December 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #153: Night Thrasher

The New Warriors founder and leader who may just be a Batman rip-off with a fondness for extreme sports.

I’ve spent the last two weeks covering the New Warriors’ somewhat forgotten members.

Maybe we should look at the team’s founder and leader Night Thrasher.  I mentioned him enough in the Silhouette entry…

The many covered faces of Night Thrasher.

Who is Night Thrasher?  Well, he’s Batman.

No, really.  He’s the billionaire son of a pair of wealthy philanthropists who were killed before his eyes that then devoted his life to reaching peak physical perfection and then going off to fight crime.  His company does a lot of charity work that he is very hands-on for, and he does adopt a young orphan from time to time.  There are a few differences, of course.  Thrash, as he is called in-costume, or Dwayne Taylor when he is not, was at least a partial reflection of the 90s in that he fought crime on a skateboard instead of with an awesome car.  He also had the added twist of having one of his two guardians mind control the other into the murder of Dwayne’s parents, and that guy’s daughter became Dwayne’s girlfriend Silhouette.

That’s kinda like if Ra’s al-Ghul or someone like that mind controlled Alfred into killing the Waynes, and then Bruce started dating Batgirl who happened to be Alfred’s daughter.  Oh, and Batman was into extreme sports.

But in certain respects, there was a harder edge to Thrash than there ever was to Batman.  He formed the initial New Warriors team by gathering together Nova, Marvel Boy (later Justice), and Firestar using such wonderful team building tactics as psychological manipulation and suggested blackmail.  Two more members of the team, Namorita and Speedball just happened to be present when the newly formed superteam took on their first opponent.  Batman is known for his manipulation, but blackmail?  Not likely.  Thrash was also occasionally willing to let his high moral standards slide a bit to get something he wanted.

A team is born! They actually will grow to like each other.

If anything, Thrash’s exposure to his teammates softens him up a bit, making him more sociable and friendly at least when he isn’t wearing his body armor.  Over time, he would adopt teammate Rage and then a later one named Microbe.  Being a father figure in his 20s tends to do things like that.

But for all Dwayne’s righteousness, one thing does seem strange to longtime fans:  the reality show.

Dwayne discovered the Taylor Foundation was in a bad financial situation, and there was something going on with his second adoptee, a young man named Microbe, that he needed to investigate and decided the way to raise the money was to bring back the original team and do a reality TV show.

Um, what?

Personally, I can see Speedball doing that.  I can see him convincing a few of his old teammates to help out.  Not all of them.  I think Namorita and maybe Justice would decline for different reasons, but the proud man that was Night Thrasher not only went along with this, but it was his idea?!

What kind of world is this where a billionaire whose self-named company might be having financial problems somehow leads to him agreeing to do a reality TV show?  What next?  He runs for president?

As it is, Thrash was one of three Warriors (with Microbe and Namorita) who were killed at the start of the Civil War series while still doing stuff for this self-same TV show, and the suggestion being that the Warriors were not well-trained enough to handle superhuman criminals properly.  That…that makes less sense than the reality TV show.  Thrash, and the Warriors as a whole, had been around for years by then and he at least generally knew what he was doing.

But you can’t keep a good Batman clone down.  Thrash’s half-brother Bandit tried to be a new Night Thrasher with a team of forgettable depowered mutants.  But then something else happened.

There was another Contest of Champions, and the Grandmaster pulled Night Thrasher in to compete a split second before he died in Stamford, Connecticut.  Eventually, the Maestro overthrew the Grandmaster, and while Thrash led the resistance, he was captured and sent back to Earth in the present, his last memory being dying in that Stamford explosion.

So, he’s back.

And he still has that skateboard from the looks of things.

Well, time travel does that sort of thing.

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