Marvel Comics has just kicked off their next superhero Civil War, as the young heroes of the Champions have been turned against eachother. Will their own version of Captain America and Iron Man's famous feud be as damaging to their future as a team?
There's never any shortage of excuses for superheroes to go head to head, rather than joining forces (almost mandatory before a team-up is possible) possible. But by far the most interesting hero-versus-hero battles happen when allies fight it out. The most famous of those was the mass superhero slugfest Civil War, a comic book event that ran from 2006 through to 2007. It saw the Avengers schism, with Captain America opposed to a Super Human Registration Act, while Iron Man supported it. The story was the loose inspiration for Captain America: Civil War. But the new version seen in the pages of Marvel's Champions has one crucial difference.
Champions #9 reveals that the villainous Blackheart has infiltrated the Champions, and one by one begins to corrupt the heroes. His method is fascinating: he corrupts by forcing people to deal with their own repressed jealousies, frustrations, and insecurities. In the case of Sam Alexander's Nova, for example, he prompts the young cosmic cop to lash out in order to prove he's not just a joke, and to get back at Miles Morales for damaging their friendship by not talking to him before he quit the team. Ironheart lashes out at Viv Vision because she resents the fact Viv wanted a relationship, rather than just a friendship. Soon Blackheart's influence has extended across half the Champions, and it's time for a battle of the ages.
This particular superhero civil war, which will thankfully be completed in Champions #10, promises to be a particularly interesting one. The Champions are essentially Marvel's assembled young and legacy heroes, characters like Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales' Spider-Man, Amadeus Cho's Hulk-esque Brawn, and of course Viv Vision and Ironheart. Champions has built up strong friendships, and even proto-relationships, between the various teammates. Which means a plot like this is a perfect opportunity to put those under the microscope, and examine what works and what doesn't. Indeed, Champions #9 sees Ms. Marvel successfully break Blackheart's hold on Nova by appealing to their friendship, unmasking in front of him and telling him her real name.
Of course, there's a real sense of irony to the Champions having their own Civil War plot. The team was initially formed in the wake of Marvel's Civil War II event, with the kids rejecting the adults' divisive ways and periodic, destructive hero-on-hero fights. No doubt this battle will force the Champions to ask whether they're really any different. And probably encourage readers to ask the same of Marvel...
Champions #9 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.