championsrubinsteinI love The Champions almost more than any other team book.  Seriously.  Yes, my love for the X-Men is vast  and incomparable (I include my fondness for The New Mutants in this comic team category).  I also adore the Legion of Superheroes (although current fanboy mindsets at the Isotope contend that one cannot love Marvel’s mutants and DC’s futuristic teens simultaneously–to this I say, pish posh.  I will have my Storm and Polaris as well as my Dream Girl and White Witch).  I also have much affection for D.P. 7 and Bloodstone Syndicate (I know most of you just went, “Huh?”) and I have nurtured my crush on the Defenders (Yes, all of them, even Gargoyle) ever since I saw that inverted pentacle on Son of Satan and those metal cone bras on Valkyrie.

However, I think I like The Champions the best.

Why?  It’s the team lineup, no question.  There’s just no other team that’s as illogical, as nonsensical and patently ridiculous (Yes, I know about the Doom Patrol, thank you very much).  The Black Widow is one of my favorite Marvel heroines.  I have a soft spot for Russian spies in catsuits.  I’ve had a crush on Angel since I can’t remember.  Iceman has a great power.  Ghost Rider is a supernatural biker/curmudgeon and Hercules is a super strong drunken lout/god!  Add Darkstar (Another sexy Russian) who has a great power that looks great on the page (She controls ink, er, I mean, the Darkforce)!  And unlike the New Defenders (who are a close second to my favorite team) which had enough issues to lose steam and fall apart, The Champions only lasted 17 issues!  I love that Angel and Iceman went on to join the New Defenders (along with Beast, who was also an Avenger).

Just last week I was honored with a blog comment from the illustrious Joe Rubinstein who happened to notice my love for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  Check out his work and commision some of it while you’re at it!  Perhaps one day I will be able to ask him to draw me my own Champions illustration.  Until then, I will enjoy this image (and remember the days when Darkstar was still alive in the Marvel Universe–RIP Laynia).  Don’t you just love images where giant hands grab the heroes in their evil grip?  I do.  A lot.