By Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado
There is a market in the comics industry for a good teen team book. Probably one of the most successful teen titles to date is DC’S Teen Titans. The lineups change from time to time, but many of the core legacy characters remain on the team in some form. Marvel is taking a stab at this, again, with a new Champions series. The group of characters assembled are some of the best young characters in Marvel’s rolodex, but will they be able to sustain a decent team book? This is a question readers must answer to keep it on the shelves.
Mark Waid is a fan favorite writer who has been working with the Avengers for some time now. Champions seems like it would be a good book for him to just cut loose on and have some fun. The first issue didn’t seem to wow fans or retailers alike, as the reviews and sales were middle of the road. As we dig into the second issue, the characters get to know one another and show off their powers to one another, and readers learn along with them. Waid handles this section of the book fine, but if you’re already familiar with many of these young characters, it’s a bit redundant. Waid does seem to be pushing Kamala as the leader of the squad, as she’s the one most focused on in the issue. Cyclops stops by to see if he could apply for membership, which makes things bit messy since he is not in the good graces of many people at the moment. A gripe in the issue is that there seems to be some missed continuity here. The team acts like they have never met Cyclops, however, they are together in Civil War II issue #6, which came out last week. This could have been a miscommunication somehow, but it is a detail that should have been known by Waid. There is also a last page image that may raise an eyebrow. As it stands now, it seems to just be something put out for a little shock value. Perhaps next issue will explain the reasoning for it, but as of now it doesn’t seem to fit with what was depicted in the issue. This is your typical issue that shows off what the characters can do. It’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before, making this a pretty standard issue.
The pencils are handled by Humberto Ramos with inks by Victor Olazaba and colors by Edgar Delgado. This is actually some of Humberto Ramos’ better work. HIs style isn’t too everyone’s taste as he often exaggerates bodies and faces, but there really isn’t much of that this issue. Ramos’ work looks as realistic as it’s ever been. We have panels of Sam squirting milk out of his nose, which is great. If there is one gripe, it’s that there are a couple of repetitive pages, like the team staring as Amadeus jumps. They stare for several panels. Ramos seems to have slowed down his work; it doesn’t seem rushed and things look very good. He works with inker Victor Olazaba a lot, and it’s fair to say that the two of them have turned in one of their better performances. The colors by Edgar Delgado are fine here as well. The little things he does, like illuminating Viv’s face as she stands next to the fire, matter. A good job all around on the art portion of the issue.
Champions #2 is by no means a bad book, it just isn’t anything different or new from what you’ve seen before. Mark Waid is an uber-talented writer and needs to distance this teen book from every other one somehow. The art was the best part of the book. They turned in a very good performance with little missteps. This may end up being a series that needs time to get going.