|Because "Black Thrasher" sounded too 1970s-ish|
Name: Dwayne Michael Taylor
First Appearance: Thor #411 (1989)
History: Son of wealthy philanthropist and former soldier Daryl Taylor, Dwayne saw his parents gunned down at an early age (although he strangely does not recall all of the details). The event traumatized the boy and he swore that he would wage a war on all criminals. Supported by his legal guardian Andrew Cord and housekeeper Tai Dwayne trains for years in the art of fighting, mastering several forms of martial arts and hardening himself as a weapon becoming one the toughest hand-to-hand combatants in the world. Deciding he needed an even bigger advantage over the criminal underground he uses his keen intellect to design and build an advanced body armor with an assortment of gadgets. Along with his trademark twin Battle Staffs and…um…his high tech skateboard Dwayne becomes the pragmatic hero known as Night Thrasher. Not content with doing it on his own however Night Thrasher forms a team of young heroes, modeled after the Fantastic Four, to help him in his vendetta against evil and the press soon dub them The New Warriors. Dwayne now divides his time between super heroics and managing the
Beta Says: As you can probably guess from the year of his first appearance Night Thrasher is an early product of the Dark Age of Comics. That would likely be obvious just by looking at him; on paper he’s a very unsubtle Batman rip-off that uses a goddamn skateboard as a weapon. The only way he could be a bigger embodiment of the 1990s would be if his name was Nyght Thrazer or Blood Thrasher or something like that. Credit where credit is due; I often complain about some of these black heroes being very stereotypical. You know, “from the ghetto”, “criminal past”, etc. But Night Thrasher is actually a rich boy which is a completely different circumstance than the majority of black heroes before him. Of course he has a serious anger problem which has some unfortunate implications but, you know, baby steps.
More on Night Thrasher after the jump.
|Uh yeah, I'm going to go ahead and put money on the Hulk|
Night Thrasher does have a lot of good points but he’s not a very popular character; I’d say he probably falls into the C-List category. He did have an ongoing series at some point (as well as a Miniseries) but not recently and the book didn’t make it to two years. Clearly he didn’t take off the way Marvel may have been hoping. I’m unsure why. Maybe everyone assumed the guy was lame because of his costume (though I think its charming). Maybe the origin change came too little too late and people just saw him as a third-rate Batman clone. Maybe the audience wasn’t interested in a comic starring a black guy (but seeing as this was the same era of the rise of Milestone Comics I assume there must have been some demand for a black lead). Maybe the book was just terrible. Being the Dark Age of Comics I’d say there’s a pretty good chance of the latter. In addition as far as I’m aware he’s never appeared in any media outside the comic, not even a cartoon, so that really lowers the chances of you having heard of this guy if you’re not a big comic fan. Is there no room for a wealthy black teenage superhero armed with big damn sticks and a skateboard? I dare you to re-read that question and tell me that didn’t sound awesome.
|"Heroes for the 90s" has a more dubious connotation these days|
So if you read this and thought “Gee, I think I’d like to see this Night Thrasher guy in action” then prepare to be disappointed because he is dead as hell and has been dead as hell for about six years. He and a team of New Warriors were killed after screwing up bringing down a super villain and getting a bunch of civilians blown up in the process which pretty much made them all Persona Non Grata within the Marvel Universe. In fact not only is Dwayne Taylor dead and has his name tarnished he was almost immediately replaced as Night Thrasher by his former super villain half-brother Donyell Taylor aka Bandit. I don’t want to talk about him too much because he probably deserves his own profile but I will say that his revived version of the New Warriors wasn’t super good and I don’t really miss it (well, there’s some things I miss about it but that’s another story). The point is that Dwayne was killed off in a really shitty way for really shitty reasons but his death was so important that I’m not sure when/if Marvel will bring him back.
But I think we’d be a bit better off if they did bring him back. If they hired a really good writer and set him up with a really good book we could all benefit with a revived Night Thrasher. The idea of a black street level hero who himself is a privileged upper class rich kid intrigues me and I’d like to see something like that play out in a modern setting where the divide between the rich and the not rich seems more clear than ever. But I have to say if Marvel does bring him back make sure he has the skateboard. Otherwise what’s the damn point?
If nothing else I think the New Warriors would make an awesome cartoon series. Get on it, Disney!
|Night Thrasher and Spider-Man|
Bonding over being screwed over by Marvel circa the 2000s