Ths Legacy TPB is a collection of partial reprints from 1980s Red Circle/Archie Adventure, re-inked and re-coloured, with linking pages relating to the New Crusaders. It was published straight to TPB and was not itself published as individual comics.
This review is the one i originally posted here: http://mightycrusaders.net/forum/viewto ... 315#p12315
**** SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW IN ABUNDANCE****
The Legacy book was very very good i think. It had a lot of pages, which i really liked, because there are a lot of pages from the eighties to sift through, and they did an amazingly good job of selecting pages which tell a coherent and mainly complete story covering many of the main events of eighties Red Circle. The first two flashback sections (Eterno and The Jaguar) were quite abruptly truncated without any mention of the resolution and the Kip Burland section later in the book suffered from this too, though that was cleverly dealt with because The Shield mentions in passing that the Black Hood went down a path that landed him in jail, which we know from New Crusaders, but we haven't (yet?) seen the missing section which presumably happened between Mighty Crusaders vol 2 and New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes. The rest of the sections though were remarkably complete considering they dealt with long running storylines and even what might be termed crossovers. The linking sections were well written as well, dealing with certain outstanding things, but without dwelling on any of them too much.
One thing i noticed is that Web-Boy didn't get to see, or reminisce about, an old story about his dad, making him the odd one out, though he did get two Black Hood sections and a Fox section, and The Web appeared in i think three of the other sections, so they obviously didn't want to do Web overload.
There weren't a huge number of new pages, and i did think some of the transitions back into the present day were quite jarring, but i don't think that was accidental, sometimes it reminded me of a quick scene change on a TV show.
I thought the retouched sections were very well handled, and the differences in art styles weren't a problem, and likewise the colouring, a proper balance was struck between retaining the original colours and updating to fit in with the book. I expected the old stuff to have been re-done with gradient colours and computer stuff, but was quite pleasantly surprised to see otherwise.
The only section i questioned a bit, colour/inkwise was the section from Comet 1, which i felt was inked too heavily, and it masked Carmine Infantino's excellent artwork (this inking job would have suited Gil Kane's pencils better than Infantino's imho) however the darker, sketchier look was suitable to the dark nature of The Comet's story, and it did fit in with the look of the rest of the book too. They were very abrupt about cutting out the Hangman part of the issue i noticed! Obviously because The Hangman is not part of the New Crusaders revival, and perhaps of the various convict characters from New Crusaders, i guess there are less plans for Hangman compered with, say, Black Hood (though it was nice to see Doc Reeves/Deadly Force popping up in Legacy too, though it does mean they will have to explain how Reeves survived, well, death, and why he and Deadly Force are the same guy, at some point in the future).
Speaking of the Black Hood, i was slightly disappointed to see that the Black Hood section is the same as the re-inked Black Hood 1 section that we saw earlier this year in an issue of New Crusaders. I might have preferred to see the unreprinted Black Hood pages from Archie Super Hero Digest 2 (since it is only available on digest size seventies paper at present, if you can get it at all), but perhaps Black Hood 1 is a slightly more appropriate story to include here.
I really felt that the choice of pages to include from the eighties was very well done. There were a lot of stories to choose from and this book managed to include a lot of important plot threads, like The Shield murder trial, from Mighty Crusaders and The Comet), the excellent potted history of The Comet from Comet 1, the various looks at The Web, Jaguar, Fly-Girl from various viewpoints. Legacy also acknowledged some other threads that the writers had obviously chosen not to deal with at this time, by including The Fly in a few panels (rather than airbrushing him out for instance), and Tom Troy in two of the flashback sections, as well as having Kelly mention that what happened to him is a "long story".
Incidentally, did you notice that Lance Strong AND The Fly were in evidence here? Clearly both characters are allowed to be published by Archie (so why have they removed their Mighty Crusaders and The Fly TPBs from publication?) and i felt they dealt with them very sensitively. They did not dwell on the characters (we do not find out what ultimately happened to either character in the Legacy book itself) but they didn't ignore them either, they were treated appropriately given their status as supporting characters in the lives of the New Crusaders' forefathers/mothers.
They didn't even mention Fireball in Legacy though (except in the present day, once, to mention his passing), i guess this is because there are no eighties Fireball stories (or sixties ones? i could be wrong about that). Perhaps the reason he died in NC:ROTH 6 was purely to avoid having to find a Fireball section from the archives?
I did think it was confusing that The Shield (present day) tells Greg that Thelma and John loved him, because we know that after The Comet's original death Thelma married Rob (Hangman) Dickering, and aged normally while The Comet stayed young due to his experiences on Altrox, so is there another story we need to see yet about Thelma? I hope so. The John/Greg Comet backup story in New Crusaders didn't go into this, did it? I really liked the fact that the black/white thing was brought up, and The Shield's perfectly logical take on it, especially since we can see from the flashbacks that some of his attitudes were being questioned as "out dated".
Writingwise the modern sections were artfully done, in that they retained the character of New Crusaders, but blended well with the old material, especially in that The Original Shield is such a central character to the new and old storylines, and that was completely believable, we see a man with normal flaws, learning from his experiences.
Generally speaking i was very impressed that they included so many little things, like the only reference to there being two Webs (father and son) and i think they got in both references about the two Kip Burlands being cousins, although The Shield confused the issue a bit needlessly by saying "that's not the Black Hood i knew" when actually he was referring to the Hood's personality change, not to a totally different Black Hood (as confirmed by The Jaguar's remark in the story). They also showed the Brain Emperor shaping up into the baddie he is today, and as i mentioned earlier, also the start, middle and end of The Shield murder trial, though i had always thought Mighty Crusaders 9 was too rushed and should have been across two issues; the montage of the Crusaders threatening people till they get the evidence they need was thin on plot, and it's a weak plot line anyway that they needed the gun to prove it was not a normal gun. For all we know, it might have actually been a normal gun, since the Brain Emperor really only needed to frame The Shield, so the gun didn't actually need to be some special ray gun. Also, The Shield is ultimately acquitted based on the testimony of a ghost, which i think would cause many more questions in a real court than they showed in the story, but that was how it was published in 1984, so that's what they had to work with today.
I have always in my mind compared Mighty Crusaders 9 to the America vs The Justice Society of America miniseries, which was out in the same year. Notably, in that series the JSA opt to allow themselves to be arrested in handcuffs because that is the law. I wonder what message The Shield sends when he breaks the handcuffs and says "i'm no criminal", basically that if a suspect is strong enough to break police equipment, that he shouldn't comply with the letter of the law? It does align ethically with the way the Crusaders use intimidation tactics to get the evidence needed to clear The Shield, which in the end was mainly on on emotional grounds, quite tenuously i think, unlike the JSA trial which was thrown out in their miniseries because it was revealed eventually that the accusations against the JSA were made for another purpose (to ensure that they would all be present to apprehend Per Degaton at an appropriate juncture in time).
In fact i feel this is a strength of Legacy, it leaves all the warts in in the old stories, small inconsistencies and weak plots have been left as is. Obviously this is the easier option but i do respect that they have not turned away from the history of the characters, that's one strong factor in this revival. One downside of this is that a couple of the sections were littered with spelling mistakes (presumably from the original issues, though i'll need to check, having said that one of the worst was in the new material where the new Comet was referred to as Greg Dickens, which is even more confusing since we know he's adopted (eg: is that his birth surname then? Why is it so similar to Dickering? I prefer to believe this was a typo)) and about half of the footnotes are reproduced as is from the original issues, when some should really have been updated to point to other pages within Legacy, or to the redcirclecomics.com website, as the first couple of footnotes had been. The only footnote which did reference another page in the same book actually sent me to the wrong page (i feel)! One other tiny thing, while reading i happened to get two very very small spots of water on one of the pages, and was surprised at how quickly and noticeably the ink was discoloured. I know you shouldn't really be splashing water on your comics, but these were tiny drops, and normally comics can cope with that sort of thing, i have noticed. I was just surprised because the thick pages and quality of colouring suggested it would be more colourfast.
These are minor niggles though, the book looks amazing, and it read like a dream (for me anyway, a very long term fan, but remember it was tough to win me over, because i have all these issues already, but Legacy did win me over, regardless of that). Certainly i found it easier to read Legacy than it would have been to read through all the original issues, and i felt Legacy did an excellent job of concentrating and consolidating many important events in our characters' lives in a single reading experience, where in the original comics it was pretty difficult to follow the stories as they moved from one title to another, or skipped a month, or were just cancelled without warning in some cases. Legacy does an excellent job of tying a lot of that together in a better package than the originals.
Reviews for the various Mighty Crusaders Comics.
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For what is in some ways a sampler of a bygone era, the package worked well for me and looked nice all things considered, with the bonus of the New Crusaders interstitial material.
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