The idea of Champions is not a new one, as countless times in the past younger and vibrant heroes are cherry-picked to be a part of a new revolution of heroes.
That said, there aren't many of those groups still around, and it ultimately comes down to their failure to do anything different from their predecessors. The Champions are the antithesis of that idea, and their ideals are what made them splinter off in the first place.
Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos have managed to bring together a young core that so far hasn't fallen into the same traps that others have. This book isn't filled with teen angst and an overdose of "just trying to find myself" tropes, but rather stars confident and energetic young heroes who see a need worth fighting for and go for it. It's a wonderful representation of young heroes from all walks of life, and so far has been one fo the highlights of Marvel's NOW era of comics.
Here are the top 5 reasons that Champions belongs on your monthly pull list.
A Missing Legacy
While the core trio has been seen in previous Avengers books, the creators have used this opportunity to build a robust team from all walks of the Marvel universe. It's also refreshingly outside of the typical "Captain America, Iron Man, Thor" team makeup that has been the center of most Marvel team books.
While the fresh faces are appreciated, this is arguably Marvel's biggest legacy book as well. It's something not seen in the Marvel universe as much as the DC universe, but it's a welcome change. All of these members are either new holders of their storied mantles or related to the original bearer in some way.
It's interesting to see a young Cyclops (from the past) work alongside these other heroes, who are closer to his age, especially with the baggage that his predecessor saddled him with. It's also intriguing to see Viv Vision go in a different direction than Vision, mostly because of a conflict of ideals. Seeing this young team not only deal with their actions and the consequences of those but also the consequences of their predecessor's actions just makes for some complex and engaging storytelling, and it's wonderful to see more of that in the Marvel Universe.prevnext
The art of Humberto Ramos
Ramos's dynamic pencils serve this book extremely well, especially with characters like Ms. Marvel, Nova, and the Hulk. Having Ms. Marvel on board allows Ramos to play with scale, as seen in issue #2, and characters like Nova and Spider-Man allow Ramos to show off his flair for movement and inventive panel layouts.
Ramos also has a wonderful penchant for expressions. Ramos is able to convey comedy with ease and the crew's expressions are a big part of that. Like in issue #2 where Hulk is displaying his incredible jumping ability. As he leaps in the air, the scene cuts to the other four Champions, and their expressions are what make the sequence work. The same can be said of their campfire discussion.
Ramos has been a fan-favorite for quite some time, mostly for his past work on Spider-Man, but he's found quite the home in Champions, and hopefully he sticks around for the long haul.prevnext
A New Trinity Emerging
Every generation needs its trinity, the heroes the universe builds off of and looks to for inspiration and a sense of stability. DC has Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, while Marvel has Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. This is needed for the younger generation as well, and in Champions fans are getting a glimpse at the future torchbearers.
If you previously read All New Avengers, you could already see the signs of greatness in Nova, Ms. Marvel, and Spider-Man (Miles Morales), and the three quickly bonded. In Champions that is explored even further, and their early work shows that they don't necessarily need an elder statesman as part of the group to succeed. They are proving more than capable of handling things on their own, and if they continue on their current trajectory, the marvel universe seems to be in good hands.prevnext
A Message Of Justice
In a time where the younger generation is looked down upon for a perceived laziness and self-absorption, the Champions are a direct contradiction to those loathed traits.
The team is made up of young heroes, but their approach to justice and the treatment of the world around them is more mature at times than the Avengers team they left behind. They saw a real need that wasn't being addressed by the umpteen other superhero groups in the Marvel Universe, and ironically those needs are rather simple.
The world is lacking when it comes to proportional response, and even with all the power at their disposal, the Champions are intent on setting an example for those who often let power go to their heads. The smallest amount of power can do significant damage in the wrong hands, and this team stands ever vigilant to make sure that doesn't happen.
Their other focus is again rather simple and comes down to compassion. It's easy to get lost in the big picture when aliens are invading or widespread viruses are infecting millions at a time, and as seen in Champions #1, the humanity that they are trying to protect gets lost in the shuffle. You may have stopped the invasion, but countless people have to then start picking up the pieces to their lives one piece at a time, and it's important to be there for the aftermath as well.
The Champions aren't leaving things for others to clean up, but rather doing it themselves, and the effect of that is not a small one.prevnext
Ms. Marvel's Growth Into A Leader
When a team consists of so many powerful beings, it's sometimes hard to peg an MVP. In the Champions case, that pick is easy.
The MVP is hands down Ms. Marvel, who in just two issues is displaying leadership qualities that it took some heroes years to learn, nonetheless put into action. From her ability to get this group together in the first place to her skills at keeping them on message and focused on their goal, she's exhibited wisdom beyond her age constantly.
That wisdom isn't brought to the forefront regarding just superheroes, though. She won't allow anyone to make her a female caricature, including Nova and Spider-Man. This was perfectly displayed in Champions #2.0comments
"You're not going to make the woman the spoilsport. like she is in every. single. movie. I'm not here to make you do anything or to keep you from doing what you want. I want us to have adventures in crazy beautiful places we never imagined. Lost cities, hidden dimensions--do you want that? And I want our adventures to mean something. To enforce justice without unjust force. No punching down, no killing. Do you want that?"
This team is lucky to have her, and so are fans.prev