Christopher Yost's NEW WARRIORS works for one very simple reason: the banter between characters is lovable and often legitimately funny. This seventh chapter doesn't deliver as much comedy as its predecessors, but we're still offered bits and pieces of the pleasant atmosphere this book has to offer. Yes, the stakes are always high and allude to very, very dark events, but it's the characters' personalities that come front and center and really shine. I just can't get enough of Speedball and Hummingbird. As happy-go-lucky as these two may be, Yost reminded us that these two aren't as carefree as they appear to be. That doesn't appear in this issue -- there's just a few nice bits of banter -- but after their previous encounter in the restaurant, the thought is definitely still lurking around. Hopefully he has big plans for these two as the team moves forward. But for now, I'm more than happy to see them offer some lighthearted dialogue.
I may not be emotionally invested in Haechi's narrative or find it all that compelling, but seeing as it's a new character, the developments do have me curious to see where it goes. Will he overcome these obstacles and remain a member of the team? Will he fall? Will he be turned? I may not be in love with this plot, but it does have me wondering what the future holds for him and how it'll impact his teammates.
The ending comes as a double-edge sword for me. It has the potential for a lot of fun and that's one of the key things that helps this book stand apart from the competition. Sure, we've seen teams battle goons time and time again, but thanks to this group's wide array of personalities and relationships, you know it'll be amusing when they do it. On the flip side, this looks like a challenge that Kaine can handle all by himself, so there's no real sense of danger. 21 or so petty criminals with basic weapons? Yeah, Kaine's got this.
Side-note: I can't help but wonder if Yost is a fan of The Raid movies. It's not every day you see bad guys hiding out in a high-rise in Jakarta and the conclusion promises a big melee.
NEW WARRIORS has focused on some pretty heavy topics. I mean, the book was recently dealing with genocide, after all. But the dynamic between these characters and the appropriately joyous visuals have kept this book feeling fresh and fun. Artist Marcus To and colorist Ruth Redmond have both worked on previous issues, but never together. This is the first time they're collaborating on this title and, unfortunately, it doesn't pack the same kind of energetic punch as the previous issues. Even though we're dealing with all kinds of powers, explosions and unique beings, these pages just doesn't possess the same kind of intensity and excitement. It's also a little jarring that Mister Whiskers and Jake Waffles now have a noticeably different look. I understand we'll have slight changes from artist to artist, but part of the charm behind these absurdly named characters is how adorable they are and they don't appear nearly as lovable -- visually, that is -- in this chapter. Now, I'm by no means saying the artwork is bad, but it doesn't really deliver the same kind of tone we've been experiencing from the title. It's weird since both of these people have played a big part in making the book so enjoyable, too.
Much of this issue feels like buildup. New elements are worked in, but no significant progress is ever made. It's just enough to set the stage for what's to come and odds are the following issue will deal with the heavier responses and more compelling material. Just a heads up, but if you're not a fan of the latest INHUMAN story or have no idea what's going on with it, you'll probably find this direction to be a weak point for the title and have a tough time getting emotionally connected -- especially since we're thrown into it pretty quickly.
Personal/minor gripe: I love Kaine and his attitude is a solid addition to the team, but it would be nice to see him express his pessimism and desire to eventually leave the team in new ways.
NEW WARRIORS #7 definitely isn't the strongest chapter in this series, but that's because it feels like it's focused on taking steps to establish the latest plot instead of letting these enjoyable personalities shine. This means it's not as funny or as exciting as the other chapters, but it still hits you with just enough action and sharp lines to make sure you're engaged when the next bit of buildup comes around. Also, the visuals aren't bad, but if you've been following the series, you may feel like there's a bit of a tonal shift. This is pretty odd since the artist and colorist have worked on this book, but never together. In the end, NEW WARRIORS #7 is an okay issue. It takes a number of mandatory steps to generate hype for the narrative and offer a small sample of its signature charm. On the plus side, it ends on a note that promises an increased amount of fun in the next issue.