Set before the events of Secret Empire: Uprising, Champions #10, written by Mark Waid, drawn by Humberto Ramos, inked by Victor Olazaba, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by Clayton Cowles definitely takes place within the confines of the Secret Empire event, as a trio of Champions are in search of one of their own.
The search leads to an Inhuman internment camp, giving the Champions a predicament without a clear foe as they encounter yet another social injustice that can’t be punched in the face and sent away. Waid uses the camp as a launching point to examine the character’s personalities and history, at least on a surface level.
In this context, readers get a bit more background on Amadeus Cho, and get to see Viv Vision perform as the active backbone of the team. Miles Morales has a significant amount of panel time in this issue, bordering on the most of any of the trio of regular Champions in play throughout Champions #10. His frustration powers his actions, making his contributions to this comic more reactionary than proactive.
The dialog is casual and friendly, as you’d expect from a team ten issues into their norming process. Waid has Amadeus Cho refer to Miles Morales’ costumed identity as “Spider” throughout the issue, presumably as much as it would be a natural nickname as it is a distinguishing differentiator from the identity Peter Parker swings around using.
Of all the issues of this Champions series to date, Ramos’ art feels most unsteady in this one. It’s not horrible, but there are inconsistencies that may be from Ramos, or even from Olazaba, or perhaps a combination of both. The cast is slightly larger in this issue, but the main cast of Champions is smaller than usual.
Those inconsistencies aside, Ramos delivers the usual expected level of energy in his drawings, as the Champions are power-packed gangly teens, enthusiastically going about their business in the pages of Champions #10. His page layouts are clean and crisp, and, as always, Ramos knows when to back off from detailing the backgrounds, giving Delgado plenty of latitude to bring emotion and temperature to the pages of Champions #10. Ramos, Olazaba, and Delgado come together nicely throughout the issue, but particularly so when Viv locates a string of data that might provide a clue to the missing Champion’s whereabouts and once again later in the issue when a hidden character is revealed. The Viv scene (like all Viv scenes) affords Cowles a chance to shine, providing variance and measured delivery through word balloons.
Champions #10 is the latest in a series of good, solid issues. With the strong intersection to the “Secret Empire” event, this issue feels like a bit of a fill-in, but that does not cheapen what Waid, Ramos, Olazaba, Delgado, and Cowles are doing with the team. The Champs continue to grow – as people, characters, and, most importantly to this review, as a team. I look forward to where the team grows from this point, and how they adjust to “Secret Empire”. For now, the Champions continue to take on causes bigger than themselves, and do so with style and fun.
Writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos take readers to a "Secret Empire"-crafted Inhuman internment camp in Champions #10.