New Warriors (4th series) #16

Issue Date: 
November 2008
Story Title: 
Blood and Iron: Part 1

Kevin Grevioux (writer), Reilly Brown (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Val Staples (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Nic Klein (cover artist), Jacob Chabot (production), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

After a successful raid on a gang of mercenaries, the New Warriors are ambushed by Detectives Givens and Sykes and their newly appointed anti-New Warriors S.H.I.E.L.D. squad. Ripcord and Skybolt are both inadvertently killed as the New Warriors try to escape. Once the grieving team regroups at their headquarters, Night Thrasher reveals his master plan: using mystical relics obtained by Midnight’s Fire, he intends to open a temporal portal, travel back in time, and prevent the Stamford incident, thereby saving the lives of the fallen New Warriors and preventing the Superhuman Registration Act. The arrival of S.H.I.E.L.D. forces the team to proceed with the plan without considering the full implications. The remaining New Warriors, along with Detective Sykes, jump through the time warp, but instead of arriving in a recognizable past, they look around and see a world completely overrun by Tony Stark’s Iron Man units.

Full Summary: 

S.H.I.E.L.D. training facility, New Jersey…

A female S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, leading Detectives Bev Sykes and Harry Givens through the corridors of a training facility, extends an apology from Tony Stark in lieu of his absence. She senses the detectives’ reticence about this new arrangement, but tries to assuage their fears. S.H.I.E.L.D. does not intend to hinder their efforts to catch the New Warriors; rather, they want to provide them with the tools they need to succeed. For that, S.H.I.E.L.D. is providing them with their own squad dedicated specifically to capturing the New Warriors.

As Givens and Sykes enter the outfitting room, they are stunned by the apparent ferocity of these new agents. They look a little dangerous, Sykes says. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Atkins, assures the detectives that with their combined experience in the Army and the police, leading this group should be no problem. Plus, both detectives will be provided with advanced gear of their own. Givens doubts he wants gear like the stuff these agents are wearing. Agent Atkins assures him they will start him off with light armor, before easing him into the heavier stuff. It may seem like overkill, but the New Warriors are dangerous, unregistered superhumans. They’re acting accordingly, Atkins says. She trusts that the detectives, both of whom have proven they make the best out of bad situations, will do just fine.

Elsewhere, beneath the starry night sky, Night Thrasher meets with his old nemesis and current employee, Midnight’s Fire. Having just returned from another of Night Thrasher’s missions, Midnight’s Fire admits he doesn’t want to hand his current spoils over. He has warned Thrash before about dealing with arcane powers beyond his understanding, but those powers pale in comparison to this latest relic. Regardless of his concerns, Midnight’s Fire tosses it over to Night Thrasher. “I appreciate your concern, but it’s not necessary,” Night Thrasher says. He opens the small leather bag and peers at the Ka Stone fragment that rests inside.

Night Thrasher assures Midnight’s Fire he knows what he is doing. Midnight’s Fire disagrees. Contrary to what he believes, there is no such thing as good or bad mysticism; it’s all evil. “You do what you want,” Midnight’s Fire says, “but I fear for your soul.” He turns away and slips into the shadows.

Upstate New York…

The Dread Dealers, a group of hired assassins, have just taken in a morose-looking foster child. One of the mercenaries does not agree with the plan; it might precipitate their getting caught, especially if the girl’s picture adorns the back of some milk carton. Denny, the gang’s leader, does not care. He was raised by the state for twelve years as a kid, and thinks no child deserves to live that way. Another member of the gang, a blue-skinned woman, asks the girl for her name. Miranda, she answers.

Denny tells the child she has a pretty name and introduces himself as he offers her some food. “Denny? You mean as in Denny Drake, a.k.a. Starion, leader of the Dread Dealers wanted by S.H.I.E.L.D.?” little Miranda asks. Denny’s jaw drops; how does she know that? “Wild guess?” she answers. Suddenly, Miranda’s appearance melts away and reveals her true form: Ripcord of the New Warriors.

The roof of the warehouse explodes as the rest of Miranda’s team arrives. They congratulate her on a job well done, but tell her to wrap it up so they can deliver the mercenaries to the nearest police station. Miranda whips out a Pym Particle grenade, tosses it at the Dread Dealers, and a moment later holds the entire band of mercenaries in the palm of her hand. We trusted you, Denny screams! “Cry me a river,” Ripcord says. “And to think, you Dread Dealers were well-paid assassins? The economy must’ve been worse than I thought.”

This time, however, it is the New Warriors’ jubilance that is disrupted when a loud explosion rocks the warehouse walls. They turn and, once the dust settles, see Detectives Givens and Sykes, armed to the teeth and supported by a squadron of armored S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. You’re under arrest, Sykes tells the New Warriors. Now that they have their own high-tech gear, the sides seem even. She implores the superhero team to surrender. Night Thrasher refuses, of course. “We make our own rules,” he says. “The day that a hero has to ask permission to do the right thing is the day the world becomes a very bad place.” While that sounds nice, Sykes answers, it is not the law. She reminds the New Warriors of the problems they have already caused, and the teammate who lost her life as a result of their irresponsibility. Givens reinforces his partner’s statements; if the New Warriors comply, they can all go home safe. “Then it appears we’re at an impasse,” Thrash replies. Sykes is sorry he feels that way. She orders her men to fire.

S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Ricone fires first. His non-lethal riot gun creates an impenetrable force field around the New Warriors. As Givens approaches and reads them their rights through the transparent bubble, however, Night Thrasher gives his team their orders. On his mark, they are going to make a run for it. They are to use their powers to cover their escape.
After Decibel shatters the bubble with his sonic scream, the team scatters in all directions, using their powers for quick, guerrilla-style blows. S.H.I.E.L.D. is determined to prevent their escape. An energy pulse knocks both Blackwing and Night Thrasher out of the sky, while Tempest and Wondra find themselves ensnared in a net. In the midst of this wipeout, one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents manages to plant a tracking device on one of the vigilantes.
He asks where the other New Warriors are. Ripcord, sneaking up on him unnoticed, answers with a swift kick to his jaw. However, he pulls the trigger on his gun as he falls, inadvertently hitting his fellow agent in the back. While the man survives, the fuel pack on his back ruptures and begins spewing flames. Miranda rushes over and tries to pull the fuel pack off the agent’s back as flames pour out all around her. “Get back! He’s about to explode!” Skybolt screams at her. He charges toward his endangered teammate on his jetpack. He swoops down and grabs Miranda just as the agent’s weaponry reaches its breaking point. The cataclysmic explosion vaporizes not only the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but Miranda Leevald and Vincent Stewart as well.

Wondra screams as she sees her friends die. The detectives observe the explosion, stone-faced. Night Thrasher, however, continues to get his team to safety. He tells Wondra there is nothing she can do. He, however, has a plan. They regroup with Blackwing, Tempest, Decibel, Renascence and Phaser, the latter of whom teleports them all back to the New Warriors headquarters. Detective Sykes curses their escape, but one of her agents informs her they successfully planted a tracer; they still have a chance at catching them.

The grieving team arrives home, in shock from what just happened. Kaz, their tech handler, asks what is wrong. Decibel informs him that both Ripcord and Skybolt are dead. As he begins asking questions, Night Thrasher speaks up and tells his team to pull it together. They can mourn their teammates later. If those S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are as well-trained as they seemed, they are already on their trail. He orders Kaz to divert all the power to the lab, purge the computer files, and bring the nanite engine they have been building. With tears in her eyes, Jubilee yells at Night Thrasher for his insensitivity. Two of their teammates just died, and he is still hatching his devious plans!

Night Thrasher asks for permission to speak. His brother, Dwayne Taylor, died for no good reason. During his agony over Dwayne’s death, however, he discovered a way to not only redeem what happened at Stamford, but possibly even save his brother’s life. Kaz interrupts and tells the team the truth. After being lied to about the transmap, he decided to find out what Thrash was really up to, and discovered the answer: Night Thrasher is building a time machine.

Silence. Tempest is the first to say something: What? Night Thrasher explains his plan: if they can go back in time and prevent the “original” New Warriors from inciting the explosion at Stamford, they could prevent the superhero Civil War, the Superhuman Registration Act, and the deaths of Dwayne, Namorita, Zachary, Miranda, and Vincent. Now that he possesses the Sphinx’s Ka Stone, as well as the incantation from Diablo’s Book of Shadows, Night Thrasher has everything he needs to open a temporal portal.

Wondra is disgusted by this plan, as it confirms what she has suspected all along: Night Thrasher has been using the New Warriors as cannon fodder while he pursued his own selfish ends. Sofia agrees, and yells at him for abusing their trust for his personal gain. Barnell, however, would have done the same thing. “I gotta tell you, Jubes, if anything ever happened to Angel and there was a chance I could bring her back…I’d take it,” he admits. Christian does not speak up, but by uttering his dead sister’s name, implies his agreement. Angel agrees too; while Night Thrasher has not done much to earn their trust, it is now clear that his motives are not purely selfish. This is about their friends, whom they may be able to save. Wondra still disagrees; how do they know they won’t make everything worse by messing with time? Angel asks how she knows they won’t make everything better.

Again, the New Warriors stand in silence. This time, it is the security alarm that breaks up the awkward moment. Breach, Night Thrasher yells! Once again, he tells Kaz to purge the computer files, and Grace and Aja he orders to initiate the self-destruct sequence. Jubilation, however, remains uncertain.

Meanwhile, Sykes, Givens, and SHIELD storm the base. Givens reminds his squad to shoot to intercept only; no one else is to be hurt. Any more accidents and he will see the agents stripped of their badges.

A large pit in Night Thrasher’s lab emanates an eerie green glow. With the “capekillers” right on their tail, each New Warrior only has a few moments to decide whether or not they will go or stay. Renascence asks a pertinent question: how will they get back to the present once they’re in the past? Night Thrasher’s non-response indicates uncertainty. Just then, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents rush in and neutralize Decibel with their first shot. With her gun leveled at the rest of the team, Sykes orders them to stand down. Wondra catches by surprise and knocks them all over with her super-strength. “Go! I’m right behind you!” she tells her teammates, who waste no more time before jumping into the portal. Night Thrasher, however, tries to stop them. Wondra is too quick. She grabs him and Decibel and pulls them into the portal. As it begins to close, detective Beverly Sykes leaps over the ledge and disappears alongside the New Warriors. The portal closes, leaving nothing save for a trickle of smoke.

Detective Givens stares in disbelief. It isn’t until two of his agents return with Grace and Aja captive that his expression breaks. Where did they go, he asks? “Somewhere you’ll never be able to follow,” Grace replies with a devious grin on her face.

The New Warriors wake up and find themselves lying on the floor of an empty warehouse. Detective Sykes is the first to ask what happened. Surprised to see her there, Sofia asks what she thinks she is doing. “My job,” Sykes responds. Night Thrasher gets up and states they should have landed in the same position they left, only earlier in time. However, their surroundings certainly do not look like Arcade’s old Murderworld. The team walks to the double-doors and opens them wide. Outside, Iron Man’s face is everywhere: on posters, on advertisements, on videos of the American flag. And up above, dozens of massive Iron Man units litter the skies. It seems the New Warriors have missed their mark.

Characters Involved: 

Blackwing, Decibel, Night Thrasher, Phaser, Renascence, Ripcord, Skybolt, Tempest, Wondra (New Warriors)

Aja, Grace, Kaz (New Warriors tech handlers)

Harry Givens, Beverly Sykes (detectives)

Agent Atkins

Various other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Midnight’s Fire


The Dread Dealers

Story Notes: 

Night Thrasher asked Kaz to forge the transmap in New Warriors (4th series) #9.

Dwayne Taylor, Microbe, and Namorita were all killed in the infamous Stamford explosion in Civil War #1.

Night Thrasher obtained the alchemist Diablo’s Book of Shadows in New Warriors (4th series) #13.

Night Thrasher encountered the Sphinx and learned the power of the Ka Stone back in New Warriors (1st series) #47-50, Night Thrasher (2nd series) #11-12, and Nova (2nd series) #6-7. The history of the Ka Stone itself is rather convoluted. Alien in origin, its first human discoverer was an Egyptian named Anuth-Na Mut, who served as the court magician for Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II (the same Ramesses depicted in the Biblical book of Exodus). Thereafter known as the Sphinx, he was granted incredible godlike powers by the Ka Stone, but after several adventures through time and skirmishes with superheroes, he fell defeated as the stone was destroyed. It was the stone’s second possessor, a woman named Meryet Karim, whom Night Thrasher and the original New Warriors encountered as the Sphinx.

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