NOTE: The review will only cover the Night Thrasher story that takes place in Civil War II: Choosing Sides.
First, a little background about Night Thrasher. He was the founder of The New Warriors, and a leader of the team during a majority of its existence. During a time that The New Warriors had done a reality show, documenting the lives of super heroes, they fought several villains; one of them was Nitro. Nitro, after being slammed into a bus by Namorita, igniting himself; incinerating Namorita, Night Thrasher, and Microbe. Speedball survived, but suffered greatly and took up the mantle of Penance for awhile. Fast forward quite a few years, in the recent pages of Contest of Champions, Dwayne is plucked seconds before his death, and forced to be a part of the Contest of Champions. When the battle is over, he is (mistakenly) teleported back – alive, rather than returning him back to his time, just before his death. Now he finds the world has not changed all that much since his death and he finds himself in the middle of the second “Civil War” among heroes. And so begins, Civil War II: Choosing Sides…
The issue opens up in Times Square, where an alien invader is wreaking havoc; and we get a lot of great, internal thoughts about Dwayne and his life. How he had been given a privileged life, but not without it’s consequences. And it is through those consequences, that he has learned that he learned there is no such thing as “luck”; and that it never runs out, because it’s all an illusion to begin with. You can’t run out of something you never had. In all the chaos happening around him, we see cameos of (one of the Spider-Men, I couldn’t tell you which one), Nova (Sam Alexander), Iron Man (Tony Stark), Captain America (Sam Wilson), and even Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers). There’s some great internal dialogue about Dwayne’s “dislike” of Tony Stark; and how they used to run in the same circles. There’s so much here that suggests how well tied in Dwayne is with the rest of the Marvel Universe.
Dwayne has also done some wonderful modifications to his armor, as well as his Skateboard, which he is seen, once again using. He even makes mention to Tony Stark that it’s more than a “skateboard” now; though Dwayne himself, still calls it a Skateboard. His armor is able to pick up the heartbeat of a young girl trapped in a bus, and Dwayne has a pretty cool, tender moment, rescuing this frightened girl, again using his newly modified “skateboard” as a tool to cut her free from the scrap metal that’s trapped her.
The story does such a great job of giving us a look inside Dwayne’s head, and give us what he’s feeling; that it’s easy to see that writer Brandon Easton clearly has his finger on the pulse of this character – and that moment shines the best, when Night Thrasher does some cool stuff, and Iron Man gives him a thumbs up, and Dwayne thinks to himself, “I’m tempted to return a different finger to Stark.” That moment right there, pretty much nailed it for me – that I knew the rest of this story – and the handling of Dwayne Taylor – was going to be in good hands. Because in that single panel – that single sentence – I knew Brandon understood Dwayne Taylor.
And now, I eagerly look forward to see what comes next.
For the story centered on Night Thrasher in Civil War II: Choosing Sides, it gets an easy “A+” from me – in terms of story, pacing, dialogue, and art. This thing is a complete package; and I understand, you may hold back on buying it because you’re only purchasing it for one story out of the three; but I am telling you now, it’s worth it. Pick it up. Tell you friends to pick it up. Buy a copy for them – tell them why you picked it up – tell them about Night Thrasher. Tell them about the New Warriors. Get them interested.