Humberto Ramos helps build the future of Marvel’s supreme teen team!

Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos plan on bringing back a much-loved and classic team book tradition with January 17’s CHAMPIONS #16: the membership drive! In the wake of their less-than-excellent meeting with the Avengers in the last arc, the group wants to redouble their efforts to make the world a better place and they need more heroic bodies on the squad to do that.

The CHAMPIONS creative team promises to expand the line-up and continue working towards that goal. Of course, that will mean more killer costumes to work with on the page, but Ramos proves, of course, up the challenge. We talked with the artist about the new influx of characters, the continued development of Red Locust, and his collaborative relationship with Waid!

Marvel.com: The Champions clearly just had a wild time during their adventure with the Avengers. Has that altered how they appear moving forward in this series?

Humberto Ramos: I think so. Every single situation in the Champions Universe will eventually have a consequence in their future actions.

Marvel.com: Membership drives were a hallmark of team books for years. How was it reviving that tradition with the Champions?

Humberto Ramos: The Champions brand is a legacy to take seriously as it is for me in every single Marvel character I get to work with, but the new take and expectations Mark Waid planted in this new group brought heart and hope back to the Marvel U.

Marvel.com: What kind of challenges does bringing all of those characters into one book—or on one cover like that of #16–offer?

Humberto Ramos: The new team looks awesome, right? I am as excited as everyone else to [see] how Moon Girl, Spider-Gwen or the Falcon’s personalities will shock our kids’ world.

Marvel.com: How has it been developing Red Locust and the legacy around her since her first appearance in CHAMPIONS #9?

Humberto Ramos: It’s always exciting to create new characters and I got a little pride to know our girl Fernanda has a Mexican heritage. With Red Locust I have a great opportunity to show at least a glance of how beautiful my country is. I can’t [help] but thank the team for allowing me to do so.

Marvel.com: You and Mark had worked together previously, but have also been shepherding this team along since the beginning. How do you think your collaborative relationship has evolved in that time?

Humberto Ramos: For me it’s exactly the same feeling I had back in time with [our first work together]. The only difference for me is now I’m more aware of the colossal creator Mark is for this industry. Back in those days, I was naive and had no idea, but now I gladly know.

Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos continuing building the legacy of this team with CHAMPIONS #16 on January 17.

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Mark Waid starts the search for a new Champion!

Fresh off the events of the “Words Collide” story arc, the Champions sit reeling after the heartbreaking loss of a team member. But the group’s decided to honor the memory of their fallen comrade by making sure to stay strong for the sake of the world they swore to protect.

To keep their foothold in the fight for good, they’ll need some help…and in CHAMPIONS #16, the search for a new teammate begins. On January 17, writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos put a few hopefuls to the test in part one of “Champion for a Day”!

We spoke with Waid to hear more about what to expect.

Marvel.com: Catch us up on what went down in the “Worlds Collide” arc!

Mark Waid: The Avengers and the Champions teamed up for a mission to save two worlds and, after some trials and tribulation, they succeeded. But the victory came at a terrible cost: Viv Vision disappeared before their eyes, believed dead.

Marvel.com: So how do the Champs pick up the pieces in issue #16?

Mark Waid: No one on the team is quite sure what’s up and what’s down all of a sudden. Feels kick in hard, but so does the realization that the team needs more power if they’re going to survive.

Marvel.com: What qualities will the team be looking for in potential recruits?

Mark Waid: Heroes close to their age, really? They’re not terribly choosy beyond that, though they really ought to be…

Marvel.com: Who’s lining up for auditions?

Mark Waid: Among others—the new Patriot, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Red Locust, Ironheart, and a few surprises!

Marvel.com: How did you enjoy writing the candidates’ interactions with the Champions?

Mark Waid: Ironheart and Cho-Hulk have a very unique way of communicating with one another that’s ended up being the most fun I’ve had writing in quite a while.

Marvel.com: What proved to be the most difficult part about bringing this story together after such an intense arc?

Mark Waid: It’s always been a tough balancing act to juggle drama and comedy in this book, but with an art team like the one I’m blessed with? They pull it off beautifully.

Marvel.com: Favorite moment to write in issue #16?

Mark Waid: Miles Morales explaining who he wants on the team.

Marvel.com: Last question: What would the Champions say if you showed up to a recruiting drive?

Mark Waid: “You’re about 40 years too late…but here’s a consolation flight belt.”

Assess the new recruits in CHAMPIONS #16, by Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, on January 17!

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The Champions and the Avengers race against time to save two planets!

Earth and Counter-Earth have been sent careening towards one another by The High Evolutionary—and only the Champions and their Avengers allies can save the day.

On December 20, writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos present CHAMPIONS #15! The “Worlds Collide” storyline comes to an Earth-shattering conclusion—and we may or may not mean that literally.

We spoke with series editor Tom Brevoort to get a few hints on the exciting events to come!

Marvel.com: Catch us up with what’s been going on in CHAMPIONS!

Tom Brevoort: Well, the Avengers and the Champions came together in response to an extinction-level event: the High Evolutionary has decided to clean the slate of his petri dish planet, Counter-Earth, by ramming it into the real Earth and then making something nice out of whatever might be left.

Our heroes split their forces, with some making the journey to Counter-Earth while others remained to deal with the collateral damage happening across the world. But Falcon and Viv Vision both got captured by the High Evolutionary’s men, and the H.E. evolved Viv into an actual human being.

Marvel.com: How has the team-up changed since the first installment of “Worlds Collide”?

Tom Brevoort: It’s been an uneasy pairing as these characters have some history—the Champions were formed as a direct outgrowth of the actions the senior heroes took during CIVIL WAR II. But that said, there hasn’t been a lot of breathing room for the characters to get into that…events have been transpiring at a thousand miles per hour!

Marvel.com: You’ve teased a death in this series…any word on what’s to come?

Tom Brevoort: Yeah, we kill somebody. It’s very sad! We’re monsters.

Marvel.com: Who takes the casualty the hardest?

Tom Brevoort: I think maybe artist Humberto Ramos took it the hardest—he’s the one that had to draw it! But the person it affects the most isn’t on the team; it’s one of the Avengers.

Marvel.com: What’s emerged as your personal favorite moment in this crossover story?

Tom Brevoort: I don’t think that moment has happened yet…so I’m going to have to play things coy, but I did think that Viv’s transformation was a pretty compelling and shocking turn of events!

Marvel.com: Last question: how would you try to keep two planets from colliding?

Tom Brevoort: I wouldn’t. Let them burn. LET THEM ALL BURNNNN!

*clears throat*

Ahem.

Pick up CHAMPIONS #15, by writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, on December 20!

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Mark Waid details the tenuous team-up with the Avengers!

The High Evolutionary has set two planets—and billions of people—on a deadly collision course…and two of the most powerful super groups on Earth must come to the rescue.

Tensions have been rising for the Champions and the Avengers, but they’ll need to put aside all differences to avoid catastrophe in CHAMPIONS #14! On November 15, writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos put this team-up to the test—and reveal a secret that’ll change Viv’s life forever.

Waid dropped by to give us a few hints on what to expect from the newest issue.

Marvel.com: Catch us up on the events of the “Worlds Collide” storyline so far.

Mark Waid: It looks pretty grim for about 12 billion beings both human and Ani-Men. The High Evolutionary, for reasons as yet unrevealed, has been gearing up for something mysterious that he calls “The Ascension,” and his world and ours get set on a collision course.

Marvel.com: What made The High Evolutionary the perfect villain for this tale?

Mark Waid: He fit thematically. At the heart of the story exists a friction between the younger heroes and the older Avengers that they will someday “evolve” into. Plus, no other villains give us two planets colliding!

Marvel.com: Will the teams get along in this issue? They’ve seemed to manage it alright so far…

Mark Waid: Yeah, well, give it time. As tensions mount, so do tempers.

Marvel.com: How would you describe Humberto Ramos’ art style? How does it complement the script you wrote for this story?

Mark Waid: Everything about working with Humberto is a joy—always has been. His style feels so full of kinetic energy that it’s perfect for a story with this many characters—everyone has a distinct look and style!

Marvel.com: Describe the dynamic between Vision and Viv in this arc.

Mark Waid: I can’t say too much without tipping my hand, but let’s just say that Vision has been keeping a secret from Viv, one he’s kept since ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS #13. This creates more friction between them as she tries to figure out what’s going on in her father’s head.

Worlds collide in CHAMPIONS #14, by Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, on November 15!

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War's hard on everyone, especially super-powered kids.

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Wars, whether overt or secret, take their toll on everyone involved. Soldiers fight the battles, their families try to go on living back home and children do their best to understand the whole thing.

SECRET EMPIRE may have ended last week with the true Steve Rogers returning thanks to the efforts of Bucky Barnes, Kobik and everyone else who resisted Hydra’s advances. But, just because Captain America’s back to normal, doesn’t mean the damage gets fixed in an instant, at least in some cases.

This week’s CHAMPIONS #12, by Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos, examined the current status of the team in the wake of their incredible and horrible experiences during the conflict, which we’ll examine now! 

Champions (2016) #12

Champions (2016) #12

This version of The Champions – Totally Awesome Hulk, Young Cyclops, Ms. Marvel, Viv Vision, Miles Morales Spider-Man and Nova – initially came together because they didn’t like how the adult heroes handled the business of saving the world.

Even though they had their differences, the Champions joined up with the rest of the adult heroes in the Underground after Captain America took over the country in the name of Hydra.

As Secret Empire kicked off, their ranks swelled to include Ironheart as well as the new versions of Wasp, Falcon and Patriot. When Black Widow split off from the rest of the resistance fighters, intent on taking Steve Rogers out for good, the Champions followed her.

Even though Miles Morales had seen the same vision of himself killing Captain America as everyone else in CIVIL WAR II, he and his team intended to let Black Widow train them in the Red Room – as seen in SECRET EMPIRE UPRISING #1 – but never fully agreed with the idea of killing Steve Rogers. 

Secret Empire: Uprising (2017) #1

Secret Empire: Uprising (2017) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

UPRISING also saw the Champions infiltrate the Hydra Youth Choir, a plan designed by Widow to get them close to Viper and eventually flip her to their side. This move allowed both Miles and Black Widow to get close enough to Steve Rogers to kill him, but instead Cap killed his former Avengers comrade and Miles gave himself up.

The remaining members of the team did their best to continue fighting against Hydra-Cap, but were temporarily erased from existence after he used a Cosmic Cube-created armor to rewrite history. As we mentioned above, though, Bucky’s plan to bring Kobik and Steve back worked and everyone returned to the land of the living, though still with the memories of what happened.

The Empire Strikes Back

In addition to bringing dead characters like Rick Jones and Black Widow back from the dead, Kobik also offered legacy characters like Miles, Amadeus, Sam Wilson, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Kate Burton, Jane Foster, Wolverine and Iron Heart a “journey of discovery…through the Vanishing Point.” Upon returning in the next panel, these individuals had been restored. To see exactly how, you’ll have to get the various GENERATIONS one-shots that feature these heroes meeting up with their predecessors in ways that allow long-dead or earlier versions of characters to interact with their modern counterparts.

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Mark Waid lays out the Secret Empire aftermath!

The Champions reunite and it feels so…tense. In the aftermath of Secret Empire, our young heroes find their way back together—but division, resentment, and strife plague the Champions as they recover from the Hydra operation. On September 6, the drama continues to unfold as writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos present CHAMPIONS #12!

We checked in with Waid to learn more about how the Champs—for better or worse—will handle the latest turmoil in the Marvel Universe.

“All the Champions went through a true baptism of fire,” the writer reports. “Yes, individually they’ve all seen horrors before, but the scope of the Secret Empire’s takeover took them aback and rattled their confidence. They’ve got a long road ahead.”

A road leading them to their future! At least a metaphorical one, as Waid prepares to bring the young heroes together with their older counterparts in issues #13-15, and there’s bound to be some friction between the groups: “Remember, half the team is ex-Avengers—and they left for a reason. They won’t let the world turn upside down, regardless of their feelings, but their feelings are quite strong.”

Before this testy family reunion, however, the Champions must get around some roadblocks—the first of which presents itself in the form of a self-proclaimed lunatic, Psycho-Man. The villain makes the scene to stir up some trouble and, as Waid tells it, “only the Champions can hold the line.”

That’s a lot of pressure. But let’s not forget the Champion motto: in the words of Waid, “anyone can be a Champion if they’re willing to fight to make this a better world,” and let’s be real—they’ve got that in spades.

But that’s not all they’ve got; after watching the events of Secret Empire unfold with the X-Men, Cyclops rejoins the team and takes center stage. Waid admits that yes, Scott “Slim” Summers comes in as his all-time favorite member of the X-Men and that he may or may not have used issue #12 as his love letter to the one-eyed wonder.

“If you’re a Cyke-hater, I encourage you to give this issue a shot and let me change your mind,” teases Waid. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy there’s always the very cryptic tease the writer let slip about his favorite moment of the issue: “Two words: barrel roll.”

So, obviously, issue #12 has something for everyone. But—wait—that’s not all! It may not be this installment, it may not be the next, but soon, Red Locust returns to the Champions!

Find out how the young heroes readjust in the wake of Secret Empire with CHAMPIONS #12, by Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, out September 6!

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The Champions and Avengers fight to take the lead against a new threat!

It’s the same old group with some not so same old problems. CHAMPIONS #13 sees our young heroes stepping up to bat with the likes of their childhood heroes, the Avengers, as writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos bring us up to speed on their life of heroics post SECRET EMPIRE.

“Following the events of SECRET EMPIRE, the kids are re-evaluating their mission statement – do they need to step up to bigger threats,” says Waid, This leads to both the Champions and Avengers responding to the same threat and while they manage to come together to subdue the initial threat, Waid says that’s when the real tension begins. “Some of the Avengers think that the Champions ought to guard the home front while they take on one of the biggest threats ever.” And as you can imagine that prompts a whole lot of, in the words of today’s youngins, ‘hells nah’ from the Champions.

“The teams have radically different ideas as to how to handle the first assault from the High Evolutionary,” notes Waid, “The biggest hurdle will be to get Vision and his daughter, Viv, to get on the same page.” But should that really surprise us? After all, it is very common for teenage synthezoids to rebel against their parents, #growingupsynthezoid, right?

Maybe that’s exactly what this team up needs, a little old school meets new school coming together to get the jobs done – ah -mixed school style. “You’ll see different combinations and pairings of the Champions and the Avengers than you’ve every imagined,” exclaims Waid, “Both teams are going to come out of this story with an altered view of the other – and I can’t promise that it’ll be a nice one.”

And if that isn’t enough to peak your interests, Waid did let slip he’s looking forward to a conversation between Ms. Marvel and Hercules. It’s flexibility meets brute force, I can only imagine what will come out of that chat. But whatever that may be, you can bet our young heroes come leave this battle with a new take on not just how to work as a team, but how to truly become the Champions today’s world needs.

Will the Champions become more like their older counterparts or stick to their new-age heroics? Find out in CHAMPIONS #13 written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos.

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With Hydra on the move, it’s time for the young heroes to fight back!

CHAMPIONS #10, written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos, finds its way to comic book retailers everywhere on July 5, but where do we find our young heroes? Split up and scattered in the wind in the aftermath of the Hydra attack on Las Vegas, the remaining Champions must hunt for their lost companions.

“They’ve been divided because some of them have been co-opted by resistance forces,” says Waid. “We have Hulk, Viv and Spidey, and the others are off the game board.”

That’s right, the Champions see their numbers dwindling and while the now threesome know that Cyclops remains with the X-Men and Nova got stuck out in space, Kamala hasn’t checked in and that means they have no idea of her whereabouts and what kind of danger she may be in.

Obviously, the team mounts a full-scale search and rescue mission after learning Ms. Marvel other Inhumans have been locked up in a Hydra camp. “It’s less about them figuring out a plan to deal with Secret Empire and more immediately the frustration that Ms. Marvel must be a victim of Hydra,” explains Waid, who’s pretty hush hush about just what goes on in this issue.

Champions #10 cover by Humberto Ramos

Waid did let slip, however, that our heroes will face a timeless rock and a hard place situation: “The moral dilemma is what do they do once they find the camp? If they let everybody out they run the risk of drawing attention to these people and having them gunned down. On the other hand, they can’t really just leave them there.” Looks like they’re going to have to put their heads together and think up an out of the box solution to this head scratcher.

Sadly the end of the issue doesn’t see things sewn up with a nice neat bow and while Waid proves reluctant to give away what’s coming, he alluded that the team wouldn’t be taking a frontline role in the resistance attack on Hydra in the immediate future.

“The series is going to have to touch to some degree on how the world has been transformed by Hydra and what happens on the other side of that, but there is always room once the team is reunited—if they are reunited—to get back to a large extent the sort of things they were dealing with before,” notes the writer.

Do our heroes succeed in busting out their jailbird member? Will the team reunite and join the fight against Hydra? Find out July 5 in CHAMPIONS #10!

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Viv Vision tries to access humanity with the help of Mark Waid!

Join the young android Viv as she attempts to navigate the complex and dangerous world of humanity, or at least the teenage version of it, in CHAMPIONS #9, written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos.

Hello Humans

Greetings, and welcome to my web log. I am Viv Vision, teen synthezoid and member of the youth hero group the Champions. I have created this web page as a way to participate in normal teen activities while simultaneously tracking my emotional development. I welcome honest critique and guidance along the way, as I am not yet fully familiar with the minutiae and nuances that accompany typical human behavior. To ensure that you have all information necessary to enable accurate feedback I will first briefly explain my history.

The super hero and synthezoid Vision created me along with my twin brother Vin and mother Virginia, as a means to humanize himself. Not long after we moved to Arlington, Virginia to begin functioning as a normal family, my brother was killed and my mother killed herself, leaving my father and me alone. Using the clarity my multiprocessor computer brain afforded me I chose to shut down my emotions as a form of self-preservation.

Yet in the brief time I have spent with the Champions I have discovered it not wise to fully shut them off as it can lead to unpredictable moments of emergence. In order to maintain constant control over my own being I must learn to coexist with my emotions. After speaking with popular human storyteller Mark Waid I realize that my true state of being is in fact a more traditional one: “Though a little cold or robotic, Viv was constructed to be an all American girl. I think she knows these emotions are buried inside and she looks in the mirror and wonders if it’s time to bring them out.”

Champions #9 cover by Humberto Ramos

Though accurate, I also wonder what the ramifications of my change will bring to the team. We have just begun working as one and any change, subtle or blatant, can drastically affect the dynamic thus far created. Waid continues: “Any shift in her personality or who she is at this stage of the team could be detrimental. The team has come to rely on her openness,” warning that this transparency is sometimes perceived as positive, as well as a weakness and source of irritation. Further confirming my impression that humans overcomplicate their interactions; alas I am here to learn your customs and functionalities, not impart my own logic.

Nevertheless, I will strive to maintain those characteristics viewed as positive; for example, Waid believes my ability to listen without interjecting my own problems or feelings onto others is my best quality. I will attempt to highlight this and the qualities others, like those reading this web blog, inform me are desirable while changing those deemed problematic in order to fully assimilate into human life and better serve and connect with my team.

As I said earlier, feel welcome to comment or message me your advice on what makes me an asset to the team and an ideal member of human society, and what aspects I need to correct. I am always online so expect a quick reply.

Thank you for your aid,

Viv

Be sure to check in June 7 and keep up with your favorite synthezoid teen’s progress in CHAMPIONS #9 written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos.

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Learn more about the group of teen heroes and their new path!

Following the fallout of Civil War II, Avengers Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man strike out on their own — joined by Cyclops, Viv Vision and the Totally Awesome Hulk. 

Join Mark Waid and Tom Brevoort this Friday, Sep. 30, for a live chat discussing these six young heroes determined to change the world in CHAMPIONS #1, debuting next week. They’ll give you all the details on this new series, the history of the Champions team, and answer all your questions! 

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