Haven't done one of these in a while. Not likely to be a recurring thing, sorry. And, yes I know this is old news, but this is prime, prime, prime WWTT fodder and just got back on my radar because I just saw a very excellent video by KatBlaque, who is a black trans youtuber and artist, who went a redesigned two of the characters we will be looking at today and it made me realise just how little thought was actually put into these characters. So we're going to talk about them.
The New Warriors
Now, I'm going to get this out of the way straight at the top so people know where I'm coming from here. I am not coming from this at the angle of Social Justice whatever. I want to talk about character design, marketing and knowing your audience. Also, we are talking about a series that hasn't even started yet, all we have are names and character descriptions. So, hey, this comic could come out, be fantastic and surprise everyone. I don't think it will, but you never know.
Right, so with that out of the way, what are we looking at. The idea here is that the original team of New Warriors from the 90's (Night Thrasher, Speedball, Firestar, Namorita, Rage and Silhouette) start training this new group of teenagers to take their place. Outside of the comics the idea is, and I quote from lead writer Daniel Kibblesmith: "I wanted to have teen characters who felt as 'now' as the New Warriors did in the 90's".
Sounds like a fine idea so far, let's jump into the new team shall we. Well, we've got Trailblazer (the one that is going to end up being refered to as "the fat one" let's just be honest here) who has a backpack that contains a pocket dimension. We have Screentime (the one in the green who looks like he nicked Cyclops' goggles), who, and I'm not making this up, had his brain permenently connected to the internet by being exposed to his grandfathers "experimental internet gas". Honestly, WHAT? but ok, let's move on. Next we have B-Negative (the vampire) who looks like a Morbius rip-off because he literally is, he got his powers through being given a blood transfusion from Morbius in a "rouge, but life-saving medical procedure", who is the goth kid of the group and will not confirm or deny whether or not he ages like a normal human or drinks blood. And lastly... Safespace and Snowflake. Oh boy. Yes, Safespace and Snowflake, the twins. SS (pink) is a jock who can create forcefields as long as they protect others, and SF (blue) can create supersharp ice shurikens and is also non-binary.
Right, so does anyone see what's wrong here? Apart from the fact that it really kinda feels like a troll job.
Who exactly is this for?
No, really. The whole Safespace and Snowflake thing created a lot of controversy when the series was first announced (which was probably the point), and Mr Kibblesmith has "explained" that the characters "chose" their names to reclaim derogatory remarks, but that only works in-universe. On the outside, in real life, it turned a lot of people off. And what's the point of having representation if you're going to, with your opening gambit, your very first attempt to get people excited for the new product you're going to try to sell them, you're going to push the people you are trying to represent away. Which is why is feels like a troll. Use words that are loaded and automatically make the audience think one specific negative thing to describe two characters that have (let's be honest) lazy almost thoughtless designs, make both of them black and make one of them another marginalised group on top of that. I mean, well done, you managed to get both the far left and far right on twitter to agree on something for once, these characters suck.
Then we have the others. If we ignore the "internet gas" (so many jokes about flatulance that could be made) idiocy, the whole connect of Screentime is sooooo out of touch it's unbelievable. It's the whole stereotype of "kids these days are obsessed with the internet" taken to the laziest of lazy conclusions. And then we have B-Negative. The passable pun aside (you get it, B Negative is a blood type and he's a goth and they're always sooo negative) honestly, the goth vampire trope was played out back when vampires were the in thing. I mean, hey, at least he's not appearing in the MCU, not unless the Disney/ Sony deal lets Mobius crossover.
I'm sorry, this whole thing just comes across as stereotype.comic written by someone who doesn't get the current generation, for people who think that's what the current generation is like, but it's apparently "for" the very same group of people that it represents poorly. And it is really disappointing, because Marvel has done some pretty good representation. You've got Mile Morales (not just in comics, but even in movies now) and Kamala Khan (who's pretty much the best new character any comic book company has come up with in a decade), but there's also Riri Williams, who the freaking artist for this series actually worked on. And they all work because the writers wrote characters based on the experiances of real people. Miles and Riri were both based partially on Bryan Michael Bendis' kids and Kamala was created and originally written by a Muslim woman. I won't go off on why Ms. Marvel is such a good character, I've done that enough in previous WWTT, but Marvel have done representation well in the past and there's no reason why they couldn't have done so again here, that's what makes it so hard to understand what they were thinking. They could and have reached out to the people they wanted to represent and got their opinions on the ideas, or they could have, you know, used a brain cell to think about how this might play out outside their writing rooms and board meetings, in the real world. But then again, Marvel Comics hasn't really been all that in touch with reality for a while now have they.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to my own safespace to be a snowflake somewhere else.