Viv Vision goes solo and meets a new (but wonderfully familiar) hero whom I hope becomes the Next Big Thing…  Your Major Spoilers review of Champions #9 awaits!

CHAMPIONS #9

Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in The Champions: “Viv is in hot water with her father, The Vision, after one too many excursions with The Champions.

But it’s not easy to ground a teenage synthezoid…”

VIV GOES IT ALONE

This issue opens with a little Champions bonding time, watching ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ and bonding over the TV of their “long-ago” youths.  There’s a lovely bit featuring man-out-of-time Cyclops wherein the Champs tease him for having been born an old man before Viv Vision accidentally becomes a buzzkill by reminding them that she’s a synthezoid and her programming doesn’t current serve finding comfort in memories.  Cut forward a few days to a beautiful blonde arriving in San Diego by plane, catching a cab.  She reveals herself to be Viv, seeking out information on the team called The Freelancers, only to have her conversation interrupted by a new hero, wearing an armored insect-themed suit.  There’s a team-up, bullets flying, and Viv learns a little bit more about what the Freelancers are up to, while our new hero raises my hopes that The Champions are about to get a new member…

MORE RED LOCUST, PLEASE!

I admit it: I’m not always the biggest fan of Humberto Ramos’ art, but paired with Victor Olazaba, his work here is excellent, and the opening bit with the Champs hanging out together is note-perfect, feeling like an authentic group of young people, at least to my memory of such things.  The real star of this issue is Fernanda Ramirez, The Red Locust, who is the heir to a long legacy of such heroes.  (She’s also a loving tribute to El Chapulín Colorado, a Mexican TV superhero of the 70s and 80s who I love dearly for many reasons, the least of which is being the inspiration for The Simpsons’ Bumblebee Man.)  Her design is wonderful, this issue’s story is well-done and Viv’s dialogue is excellent, and also: MORE RED LOCUST!

THE BOTTOM LINE: A KEEPER

If I have my way, we’ve just seen the debut of the new hotness, the next Squirrel Girl, the next Deadpool in Fernanda, and I would love to see her join the team in a permanent manner.  Of course, with the Secret Empire crossover going on, there’s no telling when this book will return to stories that aren’t about terrible dystopian hellscapes, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but Champions #9 is a wonderful spotlight issue for a Champion who deserves it, featuring lovely writing and dialogue, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  I know some complain that this book feels a little Steve Buscemi “Hey, fellow kids!”, but I’m enjoying the character work and solid art by Ramos and Olazaba…

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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