The original lineup for this volume of Champions returns with this issue, written by regular writer Mark Waid and visually composed by the artistic talents of Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles.
Psycho-Man pops up in this done-in-one adventure that puts Cyclops in the spotlight. Champions #12 opens and closes with team time. It starts with the young heroes in their headquarters, celebrating first karaoke Thursday and, at the tail end of the issue, huddling around their injured teammate.
Waid continues to construct fun, friendly interpersonal relationships among the team members, giving each character personality details along the way, but not inserting them too deeply into the individual characters as to make it seem as though he is rewiring the characters, most of whom have or have had their own title(s). Waid simply shows how these kids interact when they’re together, gives them a chance to be teens, and emphasizes the team unity that is starting to congeal nicely around Viv Vision, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Nova, Hulk, and Cyclops. Champions is the place away from school and lifelong friends where these heroes can grow into the (ahem) champions they are meant to be.
Psycho-Man fighting the team gives Champions #12 the latitude to get even more personal, in this case with Cyclops. Waid checks into the fears and dreams of the time-displaced X-Man, but also lets the ruby-quartz-visor-wearing mutant cut loose and be a bit more wild than you’ve ever seen Cyclops allow himself to be. It’s an interesting contrast that emphasizes the dedication and commitment Cyclops has to being a better Cyclops, but that contrast also unlocks some moments that heretofore may have only existed in untold tales of What If. . .?
Through it all, Ramos, Olazaba, Delgado, and Cowles fill the pages with energetic imagery and smart dialog and caption placement. Ramos has clearly hit a groove with each character, and is now experimenting with angles, shapes, and composition. Some panels are detail dense while others, as Ramos has always done, scale back the details to reconcentrate focus on the characters. The Halloween panel in particular seems like a fun exercise where Waid might have simply tossed the idea out of the heroes wearing costumes. From there, Ramos crafted an image that is entertainingly hypnotic and downright fun.
Miles Morales Spider-Man factors into this issue on a moderate level, dropping snappy banter into the story while also providing a gateway point of view for Spidey fans. He doesn’t get lost in the issue, but make no mistakes about it: Champions #12 is Cyclops’ issue.
Champions #12 is another fine issue of a wonderfully accessible series. It reminds readers of who these characters are and what they can be between events and crossovers. The latter is on the horizon for this series, as Avengers is set to take a look at what it means for this team of Champions – who split off from the team filling the pages of Avengers – to meet their former teammates and mentors in the post-Secret Empire world. Waid writes both titles, so it should be a bit more natural than some crossovers tend to be, while also staying true to the courses set for these characters to this point. Until then, consider checking out
If you enjoy our reviews and Spider-Man coverage, find out how you can support us and get exclusive content by joining the FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-TALK MEMBERS CLUB!