Champions #9 introduces a new character to the team and the Marvel Universe. Written by Mark Waid, drawn by Humberto Ramos, inked by Victor Olazaba, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by Clayton Cowles and set before the current “Secret Empire” event, this issue is another nice apparent done-in-one that truly just continues to weave more fabric into the Champions team mythos.
The opening fifteen pages of Champions #9 give readers the first appearance of the Red Locust, who claims to uphold a legacy of sworn protection for nomad tribes and vulnerable travelers. Waid and Ramos take that sworn protection and blend it with a wandering Viv Vision, making this issue a nice spotlight on one of the current Champions and Marvel’s newest hero.
I’m not going to divulge any particular story details, save for the fact that Red Locust is enthusiastic in her assignment, and declares her shared adventure with Viv to be “a team-up on my first run!” That energy pervades throughout Champions #9, as much stemming from Waid’s characterizations of the inhabitants of this comic as from Ramos’ energetic artwork.
A four page backup tale answers the question: “Who is the Red Locust?” and sets up the possibilities of more Champions-related adventures in the near future. That four-pager has a rather abrupt conclusion, but that doesn’t dull the youthful optimism embedded in the rest of Champions #9.
With a tight cast for the bulk of this issue, Ramos is able to focus on the characters present and provide them with more detailed set pieces and backgrounds. There are still moments where Ramos backs off from non-figure work completely, but those instances are obviously planned, and Delgado’s colors fill in nicely, bringing their own vibrancy to the pages. Red Locust has a red (naturally) and yellow color scheme that compliments Viv’s pink and green tones, opening Delgado up to use plenty of variations of blue throughout the remainder of the issue without overdoing any one color.
Ramos and Delgado combine to present flashback scenes in a style that resembles duotone photography, and makes for a nice visual variation in the course of this issue. The duo use this three times, providing background and personality influence for Viv and Locust in the process.
Ramos’ art is as youthful as ever, perfectly matched for the gangly grace of teenagers and their super-powered adventures. His page layouts layer panels, pop characters out of panels, and smartly guide the reader’s eye through an upbeat tale. Olazaba’s inks anchor the characters to the page, and do a nice job layering the action.
Champions #9 is another solid chapter in a very solid comic book series. The newer run of characters that form the charter of this team – Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Cyclops, Nova, and Viv – bring their own fans, but Waid and Ramos give readers a treat featuring all six characters, regardless of the gateway character that brought readers in.
Speaking of the individual readers’ draw into this series, Champions #9 is slim on Miles Morales bits, as Viv is the only Champion to appear in the issue after page 4. That shouldn’t keep you away, however, this is a fun read, and a nice alternative to event-driven excess.
Prepare to meet the Red Locust in Champions #9, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Humberto Ramos.