REVIEW: ‘Champions,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Champions #5 - But Why Tho?

Champions #5 is published by Marvel Comics, and the last issue in the Outlawed event. Written by Eve L. Ewing with art by Bob Quinn. The colour artist is Frederico Blee and the letters are by Clayton Cowles. The Champions are on the run. After a disastrous battle led to the destruction of a school, Kamala’s Law was passed. This made it illegal to be a teenage superhero. A task force was set up to hunt down any young heroes active, with the Champions enemy number one. If any vigilantes are captured, they are sent to a re-education centre, full of soldiers and restraints and propaganda.

Everywhere Ms. Marvel, Nova, Spider-Man, and Ironheart travel, C.R.A.D.L.E. is close behind, directed by Viv Vision. Trapped and outnumbered, the Champions are rescued by Cyclops and the Marauders. After taking some time away from America, Ms. Marvel decides they must return to America and continue fighting. Viv also has a change of heart, realising her friends need her.

At the start of the issue, Viv has reunited with Amadeus Cho, aka Brawn. The two heroes attack the re-education centre, attempting to free their friends from the cruel conditions inside. Elsewhere, the rest of the team return to Riri’s home in Chicago, preparing to make their stand. There are reunions and confrontations aplenty as the event reaches a close. The future of the young heroes in the Marvel Universe is in the hands of one team, but they must first come to terms with their actions.

There is a lot going on in this comic, wrapping up what has been an emotionally powerful event. There is a lot of energy and pressure within the last issue, moving at speed whilst also giving each scene and character the time they need to flourish. There are three definitive chapters within Champions #5, brilliantly structured. Opening with the prison break is a perfect start as it keeps the momentum high. The fight is exciting and it allows the reader to see characters that have been prevented from expressing themselves during the Outlawed event. There is this release of anger and emotion that comes from many of the teenagers. There is less actual fighting after this, but the comic is far from dull. There is still action and excitement and the energy never relents until the very end. How the event wraps up feels rewarding, though not all of it was a surprise.

The plot of this 5 issue series has been terrific, but what has really made it special is the characters within it. These heroes are so heartwarming to read with strong and likable personalities. Ewing has pushed them to their limit. But this issue also shone some light on figures like Brawn, who has been on the periphery of the series. He and Viz are a fantastic partnership in battle, two powerful and intelligent fighters. 

Ewing’s scripts and dialogue have been masterful and continue inside this issue. The discussions the characters have are heavy without feeling too oppressive. Whilst the themes are delivered through conversation, but it flows nicely and fits with the story. The characters’ voices still sound their own. There is some serious debate but also some uplifting speeches. The Champions take responsibility for what they did wrong, whilst also acknowledging their importance. 

The art by Quinn is quintessential to transferring the energy of the script onto the page itself. The movement of the characters conveys speed and determination. There are a lot of characters and a lot going on. When Amadeus smashes into a room you can almost feel the impact of the force. All of the costumes the characters wear are spectacular in their details. The emotional rollercoaster these young heroes go through is depicted spectacularly on their faces. Shame, joy, and relief all are channeled and easily recognisable. At times, they look exaggerated, helping add a slight cartoon element to the art. All of the characters have large eyes and mouths that allow for so much more expression.

The colours are superb, telling much of the story just through this aspect of Champions #5. The aura within the reeducation centre has always been glum and harsh, with dull colours everywhere. But when Viz and Brawn appear to rescue those that are captive, more light starts to filter into the place. This shows just how much impact colours have on how a reader interprets a scene.

The letters are fantastic. There are a lot of people talking, but the word balloons are always clear and it is obvious which one corresponds to each character. Some, like Ironheart and Viz, do have their own custom word balloons. The SFX is used brilliantly. The words are often small and off to the side, unintrusive to the rest of the page.

Champions #5 is a stunning end to a terrific event. By the end of this issue, the story feels complete. Every part of the creative process is used to make the readers feel. For the first three issues, there is a dread that hangs over every page. In #4, there is relief when the main characters are rescued. And within this final comic, there is hope that works as a brilliant final emotion. The colours and art style make this a terrific event for young adults to enjoy, whilst the heavy themes and subject matter resonate due to always being relevant. There are glimpses into the future in the final pages, showing there is much more to come from the Champions.

Champions #5 is available where comics are sold.

Champions #5
5

TL;DR

Champions #5 is a stunning end to a terrific event. By the end of this issue, the story feels complete. Every part of the creative process is used to make the readers feel. For the first three issues, there is a dread that hangs over every page. In #4, there is relief when the main characters are rescued. And within this final comic, there is hope that works as a brilliant final emotion. The colours and art style make this a terrific event for young adults to enjoy, whilst the heavy themes and subject matter resonate due to always being relevant. There are glimpses into the future in the final pages, showing there is much more to come from the Champions.