The Champions were maybe one of the more forgettable superhero teams Marvel put together. About the only thing truly memorable about them was their line-up. The reprint issue Comic Bento sent a couple months ago certainly didn’t do much for me.
But Marvel has a new Champions team now, and this one has a purpose beyond they were all just hanging out together one day and opted to stay together. I’d read the individual issues before, so how do they add up to as a whole?
Perhaps part of the problem of the original Champions was simply they had no reason to hang out together. There was no special mission that I could make out. If Ghost Rider wasn’t there, it would be a completely forgettable team. But the new Champions do seem to have a purpose. Made up of younger Marvel heroes in the form of the Sam Alexander Nova, Miles Morales Spider-Man, Viv Vision, Ms. Marvel, the timelost teenage Cyclops, and the Totally Awesome Hulk Amadeus Cho, they don’t just want to save the world from bad guys. They want to make a real difference and make the world a better place. That means maybe not only stopping the bad guys but at least attempting to repair damage done during the fight.
It also means the team can be idealistic and strident in the way that one might expect teenagers to be. It also means the team tackles more socially relevant issues like teenage girls being denied access to education in certain parts of the world due to religious extremists and racist elected officials making people think it’s OK to be racist to others. That last part featured a guest appearance by Gwenpool, who refused to believe that cops can be racist and corrupt without a supervillain getting involved.
If the book comes across as preachy and idealistic, it at least fits the tone of the characters. Frequent collaborators Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos do good work together and the series has a nice sense of humor going for it, but truth be told, these individual issues read fine as one-off stories. There’s no real ongoing plot momentum to the book, so it does seem as if the Champions just show up as needed wherever. Eight and a half flying taco trucks out of ten.
NEXT BOOK: We have a Dark Horse book up next that mixes the story of Red Riding Hood with Japanese manga. Be back soon for Akaneiro.