Review: CHAMPIONS #1


Written by Mark Waid
Art by Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado, & Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 5, 2016

Sometimes, when you can’t help the way you want to, you strike out on your own.

Kamala has decided enough is enough. She feels that the Avengers aren’t cutting it, leading her to reconnect with Sam and Miles to track down other young heroes who fit their vision. Their ideals briefly clash before they realize they’ve started a movement of Champions.

Champions #1 is a strange experience for me. Not because it’s bad, but because the parts feel odd when put together. I’m usually a fan of Humberto Ramos, but the art had to warm on me for the tone of the issue. Mark Waid in some ways gets the lingo of younger millennials, but other times this trek into the mind of young heroes feels rather hamfisted. As it stands, though, I like the setup of Champions and it gets some things right.

When it comes to plot, Waid has it in the bag. The larger scope behind the story I think is where the magic happens. In between the lines and in the gutters of each page, I think there’s a narrative unfolding about the challenge of being young in a world dictated by older people. However, the execution unfortunately smacks of, “I’m hip!” Waid’s talents are better suited to a story that emphasizes the forest, and maybe too much attention was paid to the trees. This issue would’ve been better without the nods to the language and culture of young people, which stood out from the plot because of the obvious punctuation of current slang and communication.

Ramos’ pencils capture youthful exuberance in many scenes through action and movement, but there are moments when some characters have a strange visual presence. Kamala in particular feels out of place at some points because of her expressions. Still, fight scenes in this issue showcase Ramos’ abilities, especially when it comes to Kamala, and these panels are where she is illustrated best. Victor Olazaba soft inks keep the story from being too emotionally dense. Even in dark moments, Olazaba  keeps things light, aiding the story in maintaining the youth and energy of its main characters. Edgar Delgado colors the world of the Champions with a bright sheen that captures the team’s youth, while the flashback scenes have an earthy layer which anchors Kamala’s place in the story and her reason for leaving the Avengers.

The first issue of Champions is a nice rendition of the team formation story. I appreciate the speed and plot, how the characters meld together, and the important values that underlie the story. However, some of these elements feel disparate, and the characters do feel like they’re written by someone who has a disconnect with current culture. It’s weird to encapsulate how Champions #1 both gets it and doesn’t get it when it comes to age, youth, and colloquialism, but at the very least it’s a series I don’t mind being invested in.

The Verdict: 8.0/10


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