Posted by Tom Bacon @TomBacon
I'm a British guy who has a particular love of superhero movies - and I'm having a great time writing for Movie Pilot! Feel free to foll...
Tom Bacon

It had to happen. With the tremendous success of Marvel's 'Legacy Heroes' — including characters like Kamala Khan and Spider-Gwen — we had to see them come together on the page. Finally, The Champions brings some of the core heroes together as a whole new super-team!

Why Does Marvel Need Another Super-Team?

Kamala makes a stand. Image: Marvel Comics
Kamala makes a stand. Image: Marvel Comics

Marvel's latest event, Civil War II, has fractured the superhuman community. Seeing their mentors going head-to-head has shaken the faith of the younger heroes, and they're questioning everything they've believed about the Avengers. So the kids decide to show a new way to be superheroes, to strive to restore public trust, and to clean up after themselves.

Written by Mark Waid, The Champions #1 shows another side to this. Where the Avengers take on cosmic threats, the Champions look set to focus on ground-level issues. Ms. Marvel quits the Avengers because she's upset at how the team doesn't focus on the civilians they endanger in superhero battles, and assembles the Champions. Their first mission is to take on a human trafficking ring. Towards the end of the issue, Waid skilfully but subtly ties the Champions into other real-world problems; Kamala gives a speech that nods to the issue of police shootings, further earthing the book.

It's clear that Marvel intends for this book to be a powerful one. Comics have always had a political edge to them, and this book promises to tackle real-world issues.

A Step Up For Ms. Marvel!

They've started something! Image: Marvel Comics
They've started something! Image: Marvel Comics

The character-work is absolutely top-rate, and Mark Waid gives each character a very distinct voice and attitude. Perhaps the most interesting character, though, is Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel. Kamala is the most popular Legacy Hero, and her success was really what kicked Marvel's whole approach off. Thus, it's fitting that Waid makes her a leader.

The character's evolution is logical, though; she's always been an idealist, and as she loses faith in the Avengers, she's naturally going to decide to stand up and be counted on her own terms. It's her vision that drives the Champions, and she's the one who publicly outlines the Champions' cause at the end of the book.

All-New All-Different Avengers had built a really strong relationship between Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man, so it's no surprise to see that relationship continue. The addition of Amadeus Cho's 'Totally Awesome' Hulk is a superb touch, and he's quickly forced to work together with the rest of the team. He in turn draws in Viv Vision, who's been developed as a strong character in Vision.

One astounding moment! Image: Marvel Comics
One astounding moment! Image: Marvel Comics

The book's structure is deliberately reminiscent of the first arc of Dennis Hopeless's All-New X-Men, right down to closing with a speech and a social media reaction. That's smart plotting, not least because All-New Cyclops, who made the speech in All-New X-Men, is set to join the team next issue. Kamala's message of optimism and hope closely mirrors the one he attempted to give, and it's no surprise that he'll be drawn to the Champions.

The Art

A horrific scene. Image: Marvel Comics
A horrific scene. Image: Marvel Comics

In my view, Humberto Ramos is one of the best Marvel artists in the game. Here, he carefully attempts to mirror the style and tone of the different heroes; the opening scene in Kamala's home feels like it's been lifted from the pages of Ms. Marvel. Every page showcases his talent, and he captures each character perfectly. Colorist Edgar Delgado complements this with smart coloring, using shade and tone to distinguish flashbacks.

The above scene is a particular highlight, with coloring and tone helping to build the sense of horror and shock as we see the human trafficking. It's been a long time since Marvel dared to tackle this issue, and it's nice to see the books earthed in real-life issues again.

See also:

Marvel's newest superteam, The Champions has gotten off to a great start. This is an unmissable first issue, presenting the team as a culturally relevant, idealistic group whose adventures will serve as analogies for the real world. This is a book to watch.


What did you think of the Champions?