What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the debut of Champions #1! Marvel surprised me with this book, because I thought this was one that was supposed to have released months ago. I get that the pandemic pushed a lot of things back, though this seemed like one they wanted to get out for the hype that was building up towards its release. I know I was hyped since at first it was exciting to see that they were still trying to keep the Champions alive. This is THE young hero team, focusing on the premiere young heroes of the Marvel Universe. It is a crime to let this team and roster of heroes fade off into obscurity.
Now with this first issue, it was also important to see if they were willing to make up for lost time. This isn’t just another run of Champions. This is Champions during a time where they aren’t allowed to be the Champions because of the Kamala Law. Now I know what the Kamala Law is, but the important thing was seeing how welcoming they wanted this book to be for someone who isn’t aware of what this story is really centered around. Let alone for someone who possibly didn’t read Outlawed #1 to know what is being outlawed. Fortunately for us, they put in the work to make sure that there is an awareness to what the Kamala Law is, and why this is something the young heroes are going to rebel against. They even said just enough to get the gist of the incident which made this law possible.
Considering the kind of person Eve L. Ewing is, I found her perfect as the writer for this next run of Champions. She understands the plights of being young these days. These days you aren’t just a kid, you are someone who needs to be able to make the decisions in your life which affect your future. We live in a world where the adults are messing up and expecting the youth to sit by and live with it. Just those first pages proved that she knew how to create those parallels, and kept pushing it from there.
With that said, the crazy thing about this story was seeing where we would begin experience the first collapse of the young hero community. It takes you by surprise to see just who is for the Kamala Law, who is for C.R.A.D.L.E, whose still standing with the Champions, and who is still figuring things out. I’m not going to lie, it hurt to see this divide start to form. As mentioned in the issue itself, it’s nothing new to see heroes fighting among each other. The fear there was that we would end up sitting through a repeat of events which are been there done that. However, this is not to say that I don’t have faith that this creative team is looking to do better. There are plenty of ways to create this tension among the young heroes and still make this story their own. A good start to that was also ending this issue on a note where we do know who is the spy, and it is the very last person you would have expected.
One of the best things this books has going for it is that Simone Di Meo is involved with the interior art. All I had to do was read that name and I knew that flipping open to that first page I was going to be blown away by just the pencil work. Simone Di Meo is skilled with the pencil, great with breathing life into her characters, and certainly comfortable with what you expect from younger characters drawn. Now the colors by Frederico Blee was new to me, as in this is the first time I have seen colors by Frederico Blee. I was astonished by the color work of this artist because he was a perfect fit for a story where you want to bring out the youthful glow of these heroes world. Meaning bold and vibrant colors, even flashy colors for when the action hits, and it certainly hit. Though at the same time Blee has a good handle on natural colors and colors which simply make normal scenes more excitable through varied effects.
They didn’t lie, Champions #1 kicks off a dramatic new era of Champions that will define the future of Marvel’s teen heroes. This first issue succeeded in sending the message that the world still needs heroes, even if the world doesn’t want them right now.