The Champions are on the run. After a horrific tragedy, Kamala’s Law was passed, and all teen heroes were outlawed. The Champions have seen their friends and teammates either quit, hand themselves in, or be arrested and placed in reeducation camps. What remains of the team were cornered and exhausted. Just as they decide to give in, their savior teleports in. Young Cyclops and Dust appear, bringing with them the power of Krakoa.
Within this issue is the fallout of that action. C.R.A.D.L.E. backs off, fearing diplomatic repercussions from the new mutant nation. The young heroes teleport away to safety, where they discover that Viv Vision is the one that was betraying them. The humans and Inhuman aren’t allowed to enter Krakoa, but Cyclops, Dust, and the others are willing to provide them with aid and respite. The heroes move to a boat in the middle of the ocean, far away from anyone who can hurt them. But this may all change when Attuma attacks a nearby vessel…
One of the most notable changes within this issue is the tone. There is a feeling of relief and hope as Cyclops arrives, releasing some of the queasy dread constricting the heroes. Simultaneously, there is still that fear as those against the Champions continue to prioritize their capture. The pacing and structure are perfect, never leaving the main characters for long. Ewing fills the script with more energy than there has been in the last two issues while still maintaining the thoughtfulness of the material. There are numerous surprises within the issue, and some of the secrets that have been kept from the Champions are revealed. The ending leaves us with multiple possibilities of what is going to happen next.
It is good to see the Champions be given some freedom inside Champions #4. The weight of the world has been on their shoulders, especially Kamala’s, so to allow them to breathe and eat is refreshing. Ewing is constantly reminding the readers that these heroes are very young, writing their emotions so well. There is also a brilliant chance for them to act like superheroes again.
Through Outlawed, we also see the characters struggle with concepts that affect young people within the real world. For example, while the other Champions are enjoying the food and respite, Ms. Marvel finds herself trapped in scrolling on social media. She considers it her duty to do so, but the “doom scrolling” is crushing her. This is something most of us with an online presence grapples with.
The friendship between the characters is so pure as the writer explores it. The loyalty and devotion they have to each other make this team one of the most enjoyable to read.
It is fantastic to see the X-Men have a supporting role in this comic. It is nice to have Cyclops and Dust back on the team, combining one of the original lineups with a newer member. But many mutants make small appearances on the ship, resulting in a team-up against Attuma. Storm, Iceman, Kitty Pryde all have important lines and actions, with Bishop, Pixie, Pyro, and others having small cameos. Ewing shows the personality of each character within the small glimpses we get.
Viv Vision, while very much on the outskirts of the main story, has had a really touching sojourn away from the chaos. Staying with a kind woman she met previously has provided her with a human to discuss her troubles with. It has been an aside to show the inner turmoil within the android, almost the missing piece during this whole event.
Quinn on art is astonishing. There are a lot of characters within Champions #4, but the artist juggles them and depicts them brilliantly. Each costume is given detail, Cyclops donning the suit for “old time’s sake”. A personal favorite panel is Kitty giving a polite bow to Ms. Marvel and her friends, donning her new, beautiful red pirate’s jacket. The emotions are so easy to identify on characters’ faces, exaggerated beautifully at times. The team-up against Attuma is lively, with a dozen powers being shown off and bodies everywhere, but it is exciting and easy to follow.
The colors are also fantastic. Blee uses bright lighting and colors while they are at sea, raising the mood of the heroes and readers alike. The variety of vibrant colors is stunning, from Pixie’s trademark pink hair to Nova’s gold plating. Back in America, there is a scene within a senator’s office, and the atmosphere changes. The office’s intense light is stifling and uncomfortable, likely a deliberate act by Blee.
The letters are easy to read and effective. Cowles’ word balloon shapes are often dynamic, almost like they react to what is happening in the panel around them.
Champions #4 brings fun to the event in a beautiful issue. The darkness of the issues needs positivity as a palette cleanser as it accentuates both emotions. If that claustrophobia and darkness continued the reader might have found themselves drowning in it. A team up in the middle of the event connects the crossover to the rest of the Marvel Universe while also serving a purpose within the story. But the event isn’t over, and there are still those who need their Champions to save them.
Champions #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Champions #4 brings fun to the event in a beautiful issue. The darkness of the issues needs positivity as a palette cleanser as it accentuates both emotions. If that claustrophobia and darkness continued, the reader might have found themselves drowning in it. A team up in the middle of the event connects the crossover to the rest of the Marvel Universe while also serving a purpose within the story. But the event isn’t over, and there are still those who need their Champions to save them.