Friday, November 26, 2010

Champions #3 & #4

Some captions bring us up to speed, blah blah blah DEMON stole the Hellfire Crown, blah blah blah race to collect the jewels (“soul shards”). We’re also warned that the real owner of the soul shards is on the verge of awakening, and if she does “then the threat DEMON poses will seem less than a spark against the fires of her vengeance.” Something the writers weren’t actually prepared to show.

An astrally projected Dr. Arcane speeds into the wilds of northern Canada, followed by Icestar who follows by icing the ground under his feet as he goes. Icestar remarks there isn’t much around and Dr. Arcane replies “You have to know what to look for.” And what are they looking for? This.

The doctor parts the water and Icestar freezes it so they can get in, and they come across the slumbering body of “Melissa D’Arque, whom I knew only as Dark Malice.” Which he obviously didn’t, if he knows two different things to call her.

Get it?
Apparently when Dr. Arcane and the original Giant captured Malice before, they took the three soul shards to leave her lifeless like she is, but they didn’t hide them well enough and some DEMON agent found them and figured out to combine them with the Hellfire Crown. Something the Champions have to prevent this time.

Dr. Arcane possesses Malice. Why? “Only Malice can retrieve this fragment of her blackened soul!” Meaning yes, this veteran wizard thought his last idea for protecting the jewel wasn’t good enough so he decided to set things up so the last person he wants to get the jewel is the only one who can.

The Dino Squad kids aren't that dumb.

Wait, green?? We wanted the evil sorceress's underwater castle down the block! Sorry!
Oh, it gets better. After they get the soul shard and get out, the castle collapses into nothingness. The castle was never really there, apparently, and the only reason Icestar could see it was because he was with Dr. Arcane. So only wizards could find the place. People who could probably pull the same possession trick he used. People like the ones he was trying to hide the soul shard from in the first place by setting all this up.

And lest we forget, it won’t be long before Malice wakes up. Which Dr. Arcane hangs onto her body for the time being to prevent.

Icestar being attracted to a woman doesn't actually mean there's anything special about her, Doctor.
Cut to Donnah, Dr. Arcane’s granddaughter who’s enjoying some fun in the sun.

No kidding. Aren't you supposed to be blonde?
Donnah calls to check in on her grandfather (and with what we just learned about the way he thinks, that’s probably a good idea). Flare answers but Foxbat grabs Donnah and her boyfriend, and hits on Flare.

Rather than wanting to break every bone in his body, she thinks he’s trying to imply he wants to help them.

Marksman and Rose are in New Orleans (but it might as well be any city) to get the last soul shard and pull up to the D’Arque Museum. Rose apologizes to Boris, the curator, for being late to the appointment she set up because she had to wait for the others to get back. Even though she just told Marksman if DEMON knows where any of the soul shards are, it’ll be this one. So why did they save this one until last, let alone wait for the other Champions to get back with theirs?

Rose talks about how smart it was for Dr. Arcane to entrust the soul shard to Boris, who calls Malice his “mistress.” Yes, smart to hide it in a museum which is the first place you’d look for valuable ancient relics. And wait a second, Dr. Arcane turned the soul shard over to one of Malice’s followers to keep it safe? Huh??

Admittedly there’s a certain logic to having a follower of Malice protect one of the soul shards in that he’ll probably try even harder to keep anything from happening to it. But that would seem to include keeping you and your friends from getting his mistress's treasures, since you guys are NOT followers of her order. Which proves to be exactly the case when Boris turns into a monster and uses the soul shard on Rose to give Malice a new body.

Some DEMON flunkies do show up try and steal the soul shard but are easily taken out by Marksman, who runs inside to find Rose possessed by the soul of Malice.

Boris easily knocks the hero aside, but it turns out Boris’s power “is naught but an illusion!”

Yeah? Whatever.
Rose refuses to elaborate as they leave with what they came for. The DEMON flunkies call on the awesome power of Slimer to get the soul shard. Seriously, Slimer.

Luckily for the Champions the soul shard gives off so much energy Slimer explodes. Legions of 80’s children thank you, Malice.

Foxbat brings Donnah before the DEMON Master, who turns himself into her twin sister.

This issue’s character sheets are for Giant and the DEMON Master.

Funny how the characters written up in this issue are barely in it. Again not much to report, except that for a superhero with his name Giant actually grows as rarely as he can due to how much energy that power uses up and how long it takes for it to come back. And that he gains “most” of his predecessor’s abilities. That’s mentioned several times throughout later comics involving the character, but not really what makes this Giant a fraction of the original.

DEMON Master's write up doesn't reveal much about who he is, except he used to be a shapechanging spy called the Chameleon.

As the next issue opens, “Donnah” comes back to the Arcane household and finds her grandfather still possessing Malice.

Which is why the team goofus is in here with me juggling snowballs.
Realizing he’s still in Malice’s body when Donnah’s weirded out by this strange woman embracing her, Dr. Arcane runs off to get his regular one. Because it wasn’t established he couldn’t leave yet or she might wake up. Maybe he’d reached the point where it was okay and just forgot, which is entirely possible with the mental acuity he’s shown so far.

Upstairs, Flare’s broken up that Giant left already, not really getting this “married with a kid and another on the way” thing.

Aren't you supposed to be blond too, honey??
 Doing something smart for the first time in the miniseries, Dr. Arcane tells Donnah and Icestar he plans to do what he should’ve done forty years ago. That is, he’s planning to banish the power of the soul shards and could use the help of Donnah, who has significant mystic potential of her own. Icestar tries to talk him out of it because Rose has said doing so would be too dangerous.

While there’s nothing wrong with a second opinion of the doctor’s plans after everything we’ve seen, we’re probably still supposed to see him as the learned old veteran. He refuses to change his mind and hops back into Malice’s body to go diving through her mind.

That's not what you said two seconds ago, Icy.
Back at DEMON HQ the real Donnah tries to escape from her cell but Foxbat stops her, basically saying he’s the only person in the base who wouldn’t do so by blowing a hole in her skull. And her boyfriend’s already past saving. And no, she can’t have anything to wear besides the bikini they kidnapped her in. He doesn’t actually say that last one, but you get the feeling that’s because despite not wanting her dead, he’s still a leering little freakazoid.

Meanwhile Dr. Arcane manages to find Melissa D’Arque inside Malice’s mind and saves her from a demon of her subconscious. With Dr. Arcane taking the place of the man who would become the original Giant, they venture into a mental recreation of the tomb where Malice’s body was discovered.

Speaking of, Foxbat shows up at the Jensen household and kidnaps Giant’s wife and son.

Dr. A and Melissa head in deeper, mentioning the carvings on the wall that detail how the Titan Chronos stole immortality from his father, Uranus, and in turn how it was stolen from him by Zeus, which was in turn stolen by someone else (if you’re wondering why the tomb was in Egypt if the occupant was Greek, you’re not alone).

Somehow not letting Melissa touch the black diamond that became the soul shards this time will free her, but that’s when Malice wakes up, rendering Dr. A catatonic.

She sees through “Donnah”’s disguise and says thanks to his thirst for power, she’s going to destroy the world.

Malice unleashed! Foxbat vs. DEMON! Flare in a towel! Giant vs. the Demon Master in a battle to the death! All this and more in our penultimate issue on sale in thirty!

This time the character sheets are for Rose and Malice.

Surprisingly, Rose  knowing more about matters mysterious and magical than Dr. Arcane as in the last review might be justified, because according to her sheet she’s the reincarnation of a white witch “who has battled the powers of dark magic since the beginning of time.” Her recall of her previous lives is only “fragmentary,” though. Her powers of telepathy, teleportation and mental attacks are actually psychic in nature, not magical for whatever that’s worth. And whenever she uses her powers you can smell flowers for some reason. Hence the name.

As for Malice, she was a malicious spirit who was entombed after stealing the secret of immortality from the god Zeus. Eventually the tomb was discovered by Melissa D’Arque, who became the new host of her soul. To recharge herself after centuries of confinement she sucked her companion dry, but lucky for the world he found a magic harness in the depths of the tomb that not only saved his life but changed him into the first Giant. Which the gods had left for a champion to find to use to destroy Malice. Rather than take back their immortality since they had, after all, already neutralized her.

1 comment:

  1. Loce Malice's hot disco diva look.

    To be fair, the Greeks were all over Egypt. Heck, Cleopatra and Ptolemy were Greek.