The nascent Champions get proactive in Champions #3, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Humberto Ramos. Stirred by an event not unlike those in the headlines of today, the team follows Ms. Marvel’s lead to charge into the south Asian country of Sharzad, in an effort to support basic human rights and turn the tides of oppression.
This is exactly the type of event the superteam came together to stand up to, being proactive instead of reactive. It’s also the type of threat that could be easily dismissed due to the powers present on the team. Waid is smart enough to recognize this and talented enough to pull it off, focusing on the personalities of the team and the problems they can cause all by themselves.
One such point is the discussion of the perceived need for a team leader and who it should be. The characters in consideration all make good points, but, as happens with a bunch of teens trying to make a collective decision, focus slips and the decision waivers. Once the team gets into the field, however, they meld a bit better, and Waid finds opportunity to make a case for a natural leader among the various voices he crafts in Champions #3.
Ramos brings his standard-issue exaggerated characters and expressions, which get a little murky when mixed in with action, flowing cloth, explosions and desert landscape rubble. It’s nowhere near terrible; it just requires a little more reader investment in certain scenes. The quieter, “team-building” scenes play to Ramos’ strengths, and it doesn’t take much to project Champions #3 as a prototype for storyboards for the yet-to-be-developed (and not even hypothetically proposed) “Champions” cartoon.
Like Ramos’ drawings, which are capably inked by Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado’s strengths are called upon by the story. Champions #3 includes Amadeus Cho Hulk, Miles Morales Spider-Man, Sam Alexander Nova, Ms. Marvel, Viv Vision, and Cyclops – all of which have at least one bright color in their attire. In the case of Hulk and Viv, Delgado has an array of greens to thinker with, which gets a boost farther and wider once the team boards Cho’s flying taco truck.
Letterer Clayton Cowles also hits Champions #3 with classic comic book lettering. From Cyclops releasing a ZZRAK blast on the attackers to the outline-only THOOM of Hulk clapping his opponents into submission, Cowles hits the right notes, including stepping out of the way for Cho-Hulk to use pictographs in the thought bubbles depicting the aftermath of Hulk and Viv kissing.
Champions #3 comes together nicely, with seemingly equal parts teen drama, international thriller, superhero comedy, and hero’s journey. With Waid writing and Ramos drawing, this series is a surefire hit for fans of the duo’s work on Impulse and has enough variety in the cast to bring in other fans quite effectively. Champions #3 hits a sobering reality, puts the teens into a realistic situation that might be tricky to maneuver, but does so in a manner that is certain to raise awareness and trigger questions. It’s not the most superheroic tale in this series yet, as there isn’t even a supervillain present, but it shows what this series is certainly capable of.
In Champions #3, writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos head into territory that might intimidate some readers, but certainly falls inline with the driving concept that Ms. Marvel founded this team around.