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Champions #23 Review: Burning at the Touch of the Man-Thing

Viv Vision has been taken out by the Man-Thing. Snowguard fights to protect Viv, and the rest of the Champions follow soon behind. They manage to pacify the beast, but Viv is still comatose. Wasp can't wake her up without risking damage. The Man-Thing is kept in containment as he feeds off the emotions of the Champions. Sam Alexander still fears he is no longer any use to the team without his Nova helmet.

Champions #23 cover by Stefano Caselli and Marcio Menyz
Champions #23 cover by Stefano Caselli and Marcio Menyz

Champions #23 makes clever use of the Man-Thing. It expands the burning touch into a creature of pure empathy, and the Man-Thing is used to explore the emotions of the team while they are at these tumultuous crossroads.

Viv must decide whether she will embrace her emotions again, Sam is unsure of his use to the Champions, Amka is still new and learning to fit in, and Brawn must become accustomed to his new powerset. This all adds up to a lot for the Man-Thing to process.

Plus, Man-Thing is just plain awesome.

Viv and Sam's baggage is especially heavy. Viv is choosing between painful acceptance and sociopathy. Sam…well, saying he may be suicidal is not an overstatement.

The ending is a little confusing, partially because of how the paneling is framed and sequenced.

Champions #23 art by Kevin Libranda, Francesco Manna, and Marcio Menyz
Champions #23 art by Kevin Libranda, Francesco Manna, and Marcio Menyz

Kevin Libranda and Francesco Manna do good work on the visuals. There is a lot of energy and charm in how they depict the world of the Champions. The action scenes are given due impact and drama too. The ending is, again, a little spatially confusing, but that's the only real weak point in the art. Marcio Menyz's color work is vibrant and jumps around a lot, which suits this comic well.

Champions #23 is an emotionally weighty and action-packed installment for this team of young heroes. They struggle to contain the Man-Thing while half the team is falling apart internally. It's a heavy-hitting issue, and I definitely recommend it. Check it out.

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Joshua DavisonAbout Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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