How Not to Park your Rocket (Champions #8 Comic Review)

Champions #8 Review

Writer: Jim Zub

Artists: Steve Cummings

Cover Artist: Kim Jacinto & Rain Beredo

Colors: Marcio Menyz 

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Champions #8 cover by Kim Jacinto & Rain Beredo

Previously in Champions…

After the War of Realms ended, Ms. Marvel stepped down as leader and active member of the Champions, handing the reigns to Viv Vision. Meanwhile, Sam Alexander (Nova) continued his trip through space with his old foe Kaldera to find his Nova helmet. The pair arrived at the base of the Nova Corps, only to find that the helmet had been stolen, and taken back to Earth…

Synopsis:

Iron Heart (Riri Williams) pays Viv Vivison a visit, as the latter co-ordinates a field mission, struggling to fill the void Ms. Marvel has left in her departure. But Riri is adamant they talk. Immediately.

Said field mission sees Snowguard, Red Locust, Dust, and Power Man (Victor Alvarez) monitoring a former SHIELD base, now under the control of a military organization, in Iowa, when former Champions antagonists the Freelancers arrive. There to rob the base, the Freelancers are about to battle the Champions, when the rocket containing Sam and Kaldera crashes in front of them, Sam has tracked his helmet to the base!!

Snowguard leads a bare-bones-team in the field (Champions #8 by Jim Zub Steve Cummings Marcio Menyz)

Opinions on story and art

This was another really fun entry to read, with an absolutely JAW-DROPPING conclusion/cliffhanger (though I won’t spoil said climax here). With the departure of Kamala from the team in the previous issue, it’s already clear how vital she was in the success of the group, as Viv struggles to command the teammates they have left. The sight of her hardwired into the Champions’ crashed mobile-bunker is chilling. And without Kamala there, the field team’s diverse personalities run rampant, the fight with the Freelancers being much more chaotic (and with a lot more property damage) than if Ms. Marvel was directing them. It’s a great way to show the strength of her character without her appearing in a single panel of the issue. I also find the choice to strip the team to such a barebones state fascinating, as it really puts the remaining members’ backs against the wall. Kamala, Miles, Nadia and Amadeus are absent from the team, and what’s left of the team feels like it’s in shambles. 

Jim Zub’s plotting and dialogue are excellent as always, capturing the attitude and drive of the Freelancers quite well, and Kaldera’s commentary throughout the ensuing battle of the issue is a delight! And I’m glad to finally see Riri reappear in the book after her absence in the last few issues (as an aside, I’m still peeved she nor Nadia were allowed to play any part in the War of Realms). 

The art from Steve Cummings & Marcio Menyz remains absolutely slick and wonderfully vivid (with a special note made towards how wonderfully atmospheric the opening and closing pages of the issue are)! I really love the power Cummings is able to convey with Red Locast’s leaps, and the heat from Sam and Kaldera’s rocket crashing almost radiates off the page. I likewise loved the bright, and charming colours Menyz used throughout the main action of the story, too often it feels like fights, even ones outside, take place with the lights turned off. It’s incredibly easy to follow where every character is, and what they’re doing in any given panel. And Clayton Cowles’s lettering is equally engrossing, particularly the impact-sounds of all the punches thrown!

Cummings & Menyz capture a rocket-crash beautifully (Champions #8 pg 7)

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Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron

A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!
Summary
As we near the end of this volume of Champions, this issue provides some fun, vibrant action, some advancement for Sam, and some wonderful teen-superhero banter! I just wish the creative team had a couple more issues to work with, so the inevitable close doesn’t feel so rushed.
Good
  • The fight between the Champions, the Freelancers and Kaldera is refreshingly bright and precise
  • This issue is particularly rewarding for long-term fans of Sam Alexander-Nova!
  • After several issues’ absence, Riri reappears!
  • As does Sparky the Vision-dog!
Bad
  • The plot, while easy to follow, does not move much in this issue
  • The Champions just accidentally happening upon where Sam’s helmet is feels convenient plot-wise (and why did the base have it?)
8.6
Great
Art - 8.5
Writing - 9
Plot - 8
Character Development - 9
Written by
A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!

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