Champions #12 Review
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What you need to know:
Waid gives us a certain never before seen point of view on the character of Scott Summers, Cyclops. Not just the young version either as this can actually be translated into the older version before he died. This issue shows the turmoil going on inside the young Scott Summers, knowing his older self killed Professor Xavier.
What you’ll find out:
The team gets together for a karaoke jam. Everyone is having a good time and singing. But the young Cyclops, much like his 616 counterpart, won’t cut loose and sing with his friends. The others attempt to get Scott involved but an emergency calls the team to action. Psycho Man (a villain who controls emotions) is after something but the Champions defeat him easily. Cyclops’ destroys the motion device before it can be turned against them. Psycho Man escapes though with a classic “I’ll return” villain like cry. However the energy from the device Cyclops had damaged, surged and an energy from the device affects Cyclops emotions, heightening them immensely.
Turns out, Cyclops loves beating up bad guys, flying, and his nickname, “Slim.” Scott is upbeat and excited like never seen before. The emotions don’t stop there as we learn how much pressure this teenager puts on himself. His fears and inner thoughts are all on display here. From the fear of his powers to the fear of growing up to be the man that killed Charles Xavier. And when Psycho Man shows up again, anger is the final emotion to show itself. Psycho Man is nearly killed by Cyclops in a rage over the Psycho Man attacking his friends. His teammates stop him from killing the villain and Cyclops passes out. When Cyclops wakes up, he is unaware of everything he did and said while affected by Psycho Man’s machine.
Waid called this issue his “love letter,” to one of his favorite characters, Cyclops. And it shows as Waid clearly understands the character from a fan’s point of view. It is also refreshing to see a teen book tackle what teens go through internally. Cyclops is the teen who puts all the pressure on himself. To make the grades, be better, and never make a mistake. It’s writing like this that actually talks to the reader and let’s them know they’re not alone in the world. In fact, Waid does a beautiful job of writing the empathy Scott’s friends have for him. Ramos and Delgado are still on top of their game with this book. It’s bright, fun, and bold and matches Waid’s storytelling perfectly. Even under their masks, the art doesn’t fail to give off emotional expressions from the heroes.
The only flaw I see is that, the young Cyclops still doesn’t understand who his older counterpart is or was. And this may not necessarily be a flaw in the book itself as it may be a long term character development Waid is working towards. The one thing that does keep this book from getting a perfect score is the amnesia angle at the end. It could be a great development for the character and team if Cyclops knew his teammates understood and accepted him for who he is. The reader gets a fun look inside Scott Summers. But unless Scott’s friends reference this later, it doesn’t change anything about the young Cyclops.
Champions is one of the best team books out there. This isn’t just a team of heroes, they’re friends. And this issue really shows that from start to finish. Cyclops emotional roller coaster isn’t just felt by himself. His entire team goes through it with him. There is no denying these teen heroes care for each other. Champions does what a lot of books fail to do these days. It goes beyond being heroes who beat up bad guys and shows a family of friends. And with all the angst of the last several years from IVX, Civil War 2, and Secret Empire. Champions is a breath of fresh air and reminds us, how fun comic books can be.