Champions continues to deliver high-quality deeply emotional character-driven work wrapped up in an energetic and emotive and gorgeous artistic package. Every bit of the issue is heavy in the best way possible with the history, relationships, traumas, hopes, dreams, and plans of these teenage superheroes showcasing just how much the creative team knows and cares about them. Children are the future, and this book is exactly what the present and future of good superhero comics should aspire to be like.
Action is a big part of various mediums and stories and can often be the thing that draws one into the story and get them on the edge of their seat. Far more often though one thing that really draws a lot of people in, especially with a medium like comics, is the character moments, development, and soap-opera-like moments.
Champions #8 has all that and then some.
Danny Lore, Luciano Vecchio, Federico Blee, and Clayton Cowles run on the teenage superhero series continues after taking a break month in June and doesn’t lose a single step. Beginning the issues with these moments that focus on the characters’ relationships, personalities and their issues has been a brilliant move.
Speaking of the aforementioned action, while this is a superhero comic series there isn’t a single standard superhero fight-type scene to be found. This isn’t a detriment at all. Instead, the issue, and the overall arc, is heavily focused on who these characters are and how they want to change the world and putting them against threats internal and external that can’t be fixed with punches. There assuredly will be punching soon enough with what Roxxon has planned, but currently, the series is heavy on character while diving into some fun spy/infiltration style aesthetics.
This cast has been a team through the entirety of this series as well as much of the last two books, with Kamala and Miles and Sam and Viv going all the way back to the beginning of this era of a Champions team. The weight of these relationships and the traumas they’ve been through and how they are still teens that butt heads and have differing ideas/thoughts/dreams can be felt on every page. It’s clear that the creative team knows and has great care for this cast and the world they inhabit.
Capturing voices that feel authentically teenage-like can be very difficult for those of us that are no longer teens ourselves or aren’t around teenagers regularly, but Lore nails it. They not only can make them sound young but goes beyond that to add in the weight that would come to them and their overall voice because of what they have been through. These aren’t normal teenagers, after all, they’ve had the weight of the world upon their shoulders a great number of times in their limited time as heroes.
The wonderful art from Vecchio showcases the weight of these moments as it’s so emotive (through facial expressions and body language) and energetic, aided by bright and colorful yet dark at the same time color palate provided by Blee. Every single thing just pops under this art team with this almost neon youthful aesthetic that the book has going for it.
There are such great little touches like the little instant message personal icons popping up on pages where the cast is explaining the plan that is being carried out in the artwork around them. Really just the use of social media and other aspects incorporated into the issue. It’s just little touches that remind us this is a youthful book and the team is quite aware of many of the types of things this would mean even for the Marvel Universe.
Since there is a ton of character work that means there is a lot of dialogue to be dolled out through the issue, and Cowles like usual makes sure that it flows around the art and never feels overwhelming. The different types of bubbles and slight text changes to the variety of character speak is always a welcome touch. This helps with the reading of the dialogue and captions even more.
Just like the rest of the artwork, the SFX are colorful and playful and energetic in their own way, adding to the fun nature of this book. The topic is heavy and relatable to our own world, where we see corporations engaging in similar tactics all the time, but the book has a lot of fun and deep energy to it that resonates from start to finish.
Also, a whole series of these kids just hanging out with Vision being a hovering overly helpful, and concerned parent would for sure be on my pull list if such a book existed.
Champions #8 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.