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"The Original Shield" (Mighty Crusaders 3-6 + Shield 1)

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Calum User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 258
Location: Edinburgh

The Original Shield - from Mighty Crusaders (1983) 3, 4, 5, 6 and The Original Shield 1

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This is a six part story, serialised in five different issues. Here are the individual chapter names:

1) American Shield in Mighty Crusaders (Red Circle) 3
2) Power Unleashed in Mighty Crusaders (Red Circle) 4
3) Rendezvous With Death in Mighty Crusaders (Red Circle) 5
4) Flaky Puff (isn't sweet) in Mighty Crusaders (Archie Adventure) 6
5) Duel in Mighty Crusaders (Archie Adventure) 6
6) End Game! in The Original Shield (Archie Adventure) 1

Firstly let me say that it took me years to collect all the parts. I originally got Shield 1 without realising it would be part of a huge continuing story. I do think it's bad manners to start a series with the last part of a six part story. I also think the placement of the parts in these issues is shocking. There's a to be continued at the end of the Crusaders story in Mighty Crusaders 5 that isn't in issue 6, the Shield story (which has been a backup story in issues 3, 4 and 5) now takes over the whole comic for one issue, and then the final part is in issue 1 of the Shield. I suspect very few people got the chance to read this story properly.

Anyway, part one is the backup in Mighty Crusaders 3. The Crusaders story is part 3 of 3, so this is a way of hanging onto some readers who want to see what happens to the Shield, i guess. There's a lovely splash page. It reminds me of an old Pep Comics story. The style is remeniscent of the golden age, but it is also up to date for 1983. Throughout the story i enjoy the colours, the layouts and the angles used. The overall effect of this story reminds me of James Bond in the sixties or early seventies. In the opener, there's plenty of action, Joe Higgins (FBI) and a colleague get caught up in criminal activity that is headed up by Boroff, an old enemy of the Shield, and an organisation called Delta.

Parts two and three move the story along well. More characters are added and more plot twists too. It reminds me of a forties movie serial, with all the cliffhangers and such.

Next we get parts four and five, in an "all-Shield" issue of Mighty Crusaders. I've already frowned a bit on kicking the Crusaders out of their own book in the middle of a story so i won't mention it here. That aside, this is a good issue. We get to meet the Hun, who is a human killing machine from the Shield's past, and Flaky Puff, a weird young woman who can absorb people's intellects. All this plus people being held up at gunpoint and a daring escape from a collapsed mineshaft!

Finally, we get to the first half of issue 1 of The Original Shield, and part six of our story! The two map halves are finally reconciled and the story comes to an unusual end, although if you picked up issue one with the crazy idea that the story might begin in this issue, you'd be quite confused, although there is a helpful two page what-the-blazes-is-going-on section at the start of the issue, so that helps a bit.

All in all a great story. I would have preferred it immensely if this had been issues 1, 2 and 3 of The Original Shield, so that getting (and reading) the story was not so much hassle. This is the sort of story begging to be collected in a graphic novel (possibly along with the remaining issues of The Original Shield). The second story arc of the series, "Origins", begins in issue 1 too, and i've written a review of it here.
PS: Hey! Check out my music at http://www.calumsmusic.com and fill your ears with happiness!

leonmallett User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK
I have to echo Calum's thoughts about the (very) disjointed presentation of this story - which I have suggested elsewhere may be representative of some of the poorer decisions made about the line editorially, and which I certainly don't think can have been helpful to readers at the time.

I enjoyed this story, but probably not as much as calum to judge from his final comment. The execution was marred by the presentation in terms of where the story was serialsied and for evicting the mighty Crusaders for an issue mid story. In addition whilst there are some very cool and fun elements, there are some that really didn't work for me (the name 'Flaky Puff' being the main problem for me). Had the creative team remained for a good long run, I think we could have seen some very interesting material, unfortunaltely that wasn't to be.
Discovering new superhero worlds through the MLJ/Mighty Crusaders legacy...

GWhitmore User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 391
Location: Idaho

I ws fortunate enough to be able to read these all in one sitting -- I had most of 'em in my collection but hadn't read 'em in about 15 years. I found the Shield stories hold up very well, especially when read one after the other. I was annoyed that the Crusaders storyline was interrupted by the Shield one-shot (what they couldn't have run that in Blue Ribbon?) Flaky Puff's name was and still is dumb. The other thing that bothered me was the Shield goes to court story also didn't seem to gib very well with this excellent string of stories, another example of writers and editors not communicating well during this time.

Excellent review, Calum.

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

leonmallett User avatar
MightyCrusaders.net
MightyCrusaders.net

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK
GWhitmore wrote:
I ws fortunate enough to be able to read these all in one sitting -- I had most of 'em in my collection but hadn't read 'em in about 15 years. I found the Shield stories hold up very well, especially when read one after the other. I was annoyed that the Crusaders storyline was interrupted by the Shield one-shot (what they couldn't have run that in Blue Ribbon?) Flaky Puff's name was and still is dumb. The other thing that bothered me was the Shield goes to court story also didn't seem to gib very well with this excellent string of stories, another example of writers and editors not communicating well during this time.

Excellent review, Calum.

Gregg


I think the Shield court story suffers more due to time of publication than anything. Had it occurred before the MC/Original Shield serial then it would have sat very well.
Discovering new superhero worlds through the MLJ/Mighty Crusaders legacy...

Calum User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 258
Location: Edinburgh

yes, the publishing and editorial decisions all but killed this strip/title which did have a good standard of writing and art and also a tight internal continuity from the beginning.
PS: Hey! Check out my music at http://www.calumsmusic.com and fill your ears with happiness!


Posts: 23
This is the serial that made me a Shield fan more than anything! As a result, I ended up buy every Mighty Crusaders connected comic from the 1980s. Maybe Archie can publish a trade paperback? Obviously, with all the other 1980s appearences. Please?


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