* Ties into the Secret Empire crossover
A month of reading these characters in other stories — namely Secret Empire and its Uprising tie-in — can really make you forget how charming they are in their own book, am I right?
Frankly, with all the Secret Empire shenanigans, one could very understandably feel a bit fatigued of almost every character involved in that story, and the Champions are no exception.
However, this month's Champions #10 has renewed my love of these characters, this team, and this comic.
Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Viv Vision are on the hunt for Ms. Marvel, who has been missing since the Hydra takeover. Their search leads them to an Inhuman internment camp in New Mexico. There, the three remaining Champions (Cyclops being with the X-Men and Nova being stuck in space) stage a breakout for all the Inhumans imprisoned at this camp while hoping that Ms. Marvel is somewhere within.
This is something of a back-to-basics story for the Champions, as weird as that may sound. The three heroes are fighting a human rights injustice being perpetrated against a minority group. That sounds like a lot to tackle, but it really is par for the course for Mark Waid's Champions.
This could have easily been muddled by some attempt to try to make it more relevant to the overall story of Secret Empire. However, it keeps it smart by focusing on only these three team members and their personal search for their de facto leader.
All three characters manage to shine in this story. Viv remains the hopeful but calculating synthezoid, Amadeus is the cocky and intelligent leader of this assault, and Miles is trying to come to bearings with the horrors he's seen while remaining devoted to finding Kamala.
There's a nice cold open, presented without context, that shows the community within seeming to have a nice day with no objection to the fact that they are Inhumans. It turns dark when a pair attempt to plan an escape within earshot of one of the mailmen. This was a nice little gambit that really made for a great start to the comic.
It also discusses the common question of "why didn't they fight back?" in historical situations like this. Beyond the fact that these people would be taking on a powerful and dangerous government body, there's also the concern of what their actions would bring upon those who choose not to fight. This also causes strife among the Inhumans, and I think mentioning these ideas is very important in a narrative like this. It was a good showing to do so.
There are a couple of plot points that do put a damper on things, and we are going to move into spoiler territory here.
Firstly, they manage to find this prison because Amadeus helped build it to contain the Bruce Banner. Now, yes, the Hulk was a destructive force, but I thought we all agreed that using extreme tactics to lock him away was extremely inhumane (see Planet Hulk and World War Hulk for recent examples). Plus, Amadeus was his friend, so why would he be complicit in that?
It makes him look a bit hypocritical too, because he hates this human rights violation, but he was cool with that other one for Banner. I know these are different situations and complex ideas being balanced here — and it's not exactly the same thing both ways, i.e. Hulk has caused a lot of destruction — but these Inhumans haven't done anything, actions vs. identity, question of responsibility, et cetera, et cetera. The main problem is that this question was just run past without any evaluation of the idea.
The other problem is a more minor than that, but still garnered a bit of an eye-roll. They find a little girl named Kamala who is dressed like Ms. Marvel in the prison. She is dressed this way so she can feel brave, like her hero. I don't have anything wrong with this premise, other than the fact that she's named Kamala, and they make a few winking jokes about how they're "sure Ms. Marvel doesn't have as cool a real name as that." That's something of a wild coincidence, and it feels a bit heavy-handed. Like I said, it's a minor complaint, but it's a complaint nonetheless.
Humberto Ramos's art remains very fitting for this comic, with its innate kinetic energy and light-hearted cartoonish qualities. He was a great choice for this comic, and it's good that he has been allowed to stick around.
The color art is very fitting as well, with bright and vibrant colors contributing to the high energy and optimistic air of the heroes.
This was a great issue; easily one of the better comics with the Secret Empire label on it. Like the most recent issue of Occupy Avengers, it gives the reader what they really want in a situation like this: heroes fighting the powers that be and the injustices they are committing. They are standing up for what's right in the face of tyranny. That seems like it should be more common during an event like this, but for some reason, it hasn't been.
This one is definitely recommended. Check it out.