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The Comet 1 and 2, Red Circle

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Post Thu Aug 23, 2007 3:22 am
leonmallett User avatar

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK
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As usual, not a synopsis of these books, but my overall impression. With only two issues produced in 1983, and both concerned with recapping the origin of the Comet whilst bringing him up to date following his apparent death, I thought I'd deal with both together.

The thing that struck me first were the covers (obviously!). When I was a kid reading the Flash, I wasn't a great fan of Carmine Infantino's work. I read the books because there wasn't much choice on the spinner racks in UK newsagent shops (newstands). His style didn't gel with me. The Comet art he produced was from a similar era but evidently my sensibilities have changed and I liked the covers that Infantino produced for the Comet, as well the interiors. His advanced/alien technology designs aside, I think he was able to evoke the right tone to fit the story contained in these issues. And what a dark story it is.

There is no flinching from the Comet's brutal early days here, in fact issue one proclaims it proudly. It seems the writer (Bill DuBay) was headed toward some kind of story of redemption planned through the series as we see foreshadowing, flashbacks, and parallels with a vigilante sibling (the Hangman) so traumatised by his own heroic career that his family and particularly his son (the Comet's nephew) suffered. I don't know if DuBay could have made the murderous Comet acceptable as a hero, given the set-up and citing of his history in the first issue, but I would like to have seen the attempt. A shame we don't what would have happened next. So a dark story then, with dark themes and dark subplots. There is a glimmer of hope being restored in the second issue through a couple of events (which I won't spoil), but the two issues are evidently part of a larger tapestry, not simply evidenced by the proclamation on the cover that this was to be a 6 issue series.

If anyone is (like me) just starting to get acquainted with this era of the Mighty Crusaders/MLJ heroes, then I'd recommend the 2 issues of the Comet. That said, the writing feels a little melodramatic or soap-opera-ish at times, and in the second issue it feels like DuBay is trying to force through some social consciousness, at the expense of a character presumably loved by by many, but then in life people have a darkness within to a greater or lesser extent. How this is exhibited can vary according to circumstance which is something DuBay captures - the leads are not black and white, all or nothing ciphers, but flawed, rounded characters.

Now if someone can furnish me with an answer as to why the series remained incomplete I would be grateful.

Contrasting the Comet here to his 60's incarnation or the !mpact version is of interest to me since those are the first two incarnation I knew. I think that whilst not the same character the !mpact version has a lot of resonance with the Red Circle depiction, both seemed doomed by their very powers to leave destruction and violence in their wake.

One final note. These were the third and fourth Red Circle books I have read, so forgive me. But I have to say I chuckled to read that the lettering was by Adam Kubert. Shame he didn't carry on because I really liked his style. I wonder what he is up to these days? ,!-- s;) -->;),!-- s;) -->


Post Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:50 pm
GWhitmore User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 391
Location: Idaho

Great review, Leon. When I rediscovered these in my collection, I was very impressed with how well they read. Even by today's standards, they hold up very well.

I only wish the Comet was in more of issue #2. And I too wonder what was to come. If ArchieCo had kept this same high quality on all of their superhero books, we wouldn't be talking about revamps today.

"We are all but Strangers in Paradise...."

Post Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:38 am

Posts: 23
Is there anyone who could elaborate on the inner office politics about this version of the Mighty Crusaders. I recall that in the text pages of Comet #2 there was Robin Snyder commenting how these type of stories are not like to be published again (by Archie).

I was wondering where the story was going to go after #2. Are there any plot outlines left around? Can anyone ask these professionals who worked on the title?

One of the things that made the Comet unusual in comicbook history was that he was the first hero to die in action and the first to be replaced by a new hero that was related to him (his brother the Hangman). Yes, I am aware of the comic strip character the Phantom but Hangman was the first in a comic book.

I imagined if I was allowed to rewrite the ending of this miniseries, I would have the Shield discover that the original Comet did indeed die in the 1940s (preserving death in a comic book, would not that be original?) and was replaced by a government agent trying to infiltrate the upcoming Mighty Crusaders era (kind of like the FBI infiltrating the KKK). Government could not recreate the original Comet's death ray powers despite their trying so they came up with "alien" technology (Rainbow Helmet, etc) and a cover story (alien planet story) to discover the true motivations of these new heroes sprouting up in the 1960s like the Fly and Flygirl. Maybe by the 1980s, when the Brain Emperor attacked the Comet, the attack initiates the treatments that this Comet obtained from the government and the deathray powers comes to the surface just in time for this Comet to help the new Mighty Crusaders fight Eterno and his fake Crusaders (the MLJ). With this relevation, a battle occurs over this confession. Does the death ray powers work on the Shield? As you can tell, I am less thrilled with the treatment of death of superheroes in comics. Meanwhile, the new Hangman starts to replace his father in action--especially in the Shield trial.

Post Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:16 pm
Calum User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 258
Location: Edinburgh

out of the eighties run of Red Circle/Archie Adventure, The Comet 1-2 are some of the best. Those, and Black Hood 2-3, and maybe a few issues of The Fly and Blue Ribbon are the cream of the crop from that era i think, and The Comet is very rich in terms of both story and artwork.

I have never read anything about why it stopped at issue 2 of a 6 issue miniseries, but i did spend years before we all had internet access trying to find issues 3-6 in mail order lists and back issue comic shops!
PS: Hey! Check out my music at and fill your ears with happiness!

Post Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:04 am
Calum User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 258
Location: Edinburgh

PS - most of you will know by now that you can read these issues as well as The Comet's golden age outings in this little internet download:

The Comet Archives - Volume One
PS: Hey! Check out my music at and fill your ears with happiness!

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