Comic Browser:


Champions, The #15: Review

Sep 1977
Bill Mantlo, John Byrne

Story Name:

Death Drone!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Champions, The #15 Review by (May 23, 2023)

Review: And the story goes off the rails. Nice art gives a solid look to the bee-centric thrills but there is one problem. The explanation of Swarm’s makeup makes no sense, being all pseudo-scientific nonsense (at least I think it does, er, doesn’t). And after we learn the villain is a bunch of bees, there’s then the unaddressed question of how the INTERPOL guy could steal the queen. And why the queen survived being locked in amber. And why she grew to giant size after the amber was cracked open. The crazy stuff piles up while the exciting stuff, Angel and Ghost Rider saving the city, is pushed to the background. And then there’s the question of Pym and Foster coming up with an antidote for bee stings; aren’t antihistamines already widely available? So anyway, another enjoyable if murky issue.

Comments: Part two of two parts. Swarm’s origin is revealed. Swarm is next seen in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #34-37. The Champions’ appearance in IRON MAN ANNUAL #4 comes right after this issue, followed by AVENGERS #163. Darkstar is explicitly said to not be a member of the team.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions, The #15 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

A massive swarm of bees is filling the city and directly attacking the Champions in their skyscraper headquarters, flying in through the broken window and via the air vents. Hercules smashes them with the computer, Iceman seals the broken window with a sheet of ice, Darkstar employs the Darkforce to plug the vents. Swarm, the villain composed of bees, smashes his way through the ice shield, demanding the INTERPOL agent’s briefcase. The giant mechanical bees stun Darkstar and Iceman, scoop them up and carry them off. Swarm snatches the briefcase from Black Widow and heads for the lab, the bees creating a hive wall throughout the building. While Herc tries to smash the huge honeycomb, Ghost Rider and Angel head outside to protect the city from the deadly swarms. They contact Bill Foster and Hank Pym about creating an antidote to bee strings….

Bobby and Laynia awaken in the villain’s lair; Swarm reveals his origin: he was a Nazi scientist working with bees. He discovered a swarm whose intelligence had been raised by exposure to a radioactive meteor; he shot them with a controller but they fought back, stinging him while his seizing of the queen created a symbiotic human-bee creature. And then the INTERPOL man stole the queen, encasing her in amber, and fled, with Swarm in pursuit. And now Swarm, having recovered the queen must find a way to free her. Darkstar steps in, for the queen’s sake and uses the Darkforce to crack open the insect’s prison. The barrier is broken, Her and Nat reunited with Laynia and Bobby, and Swarm present the queen bee, grown to giant size; she attacks Hercules so Herc rips open the wall and hurls the queen out to sea. The bees comprising Swarm’s body break apart and fly after her, leaving only a human skeleton to fall to the floor….

Characters: Champions, Hercules, Black Widow, Iceman, Angel, Ghost Rider, Darkstar, Swarm.

John Byrne
Mike Esposito
Irene Vartanoff
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Bruce Patterson.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Warren Worthington III)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)

Plus: Champions, Swarm.

> Champions, The: Book info and issue index

Share This Page