Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Victor Olazaba
Inker: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: Feabruary 1, 2016
Plot: Champions #5 gets the gang in a little mix up with Gwenpool as she makes an okay situation turn worse with her interference.
Story: Champions has been a very fun story with a great group put together, and the book has taken many different angles so far. This issue delivers a smaller scale story that displays how this book has the power to promote positive messages and tackle story ideas that are relevant to the youth, adults and modern culture. Mark Waid has been doing a great job with the book, and this issue is another example of that, because the writer is able to take teenage characters and really mold them into being heroes.
The story in issue 5 has the Champions team dealing with a corrupt head of the law enforcement in a little town. The man is clearly power hungry and tries to create little problems to make the Champions look bad while much more important and attacks are happening. On one hand, these are all great topics to bring up because they are becoming more and more frequent topics of discussion in culture. It’s great to see a writer like Waid unafraid to incorporate these ideas and deliver a story that feels very grounded in reality.
Champions never feels like it is attacking anyone either, but more taking a look at the terrible cultures that still exist around the world, and how sometimes it’s immensely tough to change them. The people in this town are just clearly stuck in their ways, despite the amount of good people that do exist and the amount of diverse heroes who will never stop coming to their aid, no matter what their beliefs.
It’s a great plot to insert into this book because Waid has unique characters to play around with. The fact that this team is made up of teenagers is really interesting, because they could easily get offended and overreact in order to expose the blatant corruption happening. Yet, the writer keeps his characters mature and willing to listen and learn, which shows why they are heroes.
The one thing that takes away from Champions #5 has to be the insertion of Gwenpool into the story. The character drops in out of nowhere and doesn’t really do much to add to the story that is already going on. The one charming and innocent aspect of the character’s incorporation into the story is that she seems to believe in the inherent good of people; that a town like the one they are in could never be this hateful and intolerant, so there must be a secret organization or some villain running the show and influencing everyone. It’s a really sweet way to bring Gwenpool into the book, but it feels forcefully inserted and doesn’t bring more to the table.
Art: The art in Champions is really well-done and readers will clearly see the distinct uniqueness of having a specific penciler, colorist and inker on board. There are a lot of really neat dark scenes outside to open up the issue that allow the colorist, Victor Olazaba, to play with great combinations. The background is always the nice deep blue of a night time sky, but then colors like black can be used to add lots of shadowing and darkness to everything else. The colorist uses the reflection of the fire in scenes really well to illuminate characters with a crisp glow that just stands out so pretty on top of the navy blue background.
Yet, in both of the picture examples provided, the pencil work and ink work also come into play, especially during close ups and more detailed shots of the characters. All of the little scratches and details on shirts and costumes gives the artwork in Champions a nice sketch feel that allows the detail to really stand out. All of the artwork is colored wonderfully but never loses the line work or small uses of ink to provide an additional level of artistic feeling in each panel. Ramos adds a lot of nice layering with the pencil work in all of the bright scenes while Delgado adds a ton of great contrast with the ink throughout the entire comic. These three seem to really compliment each other and work well as a team to combine their efforts and deliver very full and complete feeling artwork in the book.
Verdict: Champions is a ton of fun, mainly because of the team that has been set up. Waid is doing a great job with the writing and knows how to tackle important topics to make the book relevant in real life and not just a fun read. The art shows off all the different pieces that bring the book together and overall Champions is a book that a lot of people will probably enjoy.