New Warriors (4th series) #4

Issue Date: 
November 2007
Story Title: 
Defiant: part 4

Kevin Grevioux (writer), Paco Medina (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks), Marte Gracia (colors), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters), Nic Klein (cover), Dial & Ginter (production), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Yellowjacket helps recover Detectives Sykes and Givens back to their normal sizes after having been shrunk by Night Thrasher. Sykes asks her fellow officer, Granville, for some dossiers about Donyell Taylor’s company regarding large electronic orders. She receives the requested info, they are all shocked at what they learn. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is contacted by an impatient Secretary Kooning, who wants to take the new New Warriors down before they become a problem. He orders Stark to do something about it quickly before he sends in the Thunderbolts after the Warriors, if they are children or not. The New Warriors themselves are busy with a training session facing Night Thrasher himself. This doesn’t go well as Thrasher wipes the floor with them all. He later lectures Wondra to be a little harder on the team, despite that they are her friends. He just wants them to be ready for a real battle. They are interrupted by a news report of a battle taking place in downtown Manhattan. There, some Initiative heroes have just been defeated by a new Zodiac group. Night Thrasher decides it’s time for a field trip and the Warriors travel to the battle field. At first, the battle goes well but it quickly goes badly. A truck and a car are smashed through the window of the diner where Sofia works, after which she goes to watch the battle. Most of the Zodiac are defeated, upsetting their leader, Scorpio, who then uses his key to unleash powerful blasts on the Warriors. Cancer finishes the quarrel by unleashing her deadly powers on Longstrike, which slowly kills her. Watching in horror, Night Thrasher’s thoughts return to the tragedy of Stamford.

Full Summary: 

Granville and Chang are walking through the halls of the police stations together. Granville is bragging about how there’s never a dull moment on their job, and that that is the beauty of their work. When Chang asks how many super-villains Granville actually apprehended, he honestly reveals “none.” As Chang is surprised to hear that, Granville explains that’s how they do the things at “Law & Order: Costumed Division.” It’s Stark’s bailiwick. The department builds the case, SHIELD gives the chase. That’s how it works. That sounds like a plan to Chang and he wonders what surprises they’ll get today.

The two walk up a stair and make it into Granville’s office. As Granville wants to close his door, he is shocked to discover… Givens and Sykes, shrunken down to the size of small dolls, taped to the door! “Not a word, Granville,” Sykes angrily says to him. “Not a freaking word.

Later, at Yellowjacket’s lab…

Hank Pym sits in front of his computer, reading off some charts. He finds it surprising that Sykes and Givens’ attacker didn’t really use Pym Particles at all. The molecule is close, but not the same ones Hank discovered. To tell the truth, he says to Granville, who is standing next to Hank, this reading reminds him of a formula Bill Foster created when Hank was stuck at giant-size once. Upon speaking Bill’s name, Hank becomes suddenly lost in thought at his memory. Granville asks Hank if he’s alright, but he just needs a second.

Anyway, Hank continues, whoever synthesized this is a veritable genius. When he asks Sykes how this happened, Sykes reveals to him that Night Thrasher attacked them. He got the drop on them in the parking lot, if Hank can believe that. Granville is confused as he thought Night Thrasher was dead. An angry Givens mocks that they must be flipping in the Twilight Zone then, but they know what they saw. Granville mocks that this is the first time Given’s size matches his “pea brain.” He finds it a shame Givens’ mouth didn’t shrink to match. Sykes helps Givens out by telling Granville that they can smell his bad breath when being this small.

Hank takes out a spraytube out of his briefcase. He warns the two detectives the effects may be a bit disorienting for them. Hank sprays some gas on the two and Sykes and Givens grow back to their normal sizes. They both cough and have a little headache, but are all right.

The procedure finished, Bev asks Granville if he has the information she requested, after which he has and hands over an envelope which contains the info. Bev opens it, and a curious Givens wonders what it is. Sykes reads a file and says that, according to that paper, there have been nine companies that have recorded large movements of electronic equipment over the last year. And all of them originate from offshore companies. Givens mentions they knew that was a possibility. But what they didn’t know is that those companies are all Wakandacorp subsidiaries. Sykes asks Givens if she remembers Night Thrasher’s vibranium-mesh suit.

Yellowjacket, Givens and Granville stare shocked at Sykes, and Hank utters “uh-oh.”

Meanwhile, at Stark Tower…

Tony Stark, still dressed in his SHIELD uniform, stares outside his window, thinking. He receives a phone call from Secretary Kooning, who is angry at Stark for ignoring him. Tony jokes that Kooning is only imagining that claiming his duties keep him busy. But Kooning doesn’t think Stark has been busy enough as he hasn’t done anything about these new New Warriors. And Kooning wants to know why that is.

Tony reminds Kooning he already told him in the past not to tell him about his business. Kooning in turn reminds Tony that he is his “business.” He says that these New Warriors are fast becoming a political liability. Kooning has homeland security on his back like the old man of the sea about shutting the Warriors down. Kooning fears that, if the Warriors aren’t dealt with soon, they could become a serious embarrassment to their operation.

“Among other things, right?” Tony sarcastically asks Kooning as Tony examines a small Iron Man statue in his hands. Kooning tells Tony that he either deals with them now, or they’ll send in the Thunderbolts. Tony sighs, as he realizes that’s not smart. It’s not smart to use cannon to swat flies. The Warriors are just children. When Kooning replies they don’t know that for sure, Tony retorts that he finds that obvious in the Warriors’ methods and responses.

Kooning however doesn’t care if the Warriors are actually the Power Pack, the Mouseketeers or the original gang from the Little Rascals! He wants them stopped immediately before they have another Stamford at their hands. Tony asks Kooning to use his head. If he uses anything other than a planned psychological and measured response, he’ll have a public backlash worse than Waco on his hands. If Kooning wants Tony to do his job, he’ll have to let Tony do things his way or…

Kooning laughs at that remark, to which Tony doesn’t see how what he said is amusing. Kooning tells Tony he wears a high hat. In fact, Kooning jokes, without Tony’s moustache, he almost reminds him of ol’ Honest Abe Lincoln. Almost. Tony asks what that’s supposed to mean. But the trouble with high hats, Kooning continues, they tend to fall off when the wind blows or the wearer walks too fast. When Tony asks if that’s a threat, Kooning calls it just an observation. He asks Tony not to disappoint him and hangs up.

New Warriors HQ...

Kaz and Grace are watching the training session of the New Warriors from their war room. Grace is amazed as the Warriors are doing an eight-to-one battle. Kaz belies Captain America himself couldn’t make the move they just saw. Grace tells Kaz he is “tripping” but admits that Night Thrasher has “mad” skills.

The two youngsters watch how Night Thrasher takes out Blackwing with a single punch in the face. Phaser fires a blast at Night Thrasher but he protects himself with his red shield that comes out of his gloves, and ricochets the blast at Decibel. One more Warrior to go: Wondra. Grace thinks it’s like Thrasher said: “powers get in the way.” He gives Wondra yet another kick in her face which knocks her down. That’s a wrap, Grace concludes, and all that under a minute.

“Pathetic,” a disappointed Night Thrasher calls this training session. Longstrike reminds Thrasher that he kicked her when her back was turned. Phaser tries to calm his sister down. Thrasher defends that was exactly his point. He asks Longstrike if she thinks Doc Ock, Nitro or Count Nefaria is going to tap her on the shoulder and fight fair?

Blackwing defends they are just not used to their equipment yet. “Yeah,” Tempest agrees, flying feels kind of strange to her without her normal wings. These anti-gravity discs Thrasher gave her don’t give her the same sense of control. Barry hugs his beloved Angel, joking that they could always trade. But he thinks he likes her as “Ms. Fire and Ice.” Makes things interesting. Angel smiles and calls Barry sweet.

Thrasher explains that replacing natural mutant powers with technological powers isn’t easy. He never said it was. But Angel will just have to make that adjustment. And that goes for everyone. Their lives depend on it.

To this, Longstrike lets her legs grow, almost until she reaches the ceiling. She complains that she doesn’t know how to use these Stilt-Man powers Thrasher gave her. They make her dizzy. Thrasher jokes that Stilt-Man practiced. And that’s what they’re going to do all day, if they have to. Starting today.

Longstrike becomes angry at this, to which Ripcord asks if he is kidding. Phaser defends that they had plans to hang out. “Not anymore,” Night Thrasher answers. Everyone trains double sessions until further notice. Aftere he leaves the room, Longstrike becomes so angry at Night Thrasher she wants to kill him, but is hold back by Phaser and Ripcord. Night Thrasher wants Wondra to discuss a “front and center.”

The two go to the communications room, where Wondra takes off her mask and Night Thrasher shows her an image of the original X-Men ready to battle. “Fluid motions… flawless timing… impeccable teamwork,” Night Thrasher sighs. Next, he shows an image of the Fantastic Four fighting the Hulk. Thrasher admits he never gave Richards much credit as a tactician, given that he was a scientist. But he knew exactly how to use each member’s power to its fullest extent, turning even their weaknesses into strengths.

Jubilation thinks Thrasher is wondering about Sofia. She is gone in the wind. For good. No pun intended. Thrasher is certain Sofia will be back, but Jubilee isn’t so sure. Thrasher knew it just like he knew it with the rest of the Warriors: it’s in their blood. Wondra realizes that’s not what Thrasher wanted to talk about now. Thrasher tells Jubilee knows that the Warriors are her friends, but they need more of an Iron Man with the team. He left her in charge of training and states they should have been further down in it by now. They should have been ready not just for the War Room, but for real combat as well.

Wondra defends she can’t do this by herself. She reminds Thrasher that he built this squad, but she finds difficulty in the fact he’s almost never around. She wants to know what he has been doing. She knows he wants the team to trust him. But to be honest, she says, they don’t even know who he is. Are they supposed to believe he survived that blast in… “Wait a minute,” a shocked Jubilee suddenly realizes. Is Night Thrasher actually… who she thinks he is?! Night Thrasher glares at her, not responding.

Suddenly, they two are interrupted by a news report of terror occurring in downtown Manhattan right now. The two look at their computer screen where a reporter explains that, just minutes ago, the Initiative heroes known as Hardball, Cloud-9, Komodo and Thor Girl tried to stop the group of super-villains known as the Zodiac. Thrasher asks Jubilee to get everyone to gear up. They’re taking a field trip.

The diner where Sofia works…

The customers are watching the news, where the Zodiac battle is being reported. It turns out the fight has turned badly for the new Initiative heroes. The reporter mentions that a call has gone out to the Avengers to quell the situation as quickly as possible but, as of yet, there has been no response. One of the customers panics a bit, as the battle is taking place right down the street. Sammy jokes to forget about it: if the Zodiac come there, he says, they’ll pelt them with a couple of Al’s cannolis. They hit like Thor’s hammer!

Seemingly oblivious, Sofia serves two customers their orders: one with a western omelet with wheat toast and beacon, and another plate has a short stack of Johnnycakes on it with links and two over easy. If they need anything else they can always let her know. Al is surprised at how Sofia adjusted, as she used to run late and break all his dishes. Sofia jokes she’s only doing her waitress job first class. And she wants a raise, too. Sammy routs for Sofia, asking her to tell them to change the menu once or twice a decade. Al has been making the same slop since the Giants won the Super Bowl.

Ina is surprised at Sofia’s new work ethics as well and wonders what has gotten into her. Sofia explains she has been going through a lot lately, but thinks she has it all covered now. “Really,” Ina asks as she doesn’t quite believe her friend. She confounds that Sofia can talk about it if she wants to. Sofia simply explains that her head was screwed up for a minute. She had father issues, was living on her own. She wasn’t sure about the future or where her life was headed, but that’s over now. She’s good, she claims. Really. Things are finally starting to look up for her. “Okay, if you say so,” Ina concludes.

And on that moment, a blast tears through the diner’s window! A huge truck and a car have just been smashed against it and have destroyed most of the place. Luckily, none of the customers appear to be hurt. Sofia helps Ina up. Al shouts out: “nobody move” to everyone, as he’ll call 911. Sofia ignores Al and walks outside, and she doesn’t even hear his calls to come back.

Outside, the Zodiac have defeated the Initiative heroes. Scorpio calls Stark a fool to send these children to accomplish what even the Avengers couldn’t do themselves. But that doesn’t matter to him. Once the new Zodiac completes the circle, the illustrious leader announces, they will finally have enough power to shake the world! Zodiac uses his large key-weapon to lift his team into the air. Now that the Earth is aligned with mercury, Zodiac continues, let the power of the stars reveal to them the location of Baal Abib!

Below, the assembled police officers start to realize they’re in trouble. Then, loud noises are heard and blue energy bolts attack Scorpio! He looks behind him, and sees that the New Warriors have arrived! Night Thrasher compliments Phaser on the nice shot. He orders everyone to activate their com-links, and to remember their training: hit hard, hit fast, watch each other’s back, and most of all, Night Trasher utters proudly: “let’s do what we do!”

Decibel makes it to the ground first and fires his sonic screams on three Zodiac members. Night Thrasher commands Wondra to take out Taurus as she can take the big guy with her strength. Wondra doesn’t have a problem with that and as soon as she lands, she smacks Taurus against a car, taking him out. Thrasher next orders Decibel to take care of the feds, and to get them into safety. Meanwhile, Decibel uses his powers to create blue protective force around Komodo, Hardball, Cloud-9 and Thor Girl. Komodo panics a bit, but Decibel promises he’ll help them out.

Tempest creates an ice shield around the battle field to protect the watching civilians. Blackwing fires a shot on Pisces and asks Angel if she’s alright, which she confirms. In turn, she fires a blast on Aries. Taurus gets back up on his feet and confronts Night Thrasher. He says that he is surprised to see Thrasher still alive, and mocks that he’ll soon wish he had stayed dead. “Whatever,” Night Thrasher sighs as he jumps over Taurus’ shoulder. A confused Taurus quickly turns around, but is too slow to avoid a powerful kick from the hero. Decibel fires another blast at Taurus, hoping he’ll stay down and he earns a compliment from Wondra.

Ripcord unleashes her “cords” at Scorpio calling the Zodiac overrated. Phaser blasts down Gemini, joking that perhaps the Initiative should join the New Warriors! Skybolt traps Saggitarius in ice, asking his fellow teammates to shut up, reminding them that this isn’t a game. Nearby, Sofia, along with a lot of other people, stares in awe at the battle.

Longstrike is using her Stilt-Man powers to make her legs grow big so she can punch Scorpio in the face. She thinks she’s finally getting the hang of her new powers. Night Thrasher warns Longstrike to stay focused. Zodiac quickly recovers and mopes that this has gone on long enough. He powers up his key and unleashes lots of powerful energy bolts on the New Warriors, who all manage to shield themselves from harm.

Longstrike wasn’t so lucky. Cancer sneaks-up in front of her and says that perhaps Longstrike should have checked her horoscope today: then she would have been aware of cancer. Cancer unleashes her powers on Longstrike, giving her the deadly diseases. Longstrike’s face begins shredding off her skull. “Noooo!” Tempest screams in horror. Wondra, Decibel and Blackwing stare shocked at the display.

“No,” an equally shocked Night Thrasher says. “Not again,” Sofia fears.

Characters Involved: 

Blackwing, Decibel, Longstrike, Night Thrasher, Phaser, Ripcord, Tempest, Wondra (all New Warriors)

Grace, Kaz (New Warriors computer handlers)

Iron Man (director of SHIELD)

Yellowjacket (Hank Pym)

Sofia Mantega (formerly Wind Dancer)

Aquarius, Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Taurus, Virgo (all Zodiac)

Cloud-9, Hardball, Komodo, Thor Girl (all Initiative members)

Bev Sykes, Harry Givens (both police detectives)

Chang, Granville (police officers)

Senator Kooning

Al, Ina, Sammy and other people at the pub Sofia works

various other police officers (all unnamed)

as images on computer screens:

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all original X-Men)

Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

the Hulk

on tv screen:

Cloud-9, Hardball, Komodo (all Initiative members)

the Zodiac

Story Notes: 

Bill Foster, aka Goliath, was one of Hank Pym’s best friends. Bill got murdered by the Thor-clone Hank helped create in Civil War #4.

The Power Pack is an actual super-hero group in the Marvel Universe, which in the past consisted of a group of kids with powers. However, they are now all teens and some have retired from being heroes. The Power Pack has had several ongoing series and limited series.

The “Mouseketeers” was the name of the main cast of the Mickey Mouse Club television show, whose first version aired between 1955-1959. There have been several short-lived revivals of the show since.

The Little Rascals was a long-lived series of American comedy short films about a troupe of poor neighborhood children and the adventures they had together.

The Thunderbolts are at this point reluctantly working for the government as seen in their current ongoing series and one-shot specials.

Doctor Octopus is a main Spider-Man adversary and first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #3. Nitro is the villain who was responsible for the Stamford disaster and the jumpstart of the Civil War. Count Nefaria is an old Avengers villain, who first appeared in Avengers (1st series) #13.

The original Stilt-Man was a regular foe of Daredevil, until he was crippled by the Punisher. Wilbur Day had since abandoned his suit but a new, yet unnamed villain had since been using that equipment as seen in the recent pages of series such as Marvel Team-Up and Ms. Marvel. With Longstrike now apparently having those powers, it’s not clear if this new villain still has his powers or not.

Night Thrasher was originally believed to be killed in the explosion in Civil War #1. At this point, it’s not known who’s currently under the mask.

Cloud-9, Hardball, Komodo and Thor Girl are at the moment all members of the Initiative program.

The Zodiac are a group of villains who dress-up like ecliptic signs and have fought the Avengers a couple of times. This is a new group as the previous version got killed in Weapon X (2nd series) #1, and even Scorpio himself mentions they are new.

Baal Abib is the Babylonian god of death. It’s unclear what the Zodiac what with him.

“Waco” colloquially refers to the botched FBI raid on the Branch Dividian sect ranch in 1993, which resulted in the death of 75 members of the cult.

As of this issue’s publication, the Giants last won the Super Bowl in 1991 against the Buffalo Bills.

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