If you’re going to create an independent superhero story you need a gimmick. I hate to say it that way, but you really do need something for your story that makes it stand out and worth reading because there are so many other superhero titles out there. Champions of Earth has a gimmick and it’s pretty decent because of that. The issue opens with ninja’s attempting to kidnap a pop star and a hero named Scarab defending her. The situation is quickly diffused with the help of the Scarab’s partner Jupiter Man. The story moves on to a talk show that has booked the duo to come on and talk about themselves and why they helped the pop star. Basically the duo are celebrities but how did they become superheroes and gain all this popularity?
The rest of the issue establishes that they turned in two other superheroes, exposing them as villains, but as we quickly learn… that might not be the case. Back on the talk show the Jupiter Man runs through his origin and it’s… well it’s all crap. As he narrates we see his real origin which is nothing like the one he’s selling to the audience. Scarab goes next and sure enough the origin he’s selling is again nothing like his real origin.
There’s one twist to the story that I don’t want to spoil, but the “gimmick” here is the twist on the origin story. The origin that our duo gives to the audience is very typical, very comic book in a sense. The part I don’t want to spoil is what we actually see as their origin.
The parts that are very enjoyable are when the characters are being real. The dialogue during these parts is spot on and interesting. It’s the more “showy” part when the duo is acting where it becomes so typical that it’s boring. In addition to that when you see the twist it makes every bit of the narration pointless to read. It would have been great if that part of the narration was so epic and amazing that you want to read it as well, but you can basically skim right over it and it doesn’t change the story. It would have been nice if the fake origin was sold so hard that you wanted to read that story as well.
The opening was choppy. We’re just thrown in to the situation, but the ninja’s go down so quickly that it’s not really entertaining. It’s like a trailer for the comic almost. The only other hang up on the story is the scene that introduces the “villains” that the duo exposed. They’re introduction didn’t do anything for the story and broke the pacing of the talk show. Really they’re introduction could have been saved for the next issue because it doesn’t add anything to this issue and it’s placement in the issue could leave some confused.
The art was very good. In some ways it reminded me of the style that TellTale Games uses. It was very consistent and the action sequences were easy to follow. Probably the best character was a cat with a mustache. I don’t know if it really is a mustache, but it looked like one and that rocked. There was one page in which it cuts to the talk show and it wasn’t the best. Mostly because I spotted the same character design about four times; it was mostly the fact that the hair style and face were exactly the same. Some might not notice it, but it stood out a lot to me.
The issue I read was an advance review copy. Some of the dialogue might change and the book still needs to be colored though it worked in black & white, but coloring could elevate it for sure. Champions of Earth is currently on IndieGoGo so if you want to read it then that’s the best place to do so. It was an entertaining issue and I would definitely check out the next issue. I don’t know how long they can keep the gimmick going, but I’m curious to find out.