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To longtime Marvel comics readers, the news that Freeform has ordered a New Warriors show straight-to-series is exciting — if a little confusing.
That it’s exciting is, of course, obvious; who wouldn’t want to see another Marvel property on the small screen, especially with the company moving into a new space with its first half-hour sitcom? The confusing part of the deal, however, is a little more complicated: namely, that the New Warriors series as described doesn’t actually sound like the New Warriors comic book concept. For starters, it stars Squirrel Girl, a fan-favorite character, for sure, but one who has never been a part of the New Warriors comic book franchise. (No other heroes have been announced for the series.)
The comic book New Warriors debuted in 1989’s The Mighty Thor No. 411, before quickly getting spun out into their own comic book a few months later. While the group had a certain number of … unique characters — Speedball’s power set was literally the ability to bounce, while Night Thrasher was essentially “what if Batman and Iron Man had a kid who loved to skateboard?” — it was far from the group Freeform describes as having “powers and abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum of the Avengers,” nor one filled with inexperienced superheroes: Members like Firestar, Nova and Namorita had been fighting crime for years before the team existed.
The entire concept of the team has shifted throughout the group’s existence; a short-lived 2005 revival saw the group becoming reality TV stars as they tried to cash in on their celebrity, while a subsequent 2007 revival replaced all members but Night Thrasher, as the group became filled with former mutants using technology to replicate their lost powers. (The most recent comic book incarnation of the team, from 2014, reunited the original members with a nostalgic, how-we-have-changed, angle.)
Oddly enough, there is a comic book team that fits Freeform’s description and included Squirrel Girl as a member: the unusually named Great Lakes Avengers.
As the name might suggest, the entire concept of the Great Lakes Avengers is that they’re the also-ran superheroes — a group of wannabes who have the heart, but not really the powers or the experience, to be real Avengers. With members like Mr. Immortal (he can’t be killed), Flatman (a man who can flatten his body and become two-dimensional) and Big Bertha (a model who can gain weight at will), they’re a team that has never quite managed to hit the big time, despite working with Hawkeye (starting from their debut in 1989’s West Coast Avengers No. 46) and Squirrel Girl for periods of their comic book existence.
The GLA might not have the sheer power of the comic book New Warriors — the latter team does boast members of the Nova Corps, an Atlantean warrior and a character who’d go on to join both the Avengers and the X-Men — but, if you’re looking for a group of well-meaning losers who would fit into a half-hour comedy, it’d be hard to beat them. At least there’s one thing that they’re the best at. And as for any potential name change, that’d be nothing new…
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