Champions #25 Review

by Charles Martin on October 03, 2018

Champions #25 Review
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Sean Izaakse & Max Dunbar
Colourists: Marcio Menyz & Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In the grandest Marvel tradition, it's time to subject this awesome young team to a complete setting shake-up and see what rattles loose. It's a very "send the New Mutants to Nova Roma" move. Is it successful? Well, I can't say for sure yet. It is already tons of fun.

It certainly looks impressive. Plenty of effort went into redesigning the characters, and the results are pretty awesome. The action scenes - and there are plenty of those - are presented with tremendous dynamism. This book is a visual treat.

That goes for both sections. Structurally, we get a full-sized Weirdworld adventure illustrated by Max Dunbar with a half-issue introduction drawn by Sean Izaakse. The two styles complement each other to an almost insane degree. The trip to Weirdworld would excuse a much greater visual jolt, but the transition is virtually seamless.

The dimension-hopping is thanks to Amka and a fortuitous conversation with Sila. The Spirit of the North gives her a much-needed "Man-Thing 101" lesson and a ticket through the Nexus of Realities. The journey is not without cost, but that won't stop the Champions, of course.

The cost becomes clear on their arrival in Weirdworld. With (so far) one exception, all of our heroes take an amnesia hit - they remember nothing of their lives as Champions. 

A cool twist. In theory.

In practice, it throws a spanner into the pacing of the story. Not only do we have a new setting and new political intrigues to discover, suddenly all of our characters are new, too. That means this issue has to do a lot of introducing and stage-setting, and it doesn't have much space for forward story progress.

New political intrigues = there's an Evil Overlord sorely oppressing Weirdworld and multiple factions opposing him. Par for the course for Weirdworld, really.

Lest this review go too negative, I want to stress that the twisted characters are fascinating, and time spent getting to know them is hardly wasted. If I don't gush over the surprises here, well, it's because they are surprises and worth preserving as such.

Is it possible to explain the awesome potential of the plot in a non-spoiler-y way? Well, let me see. I mentioned an Evil Overlord and forces arrayed against him. 

Can you draw the right conclusion if I don't say that all of the Champions end up on the same side?

The colouring in both sections is impressive. The introduction maintains the usual vibrancy of the Champions palette, and the Weirdworld story is pretty intensely saturated, too. But thanks to subtle colourist magic, Weirdworld gains a distinct tone of its own. Its colours are warmer and richer than the Champions' ordinary world, and the difference helps sell the feeling that we really are hopping into a different dimension.

Strong as they are, the Weirdworld visuals do have some limits. All the effort lavished on character design seems to come at the expense of the settings. So far we've seen a forest and a forge and a forest and an eeevil castle. They're all scrupulously detailed and as backdrops, they work very well. It's just clear that they're nothing more than backdrops. Ah well, it's not like the character changes and intrigues and battle scenes are leaving us with a shortage of interest!

The Champions' arrival in Weirdworld gives us a lot of changes to adapt to. It's a swing-for-the-fences story premise. Though necessary stage-setting eats up most of this issue, the future looks bright. This first chapter shepherds us safely through some extreme character changes, and the question of what happens next is tremendously compelling.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
When did Riri learn Miles's secret identity?