Comic Book Review: Champions #1

When I was younger, my favorite titles were DC's Teen Titans and Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I loved them because they were young people who I could identify with that were wanting to do good. And, despite some adversity, there was always a spirit of optimism. Reading Marvel's Champions #1 makes me feel like a little kid again reading those titles. It is the reason I read comics.

Champions comes at the aftermath of Civil War II (even though it still has 3 issues left) that pitted hero against hero taking a stand on whether using the precognitive abilities of an Inhuman named Ulysses would help prevent crime or whether it was unfairly profiling people. By this time, younger heroes such as Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel, Sam Alexander's Nova and Miles Morales' Spider-Man have become disaffected by an older generation that they now view as jaded. And, so, they decide to start their own team, bring on Amadeus Cho's Hulk and Vision's daughter Viv.

Marvel has had young heroes before, but they've usually been introduced for the series. Champions features true legacy heroes who we, as readers, have come to love over time.

What I also love about this team is the diversity of the characters. The team is made of one African American, one Latino, two Asian Americans and a sentient AI. Cyclops, who will eventually join the team, will be the sole Caucasian character. Yet, it feels natural. Again, these are characters we've known for awhile and it makes sense they'd come together as a team.

Mark Waid has written a book that really feels optimistic without feeling forced. Yes, there is ugly, awful crime out there, but they will work within the law and do the right thing. They will focus on human life rather than the fight. And, what they start is not just a super hero team, but a movement. It's just so refreshing to read a book like this.

I am a huge fan of Humberto Ramos's art and that love certainly extends into this book. Some people like more anatomically correct, photo realistic art, but I really enjoy his stylized and exaggerated look. And, I think it works really well with these characters.

If Champions is a sign of how the new Marvel NOW! will be, then count me in. Whether you've followed a long with these characters for awhile or just jumping on right now, its a great book that anybody can enjoy.


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