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Comic Book / Champions (2016)

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"The world still need heroes"
The Champions are a a group of teen superheroes in the Marvel Universe. They were created in 2016, with heroes that disliked the way the adult superheroes managed Civil War II.

The first run, by Mark Waid, united teenager heroes already introduced in several other comics, such as Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, Sam Alexander, Amadeus Cho, Viv Vision, a time-displaced Cyclops, etc. The team would focus on real-world threats Ripped from the Headlines, rather than unending conflicts between superheroes. With a team chock full of teenagers, expect some rivalries, hormonal urges, and a healthy dash of generational angst to ensue. The second run would explore the consequences of a deal that Miles and Cho did with Mephisto, and the third on a Super Registration Act targeted against them.

Note that this group has no relation, other than the name, to the 1975 Champions.

Not to be confused with the tabletop game nor the Cryptic Games MMO game, nor Marvel's comic book Contest of Champions or their mobile fighting game of the same name.


Works and runs

Champions provide examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: The main drive of the series — the teens feel their older mentors aren't cutting it as heroes anymore, and that they need to do things on their own terms.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy:
    • Kamala (Pakistani-American) took on the Ms. Marvel name from her inspiration, Carol Danvers, a white woman.
    • Sam (half-Latino) currently shares the Nova mantle with Richard Rider, a white man.
    • Miles (Black-Hispanic) shares the Spider-Man identity with Peter Parker, a white man.
    • Amadeus (Korean-American) became the Hulk after Bruce Banner, a white man, distanced himself from that persona.
    • Viv is a female 'offspring' of an ostensible male synthezoid. As a synthezoid she is pink with green hair, but her human form has dark skin and dark hair with green and pink natural highlights.
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    • Cyclops, the "token white male", has the same Ambiguous Disorder that his adult self is famous for.
    • Riri (African-American) became Ironheart after reverse engineering Iron Man's technology, and ended up taking over his book when he was put in a coma during Civil War II.
    • Nadia (Russian) is the daughter of Hank Pym, who gave Janet van Dyne her Wasp powers. Like Riri, Nadia was able to duplicate Hank's technology, becoming a second Wasp. With Hank dead, she was adopted by Janet, her stepmother. Now they both fight crime as The Wasp.
  • The Artifact: The team's reason of existence is the teen heroes being at odds with the Grey-and-Gray Morality of the Avengers during Civil War II. Kamala, Sam and Miles left the Avengers but, as "the world still needs heroes", they created the Champions, who embrace Black-and-White Morality. But life continued, Civil War II ended, its aftermath ended as well, new plots replaced the concluded ones, and the Avengers returned to their usual role of being the Big Good of the Marvel universe. Nowadays, it is difficult to find a good answer to why the Champions would reject them as heroes.
  • Badass Normal: Amal and her friends in Sharzad refuse to flee the militant fundamentalists who want to deny women a right to education. Scott and Kamala nominate her to lead the Champions.
  • Battle Cry: "Go for Champions!"
    • Jim Zub obviously didn't like this, so when he relaunched the book, the battlecry was changed to "Champions Charge!"
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Presumably how Cyclops feels when he abstains voting, be it on whether to use powers during paintball or whether to invite Vivian 2.0 to join the Champions.
  • "The Breakfast Club" Poster Homage: This has Viv as Claire, Ms. Marvel as Allison, the Hulk as Bender, Nova as Brian, and Cyclops as Andrew. Miles hangs from the ceiling as not to disrupt the homage.
  • Broken Pedestal: After the events of Civil War II, Kamala for Captain Marvel. Sam and Miles show this for the Avengers as a whole, tired of the idea of Let's You and Him Fight.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Sam Alexander's Nova helmet is confiscated by Nova Corps Commander Scott Adsit in the Infinity Countdown tie-in. As a result, Sam is depowered. Despite this, he remains on the team.
  • But Now I Must Go: Cyclops leaves the team in issue 18. Though he doesn't outright say it, it's implied that it's due to the events of X-Men: Blue, which has the team travelling through time to finally go back home.
    • While the Cross Time Capers arc failed to get him home, he did go home in Extermination. But The Bus Came Back in Champions Vol 3 #5, as the adult Cyclops, having regained his memories from when he was in his future, comes to help the team fight in the War of the Realms.
  • Call-Back:
    • Miles is the one who recommends the initial trio recruiting Amadeus Cho onto the team, given that the two had a team-up in the first arc of Cho's book.
    • When Gwenpool drops in, she asks if Miles is around, remembering their first encounter in her comic, trying to kill a classmate of Miles'.
    • The Gemini Bank Corporation's trademarking of the Champions' name brings back Kamala's poor encounter with the Hope Yards Development and Relocation Association during the start of her All-New, All-Different Marvel run.
    • Two criminals who are caught by Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur try to rekindle their friendship with the dinosaur way back in a 1998 Amazing Spider-Man Annual.
    • In issue 3 of the third volume, the Champions aid X-Man Dust in protecting the Worthington Foundation building. Not only do they mention who its creator, Warren Worthington III/Angel is, but discuss the events of "X-Men: Disassembled".
    • In issue 4 of the third volume, we see Blackheart captured by Mephisto and expresses hatred towards Miles Morales, heralding back to Miles' first All-New All-Different title. Even more, Mephisto proclaims that he wants to mess with all Spider-Men, leaning back to One More Day and Dr. Strange: Damnation.
    • In issue #7 of volume 3, Sam discovers that his missing Nova helmet was stolen by the Thieves Guild. The same group that stole every superhero's equipment in Nick Spencer's Spider-Man. And for extra laughs, they show a panel from that very storyline showing that Spider-Man was wearing the helmet briefly.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The teenage Falcon, Patriot, and Red Locust join the team in issue #16, but are gone in #19 with no explanation. All three return in the first issue of the relaunch, Red Locust changed her name to The Locust.
  • The Chains of Commanding: By the events of Vol. 3 issue 5, Kamala is certainly feeling the burn, especially since many of her team are on frayed wires due to incidents in their lives. The adult Cyclops lets her know that it doesn't get any easier, but she's doing great with what's going on.
  • Deal with the Devil: Vol 2 starts off with Miles and Brawn failing to stop Zzzax before he kills a lot of people, Kamala and Viv included. Mephisto appears and offers to rewind time to give them a second chance to contain him and save everyonr. Unfortunately, though they do stop Zzzax and save Kamala and Viv, because Miles was focused on the latter he didn't rescue the civilian he saved the first time around. Miles finds out that the person he saved in the old timeline died in this timeline. Even worse, this is going All According to Plan as Mephisto has made it his duty to screw with any and all Spider-Men in the 616.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When the team finds out that they were shot down by Atlantians who, for some reason, have claimed airspace, Amadeus takes the lead and goes to attack them. Twenty minutes later, the entire team is captured and they've voted that Amadeus can never be leader ever again.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Freelancers, a team of young supers who hire themselves out to further the interests of the rich and powerful, and have no compunctions against "punching down".
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Five-Token Band: In terms of ethnicity, you've got Kamala (Pakistani-American and Inhuman), Miles (Afro-Latino), Amadeus (Korean-American), and Sam (half-Latino), while Scott and Viv are a mutant and synthezoid, respectively. Riri is African-American and Nadia is Russian.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Nova pretends this is the case in the paintball match. Turns out it's a cue.
    • The bigoted sheriff in issue #5 is done in by his beleaguered deputy when he demands he do something with the Champions or he'll make an example out of him, too. It's that "Too" that makes the deputy realize that he had been behind many of the hate crimes in the town.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Averted. When Kamala stops Amadeus from killing a trafficker whose inaction and negligence caused a girl to die from an illness over several days, the first thing she does, when she notices people taking videos on their cellphones, is essentially call out the elder heroes and the citizens around them for essentially saying that this is the world the younger heroes have inherited, a world where violence is the answer to solving crime, especially with those with superhuman powers.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • Amadeus kisses Viv, but she feels nothing towards him.
    • Viv comes out as a lesbian to Riri by abruptly kissing her, leading to Riri rejecting her feelings.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: When Amadeus claims that Cyclops talks like a serial killer, Kamala corrects him and says Cyke merely talks like a thirty-year-old "for some reason." The reason is of course that Cyclops would have been about thirty at that point, had he not timetravelled, and only talks like the generation that is ten-twelve years older than them because that's the generation he grew up as.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Amadeus takes this approach when Viv tells him that she isn't into guys.
  • Kick the Dog: They have a term for this: "punching down". The Champions hate to do this and the Freelancers love to.
  • The Kirk: Miles and Sam are both neither too emotional or logical, preferring to differ leadership and ideas to the rest.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": The Red Locust's reaction to Viv. And her reaction to getting invited to join the team in #16!
  • Legacy Character: Issue #9 has Viv meet up with the latest person to be Red Locust, a Mexican hero whose legacy goes back generations. Though, as it turns out, this Red Locust is the first female version because all the previous Red Loci were male and her mother died before she could bear a son, thus the organization who created the Red Locust was forced to use her as their latest.
    • The entire team are this, to Captain Marvel, the Incredible Hulk, Richard Rider, Peter Parker, The Vision, and the original non-time displaced Cyclops. The two new members added in issue #19 are legacies to Iron Man and Janet Van Dyne.
  • Literal-Minded: Viv seems to do this on purpose.
  • The Mccoy: Kamala and Amadeus are both headbutting hotheads with large egos and large sizes. Only Kamala acts like an adult, while Amadeus acts like a kid who is also the Hulk.
  • Mistaken for Racist: Viv asks Kamala if she was making a micro-aggression after the latter suggests they tell ghost stories and the former realizes it is uncannily similar to herself.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Why Cho's ship was shot down by Atlantean forces. He retrofitted it from an old american spy craft.
  • Monster Clown: The team's first villain is Pagliacci, a minor Power Man and Iron Fist baddie who has apparently given up being an assassin in favor of becoming a sex trafficker.
  • More Diverse Sequel: The series is the followup to a book that ran in the 1970s and starred a team of Black Widow, Hercules, Ghost Rider, Iceman and Angel—all white and, aside from Black Widow, male. The second series uses Affirmative Action Legacy, and instead starred Kamala Khan (female Pakistani-American Muslim), Miles Morales (half-African American, half-Puerto Rican) Amadeus Cho (Korean-American), Sam Alexander (half-Hispanic-American), Viv Vision (female robot), Nadia Pym (female), Snowguard (First Nations Canadian), Red Locust (female Hispanic-American), and Patriot (African-American). A teenage, time-displaced Cyclops served as the Token White male on the team.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Vision thinks this is the case with Viv, and grounds her.
  • Paintball Episode: The Champions take some time out in Issue #6 to play a game of paintball, where they come up with strategies on how to counter the powers of the others in order to secure a win.
  • The Paragon: What the team (mostly Kamala) intends to be for young people. They believe that the Avengers have failed to be this. Kamala herself is shaping up to be this for the team itself.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In one arc, the Champions go the arctic where they find the Master of the World has built a factory on tribal lands guarded by an army of robotic drones with the diabolical goal of... repairing glaciers to fight global climate change. As he puts it, he still intends to conquer the world, but he's willing to put in a few centuries of work to ensure that there will still be a world worth conquering. His pitch is so good that the Champions actually agree to let him continue until they discover that his facility is powered by an imprisoned nature spirit.
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: The entire team is this, made up to prove they can be better heroes than the adults.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Mark Waid did this every other issue in the pre-Secret Empire part of the series, with the team battling human trafficking, Middle Eastern Terrorists who oppose girls getting education, and hate crimes in an American town. Jim Zub brought it back in issue 24 with a school shooting at the Brooklyn Visions Academy.
  • Robosexual: Issue #2 ends with Amadeus kissing Viv Vision! He later claims kissing a robot wasn't that good, but his thought bubbles show he's heartbroken she kissed him only out of curiosity and was unimpressed. Sam also showed attraction towards Viv. Viv states later in issue #14 she has no interest in boys. In time she develops romantic feelings for her teammate Ironheart, surprising her in issue #27 with a kiss.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Kamala and Amadeus are arguing over who gets to be the leader, Nova suggests, as a joke, to make Cyclops their leader instead. Both Viv and Scott concur that he would make a good leader, as he has actual experience in leading a team and beating the likes of Magneto and Sub-Mariner.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When the Gemini Bank Corporation ends up trademarking the Champions name and logo and starts using it all over the place, it puts the team in the dumps, especially Kamala, who had this happen to her already back in the start of her second run. Nova gets back at the by telling people that the team doesn't support the merchandised crap
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Angry over the fact that it seems that the remaining Avengers really don't care about the regular people, Kamala ups and quits. A flashback shows Spider-Man and Nova had quit earlier than she did. Nova's quitting is something of a Running Gag both here and in his title as his friends keep thinking that he was fired from the Avengers.
    • Gwenpool does it in her guest issue after she realizes that the antagonists are just bigoted people and not a mind controlling supervillain, according to her if she wanted to deal with morally grey issues and real life problems she would have stayed in the real world instead of trying to be a superhero which to her dismay the Champions barely do in this issue.
  • Shout-Out: The villain of the first issue is basically an Expy of The Joker, only his name is Pagliacci.
    • Manchester, AL, the hometown of Impulse (Bart Allen), is visited at one point, and there's an extra that looks a lot like Bart. Waid was one of Impulse's co-creators and Ramos was the main penciller on his solo title.
    • Red Locust's name and color scheme is a tip of the hat to another Mexican superhero. In fact, this was an intentional homage on Humberto Ramos' part, as he's a fan (and compatriot) of the character.
    • Viv says "d'oh" when she makes a minor mistake.
    • Malala Yousafzai gets a mention.
    • Cyclops liked Seinfeld as a child.
    • Issue 9 opens up with the team watching the "The Cave of Two Lovers" and a reference to cactus juice.
  • Spin-Offspring: Viv, who's now making a name for herself apart from her father.
  • The Spock: Viv and Scott. One is a robot who has learned to control her emotions, and the other is a kid who has a complicated history/destiny.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Even after coming to blows with the Champions and losing, the Freelancers manage to maintain their copyright of the Champions' brand. As Kamala struggles to find a solution, Sam simply posts a video online about the fakes using their name and calls for a boycott of their merchandise, which sets the record straight for the people supporting them.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Invoked in issue #3. The Champions head for a South Asian country to help liberate it from miltant fundamentalists, but their rescuees point out that if they do that, this sends a message to the populace that America will solve all of their problems. One of the girls they rescue comes up with a plan to put these invaders in their place.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The Freelancers, a group of teenagers with powers who basically use it to make a profit by putting down protesters and tearing down slums. Even in their free-time they go out of their way to torment the homeless and then frame it on the Champions.
  • Teleport Cloak: Miles gets one on Weirdworld with a spiderweb pattern.
  • Tempting Fate: The first arc of the 2019 relaunch sees Kamala riding high on the group getting so many new members. While making a speech, she specifically thanks Sam and Miles for helping her found the team. The end of the first arc sees them both leaving the team, Sam temporarily to head into space to get his Nova helmet back and Miles quits over his guilty conscience after making a deal with Mephisto to save Kamala and Viv's life.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: The preview for the first issue shows that Kamala is doing this, having quit the Avengers and taking a time out from super-heroics.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Averted in the third issue - the team helps a group of Muslim women overthrow extremists who are denying women basic education, healthcare, and basic human rights.
  • The Cameo: In issue 1, Moon Girl, the new Wasp, the new Falcon, and Ironheart, watching a news broadcast in which Kamala gives the team's mission statement.
    • Foreshadowing: They later attempt to recruit all four. Wasp and Ironheart are now full time members.
  • Those Two Guys: Nova and Spider-Man often share aside jokes while the rest either argue (Kamala and Amadeus) or stay quiet (Viv and Scott). The relaunch even says the two are more or less best friends by that point.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Swapping torches and pitchforks for cellphone cameras. When Pagliacci was caught in front of a crowd trying to traffic girls as sex slaves, the Champions discovered one of the girls had died. This pisses Amadeus off and he punches Pagiliacci through a warehouse. The crowd don't just cheer, they film the event and egg Amadeus to go and kill the clown. This is when Kamala steps in to say that it's one thing to kill in self-defense, it's another thing to finish off someone who's already beaten and even worse to egg someone else to do it for the angry mob.
  • Troll: Seeing Kamala and Amadeus bickering about the leadership, Sam suggests Scott to annoy them.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Viv and Kamala. Trope averted once Cyclops leaves, because all three of his replacements (Ironheart, Wasp, and Snowguard) are girls.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: It's subtle, but in issue #6 when the paintball teams brainstorm battle strategies, only one team actually reveals anything about how they are going to fight to the reader.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Inverted Trope for Viv in Worlds Collide. High Evolutionary "evolves" her into a normal looking human girl. It was an Unwilling Deroboticisation!
  • Very Special Episode: The series tackles international social issues while enlightening the readers about those same issues. For instance, Issue #1 calls out police violence against unarmed people and children, while Issue #24 is about a school shooting.
  • Wham Episode: Issue #2 of 2019 series cast a shadow for the entire run from them on, ser Deal with the Devil above.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kamala tears into Sam Wilson over the destruction of property in her last Avengers outing. When Sam tries to explain why they can't just help them at the moment, she's so upset, she walks off.
  • Why Didn't I Think of That?: When Nova reveals a video he made viral telling everyone not to support the merchandise going around with the Champions logos, a very happy Kamala wonders why she never thought of that. Cyclops points out that they were all too busy having a pity party to even think of that.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Spider-Gwen appears in the cover of Champions #16, but does not appear in the story, except in a mere mention.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Played both seriously and for laughs in issue #5, in which Gwenpool constantly argues that the racism in a small town must be the work of a supervillain or some kind of malevolent force.
  • You Are Grounded!: Yeesh, Viv is hit with this at the end of issue #8 as Vision locks her in her room with countervibranium metal for her unaccounted absences.


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