Saturday, August 13, 2022

Marvel's 'Champions #9' Pays Tribute To 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'

Avatar: The Last Airbender's Aang is a hero of true spirit and hope, and with one panel Marvel showed fans that he is also a role model for some of its youngest heroes.

Credit: ScreenRant.

The adventures of Aang in Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender inspired a generation of kids, and Marvel Comics has confirmed that some of those kids grew up to be superheroes, including the Champions. Ms. Marvel and her team are proven to be big fans of the show, which is fitting because their upbeat and optimistic attitude perfectly emulates that of Aang himself.

Thanks to the second superhero Civil War, the public and others began to loose faith in the world's heroes and their methods. Being disillusioned themselves with the attitudes and actions of the older heroes Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, and Nova resigned their positions with the Avengers, and along with Viv Vision and Amadeus Cho, formed a new group. Last to join was a young time displaced Scott Summers who was dealing with his own issues of disillusionment at the reality of his future self. After their first mission, the team went viral and were dubbed the Champions by the internet, with Ms. Marvel promising that their mission was to create a better tomorrow through hope and wisdom rather than through force.

In Champions #9 by Danny Lore, Vita Ayala, and Luciano Vecchio, it is revealed that in their off time the team of young heroes watches reruns of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is a fitting show for the Champions, as their mission statement closely resembles that of the main character Aang. Die-hard fans know that Aang is an emotionally intelligent, ethically wise, and eternally optimistic role model, despite living in a world of war and morally grey characters. He is a hero worth mimicking, and with this small inclusion Marvel seems to be saying that at least some of its heroes are taking cues from the twelve-year-old Airbender. Though the name of the cartoon is never spoken it is all but implied in the panel. Nova mentions "cactus juice" and the dialogue from the TV is specifically the lyrics of the "Secret Tunnel" song from the second season episode titled, "The Cave of Two Lovers." Amadeus mentions how he "used to love this show," and Miles states honestly that he is "still learning" the lessons of honor and self-worth taught by Avatar. All of this points to the fact that Avatar: The Last Airbender is a big influence in at least some of the adolescent lives of the Champions, with one exception.

Credit: ScreenRant.

The young Cyclops is a time traveling variant of a character who has been in Marvel Comics since the 1960s. This version of Scott Summers is from a different era than the rest of his Champions teammates, and it is almost certain that he has never before seen the Nickelodeon show. His rapt attention on the screen shows how enthralled he is by the cartoon and its heroic protagonist. When the young version of Cyclops does eventually return to his own time, his older self is shown to gain all his memories, which means that the modern leader of the X-Men actually learned at least some lessons from the hopeful and big-hearted Aang.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best cartoons of the 2000s, but it's not just a kids' show. It depicts a world torn apart by war where there are no easy villains to hate or easy moral choices to make. Through it all Aang's positivity and willingness to believe in people becomes an inspiration to viewers. The Champions also exist in a world where people have become jaded by heroes and the morally ambiguity of their conflicts. Like Aang, Ms. Marvel and the Champions are outsiders trying to make a difference with hope and positivity, and now it is clear that at least some of them —including the modern version of Cyclops— have been partially inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender. Maybe Marvel Comics is admitting that more of their established heroes need to learn how to be more like Aang.

Stream Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on Paramount+ and Netflix! Try Paramount+ for FREE at

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Originally published: August 13 2022.

Original source: ScreenRant.

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