CHAMPIONS #8 arrives this week with an issue that serves as an emotional breather following last issue’s troubling conclusion. The latest installment finds our heroes battling not villains, but emotion and angst, leading to some needed character development. CHAMPIONS #8 is an excellent issue that shows off the strengths of the book, proving that action isn’t all there is to a story.

CHAMPIONS #8 is a Story of an Identity Lost and Found

Our story picks up after the Freelancers copyrighted our heroes’ symbol, a psychologically crushing defeat they have to cope with. Throughout the story, we see the members recovering in their own way, providing us insight into the thoughts and troubles they have. Ms. Marvel guilts herself with the previous events, while Miles Morales and Nova attempt to comfort her with a more optimistic outlook. Elsewhere Cyclops, Amadeus, and Viv are acting through not only talking but venting through action and training as well.

Image from CHAMPIONS #8, courtesy of Marvel

CHAMPIONS #8, as with previous issues, shines when its cast interacts and matures with each other through their hardships. Writer Mark Waid tests the team by having them deal with their reputations and ideals being tarnished. Each member finds a way to move on and prepare to take back their identities, but only through encouragement from each other. Miles and Nova do their best to bring Ms. Marvel out of her depression, a twist on the dynamic they’ve had since issue one. Ms. Marvel is the optimistic one who brought a depressed Miles and Nova together to create the team, and now the roles are reversed. Waid places these characters into a situation that puts them to the test, allowing them to grow and adapt.

READ: Our heroes face off against the Enforcers in our review of CHAMPIONS #7!

The Team Grows Through Thick and Thin

Waid puts the remaining members through the emotional wringer as well, while at the same time advancing the plot forward. Viv, Cyclops and Amadeus help each other vent, showing off their growing maturity and feelings for the team. Cyclops faces his fears and guilt through Viv’s holograms, something the young hero is constantly dreading over given his established troubling future. The two bring out genuine feelings from Amadeus who is usually braggadocios, showing off a more sympathetic, friendly demeanor. Simultaneously, Viv sees that she’s been hiding her true emotions to help the others, which leads to a confrontation with her father Vision that will certainly tie in later.

Image from CHAMPIONS #8, courtesy of Marvel

Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado, and Nolan Woodard provide art that works hand in hand with the emotional moments throughout CHAMPIONS #8. Each character shows mannerisms that convey the serious moments dealt with, notably during the opening scene with Ms. Marvel’s guilt. Spider-Man and Nova trying to calm down a hysterical Ms. Marvel is entertaining to look at, especially when they’re dealing with the detailed collapsing building it takes place on. The issue is constantly vibrant and never fails to catch your eye when necessary, always presenting something refreshing.

WATCH: Want to see Ms. Marvel in action? Check out the awesome fan-film KAMALA!

CHAMPIONS #8 brings the titular team to new emotional levels, with an engaging, deep story for the reader. The issue is light on action, but this works in its favor to provide optimal character development. Not only do we get to see each character interact and work with long-established dynamics, we also get to see them strive and become better, ready to take on the next challenge. CHAMPIONS #8 is an example that fist fights aren’t needed to keep a story engaging.

CHAMPIONS #8 explores the emotions and dynamics that make the team great in the first place, giving us a story with true heart.
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