Champions Annual #1: Review

Dec 2018
Jim Zubkavich, Marcus To

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Champions Annual #1 Review by (December 28, 2018)
This issue has the Stan Lee obituary elements common to all the comics published 19th December.

This issue is co-written by Nyla Innuksuk who has been Jim Zub's advisor on Inuit matters.

I don't know who the guys they're fighting on the cover are, but the artist gets it right by omitting Sam Alexander.

In the New Year the Champions will continue with a restarted series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions Annual #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue stars the most recent team addition Snowguard.

Amka Aliyak remembers getting Inuk tattoos on her face and hands to mark her ascension to (teen) adulthood. Most of the rest of her people don't seem to bother with this, but her family seem more traditional. Amka was disappointed at the time that the ceremony didn't make her feel any different, and felt she was slipping away from her tribal beliefs. But then in #20 she was given powers by the Inuit goddess Sila and became Snowguard.

Now the 16-yr old is returning home for the 1st time since joining the Champions (#21).  She gets there in her winged human form to be greeted by her wheelchair-bound mother and 2 much younger male cousins. She's going to do a presentation at the school, and the boys want her to turn into a bear while she's there. But she notes that they aren't speaking Inuktitut, and mom says none of the kids their age do now.

The extended family have a feast to welcome her home. 1 of her teen relatives Pilip is impressed that she's joined Canada's Alpha Flight, but she has to put him right that she's a Champion instead. Even though she used to be an Alpha Flight fan and super-named herself after a combination of Snowbird and Guardian. But an older teen Tonraq thinks she's abandoned her people to join an American team.

The chat is interrupted by another teen Nanauq who bursts in to say his grandma's gone missing. (He speaks in Inuktitut but doesn't have tattoos.) Amka turns into a white wolf and picks up granny's scent from his clothes. She turns down Pilip's offer to accompany her and runs off alone. Tonraq taunts Pilip to give up his crush on Amka - she's out of his league now.

The wolf tracks the missing woman as Amka worries worries whether Tonraq is right about her walking out on her old life. She turns human when she finds her, and uses her super-strength to carry the old woman home. They converse in Inuktitut on the way but it appears senility has made the woman forget who she is, even when she's reunited with her grandson.

Even though it stays light nearly all night in the Nunavut summer Amka falls asleep exhausted. But Sila wakes her and warns her of danger. Changing to a human-sized white bird she sees a mythical Inupasugjuk giant smashing the town up. She easily distracts him into chasing her, but his blows are too much for her. So she switches to her large antlered humanoid wolf form to attack him directly. But it turns out the giant only thought he was playing a game. He says he's all alone because all the others have left now that the land is 'smaller'. Amka leads him somewhere he can play more safely.

Next day she goes to the school to give her presentation, but she finds the kids all sitting in a trance. They have been taken over by the Taqriaqsuit shadow people and have lost their memories like Nanauq's grandma. Snowguard tries to fight them and wake the children, but the foe overwhelm her and knock her out.

She wakes as the memory of getting her tattoos is taken from her mind. The Taqriaqsuit are stealing memories. They tell her that fewer and fewer of the Inuk remember them as the tribe loses its Inuit identity. So they are taking the memories to preserve them. Amka says there's a better way and she persuades them to give the memories back.

Then in her lecture she tells the students how she gains her power from the Silap Inua. And she tells them all the Inuit myths her grandfather once told her.

Later she says goodbye to family and friends, promising to return more often. Tonraq's attitude has softened but he still thinks she ought to stay here as *their* protector. She says she's going to try to protect Nunavut *and* the world. As he hugs her goodbye he whispers that when she left it broke Pilip's heart. This is news to Amka as she gives Pilip a hug too.

As she flies up to the Champions Mobile Bunker Sila congratulates her on a job well done, and notes the 'enchanted token' she has as a present from the Taqriaqsuit.

Later that evening Snowguard makes an Inuit feast for the rest of the team. (Sam Alexander isn't with them. Ms. Marvel retains her mask as she's still the only 1 who keeps her identity secret from the rest of the team.) And she's going to tell *them* about Inuit myths.

Marcus To
Marcus To
Jordan Boyd
R B Silva (Cover Penciler)
R B Silva (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)

(Miles Morales)

(Nadia Pym)

Plus: Brawn (Amadeus Cho), Champions, Ironheart, Snowguard (Amka Aliyak).

> Champions Annual: Book info and issue index

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