Comic Book Review: Champions #22
After my disappointment with the new run of the Avengers, I found myself a bit lost when it came to team books. Then I saw Champions and remembered that this was a great time to see what I was missing since the last issue I read. Up to this point, everything about this book that has been newsworthy showed that this one had promise. As I flipped through the pages of this issue, I was glad to see that this series could live up to the hype where the Avengers could not.
When a run of Avengers is good, its good. When it’s not, you lose interest pretty fast because the book loses all direction and substance. Champions on the other hand consistently offers everything that the older heroes are lacking. The importance of identity, the importance of learning from your mistakes, and the emphasis on what it means to be a hero to the people foremost. For as crazy as things could get for this team, they never forget their mission statement which is to help those who can’t help themselves. The adults thin they know what they’re doing, but most of them in one way or another lose themselves to the idea that they can neglect the little people, the destruction they leave behind, or the concept of being able to fix rather than destroy. It’s not always about fighting the next big cataclysmic event or big bad. Champions proves that and finds just as much room to explore who these young heroes are behind the mask.
So focusing on the importance of the hero behind the mask, there were plenty of themes going on here that I admired. Zub managed to fit so much development and growth going on at the same time without pulling us in too many directions. Sam dealing with losing his Nova helmet was big. He’s lost without what he believes makes him a hero like the rest of the team, and that opens up for an exploration into the idea of what makes a hero, or Champion. Then you have Liv focusing on what it means to be human and accept all those tragedies that should hopefully mold you. Amadeus comes to terms with the inevitable problem that is the consequence of getting a big head. To feel invincible is the worst taboo for any hero no matter how strong. I could go on, but you get the idea and you have to appreciate that at the end of the day these characters always come first before anything else.
The big changes hyped up for this issue were great. As far as identity goes, Amadeus and Riri truly have now come into their own. Where anyone joked about them being clones, they are now forced to eat their words when appearance is the last thing they can use to that argument. Riri’s new suit was unique to her, and Amadeus’s new form made him his own Hulk.
Now when the plot began to take form, that was when I was floored altogether. This issue prepared us for that next big chapter in terms of change, but not for the dangers that come with what mission they tackle next. That was gut-wrenching because this creative team clearly has proven that they are willing to take risks with these characters that others are not. You look at the Avengers and definitely think that they could crank things up a notch.
Kevin Libranda and Marcio Menyz knocked it out of the park if you ask me. Gorgeous artwork from these two who know how to bring out the youthful energy of a book like Champions. The two things I wanted to focus on most here was the design of the new Ironheart 3.0 and Brawn. Color me shocked when I first saw the new Ironheart suit. That is the most intricate design I have seen so far for armor in the Marvel Universe. I can tell they enjoyed creating this unique design, even though I do hope those who draw this after don’t struggle making it look this good. I mean the color scheme was all her own, it was sleek, and the way it formed around her was cool. Then we have Brawn who comes into his own as a Hulk. Still big, not bulky like the Hulk, but much leaner as a Hulk who leaves you with the impression that he thinks before he leaps. The suit was definitely Amadeus’ style as well. There was some iconic purple, but everything else was more distinguishing for him adding yellow, white, and black.
Champions right now is a book I wish I was following more closely before. This is one of the more engaging of the ongoing Marvel titles out there and delivers genuine storytelling. I was having a conversation earlier today and I was thinking “We really don’t need Marvel thinking of a Young Avengers movie, what we actually need are Champions.”