When last we saw our young heroes, they had been blasted out of the sky by a missile. They’re totally probably dead, you guys. After all, this is comic books. When has anyone miraculously escaped such a close call unharmed? Your Major Spoilers review of Champions #4 awaits!
Previously in Champions: “After a mission in the Middle East, The Champions (Ms. Marvel, Nova, Spider-Man, The Totally Awesome Hulk, Viv Vision and Cyclops) headed home in their jet–but a missile from an unknown attacker shot them down!”
WHO WILL LEAD THE CHAMPIONS?
So, I’m old, you guys. I remember the original Champions team and how many of their adventures were about the team members coming to grips with each other and their substandard headquarters in the malaise of the 1970s, and so this issue appeals to me. After suddenly being shot down over the ocean, the Champions swing into action, with everyone doing their part (Vision welding broken metal, Nova providing thrust, Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man helping to hold the ship together while Cyclops pilots) as they bring it down for a mostly safe landing in the ocean. There is some sparring between Cyclops and Ms. Marvel over who is in charge, but everyone quickly turns their attention to the matter of survival and getting back to land. When their attackers are revealed to be an Atlantean outpost protecting their territory, all the Champions have to pool their resources to escape captivity…
I LIKE THIS TEAM
This issue is full of personality and fun, and so much of the dialogue makes me smile. Cyclops’ dryly remarks that he’s got piloting in his blood, Ms. Marvel wonders about an Inhuman and a mutant working so closely together, Viv Vision explains to a worried Nova about why she has been acting so strangely while trying to repair his alien helmet. The best moment comes in a Gilligan Cut after The Hulk shouts that he has a plan, immediately transitioning to the team in holding cells officially voting that Hulk will never be the team leader. The most difficult taks this comic has is in keeping everyone consistent with their solo adventures (since four of the six members also have solo books every month), but Waid makes it all work, and even look easy. Humberto Ramos, always an artist that I’m leery of, does a wonderful job (maybe inker Victor Olazaba’s work? I’ll watch for his name in the future) with everything in the issue. This is especially impressive as so much of the comic is characters talking/shouting to one another in emergency situations, and I especially like Ramos/Olazaba’s take on Scott Summers.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I’D SAY GO GET IT
When I heard about the launch of this series, my disappointment came in having the best, most interesting members of the All-New All-Different Avengers siphoned off to another book. That’s the last big moment of disappointment for me in this book, as Champions #4 is a fun, engaging read, featuring some quiet moments reminiscent of old-school X-Men or New Warriors, earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. I love having an issue that isn’t “Part 17 of 25”, and I really appreciate how charismatic all the members of this hero team are. (Of course, the promise of Gwenpool next month could be a mixed blessing, but we’ll blow up that bridge when we come to it.)