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Shield TPB

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

Moderator: Rik


Post Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:16 am
leonmallett User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK
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First off this won't be a synopsis of the Shield trade-paperback collection (The Shield - America's 1st Patriotic Comic Book Hero ), rather an overview of the book itself. I haven't set up a link to the cover image (which is nice enough), but if Rik wants to oblige that wouldn't cause offense!

Firstly, I have to acknowledge my exposure to the Shield mythos came via the !mpact line (Legend of the Shield), but I was able to put that to one side on reading both this collection and the Mighty Crusaders trade-paperback. So some familiarity, but not with the Radio/Archie/MLJ/Red Circle etc incarnation and history.

My overall impression is that the collection serves as a great primer for how stories were told in the Golden Age of comics. The evolution of the medium is visible through the panel layouts bearing striking similarity to those utilised in the pulps that preceded superhero comics, gradually becoming more varied and daring in composition. The Irv Novick art is great, and holds up well against contemporary art. The plots seem a little repetitive at times, but given this was a time of the birth of a medium and a character archetype (the patriotic American hero clad in the colours of the flag), that seems understandable. The colouring looks excellent and gives a freshness to material that is over 60 years old and may have otherwise been quite dated. The colouring is very sympathetic to the original material in fact. I feel the earlier stories reprinted from Pep comics are stronger than the Shield-Wizard stories, as the latter introduced somewhat of a 'comedic' foil with Ju Ju Watson which altered the tone of the stories.

The science is silly, the colours bright, the foes two-dimensional (and there is a lack of a 'supervillain' or recurrent nemesis, outside from the Mosconian nation), and despite the prescience of the Pearl Harbour attack story, the stories have some leaps due to coincidence and improbablity. Despite that I found it a satisfying and enjoyable read. Very much of its time (although the art seems ahead of its era), but thoroughly involving and enjoyable. Highly recommended.

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