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Champions, The #17: Review

Jan 1978
Bill Mantlo, George Tuska

Story Name:

Sentinels Hunt Again!

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Champions, The #17 Review by (June 13, 2023)

Review: The good guys fight among themselves in this issue, sowing the seeds for a more complex dynamic within the team…oh, wait, it’s the last issue. Well, the friction then goes to show why the team breaks up five minutes after the end of this issue, as seen in a subsequent Spidey comic. I said at the beginning this team didn’t make a lot of sense and Marvel never really committed to it until they brought in Mantlo and Byrne for issues #11-15 but apparently the moment had passed for saving the book. This is okay for a final issue, with a couple of battles but brought down by a) the villains being idiots and b) Darkstar doing all the heavy lifting at the end.

Comments: Final issue of series; the 2016 book with this title features a new and unrelated team as do all subsequent volumes. Though the final page promises the team’s return in an issue of AVENGERS, they don’t and it is PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #17 that forms a coda to the series. The baddies were infantilized in DEFENDERS #16. The Sentinels were thought to be destroyed in X-MEN #100. This Lorelei is not the same person as the Thor character, Amora’s sister. Vanisher returns in BIZARRE ADVENTURES #27, one of Marvel’s magazine titles. Iceman calls Angel, “Daddy Warbucks,” a mocking reference to the wealthy industrialist from the LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE comic strip. There is a passing reference to “streaking,” a justly forgotten fad from the 1970s, wherein someone would disrupt a public event by dashing through naked. And the call for help is called the Champsignal; someone has been watching too much BATMAN (1966).





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions, The #17 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Hercules and Black Widow are sitting in the office at Champions headquarters when villains Blob, Unus the Untouchable, and Lorelei rush in pleading for help—moments later three Sentinels crash through the walls, tracking them down. The powers of the three mutants are cancelled by the Sentinels but Herc and Natasha strike back. A blast hurls Nat to the control panel, as she intended, and she activates the call for help lighting up the entire building….

Miles away the signal is spotted by Angel who decides to assume it is real and not a systems malfunction and heads to a local theater where Johnny Blaze is taking part in a motorcycle stunt show. In the audience are Bobby Drake and Laynia Petrovna. When they spot Angel overhead, Bobby turns into Iceman and the surrounding crowd is incensed to see a mutant; Laynia unleashes her Darkstar side and a riot breaks out. Johnny Blaze turns on his Ghost Rider and the three Champions depart with Bobby and GR getting into a big argument. Angel interrupts and they storm the building, assaulting the Sentinels with their various powers. After an elaborate skirmish, the three Sentinels are defeated and they ask the trio of baddies for an explanation. They assert how they were all changed into babies along with Magneto when they were defeated by the Defenders. When Eric the Red restored Mags to adulthood, they were inadvertently restored as well. They were pursued by Sentinels so they came to Angel and Iceman, ex-X-Men for help. But the Champs do not believe them and rightly so as their leader, Vanisher, steps out of hiding and stuns the heroes with a ray gun. We then get the real story: Vanisher awoke on Steven Lang’s orbital platform sometime after all the Sentinels had been destroyed, discovered a few that were missed because they were still under construction, completed them and sent them out to find allies against the X-Men, hence Blob, Unus and Lorelei. But the Champions weren’t duped into leading the baddies to the X-Men so here’s plan B: let word of the Champions’ deaths bring the X-Men running. But the barely conscious Darkstar unleashes some of her power and reanimates a shattered Sentinel to give the baddies a good whupping. Vanisher tries to shoot her but Iceman has awoken and freezes his ray gun. The villain tries to escape into another place but the Darkforce stops him halfway out and possibly killing him. The others wonder at Laynia’s powers…. 




George Tuska
John Byrne
Phil Rachelson
Ernie Chan (Cover Penciler)
Ernie Chan (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: John Costanza.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Angel
Angel

(Warren Worthington III)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)

Plus: Blob (Fred Dukes), Champions, Lorelei (Lani Ubanu), Sentinels, Unus (Gunther Bain), Vanisher (Telford Porter).

> Champions, The: Book info and issue index

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