REVIEW: Champions #4 – “The Atlantean Adventure”

Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterers: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 01/04/17
Rating: Rated T
Price: $3.99

In the wake of the reality shaping Secret Wars the Avengers were disbanded and no longer funded by a now broke Tony Stark so a new team assembled. The team consisted of the old guard; Iron Man, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Thor (Jane Foster), and Vision. Three next gen characters also joined, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Nova (Sam Alexander), and Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan).

Not long after the new team formed, a new Inhuman named Ulysses emerged with the power to predict the future. They were thrown into a hero Civil War over Predictive Justice. With many of their idols on opposite sides, the next gen teens felt torn, and ignored. They felt that their mentors and idols had forgotten about the everyday person and left the team. The teens decided to band together to form a new team and was joined by Hulk (Amadeus Cho), Viv Vision, and young Cyclops (Tykclops). Together they did more than formed a team, they started a movement and was dubbed by Social Media, #Champions! For their first mission the team traveled to the Middle East, and on their way back they were shot down by a missile over international water.

Plot: The Champions survive the missile, and are now stranded in international waters trying to make their way to land. While on their way they discover who shot them down, an Atlantean outpost who saw them as invaders over their airspace. Can the team come together under one leader and escape their captors?

Story: The last issue,wasn’t my favorite. To be honest I thought it lost something, but Waid quickly bounces back here. I think that is because it is about the team itself. In the last issue the focus became very political/social commentary, where this is just a straight up adventure where the teens can be themselves, and not fight for social justice.

This team has a lot of strong personalities, and this issue fully displays that. Nova and Spider-Man are very much the jokesters, and commentators, they say what everyone else is thinking, even us, and says it. Viv’s character building here was very small, but done a lot. I loved that they addressed her shift in personality and explained it. Amadeus Cho is super arrogant, cock and self important, but you can see here that there is a hint to something below the surface, that I want to see. Then you have to two natural born leaders, Cyclops and Ms. Marvel. I love their dynamic, she has the respect of the full team, and they will follow her without a doubt, but she lacks the instincts to call shots from the hip in the heat of battle and Cyclops is the opposite, and together they make the perfect leader for the team. In the end though it is clear that Kamala is the leader but I hope they really utilized Scott as her 2nd in command.

A part of me was hoping and still is that we will see an Atlantean join the team. The Atlanteans are really underused in the Marvel Universe and it is a shame, they have such rich culture that a book like Champions can really capitalize on. I also really want to see more of Cyclops interacting with the team, it is interesting that he will be on two teams (Champions and X-Men: Blue), neither of which he is leading, and both are being led by women.

Art:  The art here is such an excellent fit. Humberto Ramos has an amazing energetic youthful style of art that works so well for this book. Ramos gives each character a unique personality that makes each one stand out, while blending well together as a team, even without the script, and that is all on the art. Ramos uses their whole bodies to convey their emotions allowing us to have this animated series feel with them.

Edgar Delgado really brings to life the characters with his popping colors. I love the use od blues here, and the way he does the Atlanteans is just amazing.

Verdict: Overall, this issue was fun, and like Cyclops said, this wasn’t a mission, but it was an adventure, and it is one I think you should be checking out.