Last issue, we saw Namorita get drugged and her address book stolen. Now, gang bangers who go by the name Poison Memories are using it to attack the families of the New Warriors. Rage’s grandmother is killed, as show on the cover.
That’s a fairly significant thing for Marvel—killing an elderly woman (and really killing her—it’s not a fake out).
They try to kill Firestar’s dad, but he survives being shot. And for some reason they kidnap-not-kill members of Nova and Speedball’s families.
Having a street gang responsible for all this is odd because The New Warriors haven’t really been a street-level team, but their members have in the past foiled this gang’s efforts so in continuity it makes sense. Note that what makes The New Warriors different from other Marvel teams is that they are teenagers, so I guess Marvel thought they’d pit them against teen gangs.
These are pretty serious themes, and in juxtaposition we have the first appearance—in costume—of Hindsight Lad. He’s silly—but his origin is also kind of dark.
He’s blackmailing Speedball, threatening to reveal his identity, unless he’s allowed into the team.
So, there are secret identity threats coming from all sides.
To save their families, the team (except for Rage, who disagrees with this approach) surrender to the Poison Memories.
And that leaves Hindsight Lad free (even if he’s not a member yet). He tracks down Night Thrasher and tells him he needs to rescue his teammates. Night Thrasher tells him all about how he created the team.
And so we come to his solo series.
Overall, it’s a fairly standard hunt-stalk-destroy story. Along the way, we learn there’s a backstory of conflict with this gang.
Once he saves the team, they hunt down Poison Memories’ leader.
From there, it’s back to New Warriors #38, where we start with a focus on Rage—the one member who didn’t give himself up.
Where Night Thrasher was effective, Rage is just destructive. He’s been blowing up every spot where the Poison Memories used to hang out. But once the team is freed, he links up with them and it’s time for a big fight.
Note that Poison Memories have AIM weapons to help them fight superheroes.
No, not a lot of story here, but it’s the big finale battle.
Issue #39 is a wrap-up.
We’re warned it may be thought-provoking.
The big battle last issue ended with Rage killing the gang leader, and in this issue he’s cleared of charges. Now, he aggressively trashed a whole bunch of buildings and then went in and attacked, and he’s found to have acted in self-defense. And he’s black. Justice defended himself against an abusive father and was sent to prison. And he’s white.
Note the irony here—in the 616, apparently, institutional racism is reversed.
There’s a bunch of family-reuniting stuff. It’s all nice character moments—the kind of material Niceiza writes really well in New Warriors. Among other things…
Namorita, wracked with guilt over getting drunk, drugged, and causing all these problems, quits the team.
Good issue, but I’m not sure what was supposed to provoke my thinking.
I like the idea of launching a solo series using the team book where the character appears.