REVIEW: Champions #4

I just wrapped up my review on U.S. Avengers. I blasted that book. I scored it ½ a star for failing on many levels. That title is everything that is wrong with Marvel at the moment, but this title sits comfortably on the opposite end of the spectrum. This is how you do a team book right.

I’m starting to believe that Mark Waid is in the middle of the best run of his career. Between the work that he has done on the Archie re-launch to this gem, the scribe is putting out some of the best work I have ever seen. The characters of this title are believable. They each have their own personality, their own quirks, and their own voices. This is why I love reading comics.

This issue finds the team on their way back home when their jet is shot down by a group of Atlantean fighters. I enjoyed the moments where the team is still trying to decide who the leader is, and it’s this very problem that leads to the Hulk having a great moment in the middle of the book. This perfect blend of humor and action was balanced by the characters interactions with one another. The dialogue felt fresh and each page lead naturally to the next; avoiding the choppy story telling that some titles fall prey to.

Humberto Ramos and the rest of the art team are putting out top-notch visuals. This book is a pleasure to look at. While Ramos has taken flak in the past for his dynamic style, the energetic flow of pages and panels makes this story move at a great clip; which is great given that most of the issue is devoted to action scenes.

Somehow Ramos has found a way to make these characters look and feel youthful. They aren’t their experienced counterparts and that is hard to pull of visually, but here Ramos does it with ease. From Nova to Ms. Marvel it feels like a group of kids fighting for survival against an underwater race. Plus Humberto plays off the visuals of water nicely; an often tricky element to depict in comics.

After reading quite possibly one of the worst Marvel books in my recent memory, (Seriously, avoid U.S. Avengers at all costs) this was a much-needed reminder of what talent can accomplish. I can’t wait to see what lies in store for the team next. This one is going on my monthly pull list for sure!

Final Score: 4 Stars

Champions #4
Story: Mark Waid
Art: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel

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