Writer Danny Lore and artist Luciano Vecchio take over Marvel's Champions ongoing comic book series this month, and they've inherited the teen team at a time where teen heroes have been deemed illegal by the federal government... and now, private corporations are looking to make it worse.
Beginning in April 21's Champions #6 with a story arc titled 'Killer App,' the Champions are looking for a way to combat one of the long-time evil corporations in the Marvel U, Roxxon, that has created a mobile app intended to keep impressionable people on their side - and against any chance of teen superheroes operating within the law.
Before their debut in Champions #6, Newsarama spoke with Lore and Vecchio about taking over the teen title, dealing with the ramifications of a ban on teen superheroes, and what other bucket list teen heroes they'd like to include in the book.
Newsarama: Danny, Luciano, what made you want to join Champions? What do you enjoy about the team?
Luciano Vecchio: I love team books in general, and young legacy character teams in particular.
Champions has put a modern twist on the concept through being more than just a team; they're an ideal of superheroism, a social movement, and a network open beyond the core group. That is what makes this book so unique and loved for me.
Danny Lore: My weakness is found families, and all the messiness that entails. Champions is such a sweet iteration of both that sweetness and of a stubborn optimism that I think is really necessary for me right now.
It's not optimism in the sense that everything is perfect - it's optimism in the way that these teenagers are able to engage in a level of agency where they can work towards happy endings.
I think that's why a lot of readers gravitate to Champions books: in a world that is patronizing towards young voices, we know that the Champions will make sure to be heard!
Nrama: With the Ms. Marvel book ending recently, do you feel like there's any pressure to add story threads from her title into this team series for fans who miss her solo book?
Lore: I think that this is such a delicate balance for any writer on a team book. My priority is not to mess with another creative team's hard work: sometimes this means pulling directly from that plotline, and sometimes that means making sure that my plots don't contradict what we've already seen.
Because of the nature of this team book, the focus for me is on how the team members interact with one another - but never fear, there's gonna be loads of Kamala for her fans (because I myself am one of them!)
Nrama: Miles Morales has a pretty big story arc coming up with his own 'Clone Saga,' will this tie into Champions at all?
Lore: I'm excited to check out 'Clone Saga'!
'Killer App' is pretty much right after 'Outlawed,' and so won't crossover with that - but I'm such a big Miles fan, that just means I get to be excited as a reader for that one!
Nrama: The 'Outlawed' event has been such a big part of Champions. Will the new status quo of teen superheroes being illegal continue?
Lore: Our plot picks up right after 'Outlawed.' The Champions are still reckoning with the law that makes their team illegal, and also with the emotional fall out of what the law did to them.
Nrama: Do you see Kamala's Law being the focal point of your whole run?
Lore: In a way, it is part of the deep DNA of the story, but the focus is less on the law and more on what the Champions' new response to it is.
That said, every step of the way is informed by the way the law is still in place, and the Champions' strongly held desire to see the laws on the book represent and protect teenagers, with or without masks/capes.
Champions #6 preview
Nrama: This arc explores a 'killer app'; what can you tell us about this and how it's connected to the Champions' adversaries?
Lore: One of my (sarcasm) favorite things about corporations is the study of how they use social media + the way they market to teenagers. We often have a sense of what's sincere and what's all about money. In particular, teenagers who have grown up around this have a pretty strong instinct for the nonsense, even if companies don't realize it - it's just a question of whether or not they care to call it out.
'Killer App' is about the fact that you can't exactly punch an app... but you CAN beat the algorithm, once you crack it.
Nrama: One of my favorite aspects about The Champions is the interpersonal relationships within the team. What can you tease about their relationship in this arc? Any stand-out dynamics?
Lore: Is it really a Champions book if you're not deeply invested in the way these guys feel about each other? I think that regular readers will be really hyped about the dynamics that you'll get from the jump.
In particular, I read the 'Outlawed' event and was really fascinated by the complicated nature of what happened with Riri and Viv, and what that meant for team dynamics and trust. Does Riri feel emotionally safe, can Viv make up for it... can the rest of the team?
And also, I think if you're a fan of Miles and Sam, you'll have some really fun stuff up ahead as well!
Nrama: Luciano, this run on Champions is a reunion for you and Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart. What was it like returning to draw Ironheart? Are there any differences with her in a team book compared to a solo series?
Vecchio: I missed Riri so much! She's really special to me so I'm super happy to draw her again.
Her relationship with each of the other Champions has evolved, so I get to explore the different dynamics and have a broader acting range through her.
Nrama: Taking over the visuals, are there any elements you wanted to stay consistent with from the previous artist?
Vecchio: More than visual elements I'm trying to capture a general feel or the spirit of the book. Ever since Humberto Ramos' run, I think Champions has a tradition of high energy, expressionist, hyperdynamic styles and I'm trying to bend mine even more that way.
I also take inspiration from my favorite takes on each character, like McGuinness' Nova or Into the Spider-Verse's Miles.
Nrama: On the flip side, how did you try to make the visuals your own?
Vecchio: I'm not consciously trying, more like feeling it and letting it emerge from the page. I think my particular mix of influences is giving a distinct result, in synch with what came before but with my own visual brand.
Nrama: What are some of your favorite character dynamics thus far?
Vecchio: Oh, there's so much to pick from! Danny is delivering awesome characterization moments non-stop.
I feel Riri is my POV character in a way and I'm enjoying getting to bring the other Champions to life through her bonding with Miles, her friction with Kamala, and how things are rough right now with Viv.
Nrama: Are there other young heroes you'd like to include in your run that hasn't appeared yet?
Vecchio: I'd love the chance to draw all and any of the extended Champions family.
And that haven't been Champions yet? Sticking to legacy characters, maybe Rikki Barnes, or Honey Badger/Scout. And being wild I dream of the team meeting the Runaways or the Young Avengers some time, and being able to draw it.
Lore: I'm gonna be honest, I just keep a running list of Luciano's answers to this question!
Nrama: What can you tease about what's coming up for The Champions?
Vecchio: Expect awesome new villains, surprise cameos, the team taking the fight in an unexplored new way, and maybe the urge to download a cool and evil killer app?
Lore: Luciano made an amazing logo for a very evil app, and every time we get to play with in-universe merch for it, I think the readers will have a great time.
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