It’s a tough pill to swallow that this is it for Champions from this creative team. Just one of those things that happens. Not because the book sucks, or for being a book relevant to the world around us, or for being a book focused on young heroes. Honestly, I wish there was more to come, but there is a positive that none of us should ever let go of. This book happened, this team is a thing, the way that Jim Zub made these young heroes their own is not something that will be overwritten. I still looked forward to this issue because we were sure to get the same passion from it that went into every other issue and run before.
This final issue jumped straight into the action, and I have to say it was different jumping into the last issue of a series to get more action than anything else. Normally this is that point where the fighting had already happened the issue(s) before and now there is only conclusion and wrapping up. With that said, nothing wrong with what we were getting here because Jim Zub always knows how to spark a fight and still find meaning to it all. This fight between Champions was the first time that the originals were together like this is a long while. It was nostalgic to see them all on the same side, on the same page, and doing what they do best despite this being against friends mind-controlled. Their big move to turn things in their favor was just the kind of action that you would expect from them when back in a place where confidence drives their actions.
Till the very end of this arc, I found that Blackheart was a great villain to throw their way. This is a team where it’s members are all young, and impressionable. Particularly when someone inserts himself into their lives and preys upon their developing feelings. Probably the best time where you could ever crank the dial in drama this much and it actually benefit the story. Heroes said the things which they kept bottled up, and they expressed the things that they otherwise would not have said in a different situation. Even if this wasn’t the end of Champions as a book, this was a great way to cut through a lot of the things that held some of these characters back, and would have continued to. This doesn’t mean they would no longer find problems with one another, but a lot of the things that should easily be worked through are now moved past.
Till the very end, Zub also continued to give us a reason to miss these heroes, at least the way he writes them. These are heroes who consistently rise to the occasion and prove that matters of the heart do matter as much as simply getting the job done. It’s not weak to fall down, admit you need help, or simply fail. These are the very core things which helps these young heroes, the next generation made a vow to do better. This last issue in particular was them living up to that mission statement.
One thing I will miss most about this book is the fact that Steve Cummings was able to work with Jim Zub one more time. When Cummings is on pencils, you are at least guaranteed that the interiors are going to be gorgeous. Since taking the reigns of penciler, he has not disappointed once. Bringing a refreshing youthful vigor to these young heroes, a playfulness which embraced some of their ages, and a style which made every action scene standout till the very last. Particularly this one that impresses you because there was so many Champions clashing with one another, and so much going on at once, and not once did it ever feel like he let up on the quality of his pencils. Even with this issue I found myself marveling at the way he drew Blackheart. One of the best designs of this villain that I have seen to date when he has so much going for him visually. It also helped having a colorist like Marcio Menyz who is not going to turn him into a black blob without layers. I mean aside from Blackheart, Menyz was always bold and vibrant with his color choice which worked perfectly with the kind of story told. By the end of this run, I couldn’t imagine any other colorist getting this adventurous with their colors or bringing out the level of depth that he was able to.
With the conclusion of Champions #10, this is it for this team book. However, where one door closes for the Champions, another is open where they can pop up just about anywhere in the Marvel Universe. So far we have Incoming to look forward to in December, and that at least tells you that this book had the impact it needed. At the end of the day, this book accomplished what it needed to. This is an established young hero team, many of these young heroes have finally come into their own, and they offer something different from the Avengers.