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Comic Book / Champions (2016)

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Champions is a 2016 Marvel comic book, published as part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch. It is written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos. This Comic Book Run introduced the Champions with some of the most popular younger heroes of the Marvel Universe working together to set right what they believed their elders have messed up, namely heroism.

In the wake of Civil War II, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) has become disillusioned by the heroes she used to idolize and regard as her mentors. Taking matters into her own hands, she officially quits The Avengers and rounds up former teammates Sam Alexander (Nova) and Miles Morales (Spider-Man) to fight crime on their own terms. Along the way, they're joined Amadeus Cho (the Totally Awesome Hulk), Viv Vision (daughter of The Vision), and teenage Cyclops (time-displaced from The '60s). Later additions to the team include Ironheart (Riri Williams), Nadia van Dyne (The Unstoppable Wasp), Snowguard (Amka Aliyak), Red Locust (Fernanda Ramirez), and Patriot (Rayshaun Lucas).

With a team chock full of teenagers, expect some rivalries, hormonal urges, and a healthy dash of generational angst to ensue.

The comic was relaunched in 2019, see here.

Not to be confused with the tabletople role-playing game of the same name, which for a while did run a comic book also titled Champions.

Champions provide examples of:

  • All Therapists Are Muggles: This becomes a problem in issue 24, when Miles' counselor tries to assuage his guilt over not stopping a school shooting by telling him he's not a superhero.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Happens suddenly in Secret Empire. According to the cover to #11, Nova is lostnote , Ms. Marvel is incarceratednote , and Cyclops has been deportednote . The Secret Empire: Uprising one-shot has Black Widow uniting the remaining three with Ironheart and the newest incarnations of the Falcon, Wasp and Patriot - those four would all be invited to join the team in the Champion For a Day arc (issues 16-18).
  • Brought Down to Badass: It's revealed on the cover of issue #23 that Amadeus is still a Hulk, albeit slimmed down significantly, implying that he's not as strong as he used to be. This is due to the events of World War Hulk II, where Amadeus ends up absorbing his "Dark Hulk" persona, creating a fusion of sorts to prevent any more rampages like what happened before.
  • Bullying the Dragon: Or rather "Bullying the Dinosaur" — Cyclops and Nova attempt to recruit Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, but Nova's continuing insults leads the annoyed dinosaur to step on them.
  • Covers Always Lie: Issue #2 has a cover that is a panel, like comics used to decades ago, including speech bubbles in case people don't understand the action depicted. This panel is not anywhere to be found inside the issue and isn't a particularly accurate description of what happens in the issue.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: In Issue #8, Nova describes himself as the sixth-smartest member of the Champions' six-person team.
  • Debate and Switch: Defied trope in issue #5, in which Gwenpool is working under the assumption that, like in most comic book stories, the bigotry against non-Caucasians, Muslims, and mutants going on in a small town must be the work of some sort of supervillain mastermind, shapeshifter or high-level Mind Control. The team repeatedly try to explain to her that no, normal people are perfectly capable of doing evil things because the world isn't split into tidy narratives of Black-and-White Morality. The thing with this is that actually Gwen fully understands what they argue, but in her words if she wanted to deal with all that gray she might as well stayed on her own Earth (ie. something akin to Real Life). Did you ever had that "I don't want politics/artsyness/whatnot in my escapist fiction" vs. "all fiction/art are political" debates? Yeah. It's exactly that only from a Watsonian perspective.
  • Doppelmerger: A complicated series of events leads to the presence of two Vivians — the original, who was stranded on an alien world and transformed from an into an organic being, and a second who was built by their father before the first one returned to Earth. In the end, the new Vivian is rendered catatonic after being infected by a computer virus, and the original one ends up transferring her consciousness into her duplicate's body.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: At least, on the meta-level. Whilst Gwenpool is portrayed as being wrong in-universe by attributing the bigotry to super-villain shenanigans, she's actually not entirely wrong to suspect them. Firstly, towns acting weird because of aliens or super-villains using them as bases of operation is a recurring thing in Earth-616. Secondly, there are super-villains who exploit or stoke bigotry to use it to their advantage; the [[Marvel Comics: Red Skull Red Skull] is the most famous of these. Heck, there actually was a Bronze Age super-vilain called the Hatemonger whose entire schtick was using Mind Rape technology to fill people with artificial bigotry, resulting in outbreaks of violence and destruction wherever he went. Indeed, many hate groups in the Marvel Universe like the Watch Dogs, Sons of the Serpent, and Friends of Humanity have access to supertechnology.
  • Everything Is Online: In Issue #17, the second Vivian is able to take control of subway trains by hacking into their control systems through the internet.
  • Freudian Slip: When Kamala proposes forming a new team, she mentions showing that they can be better heroes than Captain Marvel. When this is pointed out she hastily replies that she meant The Avengers instead.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: The others laugh at Miles for saying that he has a girlfriend in an alternate universe.
  • Godwin's Law: Amadeus thinks letting young Cyclops join them would be like inviting teenage Adolf Hitler to join them. This looks extremely harsh, mostly because at the time it happened at the time it still wasn't known what the old Scott did to earn him such scorn. Notably, Death of X reveals old Scott didn't even do the deed. He was already dead and it was all an illusion by Emma Frost during the event which gave him such horrendous publicity. And to top it all off: only a single person actually died outside of "Cyclops" and it was a Heroic Sacrifice making Amadeus come across as even less justified.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: After everything she's been through in The Vision (2015), Viv has elected to eschew emotional experience.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Defied in issue #2. One of the reasons Champions let young Cyclops join them is that they would be hypocrites to judge him on the grounds of what he might do in the future after they stood against predictive justice in Civil War II.
    • Played straight with Kamala. In the first issue, she insisted that there was not going to be a clear leader of their group. By issue #3 she bickers with Amadeus over the fact that she should be the leader since the team was her idea. This ends up bothering Nova to no end.
  • Leader Wannabe: For the first three issues, the team has no clear leader. Kamala (the team's founder) gives orders, but Amadeus, being the smartest member, thinks he should be the one in charge.
    • While Scott doesn't join the team until issue #2, Sam and Viv recommend him as leader out of spite and due to his experience leading the X-Men, respectively. Scott argues neither for nor against this suggestion, but merely concedes that he does indeed have that experience.
    • In issue #4, the rest of the team agrees to never elect Cho as their leader after he ends up getting the entire team captured. Cyclops then solidifies Kamala as the leader by defering to her, and she fully takes on the mantle.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    Amadeus: Well, Go For Champions! As the leader of this team, I have a plan!
    (Twenty minutes later, aboard the Atlantean ship)
    Miles: BAD PLAN! All those who vote to never, ever consider Hulk our leader, say aye!
    The Champions: AYE!
  • Mythology Gag: A minor one, but issue #24 begins with "We interrupt this program for this Special Bulletin". The same thing was done at the start of Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #36. Both issues also involve a Spidey being helpless in stopping a tragedy.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: You might think Amadeus, while smart, doesn't seem like the eighth smartest person in the world. You'd be wrong, of course; he simply doesn't feel the need to prove it with every word he says. It also gives him plausible deniability so he can use this trope.
    Amadeus: *gets blasted by Cyclops*
    Amadeus: I keep forgetting you can do that!
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Discussed when Cyclops comes and says he wants to join the team. The others are hesitant to let him since they are worried he will turn evil and do... something... like his future counterpart.
  • Ship Tease: All over the place in issue #2. Sam seems to have an interest in Viv, who is later seen kissing Amadeus (later stating she felt nothing from the experience) and ponders if she should try with Kamala. Both Sam and Miles are visibly disappointed when Kamala immediately shoots that idea down.
  • Sliding Timescale: Marvel's shifting timeline is referenced in a flashback in an issue, while the team is watching TV and Scott mentions he liked Seinfeld, which a quintessential 90s show despite the first X-Men adventures being published three decades earlier than that. It's not hard to make the connection to the trope given that prime-Cyclops is in his thirties.
  • Spit Take: In Issue #8, after Amadeus mentions he wants to talk to Viv, the latter bluntly asks if this is about the time they made out earlier in the comic. As Amadeus was in the middle of drinking soda at the moment, this ends up with him spraying the beverage out of his nose and mouth.
    Amadeus Cho: ... if you think nothing hurts a Hulk... watch him cough soda through his nose...
  • Superdickery: The cover of Issue #2 is a direct homage to the style of comic book covers where the hero is shown doing something morally dubious or outright evil, often with speech balloons included to emphasize this — in this case, Nova viciously attacking kid Cyclops while yelling "You think you're joining the Champions, Cyclops? Over my dead body!"
  • Two Girls to a Team: For the series' 2016 run, the team's lineup was four boys (Nova, Miles Morales' Spider-Man, Totally Awesome Hulk, Cyclops) and two girls (Ms. Marvel, Viv Vision). This shifted when Ironheart and Nadia Van Dyne's Wasp joined the team in the series' 2019 run.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • Miles is missing in Issue #5. Spider-Gwen #17 has Kamala drop in and go off on Miles in worry over this.
    • Kamala, Sam and Scott are MIA in Issue #10 due to the events of Secret Empire
    • Miles is missing again in the Infinity Countdown tie-in issues and #22 and #23, because he's still in the hospital after issue #240 of his solo book. Amadeus also misses the Infinity Countdown issues because of his solo book's Planet Hulk II arc which was set off-planet (he was unobtainable when Viv tried to call him).
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Champions are really cheesed off when Gwenpool starts her antics while trying to deal with a bigoted sheriff. She attempts to justify it by saying that the police's actions are due to some sort of super villain action, but Kamala points out that sometimes it's not that simple and some normal people are just that corrupt.