Champions has been a breath of fresh air after the fallout of Civil War II. These teen heroes had enough of dealing with their adult counterparts and what they were exemplifying, so they banded together to set out into the world and show it that superheroes can be more than taking sides and fighting among themselves. And five issues in, these kids are definitely getting the job done.
This issue was particularly powerful as we open to the scene of a burning mosque. Fire crews are standing around, not doing anything about the fire, as the police sheriff is explaining that it’s far too dangerous to risk any lives just yet. Our heroes then come bursting from the flames, having rescued people who were trapped inside. Once they are out, the team asks if the sheriff is enjoying the show, to which he replies to Cyclops “You’re the mutie one. Did you set the fire?” And this sets up the story for this issue. Our Champions are dealing with an issue that we know is all too real, but given the current political climate, is something we are seeing every day in the news.
It is laid out very clearly that the sheriff is a very narrow-minded, bigoted man. And him being very outspoken about his opinion is fueling the fire that is creeping through this town. Our team of heroes are at a loss on how to help with this when all of a sudden Gwenpool arrives on the scene, and makes things even more difficult for them. The heroes make a quick get away with Gwenpool and try to question her on her actions. She believes that this town must be under some kind of mind control, or they are a villain group like HYDRA, or are a bunch of villains in the making. Ms. Marvel and Cyclops try very hard to explain to her that not all evil stems from a super villain, but Gwenpool can’t seem to grasp that.
The kids find a reluctant ally in the sheriff’s deputy, who explains how hard it is for him to fight back, with the sheriff having so many supporters and top notch lawyers that will get him out of any mess. After some talking with the kids, and a racial slur laden rant the deputy receives from the sheriff, he finally takes the first step in trying to fix the town.
This issue could not have been more timely, and given the current political climate in the world, really makes you want to hand it to someone and say ‘THIS!’. Mark Waid has presented a clear and very accurate view on the world today as we see scenes similar to this being reported every day. We have a small county, under the authority of a sheriff, who does not hide his contempt for anyone different then his idea of ‘normal’. The sheriff has taken his position of authority, and instead of being the figure of ‘justice for all’ has turned it into one of ‘my way or no way’ (this is sounding familiar, isn’t it?). And for me, the best part of this issue was how Waid uses Gwenpool. I am not familiar with this character, and we get a little background on the earth she is from. Gwenpool is convinced that this town is being controlled by some evil threat; there is no way that people could hate and act like this without any evil influence. The Champions try their best to explain to her that this kind of evil doesn’t only come from super villains, but Gwenpool has a hard time accepting it, and wants to go out and punch out the bad guys. The simplicity of her thinking hit me so hard. There HAS to be a super villain making this happen, people just don’t act like this. If only that were the case.
And I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I will again; I love Humberto Ramos‘ art. Whether in action, or just standing around, each character has their own personality and are the focus of every scene. Even the scenes with several characters, or groups, there are distinct expressions for all of them without having the faces look similar. And the action scenes are big and bold, and you can really see how this team has come together and work so fluidly as a unit. I really hope he stays on this book as long as possible, because I can’t honestly see anyone else drawing this team.
Overall, WOW. As I said earlier, this issue could not have come out at a better time. The world is a crazy, scary place right now and this issue shines a light on one of the major, if not THE major issue facing the world right now. I hope that everyone reads this. Even if you are not a fan of Champions, please just read this issue and the message it is sending. We may have powerful authority figures trying to get us to see their way of thinking. They may be telling us that we are wrong and they are right and they may take extreme measures to prove their point. But we don’t have to agree because they say so. We don’t have to lose our voice. If anything, speak up louder. Shout it at the top of your lungs. Don’t show them we will back down and obey…show them we are Champions.
Story: Mark Waid Art: Humberto Ramos
Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy!!
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review