Out this week in a smaller digest-sized edition is Champions: Worlds Collide, capturing a crossover between Avengers and Champions all written by Mark Waid. Joining Waid are artists Humberto Ramos and Jesús Saiz who bring their impeccable art in a story that’s focused on Vison’s daughter Vivian. It’s a great example of how new characters can mix things up, especially for mainstays like the Avengers, in an exciting superhero affair.
This book collects two stories. The first is the eponymous “Worlds Collide”, which uses a pulpy sci-fi story to throw the Avengers and the Champions into a team-up. It involves the idea of an opposite Earth that spins opposite of the Earth around the sun, the High Evolutionary messing around with creatures, and Vision getting a bit grumpy with those around him. All three of these elements collide, starting with a meteor send to Earth to do some massive damage and ends with Vivian making the ultimate sacrifice.
The first half of this book is filled with heroes and the Champions get rubbed the wrong way by the Avengers on more than one occasion. Waid seems to be saying the Champions deserve to be treated with as much respect as the Avengers, and he makes a strong case that he’s right. Saiz draws clean-looking issues that pop with good use of color to bring out the fleshy skin tones and rippling muscles. The burning building at the start of the book is particularly cool looking, with spot-on flames. In a scene where the Spider-Man characters use their webs, Saiz makes the webs look complex and interesting. Overall no complaints on the art side of things!
The beauty of the first half of the book is how Waid continuously throws new things at these characters. It’s action comics at its best. Seeing all these superheroes team up to slow a meteor, for instance, is great fun as each hero has a different power to throw at it. It gives each issue an episodic feel too, which moves things along. Since it is action-focused, resolving each issue’s problem can make the bigger plot move slowly, but Waid is good about giving each character a moment to do or say something. Ramos’s art is stellar in these action scenes, with all the kinetic energy you’d want with so many Avengers throwing down.
From a character standpoint, there is an undercurrent of unease thanks to Vision being a bit snippy at the start. Something is up with him, and when the High Evolutionary “improves” Vivian, things get even more intense. Waid throws in an interesting twist involving a personal project of the High Evolutionary which connects well to Vivian’s relationship with her father. This builds towards the finish of this story and leads to the Vivian being lost, though the Champions believe she’s dead.
The second story arc spins out of this epic story after Vivian makes her way back to Earth (in a somewhat forced way) only to find her father has remade a robot version of Vivian. Apparently, Vision couldn’t live without her for very long, but soon we learn he’s also sick, which is very odd for a synthezoid. Waid plays up how awkward it is that Vivian is now a twin, and there’s the subtext to read into from the now-human Vivian knowing her father a bit better than the new synthezoid Vivian. Ultimately, the story wraps up too quickly — Waid had to wrap things up before Jim Zub took over — but the general idea of Vivian growing an even stronger bond with her father and her change to human not mattering to Vision as far as his love for his daughter really works.
Waid brings the Champions and Avengers together in great team-focused action with underpinnings of animosity between the two teams. Fans of team books should pick this one up, especially if you’ve liked Champions. Plotting-wise, the story does end rather abruptly and can feel too heavy on the action, but it’s a worthy chapter in the Champions story.
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