Champions #9 by Danny Lore

Champions (2020-) #9Champions (2020-) #9 by Danny Lore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As this arc (and possibly the comic entirely, as there doesn’t appear to be a solicitation for #11, but the book might just be taking a break in December) heads towards a conclusion, Lore skilfully weaves together elements from throughout the run as the Champions deftly outsmart Roxxon, expose them for the heartless and manipulative corporation they are, and get Kamala’s Law repealed and teen heroes made legal again. It’s brilliantly executed and will have you cheering for the young heroes.

The art, by Luciano Vecchio, whose star appears to be on the rise at Marvel (and deservedly so), is superb, and fits a teen book like this perfectly.

Going into the final issue of this arc, I’m excited to see how it concludes, and hopeful that this won’t be the end for The Champions.

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Champions (2020-) #8 by Danny Lore

Champions (2020-) #8Champions (2020-) #8 by Danny Lore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tensions mount within the Champions as they continue with their plan to infiltrate Roxxon by posing as interns. Sam was initially rejected for the intern program but got in when he convinced them he could recruit Kamala. Problem is…he didn’t get Kamala’s consent to do that first. Things come to a head when Kamala storms out on her first day. As a result Viv Vision ends up having to infiltrate Roxxon where she makes a disturbing discovery.

This is solid stuff, there’s a lot of character work, a lot of angsty teens angsting, but ultimately little or no real action. Which would be fine, except it results in what it otherwise a young and vibrant team book ultimately lacking a little energy.

Where it doesn’t lack is in the art. Full disclosure, I worked with Luciano Vecchio on Pete Rogers’ awesome The Interactives for Markosia, and it was clear to me back then that he was destined for bigger things. It’s only a matter of time before Marvel put him on a bigger book than this.

Ultimately, not a bad comic by any means and well worth reading of your a fan of the Champions or any of these characters.

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Heroes Reborn: Young Squadron (2021) #1 (Heroes Reborn by Jim Zub

Heroes Reborn: Young Squadron (2021) #1 (Heroes Reborn (2021) One-Shots)Heroes Reborn: Young Squadron (2021) #1 (Heroes Reborn by Jim Zub
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sam Alexander, Kamala Kahn and Miles Morales in this reality were inspired by the Squadron Supreme to become heroes, just like the Young Avengers were inspire by the Avengers. Except they’re not the Young Avengers, they’re the Champions, but there aren’t any Young Avengers right now, so I guess this will do…

I like the idea of this comic more than the actual execution. Zub writes this as if it’s a traditional Marvel comic from the seventies or eighties and while I get what he’s going for it does kind of grate a little. This gets better towards the end as the Young Squadron realises that their heroes aren’t quite the people they think they are…thanks an interjection by Deadpool, which includes an almost painful piece of fourth wall breaking. Done right Wade’s fourth wall breaking is fun, but here it just felt awkward.

The art is fantastic though, and I did genuinely enjoy this comic, it just had a couple of small issues, that’s all.

It seems like the cat is completely out of the bag now regarding who’s behind all of this…

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Champions (2020-) #7 by Danny Lore

Champions (2020-) #7Champions (2020-) #7 by Danny Lore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a slightly weaker issue than the last one, but it’s still good.

I’ll admit, I was confused at first when Kamala referred to Ironheart as the only non-flyer on the team but, duh, they were playing a multiplayer game on their phones! Cos that’s what the kids do. I mean, to be fair, that kinda is what the kids do… This whole arc is focussing on mobile phones and social media and the way corporations use and abuse them to manufacture narratives that further their own ends. It’s very relevant, and I’m interested to see where they go with it.

For now, it means members of the team infiltrating Roxxon’s social media team in their civilian identities, and…that’s probably not going to end well.

Absolutely loving Luciano Vecchi’s art.

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Champions (2020-) #6 by Danny Lore

Champions (2020-) #6Champions (2020-) #6 by Danny Lore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A n ew creative team takes over with this issue, and I was secretly hoping that would give me an excuse to drop the book because I’m reading way too much at the moment. But, no, this is excellent. I’m not familiar with Lore’s writing, but I’ve liked Vecchio’s art since I worked with him on Pete Rogers’ The Interactives a decade ago.

Roxxon are trying to win over the youth with their new app, Roxx On! And they’ve also recruited…uh…a character who appeared in 2020 Ironheart…except that two par series was only ever released digitally, so I haven’t read it…which is a shame. But, well, that isn’t really the fault of anyone involved in the making of this comic. The pandemic caused chaos in the comic industry.

But, yeah, the writing is snappy, which suits a teen team book, and Vecchio’s art also fits the book perfectly. It’s bright, it’s young, it’s cool. I enjoyed this a hell of a lot.

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Champions (2020-) #5 by Eve Ewing

Champions (2020-) #5Champions (2020-) #5 by Eve Ewing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Originally envisioned as the final issue of a five issue limited series, this issue draws the first arc of this Champions series to a close. It neatly wraps up the Kamala’s Law/C.R.A.D.L.E. plotline, exposing that Roxxon are behind it all in a bid to use people’s fear to both make money and also take out a major thorn in their side. It’s perhaps a little too neat of a wrap up and it feels slightly rushed, but overall it’s very satisfying, and I’m glad that the whole “the Champions are public enemy No 1 and on the run” thing isn’t being dragged out too long.

I’m excited to see where they go from here, especially with the new creative team of Danny Lore (whose work I’m not familiar with) and Luciano Vecchio (who I worked with on Pete Rogers’ outstanding The Interactives graphic novel from Markosia).

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Champions (2020-) #4 by Eve Ewing

Champions (2020-) #4Champions (2020-) #4 by Eve Ewing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In which the X-Men save the Champions from being arrested, but can’t take them to Krakoa and so instead teach them that sometimes you have to make hard choices and sometimes those choices are wrong, but that’s ok.

And everyone hugs.

Except they don’t, they have breakfast instead.

This is kinda lovely, I really enjoy these characters and they make a great team. But the part of this issue I enjoyed the most was the part with Viv Vision and the old lady who taught her that sometimes you have to break the rules when those rules are stupid.

Mostly, right now, I’m tired and I need sleep, but this comic was good and I enjoyed it. Sometimes you just need to say that and not get all in depth in a review. I’m rambling…

Anyway, good comic. Yes.

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Champions (2020-) #3 by Eve Ewing

Champions (2020-) #3Champions (2020-) #3 by Eve Ewing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is good stuff, especially the bit with Viv, and the bit with the core team in the treehouse at the end.

I’m not so much sold on the stuff with CRADLE, but then I don’t really know those characters, yet.

And…the bit at the end…which I won’t spoil…when all hope seemed lost…yes…good.

The art is, of course, fantastic.

I’m just enjoying the hell out of this book.

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Champions (2020-) #1 by Eve Ewing

Champions (2020-) #1Champions (2020-) #1 by Eve Ewing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, if you know me you’ll know that teen superhero teams are my jam…and teen superhero teams that are on the run from the law especially so.

Literally my only complaint about this book is that “New law makes superheroing illegal” is a trope that’s well worn, but it’s done well here, so I won’t complain too much (also I did it in one of my own books, so I’d be a big hypocrite if I did).

The writing is superb, and in a team featuring a LOT of characters everyone gets a little moment so we can at least start to get to know them. The art is…wow…the art is just gorgeous, and has a young and vibrant vibe to it that feels very appropriate.

I really need to check out the rest of Outlawed but looking at eBay I’m not sure that’s going to happen as Outlawed #1 is selling for silly money (thanks, coronavirus), but maybe I’ll get lucky.

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