Comic Book Review: Champions #24
There has been so many young hero stories this year to impact me, but none as much as Champions and in such a short amount of time. We got to see how younger heroes handle the aftermath of big events, how they reinvent themselves, how they explore their sense of self-discovery, and how they cope with the possibility of loss. This series so far is the full package, and I couldn’t help but anticipate what came next for this team after their nightmare encounter with Man-Thing. Couldn’t have gone any worse, and this is but another hurdle for them to climb if they want to continue being the heroes they aspire to be.
With that said, this issue is a small break from that encounter when the Champions instead tackle a much different situation. It stung a bit to accept this at first, but right now I have faith in whatever Jim Zub has in store for these young heroes. Especially when we are seeing something a bit more tame, and tackling their mission statement. From the start of this issue I remembered why I originally fell in love with these characters. They do exactly what they broke away from the Avengers to do. That means helping people on a street-level. You know the things that superheroes are supposed to do instead of always looking for the next end of the world situation? I commend Zub for being able to write these heroes in a way that reminds us what we are lacking from other stories.
When I came to understand what was meant by the Champions grapple with a foe that all the super-powers in the world cannot vanquish? I found so much respect for the boldness of this art team. The description of this issue began to make sense, the cover for this issue also made sense. There was no better time for a story like this to be told. Comicsgate or “Diversity & Comics” would be the first ones to tell you that these stories have no place in comics, and they would be dead wrong. There are real problems out there in our world, and there is nothing wrong with our stories reflecting those things and more. This particular situation hits hard if you are the age of these characters, and I could feel the chill of what happens when someone is late to the scene. All you can do is panic, mourn, and maybe stew in all the things you thought you could have done to avoid the situation, but couldn’t. For Miles to be the one to experience this was very real. Unlike the other members of the Champions, he has the most stable life outside of superheroics. Family, friends, a school, people who know what he can do. It changes everything when all of that is put in danger, and not by something that could have been seen coming. Certain not by something that could have been avoided so easily because of the actions of a troubled individual.
As for the rest of the Champions, I enjoyed how they handled the situation as well. Especially when it comes to Riri. This situation hits home for her, but it was would have been too easy for her to experience the same thing for a third time in her life. It added to the relation that someone else could experience such a tragedy, and have others who could share in the pain of what comes after. How they helped themselves through this was so empowering. Well, not for everyone, but for those who could truly process this? Truer words could never be spoken about how to fight for a future where this foe can’t beat us into submission.
As if I didn’t already love my first exposure to Sean Izaakse’s artwork, and this art team as a whole? This issue knocked it out of the park. There was so much to admire about what life they could breathe into these pages when there was nothing but genuine emotion to capture in a real situation. The last few issues were emotional, but this was our time to see more than rage. We were opened up to a full range of emotions that real people grapple with when faced with a deadly situations that you can only react to. That meant this time around, it was more important than ever to nail those key facial expressions, body language, and interactions that could tell a story of their own. This art team nailed that in so many ways. Any other time, I probably would have also said to tone down the colors a bit to better set the atmosphere, but when everything else was so perfectly executed, and strength of the colors only added to the depth in what the art was able to portray.
You couldn’t have asked for a more powerful issue of Champions, and this year was the best time to tell it. This foe only wins when we keep silent, when we forget why we speak up against it, when we let despair keep us from hoping for better. I was touched, and this is was the joy needed to be felt as a reader of superhero stories.