This is the first story arc featuring Champion and his start as a hero.
The Knighton Institution assembled a team of researchers to investigate an archaeological dig site uncovered in northern Africa. Archaeologist Dr. Carlie Cannon and her mentor xenobiologist Dr. Alfred Klein discovered a strange chamber deep within the bowels of the ruins. Within this chamber the two scientists discovered a peculiar helmet of an unknown material. Shortly after their discovery a group of mercenaries led by the infamous Deathwatch seized the researchers' camp, seizing their data and collected materials. Carlie and Dr. Klein barely managed to seal themselves within the chamber before being discovered.
Nearby a US Marine Corp fireteam led by Sergeant Luke Grant was laying siege on a known insurgent base camp. During the ensuing firefight Luke injured his left arm, defending one of his squadmates from an IED. The wounded Sergeant was quickly rushed to a mobile medical tent manned by his good friend Dr. Phillip Kim. When Luke began exhibiting unusual symptoms due to his genetic condition, Dr. Kim suggested he be discharged, an opinion agreed upon by his commanding officer Lieutenant Alan Sharp.
On their retreat from the base camp Lt. Sharp received a distress signal from the Knighton researchers. He redirected his platoon to the archaeological dig site. Once the platoon arrived they were under fire from Deathwatch's mercenaries. Despite the protests of Phillip, Luke refused to stand to the side while his fellow soldiers were under attack. He suited up his gear and headed out onto the battlefield, making sure that all the researchers safely made it out of the temple.
As he descended deep into the chamber after Deathwatch he found Carlie and Dr. Klein being threatened by the villain as they held onto the mysterious helmet. Luke confronted the mercenary who took the helmet and Dr. Klein as a hostage and retreated deeper into the labyrinth. Luke sent Carlie back up to the surface and followed after Deathwatch and Dr. Klein. He confronted the mercenary and the two briefly engaged in close quarters combat before Luke was shot twice in the stomach. On the ground, bleeding, Luke reached out and touched the helmet causing a brilliant blue light to flood the chamber and knock the villain off his feet. Deathwatch fled as the other marines stormed the chamber, the fallen soldier blacking out as voices shouted all around him.
When Luke woke two months later he was in a bed at a Knighton Research Lab in Harlow City. Phillip Kim was acting as his attending physician being assisted by Dr. Klein. The two doctors explained that his body had reacted strangely in response to the helmet, Klein believed it was due to dormant alien DNA in Luke's own system. Under the direction of Paramilitary Operations Officer Lieutenant Colonel Rust Noble the incident was classified with Luke's condition and living status only being known by a few individuals.
Over the next few weeks they tested the bounds of Luke's new abilities, learning of his new capacity to absorb energy and redirect it through superhuman strength, speed, toughness, and energy projection. While Luke was overjoyed to hear that his genetic condition was no longer killing him, he did not enjoy being locked up in the research lab and studied. He was moreso worried and interested in Carlie, the archaeologist he saved, who didn't even know that he was still alive.