The New Warriors, led by Night Thrasher, are throwing down with "Counter Force," i.e. the Old New Warriors, last seen in the pages of Avengers: the Initiative. Is Night Thrasher a Skrull, as Counter Force fears? Was Night Thrasher's late brother a Skrull, as Night Thrasher fears?
All will be revealed!
We begin with four pages of battle scenes, drawn in such vague fashion that it's impossible to tell who's doing what to whom. Nor is there any dialogue to clear it up. Instead we have an ongoing captioned voiceover by Night Thrasher, recapping the events of last issue.
Finally, Night Thrasher yells "ENOUGH!!" and the battle is over. (I think it was the second exclamation point that did the trick.) Justice says "It's ended? Just on your say-so?" It's a fair complaint, but I think Justice should be directing it to writer Kevin Grevioux. Memo to Mr. Grevioux: pitched battles differ from football matches in that during the former, team captains can't call a time-out.
Having gotten everyone's attention, Night Thrasher unmasks and reveals his true identity, i.e. Donyell Taylor, a.k.a. the former Old New Warrior Bandit, and brother to the late Dwayne Taylor, a.k.a. Night Thrasher I. This revelation shocks everyone, though as a newcomer to this title I don't know why. Taylor explains his hypothesis that the Skrulls infiltrated the Old New Warriors and precipitated the Stamford incident, which, if true, could mean that Night Thrasher, Namorita, and the other New Warrior casualties of the incident might still be alive somewhere. Excited by the possibility, the two teams put aside their differences so they can jointly test Taylor's theory.
Justice happens to know that corpse presumed to be that of Dwayne Taylor is held on a particular SHIELD helicarrier. The two teams proceed there in Night Thrasher's private jet (!) only to discover that the SHIELD craft is under Skrull attack. The two teams decide to help repel the Skrulls, which is not only meritorious, but will also provide Night Thrasher and Justice the cover they need to retrieve the bodies.
More pages of badly-drawn, confusing battle sequences follow, set in the air outside the carrier and below its decks. The New Warriors take out a Skrull legion, as well as a super-Skrull bearing a New Warrior power-set: Nova, Namorita, and Speedball, and probably more. This Skrull poses more of a challenge, but ultimately the New Warriors are able to kill him (again, !), hitting him with an energy blast so powerful he is vapourized.
Win the battle, lose the war: Night Thrasher's pocket DNA analyzer reveals that the corpses preserved from Stamford are indeed those of the New Warriors, not of Skrull impostors. With the helicarrier safe, the two superhero teams withdraw to safety, for fear that SHIELD reinforcements might arrest them all. They take the corpses with them, and later on inter them in a formal ceremony, with a gravestone and flowers. Something good has come of the whole episode: the two teams are reconciled to their past, and to the future of Night Thrasher's New New Warriors team.
Why is it lame? Well, for starters, I'm still in the dark as to who these New Warriors are, what they're doing, and why. I can't even tell you what their names or powers are, because they don't use each other's names, and the battle sequences are so crowded and confusing I have no idea what's going on. In an issue featuring fifteen heroes, we only really spend time with one of them, and that one—Night Thrasher—acts like a jerk... a jerk who isn't fun to spend time with.
What's more, plot holes and implausibilities abound. The SHIELD helicarrier is airborne, despite the fact that we've seen in Secret Invasion that the Skrull virus crippled the fleet. The Skrull virus hasn't crippled the Scarlet Spiders, who use battlesuits made entirely of Stark tech, because Counter Force "removed it all." Uh-huh... how would they do that? And more importantly, why would they do that, especially before anyone knew about the Skrull tech virus? I can forgive the fact that no one points out Skrull bodies revert to their natural form when they're killed, because if the Skrulls really did instigate the Stamford incident with suicide commandos they'd take that possibility into account. I can't forgive the idea that SHIELD devotes an entire helicarrier to science and forensics. What a ridiculous use of technology; does SHIELD have another helicarrier to house its human resources department?
This issue is just as bad as last issue: no help for new readers, a story that's implausible and confusing and badly drawn, and cynical use of the Secret Invasion storyline to draw in new readers without adding anything to that arc.
Actually, this issue is worse than last issue, because that one at least had a few amusing quips.
So this one gets a worse grade than last issue. Half a web.