Champions #5 // Review
It’s event season at Marvel Comics, and the War of the Realms is in full force. For better or worse, it’s hard to find a single comic that doesn’t tie in with the event (aside from Spider-Man and the X-Men, who both have their own events). The Champions, as an offshoot of the Avengers, are no exception. While most event tie-in books can easily be written off as distractions, that may not be the case with this issue.
Jim Zub writes issue number 5 of The Champions, with Juanan Ramirez working on the art. Marcio Menyz adds colors to the page, while Clayton Cowles letters the pages.
Sixteen miles west of Melbourne, Australia, the Champions fight to save the lives of civilians from the forces of Malaketh. Unfortunately, the team is going through a rough spot. Half of the original team is off on their own, or even off-planet entirely. This leaves Ms. Marvel commanding a motley crew of mostly new recruits and volunteers, and it’s beginning to wear on her… as are the endless hordes of trolls and other fantasy villains. Luckily, a founding member of the Champions has decided to return to the team… and it’s Cyclops?!
Yes, Cyclops from the current run of Uncanny X-Men has heard his friends are in danger and isn’t about to let them down. But can they fight off the trolls and keep the civilians safe?
Jim Zub has found one heck of a way to bring back Cyclops to the Champions, even if it’s just for an issue. While Cyclops left around the time that Mark Waid left the book for his own adventures and being returned back to his point in time, Marvel went out of their way to establish that the memories of young Cyclops went into modern Cyclops. It’s wonderful to see that Zub is one of those authors who won’t forget this utterly bizarre twist in continuity, and is even using it to his advantage. Jim Zub also has the characterization of modern Cyclops down pat, and he fits well with the Champions despite the age difference. The issue is also remarkably positive and lighthearted, despite dealing with a potential apocalypse and personal drama. This is pretty rare in modern hero comics and feels like a breath of fresh air.
The book looks great, too. Juanan Ramirez has found a great way to marry the overly gritty one-eyed Cyclops of the current Uncanny X-Men run with the more idealistic art found in the Champions. The action is smooth and easy to follow, with some excellent use of splash pages that don’t feel gratuitous. The reunion between Scott and Kamala also feels terrific, without words needing to be added. The coloring is a little dark in the issue, but it does fit the constant struggle that the issue relates.
While this could have been a filler issue, Champions issue 5 is filled with a bunch of nods to the earlier run, has some great character moments, and even some closure for Teen Cyclops. If you’re a fan of either version of Cyclops, this should be added to your pull list this week. If you’re a Champions fan, it should definitely be in your collection.