Champions #5 Review
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Juanan Ramirez
Cover Artist: Kim Jacinto & Rain Berado
Variant Cover Artists: Maxx Lim
Colors: Marcio Menyz
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Previously in Champions…
After expanding the ranks of the Champions with a recruitment drive, newly formally-elected leader Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan struggled with the responsibilities this new role entailed. Meanwhile, while Sam Alexander/former Nova continued to struggle with his role as the team-pilot, Spider-Man/Miles Morales and Brawn/Amadeus Cho tried to keep a secret from the team. After a disastrous first mission leads to the deaths of Kamala and Viv Vision, the demon Mephisto offered to reset time so Kamala and Viv were spared. Against Amadeus’s protests, Miles agreed. And upon revealing this to Kamala, Miles decided to leave the Champions, as Sam went off into space to retrieve his Nova helmet…
As Spider-Man seeks solace in talking with the mother of the girl who died in Kamala’s place after Mephisto reset the timeline, the two catch a TV broadcasting the invasion of armies from the other Nine Realms, as the War of the Realms erupts on Earth. This urges Miles into action, as across the world near Melbourne, Sydney, Kamala leads the Champions as they attempt to impede an invasion of trolls. Down most of the core members of the group, Kamala struggles with not having her friends at her side, working instead with the newer recruits to the team, Patriot, Bombshell, Dust, and Pinpoint. The last of whom returns from a supply run to the X-Men holding out in New York City with an old friend of Kamala’s. Cyclops has joined his old team…
Opinions on story and art
This was a very fun, and surprisingly heartwarming issue, and a great way of how to both continue advancing a comic’s own plot while tying into a larger event! Honestly very little if any prior knowledge regarding War of the Realms feels necessary in order to follow this issue’s plot, even while the comic is affected not only by the event maxiseries itself, but other tie-in comics.
Jim Zub balances having characters out of action thanks to other series (Amadeus starring in New Agents of Atlas, Nadia recuperating after the events of #4-5 of Unstoppable Wasp, Miles in Journey into Mystery) exceedingly well. Taking advantage of said absences to both explore Kamala’s struggles leading teammates she’s less familiar with, and also fleshing out said newer teammates at the same time. Pinpoint gets several great moments, and the character is growing on me more and more. But the highlight of Zub’s writing for this issue is how he handles writing Cyclops. As a character Zub never wrote in Champions before (Scott left the book alongside previous creative team Mark Waid & Humberto Ramos), this is the first time Zub’s written him. And he does so flawlessly. Capturing the charm of Scott Summers that’s so absent from the character in modern comics, Zub made me cheer for a character I haven’t liked since I was a little kid!
The artwork for this issue is provided by guest-penciller Juanan Ramirez, and he does a terrific job capturing both the massive scale of the battle the Champions are having with the trolls and the tender emotional moments of the comic, such as the opening with Miles and the sequences with Cyclops. Alongside Marcio Menyz’s wonderful colors this issue is a visual treat, and I’d love to see Ramirez pencil more Champions stories in the future!