CHAMPIONS #19 / Writer: Jim Zub / Artists: Sean Izaakse & Marcio Menyz / Clayton Cowles / Marvel Comics / April 11th 2018
In this week’s Champions, the new creative team takes us to my homeland of Canada. This first issue from Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse and Marcio Menyz is very solid and portrays an interesting team with a deep potential. This issue mainly focuses on team dynamics and establishing the new status quo for the upcoming run. The overall plot for this arc is mainly set up during the few opening pages and gives off enough mystery regarding a few elements that make me want to see where the story is going. Throughout the rest of the issue, we see this brand new team aboard their new mobile headquarters as they plan and prepare to embark on their very first adventure.
Champions is a series which I was on-and-off about. There were some great moments under Mark Waid’s tenure, but also moments which lacked in many aspects. Everything regarding team dynamics and character relationships was on point, but the plot lines lacked a lot of superhero action. Champions, as a comic aimed towards a younger demographic, had some incredible themes that could teach kids and young adults some very important lessons, but its execution felt muddy to me. Jim Zub seems to take what Waid got right and run with it, all the while elevating the experience by giving us fun action sequences to boot. The way the comic opens up seems to address the first problem I mentioned, while keeping it very young reader focused. We see Nova chasing a couple of bank robbing villains with the help of Spider-Man, in classic superhero form, with a good dose of slapstick humor and quips. This vibe of fun and lightheartedness is maintained throughout the book, making it perfect for any young person who has an interest in reading superhero comics.
So far, the way Zub plays on the character interactions is simply delightful; we keep seeing this trinity of young heroes in Nova, Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel being exploited superbly, which makes me hopeful for the next generation of Marvel. One of the newest arrivals on the team also gets a little bit of spotlight in this issue; Riri is here and in full form, meaning the only person she seems to connect with is a synthezoid who turned off her emotional core. This is the Riri I love, and Bendis left her in very capable hands. Zub seems to understand her character and comprehend what makes her tick, and we get to observe how she adapts with working in a team. I am hopeful for her and Nadia’s future on the team since they are similar (yet different, in a few regards). Both are geniuses, but one (Riri) is very reserved while the other (Nadia) is much more outgoing. I can’t wait to see how their personalities end up meshing with one another, possibly creating a deep rivalry or a beautiful friendship.
This issue is the perfect jumping on point for any new reader. It isn’t reliant on the previous issues to make sense to new readers, and quickly gets you familiar with most of the team and how they interact with each other. Jim Zub has been one of these unsung heroes at Marvel since he started working over there. His work has always been solid; he did some really good work with the Uncanny Avengers and Thunderbolts, showcasing an immense talent for writing teams, which I can’t wait to see him show off with this series. The art is a really strong point in this issue; Sean Izaakse really nails the more fun cartoon style of art, which is a perfect fit for this book. He draws some very dynamic actions sequences which, when paired up with some very nice character-focused panels, give off a beautiful look to this book. All this beautiful art comes and marries wonderfully to the vibrant colors of Marcio Menyz, to give off an astounding reading experience. The writing and art merge together incredibly for the target audience that this book is trying to reach.
Overall, I’m very excited for the future of Champions. This first issue with this new creative team has me one-hundred percent on board and promises to be an enjoyable experience. I can’t wait to see if Jim Zub continues using this platform as a way to teach younger generations beautiful, mind-opening values Mixing that element with the classic superhero feel, from what I’ve seen so far, would make this the most well-crafted young-reader book on the market. I would have to give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 because it made me laugh and wildly entertained me. The young team of heroes starts this new age with a bang while leaving us on an impossible cliff-hanger that will shock the pants off of you.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 Super-Tykes