Champions: Change the World collects the first five issues of the story of how the younger generation of Marvel superheroes is coping with the aftereffects of Civil War II. Ms. Marvel, Cyclops, Nova, Hulk, Spider-man, and Viv are ready to strike out on their own to effect positive change in the world, fighting back but never punching down.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This book feels especially moving to read in the current political climate, where personal activism by the younger generation is seen as an imperative. But Waid never makes the book feel preachy or forced; the characters are still themselves, still have their faults and squabbles and hormones while they fight the good fight.
It’s amazing how much story Mark Waid managed to pack into just 5 issues. Thinking back over it, it’s hard to believe there were only 5, which made for a very satisfying read. Waid hasn’t been afraid to tackle difficult topics, including race, and his attempts here are a lot more successful than Strange Fruit. Letting the girls of the middle Eastern country take control of how they are helped was a very powerful statement.
Before reading this volume, I was only really familiar with Kamala Khan and Miles Morales as characters. This volume not only sells this team up, but was a great introduction to all of the characters. Everyone gets moments to shine (or act like jerks), and Waid does a great job of giving everyone a full 3-dimensional treatment.
I was especially interested to see how Waid would write Ms. Marvel. I love that Kamala is shown as a leader, because the tone of these issues feels totally in line with how she has been written since her first appearance in Ms. Marvel #1. Waid does a fantastic job of keeping her true to G. Willow Wilson’s vision of the character, and she is a guiding force of the stories.
It would have been nice for it to have been an even split of girls and guys, and there are a couple of moments of awkwardness of writing ladies – the Viv kissing scene and Kamala’s response made me cringe – but having so many of the stories revolve around the horrors that women around the world face (human trafficking, repression, denying education) was a strong direction for the book.
This is a fantastic introduction to a stellar series. As a new reader of Champions, I was definitely sold on the series and I’ll be adding it to my pull list. While the $15.99 price tag is pretty steep for a book where the only extras are the collected variant covers, there is a ton of story packed in.