By Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba & Edgar Delgado
Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos debut the new Marvel series Champions. Sporting a fun looking team on the cover the question became can Waid make this team work any better than his time on the Avengers? Champions comes out of the backlash of Civil War II. After a few young heroes witness the recklessness and negligence of their adult teammates they are faced with two choices. Hang up the costume because it no longer stands for something you believe in, or step up and make it stand for something you believe in. Ms. Marvel is at the centre of this first issue and she decides it is up to the young generation to put the hero back in superhero.
The story opens on Kamala. While she is eating lunch we are shown what happened 5 days earlier. The Avengers were locked into a destructive brawl with The Wrecking Crew. Although the Avengers prevailed and ended up saving lives it was at the destructive cost of the surrounding area including a small business. Post battle, Kamala throws out the idea to clean up the mess they made to which Sam quickly snaps back that there are unions for that kind of work, it isn’t their problem. Seeing the effect The Avengers are having on the locals, Kamala storms off effectively quitting The Avengers. This would be an ideal time for a “I didn’t sign of for this shit” cliche but thankfully, Waid goes with a much more personal “I can’t do this anymore”. Now 5 days later Kamala decides that she is going to take action. She begins rounding up a young team in hopes that each of them can be the heroes they grew up idolizing.
Since this is the first assembly of the team Ms. Marvel, Spider-man, Nova, Hulk and Viv this issue could have served as simply a gathering of the team. However, Waid uses both the acquisition of Hulk and Viv to highlight two different scenarios where this team can be effective. The acquisition of Hulk leads the group into a collapsing mine where they must carefully plan the extraction of three mine workers. Later, when testing how Viv can be the teams constant search engine they immediately find a human trafficking situation that requires their attention. A collapsed mine and a shipping container filled with young girls in their underwear couldn’t be further from each other, but Waid does a great job of highlighting how being a hero has to do with saving the people not just violence. In fact, the message this book sends at the end is a very positive one. The team stands firm that violence is not the way they are going to solve problems. If you come at them well you better have a good plan cause they will beat you into the ground, but there will be no kicking you while you are down.
Humberto Ramos does a solid job with the issue. His cartoony style works very well in the action scenes. It aids in the message of the book and breathes life into the youthful characters. There are serious moments in the issue that are not supposed to carry that fun feel and the team of Ramos, Olazaba and Delgado are able to play with the colours and line work to slightly change the feel of these panels. The art team does a really solid job keeping me interested throughout.
Champions is off to a great start. There was more to this book than just a team building debut. It is nice to see a team of youngsters voice their displeasure with the older generation and step up to make a difference. I have recently started to watch the new Survivor series which is Gen X vs Millennial. The very first episode some Gen X ego type makes a comment about the Millennials not standing a chance. How is a group of kids who have never worked at a real job going to beat the fantastic work ethic and decision making of the Gen Xers. Well, the Millennials wiped the floor with the Gen Xers in the first challenge thanks to their superior decision making. The youth are too often underestimated and Champions is out to adjust that opinion.