Being a superhero means routinely saving the world from villains that would plunder, conquer, or destroy it — but is preservation of the world a superhero’s only obligation? Shouldn’t they also work to improve it? Thanks to their experiences in the Avengers and “Civil War II,” three young heroes — Ms Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man (A.K.A. Miles Morales) — have begun to wonder these very questions. Soon, they’ll break away from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and band together with other likeminded adolescents to battle injustice in all its forms.
The team of teen heroes comes together this October in the pages of “Champions,” a new ongoing series by writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos. CBR News spoke with Waid about his cast, the dynamic between them, their global mandate, and how the rest of the Marvel Universe might respond to their activities.
CBR News: With “Champions,” you’re bringing over three cast members from your “All-New, All-Different Avengers” series: Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and Nova. What can you tell us about the dynamic between these three and their demeanors when you pick up with them in “Champions” #1? Have those aspects changed?
Mark Waid: There’s a lot more friction between those three. Without giving away “Civil War II” spoilers, I can say that not all of those three ended up on the same side of the war, necessarily. And that feeds into “Champions” #1.
One of their most intriguing new teammates is the Vision’s daughter Viv, who’s currently experiencing some intense emotions over in Tom King’s excellent “Vision” series. What’s it like bouncing Viv off the other characters in the team? Are there any characters she’s especially fun to write interactions with?
That’s easy. Writing her with the Totally Awesome Hulk is a joy — she’s all id, and he’s all superego. They play off one another quite well.
The Totally Awesome Hulk, or Amadeus Cho, is another interesting choice for this team since he’s prone to making impulsive decisions. What’s your sense of the new, youthful Hulk? Is he much of a team player?
No. He’s a terrible team player. Also, he keeps assuming he’s the team leader, and I’m not sure he would be if they actually put it to a vote.
Rounding out your cast is a character who much of his life has been defined by teams — teen Cyclops from “All-New X-Men.” Will his new teammates be happy to count him among their ranks?
Not all of them, no. He’s a very divisive figure in the group. On the one hand, everyone knows teen Cyclops has the potential to grow up to be as messed up as his adult counterpart was. On the other hand, most of the Champions came down pretty hard against the concept of “predictive justice” during “Civil War II,” so it’s hypocritical of them to prejudge teen Cyke — especially since he shares their goals.
Will the Champions be fully formed by the time issue #1 begins? Can you talk about the circumstances that will bring them together?
Issue #1 starts with the three ex-Avengers and follows them on an adventure as they gather the others, save one who’ll not show up until issue two — explosively.
Will the team have a specific mandate as to the types of adventures they pursue? Will they have the freedom and the funding to travel anywhere?
Amadeus Cho has deep pockets, fortunately, and we’ve talked about how the Champions should be more globe-hopping than the Avengers tend to be (as long as some of them are home in time to be at school tomorrow).
The Champions, if we play it right, should be less about battling super-villains and more about dealing with anyone and everyone who tries actively to make the world worse or to stop important change from happening. These kids leave the Circus of Crime to the Avengers. They’re out to battle injustice in whatever form that takes.
Drawing “Champions” is Humberto Ramos, who you first worked with back in the ’90s on another teen hero book — DC Comics’ “Impulse.” What’s it like reuniting with Humberto? What do you enjoy most about working with him?
The characters are so lively! They really “act” on the page. No one’s ever just standing around, and the action is huge under Humberto’s pencil.
What can you tell us about the other Marvel heroes’ perspective on the Champions? Will they have the blessings of groups like the Avengers and X-Men? And does your cast even care what other super teams think about their activities?
I honestly don’t think the Champions give a rat’s tail about what other teams may think of them. Unfortunately, that may not be enough to actually stiff-arm the other teams from coming after them…
Finally, what kinds of foes are you interested in pitting your cast against?
I know this isn’t helpful, but I’m hesitant to go into too much detail. All I can tell you is these will be very heavily character-based stories — less about punching and more about crusading.
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