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Champions #26: Review

Nov 2018
Jim Zubkavich, Max Dunbar

Story Name:

Warriors of the weird Part 2

Review & Comments

4 stars

Champions #26 Review by (November 18, 2018)
The head of Brawnhammer's hand and hammer protruding into the cover from the left shows that the covers for last issue and this fit together.

Max Dunbar and Nolan Woodard take on the whole of the art duties her, while last issue they shared them with previous art team Sean Izaakse and Marcio Menyz (still doing the cover). Looking back I deduce that Izaakze/Menyz did the opening Champions scene last issue, and then Dunbar/Woodard took over when they got to Weirdworld.

In the Secret Wars III Weirdworld series the Swamp Queen was identified with a version of Jennifer Kale (the sorceress connected with Man-Thing and Howard The Duck). It is unclear whether the Swamp Queen is now meant to be the post-SWIII's Jennifer Kale, but JK certainly hasn't been seen outside Weirdworld since then.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions #26 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue the Champions fell into Weirdworld where they found their foe Eshu, self-styled Master Of The World, in charge. Now we flashback to how he got there.

2 weeks ago he came to the African village where the team fought Man-Thing. He detected an energy trace of the portal which Man-Thing, Wasp and Sam Alexander fell through in #23. 1 of his drones recreated it and he sent the drone through. When the drone didn't return the Master stepped through himself. On the other side he found a dragon firing energy from a crystal. 10 minutes later the dragon was dead and he had the crystal. But the portal closed and the dragon had destroyed the drone so Eshu couldn't get back.

However he located Sam by the tracker he had implanted in him. As his armour began to power down he found the boy with Wasp who had been transformed into a winged elf, and they had both lost their memory. As he approached them the crystal reacted to Sam Alexander by flaring up and restoring Eshu's armour's power. The Master saw potential here.

Now the other Champs have found a way to follow their missing teammates but have also arrived changed, and scattered through Weirdworld. And only Ironheart (Riri Williams) remembers their previous lives. Their passage through the Siege Parallel has given them new identities including pre-built pasts. Her armour has turned medieval and here she is known as Lady Ironheart, Paladin Of Truth.

Last issue she teamed up with Shadow-Spider (Miles Morales), here a loner thief whose identity is secret. Talking with him makes her realise that it is the traumatic memory of Thanos nearly killing her (Infinity Countdown: Champions #2) that stopped her getting amnesia. And she tries to persuade Miles that the reason he hasn't left her like the lone-wolf he claims to be is that subconsciously he knows that they are friends. Then they see a wanted poster put up for Snowgore and the Mystic Marvel, allies of the Swamp Queen, who Riri recognises as Snowguard and Ms. Marvel. Shadow-Spider fancies claiming the reward but Lady Ironheart persuades him to take her to the Swamp Queen.

Snowgore and Mystic Marvel are trudging through a swamp with 2 Man-Things carrying 4 large crystals, and Brawnhammer (Brawn transformed into a green orc with a large hammer) who they rescued from the crystal mine last issue. Suddenly vines pull them all down into the swamp. The girls tell BH to go with the flow and they are dragged through the roof of a vegetable cavern below to where the Swamp Queen waits. She accepts Brawnhammer, last of the Gamma Orcs, into her alliance against Eshu who killed his people.

The Queen explains that after the time-storm in Deadpool (2018) #4 her long-time foe Morgan Le Fay and her Kingdom Of The Torch vanished, but the new tyrant Eshu rose to take her place.

Mystic Marvel uses a gem (a shard of a crystal?) to magically rebuild Vivid Vessel (ie Viv Vision) from her broken parts. The android (more like a robot here) uses her power to show them visions (viewscreens) of Eshu's activities. He has an armoured Sam Alexander wielding crystal energy. His Fang army is marching on New Crystalium to get *their* treasure trove of crystals. With the crystals' power he can fix unstable Weirdworld in its current state with him in control. And he's sent a strike force here to attack Swamp Queen.

At that point Eshu's lackey Modred The Mystic breaks in with Wicked Wasp and an insectoid army. Everybody fights but Snow Queen tells 1 of the Man-Things (who she refers to as Theodore so he may be Ted Sallis the 'real' Man-Thing) to escape with the others to New Crystalium in the Crystal Labyrinth. She will stay to hold off Modred. The vines take the others to the surface but only to face more insectoids.

But then Lady Ironheart enters the fray and the tide is turned. And Shadow-Spider's cloak spirits them all elsewhere as the Grove Of The Man-Things burns behind them. Riri tries again to convince the others that they are really the Champions but to no avail. However they do all agree to go help the Crystal Warriors in Crystalium. Snowgore turns into her snow eagle form, and Mystic Marvel uses her Ms Marvel catchphrase 'embiggen' as a spell to make the eagle big enough to fly them all there. But they don't notice little Wasp hidden amongst the feathers.

Max Dunbar
Max Dunbar
Nolan Woodard
Sean Izaakse (Cover Penciler)
Sean Izaakse (Cover Inker)
Marcio Menyz (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Kamala Khan)

(Sam Alexander)

(Miles Morales)

(Nadia Pym)

Plus: Brawn (Amadeus Cho), Champions, Ironheart (Riri Williams), Master of the World, Modred the Mystic, Snowguard (Amka Aliyak).

> Champions: Book info and issue index

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