Champions (2016-) #23
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Kevin Libranda
In the latest issue of Champions, the team members are forced to face their fears at the hands of Man-Thing. The swamp muck creature who burns those that contain fear (so basically everyone) has found the synthozoid, Viv Vision. She has shut off her emotions for fear of how they will affect her. However, Man-Thing has the power to amplify emotions. The magical power of Man-Thing reactivates Viv’s emotions. Viv’s teammates try to stop Man-Thing from causing her pain, but can they stop the magical creature driven by emotion?
The set-up for the current issue is a lot of fun and also shows some heavy drama that is taken from previous issues as well as the popular 2015 Vision mini-series. Viv’s past traumas are the center of the story. She has lost a sister that she was forced to kill. She was recently turned human by the High Evolutionary (then back to a synthozoid again). Viv also lost her mom when she passed away in the Vision mini. She shut down her emotional core so that she would be able to operate as a Champion without distraction. Man-Thing’s presence breaks that emotional barrier and forces Viv to experience what she has blocked.
Meanwhile, the Champions are trying to stop Man-Thing from its pursuit of Viv. One of the characters that caught my attention most was a depowered Sam Alexander. Sam was formally a Nova who had inherited a helmet from his father. Sam lost his helmet when the team tried to assist in stopping Thanos during Infinity Countdown. Sam’s love of being a Nova has always defined his character. He is forever trying to be a hero. Aggressively so. The Nova Corp having stripped Sam’s helmet away has left him unsure of who is. Sam’s actions in the story are foolish but reflect that attitude.
Even though most members other than Sam and Viv are given little to do but fight, the fight was exciting enough that it was not a distraction. It is still cool to see each of them in action. Jim Zub seems to have a good grasp on the characters. He makes each member’s actions seem genuine. The dialog worked well, and I would say felt better to me than when Mark Waid was writing the characters.
The art looks really great. I think the team is really in a rhythm on this book now. The panels with Man-Thing surrounded by foliage look spectacular. The colors and layouts of the book gave the issue a classic look. There is a strong John Byrne influence in the layout and colors of the book. The style works extremely well with the tone of the book.
I would highly recommend not just the book but the series. The team behind the series seems to have a momentum going. The book has the feel and catchy writing that makes it one of the better young adult series. Coming up is the marketed Weird World adventure that should be even more fun.
Champions (2016-) #23
Jim Zub dives further into the character of Viv Vision and Sam Alexander when they are forced to face their fears at the hands of the Man-thing. The issue is a lot of fun and drama mixed with a young adult feel. The team behind Champions has a steady rhythm, and I would definitely recommend reading them.