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The Original Shield 4 (October 1984)

Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.

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Post Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:58 pm
Calum User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 258
Location: Edinburgh

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At last! A story that is exactly one issue long! An issue that contains exactly one story! Casual buyers of The Shield have been waiting half a year for this (this is a bimonthly title) and no doubt many have plunked their dollars down elsewhere due to the so-far fragmentary nature of the title.

"Shields" carries on the overlying storyline of the Shield's life, but most of the action is about The Hun, the villain from the previous storyline. He is searching for his magic shield, now held at an army base where Joe Higgins' friend Sgt Boyle is warning an old friend of the danger the Hun poses! The Comet makes a one page appearance just long enough to deliver the Shield onto the scene of the action, and to make a couple of comments obviously designed to be the seeds of future storylines. The situation quickly descends into a fight between the Shield and the Hun, though the book is well written and doesn't get boring for all the simplicity of the plot.

There is a highly implausible one page epilogue however, where the Shield tosses the Hun's shield away and in the next sequence it is shown to have "escaped" the military base by means of a garbage truck, the hint being that "if, as is suspected, the shield contains an evil force, might not its mystic call be visited upon others?! Only time will tell!". To me, the epilogue ruins an otherwise reasonable ending, still, it gives a sense of continuity for future issues.

The Hun was introduced well in this issue, including a flashback sequence from Shield-Wizard 8, although it did include one historically ridiculous and anti-German sequence featuring none other than Attila the Hun (which i thought could have been subtly finessed away to be honest). If this hadn't been the final issue of this title, no doubt the continuing storyline could have gone through several more arcs utilising elements from the three storylines we've already seen.

I have to say though the first thing i noticed about this issue was the noticeable downturn in the art quality. It's still Dick Ayers, but compared with the earlier two Shield stories, this is not a patch. The backgrounds are sparse, the panels are larger, the characters are drawn in a much sketchier, less detailed fashion. I wonder, was Ayers forced to rush this assignment? Or perhaps factors at Archie Comics resulted in this drop in quality. Either way, it's a shame because the writing and layouts are still up to standard. Having said that though, the simpler drawings and larger panels did remind me of the mid sixties Mighty Comics series, so perhaps a bit of nostalgia, which is what this comic is about, doesn't hurt that much after all.

Not as good as the two stories before it, but at least it's not a "to be continued"
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Post Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:38 am
leonmallett User avatar

Posts: 523
Location: West Midlands, UK
in terms of art, satisfaction in storytelling and overall package, I feel (presumably like Calum) that this didn't match the standards of the first three issues. That said I like the idea of evil gizmos being around to plague heroes again in the future, and along with calum appreciated the one-issue story compared to the disjointed episodic approach we had seen previously on the book.

Regarding the Attila the Hun elements, I too found them cringe-worthy. Now that is from a thirty-something reader in 2008, so how it would have played in the mid-eighties I don't know, but still, were the Shield and the Hun revived for regular publication, this is something that could be rewritten for modern sensibilities, not ignored necessarily, but perhaps re-framed in a more palatable way.
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Post Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:34 pm
captainzero User avatar
Gem Mint
Gem Mint

Posts: 435
I still love the splash page with the many MLJ heroes in the background... behind the Shield.
It was fun, for me, at least, to see The Hangman, Steel Sterling, The Fox, Firefly, The Web, Mr. Justice, The (Black)Hood, and The Comet...there on the page.
A hope that they would soon make an appearance in The Shield's book...

And it was also, a clear reminder that there is some "history" behind this character!

"The vorld is mine! Beware Der Power of DER HUN! HA HAHAHAHAAA!" ... is tough to beat.

And the end of the story was kinda neat... with "Rogers" and "Barnes".... driving the trash truck away. Little fun things helped this story, alot.!!
I was looking forward to see what Marty and Dick Ayers would do #5!!

Archie just wasn't committing the time or the talent to make things work.

Any chance someone would post that splash page of our MLJ heroes!!???

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