So, Hercules isn’t on this team?

Mark Waid (W), Humberto Ramos (P), Victor Olazaba (I),

Edgar Delgado (C)

Cover by Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $4.99

          So, just like last year’s Secret Wars, Marvel’s Civil War II is mired with delays and extensions, and they are having to put out the comics that happen in the fallout of the big story before the big story actually finishes. That looks really good. Furthermore, we are resetting everything again and shaking things up because God forbid we have a status quo in the Marvel Universe.

I would go more in-depth on my feelings on that, but I have had an editorial about it in the works. I’ll save the lengthier discussion about Marvel’s constant need for “soft reboots” for then, so look out for it.

The premise for this comic is that the younger heroes are disenchanted with the older heroes due to the events of Civil War II, so they are splitting off and starting their own hero teams. This seems to be some extended metaphor for the generational divide between “Millennials” and the generations that came before, albeit a bit on the nose.

This comic begins with Kamala Khan eating dinner with her family. They are surprised that she is at home, and she flashes back to five days prior. She and the Avengers were fighting the Wrecking Crew on a railway in Queens. The Avengers win, but the people below are unhappy with the destruction. Ms. Marvel wants to help clean up the mess left by the battle, but Captain America says they aren’t really qualified to do that. Ms. Marvel is enraged by that and quits the Avengers.

In the present, Kamala contacts Miles Morales and Sam Alexander (Spider-Man and Nova, respectively) for a meet-up. They unite on top of a bridge and discuss recent events. Spider-Man and Nova quit the Avengers because of the recent civil war, and Ms. Marvel proposes an idea for a new team run by them instead of the old guard. After some convincing, Spider-Man and Nova agree, and the Miles makes a suggestion for a recruit.

The comic turns to Amadeus Cho attempting to free some miners from a collapsed cave. The three heroes arrive on the scene to help him. They manage to free the miners, and Kamala says that they will help clean up the collapsed mine.

They next go to recruit Viv Vision, and, after they do, they have her look up any potential threats nearby through the use of her internal internet connection. She discovers a human trafficking ring run by someone calling himself Pagliacci.

The heroes go to bust this up, and they are, understandably, enraged by what they see. They defeat the henchmen and try to save the girls. They manage to save all but one. The death infuriates them further, and Hulk almost kills Pagliacci with a crowd cheering him on. Kamala stops the Hulk, and she says that they need to learn to solve things as peaceably as possible. She gives a speech towards the crowd, which is recording them on phone cameras. This is where the name “the Champions” comes in, and they turn to their phones where many people are *sigh* Tweeting about the Champions.

Despite Civil War II and the fact that this is yet another shake-up to the Marvel Universe, I actually really liked this comic.

The characters are likeable and endearing. Kamala’s boundless optimism and need to help people is the perfect spark to ignite a team like this. She is the perfect leader for this team. The disagreement over what to do with the wreckage from the Avengers fight, while seemingly small, is actually a valid concern on Kamala’s part, though I can totally see Captain America’s point of view on the matter.

The back-to-back troubles of the collapsed mine and the human trafficking really serve to show what this team is all about. Though they are young, but they are very much into old-fashioned heroics and saving the day completely. However, reality sets in with Pagliacci, and they have to see how far they are willing to go.

The pacing is superb. It never leaves you bored, and it feels like a complete story. This is the full origin. They may recruit more heroes (like young Cyclops who is on the cover but not in the book), but you can read this issue and know where the comic is going.

I’m not a fan of Humberto Ramos’ art. The characters often seem gangly, stretched out, and beyond cartoonish. That being said, this is the best art from him that I’ve seen. The characters look more realistic, and the details from the inking make the scenery look a lot better. I love the colors; they’re bright, contrasting, and dynamic. While I won’t say the art is great, this is a perfect example of what I was talking about in my Cage! review. Art is important, but the story is what makes it or breaks it for me. I wasn’t thrilled with the art, but the story was great. As a result, I really dug this book.

Mark Waid smartly restrains using a lot of colloquialisms to try to make the characters seem young and hip. The people Tweeting about the Champions at the end was a little much, but it didn’t ruin the story or the ending.

This comic mixes youthfulness with old-fashioned heroic philosophy in an admirable manner. The characters are charming, and I definitely want to see where they go with it. The art isn’t great, but it’s not horrible. I recommend this comic completely, and you should give it a read.

Final Score: 8/10

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