Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Champion of the Universe - Victim of Fight Game Corruption

Muhammad Rasheed - One of the things that really started to sour me on collecting mainstream comics was what is to me a major weakness in those big companies, which is the regular practice of numerous writers that come through to work on fan favorite characters over the years.  Bringing different skill levels and worse, different visions for how these characters should be handled, mismanagement can cause genuine grief and anger from the fans.  This shouldn’t be surprising since it is well-known that good writing can make the reader feel a true emotional attachment to characters, so bad or careless writing would obviously cause the opposite feelings if that writing is directed towards characters that a previous writer made the readers love.  I’ve experienced this with the Marvel Comics character Drax the Destroyer, having been rendered shocked and incredulous over the treatment this personal favorite had received that I just couldn’t pick any of those books up anymore.    

To my annoyance, Drax was stripped of his mighty cosmic powers, grounded to a world, and handed two knives. One could of course argue that my annoyance is 100% subjective, and perhaps the majority of the fans even prefer him in this new incarnation.  That’s fair.  But in the case of another fan favorite character, Champion, the wrongs done to him are absolutely not merely subjective.

The Elder of the Universe called Champion has been a huge favorite of mine from my earliest days as a collector. The treatment he has received at the hands of writers since his debut has been absolutely abusive.  It’s moments like these where I wish I could just buy the character from the company to spare him any further stupidity, and position him within my own comic universe with the respect he deserves.

ITEM #1 – The Champion of the Universe made his first appearance in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7 which was inspired by the Rocky movie franchise, with the second sequel having just been released earlier that year.  Champion is immortal and possesses nigh-limitless super strength.  As an Elder of the Universe, he is the last survivor of one of the first sentient species to appear in the early universe and is billions of years old.  To survive this length of time (and beyond) he and his fellows psionically tap into the Power Primordial by relentlessly pursuing a single obsession throughout their long, long lives.  In Champion’s case he is obsessed with learning martial arts, challenging the local planetary champions in their own art, and beating the crap out of them.  Having pursued this obsession for billions of years, he is currently the master of countless martial arts throughout the universe and throughout time.  In his first appearance in Marvel Comics continuity, he arrived on earth, learned boxing, and challenged the top strong guys to battle in a ring.  One by one he teleported earth’s designated champions into this ring and either beat the snot out of them, or disqualified them for not wanting to play by the rules.  One such of these latter was the Hulk, who immediately slammed his fists together causing the gloves to explode.  Champion then contemptuously sent the Hulk away as a savage who couldn’t fight by the rules like a true warrior-fighter.  Running parallel to the Rocky story, Champion then fought the Fantastic Four’s Thing who, although hopelessly outmatched, still managed to get in some good shots of his own and, most importantly, never, ever gave up and showed “heart.”  At first Champion threatened to destroy the earth if he won, but he changed his mind after witnessing the Thing’s impressive fighting spirit. 

ITEM #2 – Eight years later, after having had a couple of adventures battling the Silver Surfer and Galactus with the aid of his fellow Elders, we find Champion in possession of one of the Infinity Gems, the one that controls Power.  In the first title of Jim Starlin’s Thanos Quest, he is depicted on a planet in which two warring factions use tanks and energy weapons to try to destroy him.  Champion is shown tossing machinery around and smashing warriors, no actual skill required.   It actually doesn’t really make any sense as to why he’s there doing that based on what we know about him thus far in continuity.  Thanos is there to take the Power Gem from him, and as he narrates the tale, mentions how Champion is a mere savage brute similar to the Hulk, and how easy it would be to outwit this muscle-bound dullard, et cetera.  In other words the literal exact opposite of everything Champion was established to be in his debut.  Thanos goaded Champion into attacking him, created a force field around himself, and Champion then… Hulk-like… savagely pounded on the force field until his efforts (enhanced by the Power Gem) shattered the planet they were standing on.  Thanos then told him he would take him to another planet if he gave up the Gem, which he did.

ITEM #3 - Years later the She-Hulk trains for a boxing rematch with Champion by lifting weights in her Jennifer Walters form until she bulks up, and learning how to fight better by sparring with Gamora.  Three months later she has her rematch with Champion during which she beats him up like he was a defenseless child.

Rockscissorspaper - The "Champion of the Universe", the guy who originally had the Power Gem, got it back at some point. Once he was beaten by She-hulk...

Muhammad Rasheed -     >:(

Rockscissorspaper -  ^^Not a She-Hulk fan, I take it...?

Muhammad Rasheed - She-Hulk is okay.

I'm not of fan of stupid, nor of stupid writing.

[From Wiki] "The Champion is one of the alien Elders of the Universe.  The Champion is a master hand to hand combatant in a wide range of thousands of different martial arts and fighting-styles taken from locations across the Universe."

In his first appearance, he fought the Thing and defeated him. 

Rockscissorspaper -  It was a pretty good story actually.  She-hulk had been training with Gamora "The most dangerous woman in the universe" for months before the fight.

Muhammad Rasheed - Yes, I know. IN THREE MONTHS she was able to surpass Champion of the Universe's BILLIONS OF YEARS of training.

Rockscissorspaper - It was also during a storyline where her strength was greater than it ever had been before.

Muhammad Rasheed – Both Sonny Liston and George Foreman were both far stronger than the much more skilled Muhammad Ali. So and???

Rockscissorspaper -  Plus he had to fight her without the Power Gem. With it, he had beaten her silly in a previous fight.

Muhammad Rasheed - Guess what? Champion had also beaten the Thing silly in his debut and he had never even HEARD of the d@mn gem before the Silver Surfer vol. 3 #1 came out in 1987. Champion has vast, high Class 100 strength under normal, unenhanced conditions.

This story was stupid and took one of my favorite characters, with the greatest potential and turned him into a goof comic relief. A role he's been in since Jim Starlin screwed him over in the Thanos Quest.

I hate assembly line @ss mainstream comics.

That Strictly Kid Yeah I gotta agree with M-Rah on this one There is no way She-hulk should've been able to beat the champion in a straight up fight.

Thanos on the other hand was ruthless and cunning when he got the gem from the Champion.

Muhammad Rasheed - Yes, he was. The problem was that in order to MAKE him ruthless and cunning, Starlin took away from the Champion's intellect and skill level... lessening the character... in order to enhance his guy. This is a trait of an inferior writer and why The Thanos Quest wasn't as good as it should've been.

C-NICE - MRasheed wrote: "The problem was that in order to MAKE him ruthless and cunning, Starlin took away from the Champion's intellect and skill level... lessening the character... in order to enhance his guy. This is a trait of an inferior writer and why The Thanos Quest wasn't as good as it should've been."

I can understand how Thanos beat The Champion, it was not a physical beat down Thanos had weeks to plan for that fight (Marvel Universe Handbook:Thanos' most powerful weapon is his mind; not only has he created weaponry and lifeforms fo incredible complexity and power, but he is unparalleled strategic thinker whose true motives are always suspect.) and you must remember that Thanos generally prefers to let his plans unfold without getting physically involved. However, he does not shy from physical combat, and at times he seems to revel in it, as he instructed his ward, Gamora, training her to become the most lethal female assassin in known space. The Champion beat himself in the end.

Muhammad Rasheed - Don't get me wrong... I fully understand the story and the Thanos character. He is one of my favorite characters and I know exactly how he functions and what he represents. I'm NOT saying that he shouldn't be able to beat Champion using his brilliant mind as you'd said. What I am saying is that the execution of the scene was poor because the writer was unable to showcase both characters at their best, but instead had to lessen one character in order to show the superiority of the other. The Champion of the Universe was never portrayed as the mindless brawler given to fits of emotion-driven wildness as he was depicted in The Thanos Quest. Champion is the expert master of every single martial art in the universe. Would a mere human master of just earth's close combat disciplines realistically give up all of his skills at the drop of a hat and prefer bar brawling/wild swinging/running head-first reckless abandon fighting techniques? No? So why would the trillion year old CHAMPION OF THE UNIVERSE???? While at the end of an especially difficult and frustrating fight, did Sugar Ray Robinson abandon all of his boxing skills and start swinging wildly like Butter Bean, or did his superbly-trained body go on automatic pilot and maintain his perfect form and jab enabling him to secure an exhausted victory? I charge that Starlin was either lazy or weak. The REAL crime in what he did to Champion is that now that depiction has now become the standard template for how every subsequent writer has written him. 

Consequently, his claims of being master of the universe's close combat systems are a Ken Shamrock joke (“The most dangerous man alive!!!” ) because every time you see him he fights like Butter Bean/Tank Abbot and loses a f*cking battle of SKILL to the 26 year old She-Hulk.

C-NICE - The Thanos Quest: Thanos talking about The Champion "He has no ideal of the gem's worth believes its power dormant and only wears it as a good luck charm. Champion credits his successes on his own battle prowess. It shall prove his undoing."

Muhammad Rasheed - The power gem increases it's wearer's strength and power. If the wearer doesn't know how to use it, the gem still increases his power subconsciously when he reaches his natural limits. Keep in mind that Champion's non-infinity gem enhanced body possesses HIGH Class 100 strength.

1.) Who the heck did Champion fight on the planet shown where he needed to reach the limits of his vast strength? All he did was smash metal weapons and throw tanks around.

2.) Skill in techniques is what makes him Champion of the Universe not his strength level. Champion doesn't NEED the power gem. Iron Mike Tyson was a better boxer when he used the basic boxing skills he was taught. He was still strong with knockout power when he stopped using his technique, but his natural strength alone does not help him against skilled opponents. The Champion's successes WERE based on his battle prowess. It is stupid and completely ridiculous for Starlin to claim otherwise.

And the She-Hulk, despite ANY type of bullsh*t strength increase, should NEVER... never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never... have beaten the Champion.

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