CHAMPIONS #10 by Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos, EDGAR DELGADO, and NOLAN WOODARD
CHAMPIONS #10 finds the Champions divided across the globe in the wake of Hydra's takeover. Mark Waid's writing captures the team's desire to do right while also laying out the difficulties that oppressed individuals now face in this darker world.
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Kobayashi Maru

SECRET EMPIRE’s tie-in storylines have focused on Marvel heroes fighting back, blending in, or struggling to cope with the rise of Hydra. CHAMPIONS #10 centers around the first example, but on a smaller, yet incredibly meaningful scale. The remaining Champions must pit themselves against Hydra since it represents everything they are against. Despite the odds stacked against them, the Champions continue to fight the threat of injustice.

Champions #10
Image from CHAMPIONS #10, courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

In the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover, Miles Morales, Amadeus Cho, and Viv Vision find their team physically divided. With Nova trapped opposite the Planetary Defense Shield and Cyclops with the X-Men, locating Ms. Marvel’s whereabouts is the top priority. Their search leads the team to investigate a Hydra internment camp in New Mexico. In their attempt to free the camp’s Inhuman inhabitants, the Champions must confront a huge dilemma: do they stay as prisoners in conformity or leave as wanted fugitives?

READ: Find out what the Champion’s were up to before SECRET EMPIRE in our review of CHAMPIONS #8

Real-World Parallels

Mark Waid’s narrative compares Hydra’s actions against Inhumans with the real-life relocation of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The internment camp is a cruel paradox: an inviting, suburban aesthetic that’s designed to keep its residents as prisoners. Compared to the more disturbing conditions of other SECRET EMPIRE tie-ins, these inhabitants are treated well enough to survive. For many, escape is not an appealing option since it forces them into refugees, forever on the run from Hydra’s looming persecution. Despite their abilities, many Inhumans want to simply live in peace.

Champions #10
Image from CHAMPIONS #10 courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

At the same time, Waid holds the Champions up as a symbol of hope in contrast to Hydra’s oppression. No matter how small the Champions’ decision to help might seem, it nevertheless reflects the team’s founding beliefs and rhetoric. Their heroic status is reflected in the eyes of Kamala, a young Inhuman who dresses like Ms. Marvel in hopes that it will make her feel brave. Her idolization of these characters shows that people are still willing to believe in the Champions’ message.

Cruel yet Cheery

The combined artistic talent of Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, and Nolan Woodard continue to excel in making CHAMPIONS a standout Marvel comic. Each panel has a sense of liveliness that captures the individual reactions of its characters to this new world. From the fear of Inhumans mistaking the Champions for Hydra agents to the politeness of social worker-disguised robot guards, each emotion feels genuine and alive. Edgar Delgado’s coloring palate adds to this vibrancy with unique designs of the Champions and relocated Inhumans. The relocation center’s seemingly cheery atmosphere also contributes to the liveliness.

READ: Find out how Hydra’s takeover of the United States began in SECRET EMPIRE #0

CHAMPIONS #10: Final Thoughts

While there are brief moments of action, CHAMPIONS #10 primary “fight” is that of the Champions taking on Hydra’s new world order. Protecting the relocated Inhumans might not bring the world a step closer to dethroning Hydra, but it promotes the Champions’ opposition to its poisonous regime. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, the Champions continue to fight injustice because it’s the morally right thing to do.

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