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Champions, The #13: Review

May 1977
Bill Mantlo, John Byrne

Story Name:

The Doom That Went On Forever!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Champions, The #13 Review by (May 10, 2023)

Review: A ticking bomb is always a great way to ramp up suspense (check out James Bond in GOLDFINGER) and as we are in the comic book universe, a bomb that can destroy the solar system just expands the tension. The rest of the issue is cool, despite (or maybe because) the Champs fight imaginary monsters in a quest for an object that was back home all along. Not to worry, the problem is solved by a bunch of quasi-scientific nonsense as the best comics usually are. Meanwhile, we have some bits of characterization stuffed in the corners: Ghost Rider doesn’t trust defector Darkstar, despite Natasha also having come over from the USSR. And Iceman mopes because he tried to impress a girl who didn’t need the help, her mind being on bigger things. Everybody gets all touchy feely at the end. And as the Greek demigod hasn’t had a chance to feel sorry for himself, Hercules mopes about feeling left out of the group in literally the final bit of dialogue. But really, Johnny Byrne’s artwork makes it all look great and Bill Mantlo knows how to tell a story, despite all the little bits we make fun of.

Comments: Part three of three parts. Hercules, accompanied by Sif, visited the realm of Kamo-Tharn in THOR #232-236; Kamo-Tharn, now spelled “Tharnn,” returns in THOR #334-335; the Runestaff returns in those issues as well. Gaspar Saladino lettered the first page. Bruce Patterson and George Roussos shared coloring duties.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions, The #13 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In Los Angeles, Black Goliath watches helplessly, along with the entire city, as the Null-Life Bomb expands through the Champions’ headquarters to engulf the world. BG climbs the building to investigate but when he touches the bomb, he is pulled in….

Meanwhile, the Champions (Hercules, Black Widow, Iceman, Angel, Ghost Rider) and Darkstar have been teleported by the Stranger to the ancient city homeworld of the blind wizard Kamo-Tharn who recognizes Hercules’ voice. Herc realizes that the device the Stranger sent them for is likely Kamo-Tharn’s Runestaff—which Herc had brought back to Earth on his previous visit. The wizard orders his beast-men to attack the heroes. The Champs fight back against the hordes of enemies and Darkstar spots a sliver of the Stranger’s portal still open; she widens it and leaps through. Iceman, mistakenly believing she has been captured (and attracted to her) leaps through after her…and finds himself in deep space….

Black Goliath is trapped inside the Null-Life Bomb with the Stranger and Reggie Clayborne who explains the dire situation while the Stranger exerts his power to slow the bomb’s expansion. BG tries just smashing the bomb but it is programmed to protect itself and generates a band of metal androids to beat BG senseless….

Bobby sees that Laynia has enclosed herself in a sphere of Darkforce; suffering, he quickly creates a sphere of ice around himself and follows her….

Kamo-Tharn transports the remaining Champs to a desolate hellscape where they are attacked by winged demons and a titan made of molten lava. Herc and Ghost Rider take on the flaming giant while Black Widow tries to aid Angel, being attacked by the demon. She ropes it with her cord but is slammed into a rock and knocked out. Enraged, GR leaps on the demon pulling it into the flames as the titan engulfs Herc, leaving only Angel….

Darkstar emerges through the portal into the bomb, dragging Bobby after her, saddened that she pays him no attention, despite his attempted sacrifice for her. The bomb, sensing it no longer has a need for self-defense, recalls the androids. The Stranger realizes the Runestaff was on Earth all the time, which he would have known had he not been concerned with the bomb. Darkstar reaches through a portal and snatches the staff from its resting place in a closet in a Manhattan hospital. She and Stranger pool their powers….

Angel concentrates and, along with the others, realizes that everything they have experienced in this world was an illusion created by a gloating Kamo-Tharn. So, Angel leaps on him and punches his lights out….

With the power of the Runestaff, Laynia forces the bomb to keep expanding, breaking its programming so that it will never stop growing through the galaxies and thus never reach the point where it must contract. Everybody wakes up in the Champions’ office, Stranger praises human courage, everybody hugs, and Hercules feels left out….

John Byrne
Bob Layton
Dave Cockrum (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Irv Watanabe.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Warren Worthington III)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)

Plus: Black Goliath (Bill Foster), Champions, Kamo-Tharnn.

> Champions, The: Book info and issue index

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