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Champions, The #2: Review

Jan 1976
Tony Isabella, Don Heck

Story Name:

Whom the Gods Would Join…

Review & Comments

3 stars

Champions, The #2 Review by (February 7, 2023)

Review: Second issue sees the motley crew of heroes fighting various figures out of Greek myth and…holding their own, actually. It’s not until the Huntsman arrives that there’s any real threat to the human heroes. Which should just not happen. Check this out (from the synopsis): “Ghost Rider and Angel attack Pluto and he blasts them” but they aren’t hurt, even though this guy just punched Hercules’ lights out and has no reason to keep them alive. “Venus and Natasha take advantage of the distraction to drag Herc away while Iceman seals up the portal with a mountain of ice.” So where are Ares and Hippolyta while this is happening? Or Pluto who made quick work of GR and Angel? The hallmark of this series is looking like everything was rushed out by whomever was available, especially the mediocre artwork. And it’s not even bad enough to be funny, like the classic Ant-Man series in TALES TO ASTONISH or Human Torch’s solo series in STRANGE TALES. It's just there.

Comments: Part two of three parts. The story’s title is a mash-up of the proverb “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad” and Jesus’ teaching on marriage in the New Testament (Matthew 19:6), “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (King James Version). The Huntsman, Cephalus of Phocis in Greek mythology, previously appeared in KA-ZAR #1 and SUB-MARINER #29, both times sent by Zeus to bring Hercules back to Olympus. Sole appearance of Menoetius the Titan, also from Greek myth. Unspeaking cameo by Dionysius who has a larger role in the next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions, The #2 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The band of disparate heroes (Hercules, Black Widow, Ghost Rider, Iceman, Angel) plus the goddess Venus stand amazed at Pluto’s announcement that Venus must wed Ares and Hercules marry Hippolyta or the universe dies. Herc refuses and goes to assault Pluto only to be beaten by Ares. Herc hurls Ares into Hippolyta and attacks Pluto only to be overcome by the Lord of the Underworld. Black Widow devises a plot to rescue the unconscious Hercules. Ghost Rider and Angel attack Pluto and he blasts them; Venus and Natasha take advantage of the distraction to drag Herc away while Iceman seals up the portal with a mountain of ice. They all (minus Ghost Rider who is scouting out the area) escape via ice bridge….

Pluto and company find they cannot pursue with the ice mountain blocking the portal. Pluto transports himself, Ares, and Hippolyta to Olympus where they confront Zeus. Pluto reminds Zeus (and enlightens the reader) that he, Pluto, has formed a league with gods of the dead from other pantheons and Zeus, fearing an attack, was forced to conclude a peace treaty with them; to seal the treaty the two marriages were arranged. Angry at having been placed in Pluto’s power, Zeus nevertheless agrees to make Venus and Herc abide by these commitments. Once Zeus leaves, Pluto reveals the secret reason: as the law forbids a spouse to oppose spouse, Herc and Venus will be prevented from defending Olympus against attack by Pluto’s forces….  

The heroes gather in a safe spot and Ghost Rider joins them to report that the portals and invaders are all gone. Then the Huntsman arrives on a bridge of fire, with orders from Zeus to fetch Hercules and to show he is serious, he hurls a bolt of fire which paralyzes the heroes—all except Ghost Rider, protected by his Satanic power. He fights back, blasting the Huntsman with hellfire, who vanishes before he hits the ground. Herc and Venus are unconscious as the Huntsman’s attacks are more effective against Olympians. Because he can withstand the Huntsman’s firebolts, Ghost Rider is chosen to guard them while Black Widow, Angel, and Iceman pursue the villain. Huntsman conjures up a Titan, Menoetius, killed by one of Zeus’ lightning bolts, transforming his body into living energy, and orders him to attack the thee heroes. The speedy Iceman attacks the Titan from all sides with ice while Black Widow hooks a metal cord to a steel flagpole and ropes the Titan, who, standing in melted ice, is electrocuted. Huntsman is also knocked down and Angel steals his staff—but the Olympian has greater powers….

Ghost Rider is protecting Hercules and Venus when he sees Pluto, Ares, and Hippolyta rushing toward him so he reacts by blasting them with hellfire—and then he discovers they are his three friends, magically disguised by the Huntsman, who overpowers Ghost Rider and carries his two quarries off to Olympus. There are some recriminations against Johnny Blaze and, since none of them know how they can go to Olympus to rescue Herc and Venus, the group splits up in despair….

Don Heck
John Tartaglione
Phil Rachelson
Ron Wilson (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (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: Champions, Hippolyta, Huntsman (Cephalus), Pluto (Hades), Venus.

> Champions, The: Book info and issue index

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