, former X-Men and Xavier Institute students Jubilee, aka Wondra, Chamber, aka Decibel, Beak, aka Blackwing and Angel, aka Tempest, rank as the group's strongest members.
WHY THEY COULD BE THE FUTURE:
The boon of experience definitely puts this newly-assembled team of seasoned veterans in the running to become protectors of the world in the future.
Proving that one doesn't need powers by birth to be heroes, the New Warriors use advanced technology to empower themselves and to elude capture from the global peacekeeping organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Superhero Registration Act it enforces. The team's 'back alley' defeats of Avengers' foes, Grey Gargoyle and the Zodiac, prove they can hold their own against challenging enemies, even if they haven't been in action anywhere near as long as the Avengers.
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Looking at a team consisting of heroes who have prior tactical and in-the-field experience, it may be hard to peg who stands higher than others, but NEW WARRIORS assistant editor Daniel Ketchum has his sights set on two:
"Definitely Jubilee," enthuses the editor. "She's already been a member of the X-Men and could certainly be one again. When she signs on to a cause, she gives it 110 percent."
Ketchum adds: "Night Thrasher is a natural leader, awesome in a scrap, and he's obviously a smart guy with a slew of resources as his disposal."
GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE:
While the newbie team hasn't been on the scene too long they've garnered the attention—and ire—of some major Marvel Universe movers and shakers, including the Tony Stark, the Mighty Avengers, and the X-Men themselves.
Leaving a graffiti tag of their name as their calling card at the site of successful battles, the New Warriors have taken down Grey Gargoyle, the Zodiac, and the Rhino to name a few.
BIGGEST LESSONS TO BE LEARNED:
Collectively the New Warriors represent a combat unit with dozens of training hours between them, but those hours lie with other teams, and this incarnation of the team have yet to gel cohesively resulting in casualties in the field and identity crises aplenty.
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"One trait all of the New Warriors share is that they're trying to figure out who they are," explains Ketchum. "Before House of M [which resulting in the de-powering of millions of mutants], their identities were centered on the fact that they were mutants and super heroes. Once they were de-powered, they lost these things and they had to go back and rediscover how they fit in the world. They weren't mutants, but they also weren't quite like normal humans either. I think joining the New Warriors has been an important step for all of these characters, because it's allowed them to access the parts of themselves that they thought they had lost."
BEST TRAITS TO HOLD ON TO:
It's the take-no-crap attitude that has everyone taking notice and wondering: 'What will the New Warriors do next?'
Looking past the notion of the group's actions as sheer defiance, and considering today's youth, Ketchum assesses the team's motivation with a different phrase:
"Marching to the beat of your own drummer," sums up Ketchum. "I know kids who are incredibly unique, who assert their individuality and carry out their day-to-day how they want to. If they feel like wearing a cowboy hat and galoshes on a sunny day in June, they do. Some people might say it's because they don't yet know any better. It's probably more so because they haven't gotten bogged down in other people's expectations."
If the New Warriors' tactics give any indication, the drum beat may never end.
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While the New Warriors need some more time to fully develop into a team to compete with strong units like the Avengers or X-Men, they've already got a lot going for them.
"The kids do have heart," notes Ketchum. "Maybe even more so than the Avengers or X-Men. Being super heroes isn't just something they're doing, it's who they are."
"The Future Is Now" continues next week with a look at the Young Avengers. NEW WARRIORS #9 ships on February 27. In the mean time, check out the New Warriors' predecessors in action on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.