Champions #3 Review
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Steve Cummings
Cover Artist: Kim Jacinto & Rain Berado
Variant Cover Artists: Elsa Charrietier, Mike McKone
Colors: Marcio Menyz & Federico Blee
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Previously in Champions…
A flashback to the Dubai mission to stop the rampaging Zzzax revealed that in his destruction, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) and Viv Vision were both killed. However, the demon Mephisto appeared before Miles Morales (Spider-Man) and Amadeus Cho (Brawn) and offered to reset time to just before Viv and Kamala’s deaths, sot that Miles and Amadeus might stop Zzzax before the girls’ untimely demises. Despite Amadeus’s protests, Miles agreed, and Mephisto does indeed reset things. The Champions are victorious, however in the wake of the temporal change, a young local girl Miles had originally saved, is now dead…
Summary with limited spoilers
The issue opens in a far off corner of space, as a scavenger opens a sealed pod within a crashed ship, unleashing Sam Alexander (former Nova)’s former foe Kaldera back upon the universe, as she vows revenge on Sam for imprisoning her.
Cutting back to Earth, in Allaire State Park in New Jersey, eight days after the events in Dubai, Kamala is leading a training exercise for the Champions’ newest recruits, as Sam watches, lamenting his loss of powers with the Nova corps confiscating his helmet. During the exercise, Kamala has to briefly rescue Sam from the chaos of the new teammates’ attempts to tag Amka Aliyak (Snowguard). Feeling even more depressed, Sam leaves and goes back to the mobile command bunker, as Miles broods over what happened in Dubai. Amadeus walks by and tries to console Miles over what happened, but Miles struggles with doing so, remembering the girl he rescued in the original timeline.
Miles then decides to check in on Dubai to clear his mind, as he recruits Qureshi Gupta (Pinpoint) to teleport Miles back there. Meanwhile, Viv has picked up a disturbance occurring outside Worthington Industries, and the Champions begin to mobilize to intercede. However, Kamala catches Qureshi and asks him why he sat out training, leading to Qureshi spilling where Miles went.
Cutting to Worthington Industries in Manhattan, a massive mob protesting the statue of the founding five X-Men (including Warren Worthington III aka Angel) are attempting to take down the statue, as young X-Men Sooraya Qadir aka Dust, attempts to defend herself from the crowd, as the Champions arrive. The crowd tries to get the Champions to arrest Dust, and get even more unruly when they mistake Amka for a mutant because of the wings she’s currently manifesting. Growing more belligerent, the crowd even demands Sooraya remove her veil, as Sam tries to help from the mobile bunker. But before he can, something crashes into it. Kaldera has found Sam.
The comic then cuts to Dubai, as Miles surveys the wreckage of the Champions fight with Zzzax, noticing a memorial formed at the base, in honour of those who died. Soon Miles finds the photo of the girl he had rescued in the original timeline, pinned to the wreckage. Faridah is dead…
This cover is another very effective one, focusing on a distraught Kamala, in tears as she cries out “How could you?” hinting at her discovery of the changed timeline. Kim Jacinto & Rain Beredo convey Kamala’s despair, while a shadow looms over her, so effectively. This is definitely the most emotionally compelling cover of Champions the series has had since its initial revival in 2016. However given the events of the comic itself, this probably would’ve served better as a cover to issue #4, as Kamala doesn’t actually learn what happened in Dubai in this issue. But the framework for this reveal is put into place within #3.
Opinions on story and art
After the much more mixed feelings I had towards the previous issue, I’m glad to say I enjoyed Champions #3 a great deal more, following up the devastating bombshell revealed in issue #2 with several character-arc progressions, and some very fun and snappy art!
Jim Zub continues Sam’s character-arc of struggling without powers after losing them (see Infinity Countdown: Champions #2) while throwing a monkey-wrench into the works with the arrival of Sam’s old foe Kaldera. As a longtime fan of Sam’s character, it was great to see her pop up again! Equally enthralling was the advancement of the main conflict this arc, as Miles continues to question himself over his choice in Dubai. And the addition of X-Men Dust is a very welcome one! I admit to not knowing too much about her, but I love her design and power-set, so her inclusion into the series is very welcome (also allowing for a sadly all-too-real moment with the angry protesters). The choice to feature mostly third-person narration boxes is also very enjoyable, giving the issue an ‘80’s-New Teen Titans or X-Men vibe. This is something Zub did on occasion with the previous volume of Champions, and its return here is very welcome!
The artwork from Steve Cummings, Marcio Menyz, and Federico Blee continues to entertain, from the lighthearted-action of the Champions training exercise to the demented commitment within Kaldera’s eyes as she’s freed, the comic features a wide array of tone and moods, all handled very well. Dust defending herself from the crowd is a particular highlight, as intricately detailed as it is. The issue is full of both fun, energetic & emotional moments, and this art team switches between and renders them all so exceedingly well.