The times are a changing, as Bob Dylan once said. The world we’re living in is just not nearly as recognizable as it was five or ten years ago, and sometimes it’s just hard to reconcile. Not every comic has to reflect where we are, no creator needs that pressure, and stories should often allow us pure escapism (that’s what I’m seeing in the increasingly excellent X of Swords crossover, by the way). However, some stories are tailor-made for our times. Such is the case with the new ongoing Champions series.
Writer: Eve Ewing
Artist: Simone Di Meo
Following a significant mishap involving young superheroes, Kamala’s Law has gone into effect – teenage heroes have been outlawed and are being tracked down and regulated by a government group called C.R.A.D.L.E. Members of the Champions are split down the middle about the law, and there’s serious strife amongst how to proceed with their superhero ways.
While the idea definitely recalls the classic Marvel Civil War mini-series by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, what I find really riveting about what Eve Ewing is doing in Champions is the conflict not between superheroes, but between the average, everyday teenagers who find themselves taking sides on the law. While there are battles between C.R.A.D.L.E. and the Champions throughout the first two issues of the series, the debate and vitriolic arguments that those that see themselves in the young heroes is what is really standing out.
Ewing does a solid job of giving kids reasons to support and stand against the Champions, and it just feels so very timely and familiar to me. Neither set of kids are wrong – one group sees regulation a the first step at subjugating all teens, while the other is fearful of what unsupervised/poorly trained teens might do. It’s heavy stuff for a superhero book and Ewing just nails the subject matter.
While I’m always looking for a bit of escapism when I’m reading comics, Champions actually feels like a very important book for our times. I read the first two books back to back, and when I finished I immediately wished I had the third one to dive into. To me, that’s the sign of a good series, and Champions is one I’ll be keeping up with.