After the detonation of Black Bolt's Terrigen Bomb, Mark Sim's life got complicated -- and it's about to get even more complicated when he discovers a few Inhumans waiting for him when he arrives home for the first time in weeks. As Mark and Sun Girl are plunged into unknown territory, the rest of the team follows in Christopher Yost and Marcus To's "New Warriors" #7. With frank dialogue and fantastic characterization, this issue suffers nonetheless under the weight of a few glaring inconsistencies and an awkward timeline.
Although Mark ingratiated himself with the team from the very first issue, his Inhumanity has rarely been mentioned since, aside from a few off-hand comments from the other characters as his power set grew. As such, it was a pleasant surprise to open this issue to find some of Mark's perspective on the first page. However brief, the opening establishes a great precedent for this particular character; what's more, it sets up a fantastic parallel to the Stamford disaster that tarnished the New Warriors' good name, marking a very significant, symbolic save for the team and showing their development. Further, Yost has a knack for authentic teenage voices, which manifests easily in Mark and his teammates' dialogue. Each character has a unique sound, so that in the cadence of their speech alone they are instantly recognizable. Even Yost's newer additions to the team feel fully fleshed out standing next to the book's more established members, with a spotlight shining on Mark and Water Snake in this issue. Similarly, his work with Jake Waffles and Mister Whiskers -- the team's walking, talking canine and feline friends -- are absolutely delightful in their adherence to literalness.
Unfortunately, the Inhumanity aspect also forms the root of the problem with this issue. As aforementioned, Mark has been in this new volume since its first issue, but the Terrigen Bomb -- and all of its effects -- simply haven't been mentioned until this point. Following on the heels of the new "Inhuman" book's release in early April, the fact that "New Warriors" chooses to tackle the event now feels odd and out of sync. Although this could be chalked up to "Inhuman's" shifting schedule, Yost throws the exposition at the reader all at once instead of dispersing it in smaller doses over the previous six issues. For readers more immersed in the Marvel universe, the timing is just unusual; for newer fans, it may be too little too late.
Where Marcus To provides some lovely artwork, he is also the perpetrator of a few inconsistencies in the book. For instance, Jake Waffles changes breed suddenly and without explanation, going from a floppy eared Beagle to a more wolf-like creature while both he and Mister Whiskers get updated costumes. His work with the base team, however, is wonderful for its honest expressions and distinct characterizations. Likewise, he does a fantastic job keeping continuity, as with the burns on Sun Girl's face. On the other hand, his Inhuman designs feel flat and uninspired; Spark -- the fire-starting Inhuman -- looks a bit too close to "Inhuman's" Dante for comfort. Nevertheless, To's layouts are clever and eye-catching, particularly on the first few pages as he illustrates Mark's life-changing moment. Additionally, Ruth Redmond gives the book a lively, electric feel with bright colors that easily fit the New Warrior's bizarre world.
"New Warriors" has a ton of potential with enjoyable, bombastic characters and fun plotlines. However, in its seventh issue, it continues to struggle, bogged down by its wavering continuity. Yost and To have a fantastic, fun world to work with and the series should develop into a solid book -- if it picks up the pace in the next few issues, that is.