CHAMPIONS #1, available this Wednesday from Marvel Comics, is the turning point for many young heroes in the Marvel Universe. Thanks to Kamala’s Law, they are again being hunted as vigilantes, forcing every one of them to make a difficult decision.
It all started in Outlawed*, where the Champions’ simple mission went horribly wrong, causing serious damage to heroes, students, and buildings alike. One of the most famously injured even got a law named after her.
Granted, Kamala isn’t exactly the sort to be happy about that particular law. In Ms. Marvel #14, fans get an inside look at how she reacted to all of the news she missed out on while she was temporarily out of action.
Like the Superhuman Registration Act, this is an event that will define the heroes that come through it. Underage heroes have limited options. They can retire (until they are of age), they can sign up with an approved hero (likely a shortlist), or they can fight. Enter Champions #1, where the heroes of this generation step up to make their decisions.
It’s safe to say that fans have been waiting a long time (almost a year) for the events in Champions #1 Ever since Outlawed dropped and changed everything. It’s so easy to draw comparisons between the Superhuman Registration Act and C.R.A.D.L.E.
Yet Eve L. Ewing has also made this event unique to the younger generation. It’s provided a voice to a younger audience. This issue is all about younger heroes, from Miles Morales to Kamala Khan, finding their voices and speaking up.
It’s something that many readers should be able to connect with, even if they will never have to go about hiding superpowers or anything on that scale. The message still hits home, proving that Marvel knows how to tie current events into their universe.
It is both intriguing and compelling to see the lines being drawn in the sand. Thanks to the time constraints (and the sheer number of young heroes involved), some opinions feel like vignettes, yet a clear picture has been painted.
This issue is very much setting up for something larger – that in itself shouldn’t be a surprise. The battle the Champions face has only just begun. With as much buildup as we’ve seen, it couldn’t be any other way.
The artwork inside Champions #1 is as bold and bright as the heroes it portrays. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of strong emotions portrayed within this issue, all of which set the tone for what is to come.
Simone Di Meto is the lead artist and did an impressive job of including so many heroes in one space. As always, it’s clear at just a glance who each character is. Even when not verbalized, their opinions feel clear as their faces, and body language practically screams what is going through their heads. It bridges the gap between show and tell and allowed for group opinions to form on very little time.
To say that a lot is going on within these pages would be an understatement. Each page, every panel, is full to the brim of details and motion. It’s a feast for the eyes, with many favorite characters making appearances (with some feeling like it has been far too long).
Federico Blee’s colors bring everything to life. The vibrancy demands attention, while also very much being in the classic style of the Champions. The highlights for coloring surely revolve around the distinction between those appearing through technological means and those who are physically there.
Last, but certainly not least, there’s the lettering. Provided by VC’s Clayton Cowles, the lettering literally brings everything together. Minor details and alterations make it immediately clear who has taken charge of the dialogue, without any need to vocalize that fact. It’s subtle yet impressively done, as was the issue as a whole.
Champions #1 is every bit the dramatic return that the heroes deserved – though the circumstances are far from triumphant. This issue brings back heroes who have fallen to the wayside, all while setting the scene for what will surely become a major event in Marvel history. Not just for the heroes involved, but for everyone.
*Reading Outlawed, or individual Champions issues (Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales: Spider-Man) isn’t a requirement to understand this issue. However, it will add a significant amount of context to the situation. Additionally, this issue will contain some spoilers for those events, obviously.