The First Return of Rom

(That Never Happened)

I stole this message (which I believe was posted to the New Warriors mailing list) from The Warriors' Webpage (now defunct). It is from Evan Skolnick, the writer on New Warriors when it was cancelled. In it, he describes his plans for the series if it had continued. These plans featured the return and subsequent death (or at least loss) of Rom and Brandy. I was initially pleased when he originally announced Rom would be appearing in New Warriors (before he knew it was being cancelled), but now I'm rather glad Rom and Brandy continue to live happily ever after in comic book limbo. (Not to be confused with the limbo containing all the Dire Wraiths. (-: )

Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 13:54:15
Subject: NEW WARRIORS: Post #75

Hello, faithful Warriors fans! Here, at last, is the long-promised revelation of where NEW WARRIORS would have gone had we not been cancelled with issue #75. Most of our plans were pretty sketchy, so I hope this info isn't too much of a disappointment for you.

Around the time of NW #64 or so, it was suggested to Tom and myself by Marvel's marketing wizards that we should start thinking in terms of a NEW WARRIORS relaunch after issue #75. By that time, I already realized that I wanted to really shake up the lineup of the team, much more so than I had already done.

Additionally, it was Tom's belief that we were being shown up by teen hero books such as GENERATION X and GEN 13, both of which were clearly younger and hipper than NW. Tom felt that the Warriors were looking old by comparison, and suggested to Pat and myself that we should, to a certain degree, try to emulate the attitude and look of those titles.

I agreed that NW needed to feel younger and hipper, but I strongly felt that it would have been a mistake to try to transform characters like Justice and Firestar into characters like Grunge and Jubilee. So, again, this meant a largely new lineup for the team.

As we got closer and closer to #75, the chance for a new Warriors title to follow it grew dimmer and dimmer. Marvel's legal eagles didn't think we could rename the title to THE WARRIORS, due to DC's GUY GARDNER: WARRIOR. Additionally, Marvel's marketing geniuses had emerged from their "relaunch" phase and moved on to other harebrained schemes.

Tom and I decided that we would stick with our plan to revamp the title after #75, even if it meant using the same title and starting fresh in an issue with a #76 on it.

By the time NW #72 was due to be plotted, word had come down that NW was to be cancelled with issue #75. I retooled my "Fatal Frontier" storyline -- which would have set up the new status quo -- from a jumping-off point into a wrapping-up point. It was hard, because there was always this hope that Bob Harras would somehow change his mind when he realized NW was still outselling titles such as GHOST RIDER and THE PUNISHER (both of which are still being published, thanks to licensing deals), which would have meant I had cut myself off from the new status quo.

Anyway, it never happened, and we ended up with what most people seem to agree was a satisfying ending to the series. But here's what would have happened if we had gotten that relaunch...

NW #73 would have been Chapter One of "The Fatal Frontier". The Mike Jeffries/Volx storyline would have remained pretty much as you saw. However, the issue wouldn't have contained any Thrash/Rage/Thinker scenes, because those were created with the series' ending in mind. Instead, I would have delved more deeply into what Garthan Saal had discovered regarding the secret agenda he had been helping to further.

NW #74 would have had nothing to do with a rescue of Nita by Thrash and Rage. (BTW, this bit was Tom's idea, and a good one at that.) The issue would have contained more Xandarian/Garthan Saal intrigue, coupled with the Wraith escaping into space. Now, I intended to find a way to link the Wraith's desire for revenge with the "Xandarian conspiracy" storyline, but I never got that far.

Suffice it to say that the Xandarian conspiracy involved renegade Shi'ar personnel who wanted to bring the "glory days" back; who wanted to put the "evil" back in "evil empire". Their plan (which I never got the chance to fully flesh out) was going to involve many alien races from across the universe, including Earthlings, Kymellians, Skrulls, Galadorians, Xandarians and many others. Basically, I wanted to bring all the Warriors' cosmic ties together for a truly epic space storyline.

The Shi'ar renegades were using the Xandarians and their Nova corps to spy on other races, in preparation for an invasion-type thing.

I figured maybe they were working on some kind of super-weapon, which Volx might stumble onto during her quest to find and kill Rom.

NW #75 would have seen the Warriors and Garthan Saal in space, chasing Volx (in separate ships, probably). The Warriors would have been caught in cross-species conflict as the Shi'ar situation came to a head, with Volx using her shapeshifting abilities to foment more trouble for them.

Rom, Brandy Clark and their daughter, Passion, would be revealed still living in peace on Galador. At some point, the planet would be threatened, and Rich Rider, alone, would make a momentous decision. He would enter the cyborg chamber and be converted into a metallic Spaceknight (reminiscent of his Nova costume), leaving his physical body behind, to save the day.

[No offense, but I don't see Rom and Brandy naming their daughter something like "Passion." Perhaps a Galadorian word that means passion, though, like "rom" means "first." --L.K.S.]

During the course of the story, Rich's body (and Galador?) would be destroyed, lost or stolen, leaving Rich stuck in this powerful but cold and sterile super armor. The irony, of course, is that Rich belittled his humanity and obsessed over having super- powers; now, that's all he would have, with no humanity.

The Warriors would save the day, and Saal would die heroically while killing Volx. Firestar would push her powers beyond all limits, doing serious damage to herself and possibly Justice. And the Warriors would return to Earth, bruised but not broken -- heroes for the 90's and beyond.

THE WARRIORS #1 (or whatever it would've been called) would have taken up the tale three or four months later. The new team would have consisted of: Spaceknight Nova (leader), Speedball, Turbo, Powerhouse, Timeslip, Hybrid (from the VENOM stories) and Passion (who is now effectively orphaned and homeless).

[So there's a new Hybrid, eh? I didn't know that. Obviously no relation to the Dire Wraith/Human Hybrid (a.k.a. Jimmy Marks). --L.K.S.]

Though I don't want to get into what Passion's powers were (since I thought they were pretty cool, and will probably use them somewhere else), I can tell you that she was specifically designed to give us that Gen 13 "kick"; a spunky, 13-year-old half- human, half-Galadorian with plenty of spice. With her home planet and parents either lost or destroyed (I hadn't decided), she's fallen to the care of Rich Rider.

[I, and hopefully many other fans, would be happier with "lost." --L.K.S.]

For his part, Rich is reaping the bitter harvest of his all-consuming desire to be a super hero; now, a super hero is ALL that he is. He's so embarrased by his metallic form that he is a virtual prisoner in the crash-pad. So he lives there, along with Passion, who has nowhere else to go. This puts Rich into an intriguing new role, that of reluctant father-figure.

The main action of this first story is the new team's attempted rescue of Nita from the clutches of the Undertow. All kinds of healthy intra-team conflict here, esp. between Rich and the intense Hybrid. Plus Passion always makes trouble...

The twist of the story was going to be that Nita had already taken over the Undertow herself, by killing Protocol and using the Undertow's subdermal implants to brainwash everyone into believing that SHE was Protocol.

So this was the post-#75 lineup. Speedball and Timeslip would have a romance, and I was intending to create some sparks between Turbo and Hybrid, as well as between Alex and Passion. As for Rich and Nita, I wasn't quite sure where this was going. Take a look at what I said in one of my planning documents regarding the new lineup...

Core Group

Basic Attributes
Character Material

Energy pulses, spaceflight, enhanced senses
Rough 'n' ready; tough, hot-tempered, impatient Ironic angst over non-human status

Kinetic energy field
Fun-loving and silly; self-doubting and socially awkward Worry over ailing mother; attraction to older women (Turbo, Timeslip) and younger (Passion) girls

Flight speed, wind powers
Serious, inquisitive, independent Guilt over Mike's death; family trouble with father

Flight, power bolts, gravity and density control
Awkward, in-between age; innocent, gullible, naive, eager Repeated attempts to come to understanding with siblings

East Indian
Future-vision; super speed
Mildly pessimistic, jaded, sardonic
Increasing paranoia/pessimism due to her powers

21 African/Am.
Sliding, shooting, morphing
Aggressive, somewhat embittered
Torn between cleaning up ghetto and improving the world at large

Alien, appears white (or not)
Female sass and spunk; ultimate curiosity; bizarre mix of naivete and cosmic worldliness
Alien curiosity regarding American "culture"; teen angst machine; someone for Robbie and esp. Alex to play with
(Note to Tom: I think I can handle 7 Warriors at once ... if you insist that we lose one, it'd have to be Turbo or Alex.)

Supporting Warriors

Computer savvy, knowledge of Marvel U.
Geeky, awkward, often obnoxious; intelligent and often helpful Attraction to Rina; hijinx constantly get team in trouble; perhaps tries to get self super powers

Collective (space)flight, data analyzation, cosmic info
Utterly neutral, kind, extremely naive; Commander Data with a cargo bay Unresolved conflict over Power Pack split-up

Other Supporting Cast

The happy ending isn't so happy, as Vance struggles to find work and instead finds prejudice against mutants and ex-cons. Also many messages about the hazards of marrying young will emerge.
Perhaps at some point Justice will start to go a little cabin-crazy - or maybe there'll be some kind of emergency situation - and he'll assemble his own team of leftover Warriors (Silhouette, Darkhawk, Dagger, Bandit) for one last adventure.

Will continue to show contrast between the original team and Rich's team. Constant rivalry, frequent run-ins, mixed emotions. At some point I suppose things will need to come to a head.

When Nita manages to become the Undertow's new leader, she's in a delicate position - but one that could ultimately further her personal agenda more effectively than the Warriors ever could.
She'll occasionally be able to sneak away for rendezvous with Rich, but when she finds out what he's become, their relationship will undergo another metamorphosis, which will be further complicated by a love interest within the Undertow.

This is part of an old storyline I'd still like to see played out; Alex Power tries many different tactics dealing with his sibs before finally settling down to "I'll borrow your powers only when the Warriors call."

So there you have it, in a nutshell. I was looking forward to this new lineup, which was much closer to what I had originally pitched for the series than what I ended up with. But what can you do?

Maybe someday...

In the meantime, I can finally tell you that I'll soon be busy again, this time as Senior Editor at Acclaim Comics, working for your friend and mine, Fabian Nicieza! Details will follow...

-- Evan "Employed Again" Skolnick