As battle wages in Weirdworld between the Champions and the Master of Weirdworld, Sam Alexander, known as the Nova Knight, the enforcer of Eshu’s will, floats above the battlefield, filled with power. After a brief moment where he remembers all the steps it took to get him to that place, he attacks and defeats Prince Crystar, the leader of New Crystalium. Wasp reveals herself to Mystic Marvel as having hitched a ride with them as they came back to battle, and the two young women fight. Ironheart asks Sam what he’s doing, and being called by his real name momentarily shakes him, causing him to remember his conversation with Riri soon after he’d lost his Nova helmet. Realizing that he knows Ironheart, Nova Knight attacks her, and Mystic Marvel creates a shield with which to help Ironheart protect herself. Brawnhammer attacks Eshu, and when Nova Knight sees his “father” being attacked, he leaves his fight with Ironheart to go help. Knowing that Ironheart alone cannot withstand the power of Nova Knight and his crystals, Vivid Vessel – the Weirdworld incarnation of Viv Vision – flies down to Ironheart and merges with her. The merging washes away the Champions’ Weirdworld identities, and Nova Knight remembers his life as Sam Alexander, and how he believes he is nothing without the crystals powering him up, just as how he believes that he is nothing without the Nova helmet back home. Riri connects with him, remembering when Thanos had told her that she was nothing, and explains that she’s lost a lot too, but a hero is more than just powers and armour. She asks him to show them who he really is, and Sam breaks the spell over him, dropping his sword, losing his powers of the Nova Knight. The spell broken, the Champions wrap up their visit to Weirdworld and, with the help of Man-Thing, return home – to Sam’s home, specifically, where his mother and sister were just talking about him.
Later, on the Champions’ Mobile Bunker, the team recuperates and reconnects. After Riri makes sure that Miles isn’t going to quit the team, she has a conversation with Viv...who kisses her. Surprised, Riri turns Viv down and Viv flees, hurt. She comes across the other Champions talking about Weirdworld and Kamala introducing them to a tabletop rpg game called Mansions and Manticores. In the background, Viv’s dog Sparky sniffs around and explores the Bunker...where he’s attacked by the mechanical spider who has been spying on him the last many issues. The spider assimilates with Sparky and thus phase two of whatever its plan is begins...
The final issue of the current incarnation of the Champions (it’s relaunching in the new year with a bigger cast and a new number one, though Jim Zub will thankfully still be writing the book), this was a fun way to end the series. Zub continues to have a masterful take on the characters, and it shows as he puts them into new individual groupings and allows them to play off of each other. One of the more interesting developments in the story is Viv’s feelings for Riri. How that will play out is anyone’s guess – it’s clear that Riri feels bad rejecting Viv the way that she did – but what’s strong about this is how Zub is allowing the characters to grow, develop, and change into the heroes that they have the capacity to be.
Sam’s acceptance that he is no longer Nova – and that he doesn’t need powers to define him – is a great step forward. He certainly hasn’t been shown in a Nova costume in any upcoming solicitations, but Zub seems to have something of a longer game planned, and where ever it lands Sam, it’s clear that he’ll be landing as a better, stronger hero.
Honestly, Zub deserves more credit than he’s getting for this book – it’s very solid planning, writing, and the character arcs he’s writing – spotlighting each arc on a couple of different characters – is a brilliant way to make sure that everyone gets a slice of the spotlight. His dialogue is snappy and easy, and the camaraderie he gives the team doesn’t ever feel forced or false. This book deserves to be one of Marvel’s top sellers, and one hopes that the upcoming relaunch helps the book reach that height.
If ever there was a book that was going to seamlessly take the baton from classic 80s X-Men and the New Teen Titans, Champions – with its effortless blend of action, drama, and power of friendship and family – is it.
Champions #27: No More Fantasies
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 7/107/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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