SPOILER ALERT!

Champions, Vol. 2: The Freelancer Lifestyle

Champions Vol. 2: The Freelancer Lifestyle - Mark Waid, Humberto Ramos

Volume 2 of the Champions series is a bit of a mess story-wise and an excellent example of how company-wide events can really mess with individual series at Marvel and DC.

 

It starts off well enough with the Champions having to deal with a teen mercenary group that oppose everything the Champions are trying to stand for. It's not the greatest plot since the villains are too one-dimensional for my liking, but the first couple issues of this book at least form a cohesive story. Since this volume's title references the mercenary group's name, I thought the Champions would be dealing with them for the majority of the book, but they just disappear from the story after a few issues.

 

Things get jarring once the Freelancers arc ends. At the very end of that arc, one of the members of the Champions is literally locked in their home with security measures that neutralize their powers because they are grounded. The very next issue has that character on a solo mission some time later on the opposite side of the country. When did the grounding end? Did their parent just release them? Or did they have to escape? No clue on any of that. No reference is made to them being locked up at any point afterward. On their solo mission, they meet a new teen hero that they team up with for this issue. At the end, they offer the new hero a chance to join the Champions. This hero is then never mentioned again.

 

The next issue takes place during the Secret Empire event where Hydra is in charge. One of the Champions is in an internment camp, and the others are trying to locate and rescue their team member. How did this member get captured in the first place? What was everyone else doing when they were captured? No answers on any of that. The character isn't rescued or even found by the end of the issue either. They are back with everyone by the next issue though with no explanation how that went down. And the Champions have joined with several other teen heroes to try to rescue any survivors from a Hydra attack that killed over half a million citizens. The issues just keep jumping forward in time with no details on how we got to this point. The abrupt transitions were jarring.

 

This was especially true for the final issue. The previous one ended with the Champions vowing to keep fighting against Hydra after they killed over half a million people. The very next issue opens with the Champions singing karaoke. Between the two issues, Hydra was defeated apparently.

 

This volume of Champions left me constantly feeling like I was skipping a ton of issues because I was missing huge chunks of the story. After the first mini arc, the rest of the book was a mess that had jarring transitions and failed to form a cohesive story by constantly skipping ahead. It's hard to enjoy a story when I'm only given random portions of it.