One of the villainous forces quietly gaining prominence in the MCU has turned their sights on the Champions, constructing their own Sentinels.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Champions #8 by Danny Lore, Luciano Vecchio, Federico Blee & VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
The Champions have been contending with plenty of threats to the current crop of teen heroes, with their attempts to change the status quo of the world running into repeated resistance by the authorities.
The young group of heroes now have a far more dangerous threat to be concerned with. The Champions just discovered Roxxon is hard at work creating their own hero-hunting robots that share more than a few similarities with a classic X-Men threat, the Sentinels.
Ever since the events of Outlawed, the Champions have been facing off with the Roxxon Corporation. One of the most powerful conglomerates in the Marvel Universe, Roxxon has a vested financial interest in ensuring the government continues to enforce laws that they can help facilitate on a large scale. The Champions have dedicated themselves to uncovering the corporation’s plans, resulting in a stealth mission for Spider-Man, Nova, and Ms. Marvel. But making little headway and with Kamala becoming more uncomfortable about putting herself in such a position, the team shifts gears to a more spy-inspired mission, with Viv infiltrating Roxxon while the others distract the company leadership.
Once inside their secret lab, Viv discovers a massive robot being charged. Constructed by André Sims, Viv learns that the robot is the early model for the “Chaperone” project. She also uncovers a video of Doctor Miriam Blackmoor, the social media manager of the company, speaking with representatives of the United States government. Roxxon has been using their control over social media to distract the attention of the public away from the debate about teen superheroes, hoping to quietly correct the mistakes made by C.R.A.D.L.E. during Outlawed.
The hope of the corporation is that the US Senate will ultimately not overturn the law, and a disengaged and distracted public won’t fight it. When that happens, the Chaperones will be unleashed, targeting teen superheroes for capture and even learning to predict the patterns of the young hero. Viv tries to download the information, but has to hide when Blackmoor arrives in the lab. The size and scope of the Chaperone program is reminiscent of another well-known robotic threat that has plagued the X-Men and the other mutants of the Marvel Universe for years: the Sentinels.
It’s notable that the Chaperones seem to resemble the Sentinels that frequently threaten the X-Men in both design and function. Introduced in X-Men #14 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Sentinels are massive and powerful androids, constructed to locate mutants across the world and neutralize them either via capture or death. Although there have been many varieties of Sentinels over the years — with the creation of the Nimrod model serving as an overarching arc in current X-Men stories — the most notorious are giant models similar to the design of the Chaperones.
In many way, the ability of the Chaperones to predict where teen heroes will be mimics the Sentinel’s ability to hunt down people born with the X-Gene. It could even be seen as a further connection between the mutant heroes and the Champions, who’ve already made their friendship with the X-Men known.
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