The Champions continue their fight against the government as the X-Men step in to land a helping hand and to impart some wisdom about how tough the world truly can be.
There are few things hotter on the Marvel Comics front at this moment than the X-Men and this month they bring some of that fire to help out some of the publisher’s beleaguered young heroes. Cyclops makes his second big reunion with his young hero friends as Marvel’s “Outlawed” storyline continues in Champions #4.
Eve Ewing has brought new life to the flagship young hero title, tackling the hard storyline of standing up for what you believe in even if that means going against the law. Kamala’s Law has outlawed anyone under 21 from being a hero unless they work with a mentor, but the Champions find this law unjust and have been on the run ever since.
After the last few issues of on-the-run action and a focus on the reeducation center that young heroes are sent to, this one slows things down a bit to really unpack the feelings and issues of the characters. Cyclops’ ties to the team were the smartest way to give them some breathing room from C.R.A.D.L.E. agents as he whisks them away to the Marauders’ “pirate” ship (since humans can’t go to Krakoa).
Often one of the biggest criticisms of teenage character books is the voices sounding off or sounding too adult, but that is not an issue here. Ewing nails each of the characters, both young and adult, even putting a bit of youthful spark into Cyclops when back around his friends, and smoothly works in the bigger issues including comparisons of this situation to the Civil Rights movements of the past.
It is hard to see how this story will be at least partially wrapped up in the next issue (still so many balls up in the air) with a new arc and new creative team coming on board with the sixth issue, but it is just good to know that the book still has a future after it looked like it was going to be a short-lived mini-series. No doubt some of the storylines are going to carry over since the team’s fight against this unjust law isn’t fading anytime soon.
Speaking of the law, the best move when it comes to the “Outlawed” storyline is how the various creative teams made sure to focus each youthful book that is tied to it (currently that is just Power Pack and Champions but a Reptil mini is on the way) comes from a different angle. The Champions are the outlaws, Power Pack is somewhat caught in the middle, and the New Warriors book that does not look to be coming out was set to feature the fully registered teen team.
Bob Quinn returns to the art after taking over from Simone Di Meo in the last issue. There is a bit of different energy between the two artists, but not in a bad way. Quinn nails down everything from the variety of emotions (which is a gauntlet with teenage characters) to the giant swath of guest stars that fill the pages. Federico Blee and Clayton Cowles remain on board from the previous issues and continue to bring their A-game with the color and letters respectively. Hopefully, they’ll remain on board for the next run with Danny Lore and Luciano Vecchio.
Lastly, as a big-time Cyclops fan and someone that actually liked the young time-tossed Cyclops that was a Champion, seeing him get to be all giddy and don his old costume with his pals was a joy for my nerdy little heart.
Champions #4 is now on sale from Marvel Comics at local comic shops and digitally on ComiXology.