Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 11/15/17
Following the events of Avengers #673, Viv and Falcon were taken hostage on Counter-Earth while the rest of the Champions and Avengers had to deal with Ani-Men. Worse, the High Evolutionary planned to “perfect” his captives by giving Sam real falcon wings and turning Viv totally human. How will she react to her new and unfamiliar form?
Plot: Champions #14 flits back and forth between Viv’s predicament on Counter-Earth and the teams facing off against Ani-Men on their Earth. They eventually punch their way through to Counter-Earth and rescue Viv and Sam. Though Sam is physically uninjured, Viv feels heavy and sensitive due to her new human self. The entire team then has to escape the world before being fried by opposing radiation.
Unless Hulk can figure out a way to turn the High Evolutionary’s creation against him and save his friends, that is.
Story: A large part of Champions #14 revolves around the measures that the team takes as a whole to face off against the High Evolutionary, but the heart of the story belongs to both Amadeus Cho and Viv. Both of them must use their incredible intelligence in very different situations under high pressure, though of course Viv’s stakes are much higher because she’s about to lose said intelligence.
Turthfully, the current crossover arc feels like filler outside of potentially permanent repercussions for Viv – but Waid is sure to incorporate some fun character moments that make the ride more enjoyable. Nadia Pym competing with the Hulk over their rankings as smartest people in the world, for example, was a highlight of the issue. There are times when the action gets lost, and there are too many characters to keep track of, but the throughline of Viv and Vision remains as strong in Champions #14 as it did in #13. Hopefully the conclusion will follow through on what’s been promised.
Art: Ramos, Olazaba and Delgado make an excellent art team once again – especially when it comes to differentiating between the two worlds and the tones of each situation. Despite every page being filled with and vibrant colors, Viv’s predicament is highlighted by darker hues and rich close-ups filled with desperate emotions. Meanwhile, Earth’s teams are clearly having a better time of it and the lighter energy is reflected in the white contrasts and far-range action shots.
There are also some great creative choices, such as Hulk literally vibrating to stop a leftover bleed. Humberto Ramos’ skills are on full display here, and Clayton Cowles also gets to have a lot of fun with the lettering in a way that brings the scene to life even more. Overall, the artwork adds a lot of depth to a somewhat shallow crossover event, and the visuals may wind up being more memorable than the story being depicted.
Verdict: Champions #14 has a lot of humor and heart even if the stakes don’t feel particularly high for the cast at large. The High Evolutionary makes for a confusing villain at times, but the emotional pull of Vision and Viv’s reunion and the fears for her future tie the story together.
Star Rating: 3 out of 5