In the wake of the Coates disaster, Kamala’s Law has been passed. With super heroics by those under 21 now outlawed, the Champions must decide what side of the law they fall on, both collectively and as individuals. And the C.R.A.D.L.E. army is determined to make that decision for them.
The first arc of Champions focused on “Outlawed,” a grand-sounding event announced at the end of 2019. With teasers in both Incoming (released end of December 2019) and the Outlawed one-shot (released mid-March), Marvel gave the impression this would be something game-changing, with Champions seeming to be the driving title. Unfortunately, with Covid delays, the end result became something less epic. However, despite this shake-up, Champions managed to deliver a story that was good in its own right.
Eve L. Ewing crafts a story that focuses on individual characters despite the background plot’s larger effect. The concept of Kamala’s Law has long-reaching effects that are touched upon in other titles (Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Magnificent Ms. Marvel, Power Pack, Ghost-Spider, Children of the Atom). Ewing focuses her attention on the original Champions and Ironheart by showing us the direct impact the events have on the characters. That doesn’t mean that the extended roster of the Champions is ignored. Locust, Bombshell, Starling, and others (Including a cameo from the former mutant members) are all given moments of character expression or growth.
Simone Di Meo drew the initial issue with Bob Quinn on the remainder, with both working on Champions #2 together. Federico Blee on colors helped the transition between the two artists be smooth and keep the book’s art cohesive. There is a tonal shift with Di Meo’s initial issues having a more severe aspect to the art that worked well with the grandiose sense of the plot. Meanwhile, Quinn’s art paired well with the more individualistic shift of later issues as the story narrowed in on the original Champions and Ironheart.
Champions‘ first arc lays out some interesting concepts, especially where it brings in characters’ personal and cultural history. Unfortunately, aside from the main five characters, there does not seem to be resolutions (especially in terms of Snowguard, Locust, and Bombshell’s response to the concentration camp). With the change in creative teams and the way the storyline closes, it’s uncertain if this will be addressed further.
It's hard to not wonder what could have been with Champions and "Outlawed." But despite the interruptions and likely replanning Eve L. Ewing, Simone Di Meo, Bob Quinn, and Federico Blee put together a coherent, enjoyable story.
Campions #1-5: Rules Worth Breaking
Writing - 7.5/10
Storyline - 7/10
Art - 7.5/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 7.5/10
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