Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Sean Izaaske
Cover Artist: Sean Izaakse & Marcio Menyz
Colors: Marcio Menyz & Erick Arciniega
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Previously in Champions…
After encountering the mysterious Man-Thing, former-Nova Sam Alexander & Nadia Van Dyne the All-New Wasp were sucked away into a mysterious portal. Meanwhile, Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales recuperate from injuries suffered during the ending of his most recent solo series.
Summary with limited spoilers
Set before the events of the most recent issues of Champions, the comic opens with Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, alongside teammates Viv Vision, Ironheart (Riri Williams) Brawn (aka Amadeus Cho), and Amka Aliyak-Snowguard are helping rebuild a community center in Brownsville Brooklyn, they helped successfully fundraise the reconstruction of, when Miles receives an alert on his phone, taking off in a panic towards his school, Brooklyn Visions Academy. There’s been a shooting.
Miles arrives with his teammates following closely behind him, but when they offer help he rejects it, making his way to Mount Sinai Hospital, his best friend and roommate Ganke Lee, and classmate Barbara Rodriguez waiting for him. Miles another roommate, Fabio Medina (aka the X-Man Goldballs), was shot twice, unable to use his powers to defend himself in time, and is still in surgery. As Ganke and Barbara try to describe what happened, and Miles beats himself up for not being there to stop the shooter, Fabio’s mother arrives, grateful that her son has friends watching over him in the hospital, and asks them to join her in prayer.
The comic then briefly cut away to the other Champions, as Viv informs the others Ms. Marvel is glad they’re safe, and that a meeting of the team’s been scheduled. Amadeus & Riri then discuss the shooting themselves, with Riri, in particular, being frustrated by this, having survived two shootouts herself already, and being all too familiar with the cycle of gun-violence, outrage at said violence, then the public forgetting and moving on, nothing ever changing.
There’s a brief montage of Miles’s next few days, as he struggles with what happens, and he and his friends visit Fabio in the hospital, before cutting away again to Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel), trying to console Miles over what happened, as her school experiences an active-shooter-drill. After a mandatory session of grief counselling at his school upsets Miles, even more, he takes off, swinging to a nearby building, when Ms. Marvel confronts him. Kamala was able to track him down and successfully delivers a heart-to-heart, stressing that they can’t save everyone and that understanding their limitations is important. But that it should never stop them from trying.
Her words reach Miles, and the next morning as Miles web-swings to meet his friends in the park, he reflects over these recent events, and how in these times, what’s most important is being there for one another, and coming together to fight for a better tomorrow.
Opinions on story and art
This is a very moving issue. The comic itself is clearly a discussion of the effects school shootings can have on children who have to live with these horrific events. Marvel has even marketed the comic as such. Do I think this comic does so effectively? I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask, as living and growing up in Canada means that I’ve never had to deal with this fear. I do think the comic tells a very compelling story and does not hide from the subject it seeks to discuss. The writing from Jim Zub is very powerful, Riri’s frustrations with the endless cycle of school shootings ringing very true, and Kamala’s words to Miles were beautifully chosen. The art is likewise very effective, Sean Izaakse capturing the inevitable whirlwind of emotions Miles and his teammates experience from these events. Of particular note is the sheer terror in the eyes of Kamala’s classmates during the active-shooter drill, while she herself is curled up in utter sorrow over what happened to Miles and the students at his school. And Marcio Menyz effectively conveys the moods and tones of these scenes brilliantly. To reference the earlier sequence again, seeing Kamala so saddened by these events is bolstered by the use of shadows, the darkness of them threatening to overtake her. It’s all very powerful.