Champions #7 Review

Written by: Jim Zub

Art by: Steven Cummings

Colours by: Marcio Menyz

Letters by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

So, lots has been happening to our team of super-youngsters lately. With Kamala having doubts about her fitness to lead the team, and Sam (Nova) Alexander taking off with former Black Order assassin Kaldera in an effort to retrieve his stolen helmet, the team is currently experiencing… well, about the right amount of angst, self-doubt, heartache and (not so mild) peril you might expect from a team comprised of teenagers. It’s a heady brew and no mistake. Let’s imbibe…

The cover indicates that this issue will be dealing with the Sam and Kaldera storyline, but first we get a Kamala and Viv heart to heart. This is handled well enough, I suppose. I’ve got a soft spot for Kamala and seeing her unburden herself here is rather touching – particularly when the tears start to flow. That said, the dialogue is just a little clichéd at times (“time to find my center”, “I’ve gotta be a better me”) and much of Kamala’s dialogue feels a little too much like unprompted emotional incontinence. Part of the problem, of course, is that Viv is hardly the most verbose of interlocutors. Kamala carries the conversation and it’s tempting to say that the feelgood hug at the end of it is unearned. Cummings’ art helps, though. It’s clear, expressive and little things like Viv’s obvious awkwardness in the hug help fill out the friendship between the two characters rather nicely. In the end, it’s an engaging exchange. I hope Kamala doesn’t stay away too long.

Champions 7 1

Not that Viv taking over the leadership role is going to be a walk (or float?) in the park. Our resident synthezoid has problems of her own in the form of a ghostly alter ego who would quite like to break free of Viv’s strict emotional control. Trouble looms on the horizon but we’ll have to wait before we see it more distinctly, because the rest of the issue is the Sam and Kaldera show.

Champions 7 2

On the whole, I’ve got to say I really liked this. Zub uses the trip to The Spirit of Xandar (in a one-man ship, no less!) to build up an interesting – and entertaining – dynamic between Sam and Kaldera, with the latter taking charge and the former throwing in unexpected moments like apologising for his role in Kaldera being trapped in a Midnight Sphere in his own series about five years (our time) ago. This wrongfoots the assassin and, for a moment there, there’s the distinct possibility that a genuine friendship might be forming. Again, Cummings’ art is great here. There’s a touch of manga about his facial expressions but there’s no misunderstanding what each character is feeling.

When the unlikely duo arrive at the Nova Corps station, things get crazy pretty quickly – from Kaldera’s improvised means of entry to the pair’s initial encounter with Nova guards to their frog-marching Nova Corps Administrator Scott Adsit to the vault only to find that Sam’s helmet has already been stolen by someone else. It’s fast-paced, snappy and, for the most part, highly enjoyable. If I have one criticism of Zub (and he’s not the only comics writer I could say this about) it’s that he occasionally overdoes it on the flippant, ‘random’ humour. Do we need a line from Kaldera saying that she thinks Deadpool’s a stupid name? I’m not sure. I do, however, like the way Zub makes it clear that Adsit and Sam already know one another. The issue’s ending has a greater emotional impact as a result.

Champions 7 3

By the time we get to that ending, a number of things have been resolved – not least whether Kaldera is redeemable or not – but it leads rather nicely into what should hopefully be a very entertaining return to Earth for Sam and Kaldera at some point in the not too distant future.

Final Thoughts:

Despite some dialogue excesses, this is an enjoyable issue. Cummings’ art really helps bring the characters to life, the plot zips along at a fair old pace, and the story mostly focuses on a very unusual and entertaining pairing. Good story-telling, good art, and characters it’s hard not to care about all mean this is well worth picking up.

7.5/10

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