Marvel’s Contest of Champions was a fun little side story that brought together characters from multiple universes, and I have to say it was a pretty entertaining ride. Seeing characters that were long dead like Ares, Stick, Ultimate Iron Man, and more come togther under the Collector’s reign was interesting at worst, entertaining at best. We also got a reminder that the Maestro was out there in one of those universes, still. Today, we’ll be doing our best to limit spoilers, and letting you know whether this series is worth picking up.
To start, I have to say that the Marvel Universe is starting to take the shape of the What If stories that they published back in the day. Thor is a woman, Falcon is Captain America, there are two Spider Men, and so on. The Contest of Champions is insane because it actually IS canon. It ties in with the storyline of the current Marvel canon as well as tagging in alternate universes. Part continuation of BattleWorld, part new tale in of itself, Contest of Champions brings back some extremely fun characters for us to fear, love, and respect.
The central plot is pretty simple. The Collector and the Challenger (sometimes referred to as Game Master) are squaring off in a plot for ISO-8, which is a Cosmic Cube. The ISO-8 is what gives beings like the Collector their inifinite power. Bringing together characters such as Punisher 2099, The Maestro (Old Hulk), The Spider Slayer Eddie Brock, and alternate universe Iron Men/Elektra/Outlaw (The British Punisher). The plot revolves around the contestants, and features current Marvel canon characters such as the New Ultimates. Although the plot can get a little confusing sometimes, the 10 issue run does a fairly good job of giving you back story on many of the characters that tag in and out throughout the series.
The Maestro is an interesting, and compelling character, for sure, and he steals the show. The rest of the characters can be cool, but many of them are one offs and B list players that we’ve never been too concerned about. In the same vein, deaths are pretty pointless, because most of these characters have already been dead for a while in the current canon, or, are alternate versions of characters. In the latter case, dying again doesn’t matter. Dying for the first time also doesn’t matter if the characters don’t have active storylines, or the canon of Marvel would never have them tagging in in the first place.
All in all, it’s definitely worth a read. If you do miss this one on store shelves, it’s not a huge loss, but it definitely is cool to see many of these characters clashing for the first time. It’s nice to see the return of many familiar faces, as well as fan favorites. I consider this more of a fan service tribute than anything, so if you’re looking for a story to rival the scope of Civil War II, this is not going to be it for you. So, we’ll recommend this, but again, if you do miss it, it’s not a huge loss. It’s fun, but doesn’t do anything huge or add anything groundbreaking to Marvel’s current lineup.
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