By Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Marcio Menyz and Clayton Cowles
Champions #4 continues to hit home with its emotional character study of Miles Morales, finding a neat balancing act to give the entire young cast plenty of things to do. The book deals with Miles’ actions where he was forced to make a deal with Mephisto to save the lives of Viv Vision and Ms. Marvel, and now the consequences are hitting him pretty hard when he learns that whilst saving his team’s lives, someone who he saved in the alternate timeline died in this one. It’s a cruel move by Mephisto, but then, nobody expects anything less.
Jim Zub nails these characters and explores their flaws and strengths in a way that makes them compelling characters. Sam Alexander is still dealing with the consequences of his loss of the Nova helmet that gave him his powers, but it’s also leading to unexpected benefits. Kaldera, an enemy from Sam’s past, has shown up with an intention of killing him, but upon realising that he doesn’t have any powers knows that it isn’t as much of a challenge. So this leads to an unexpected team-up that creates plenty of potential in regards of interesting character dynamics, and pairing two characters together as we’ve seen from Kamala and Miles for much of an issue can lead to wonders from this series.
Speaking of the Kamala/Miles dynamic it’s created some fascinating results as both have believable, honest reactions to the guilt of what would come from Miles’ decision. Champions #4 hit home so hard, with the emotional arc of this series landing perfectly. Zub delights in the emotional torment of these characters, and it often leads to the best results story-wise.
Steven Cummings is on top form with the pencils and nails everything here. The action sequences are explosive, epic and you really get the sense of scale of what it might be like to see this team in action. The facial expressions need a bit more consistency but it’s only a minor worry, as pretty much everything here is spot on. Marcio Menyz’ colours do a good job at making the pages feel alive, and it isn’t hard to see that the artwork has an incredibly cinematic tone, making it almost pitch-perfect for a movie adaption or a television series.
There’s plenty of teenage angst and big decisions that will affect the characters for the rest of their lives that play out in Champions #4. The team dynamic that Zub has handled here makes Champions among the most compelling reads in the entirety of Marvel’s line-up at the moment, standing out as one of the best young team groups that we’ve seen in ages, right up there with the current Runaways run which rivals if not surpasses the original. It’s absolutely unmissable for a fan of any of the characters and given how well Zub manages to balance the dynamic between the cast as well as introduce powerful new players to the game, it’d be almost criminal not to read this book at this point. The faults are so minimal it’s hard not to fall in love with it.
The truth comes out, indeed…