With Francis Garbut

The Crusaders # 1
Writers: Mark Waid & Brian Augustyn
Penciller: Rags Morales
Inker: Scott Hanna
Letterer: Albert DeGuzman
Colorist: Linda Kachelhofer
Cover Date: May 1992
For this week’s installment, I’ll take a look at the crown jewel of the Impact Comics title- The Crusaders, which brings together all of the Impact characters for the ultimate adventure all while forging a new venture for the beloved Archie Comics team.
In 1963, The American Crusaders finished up their latest battle which involved keeping whatever evil locked inside a bunker, but their victory comes with bitter defeat as the team disbands shortly after. Thirty years later, The Comet, The Fly, and a new iteration of Fireball (Soon joined by The Jaguar & The Black Hood) join forces to stop The Shield who seems to be possessed but they also have to stop whatever is locked in that bunker from being released.
Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn crafted a superhero story that feels fresh and because of that, this series alone helped invigorate the Impact Comics imprint after so many disappointing first issues (Looking at you The Web and The Black Hood!!); Rags Morales’ art is another shining grace that really makes this series so astonishing, and it’s great to see him in his early days especially since he became one of the most well-known artists in the comic industry. What I found most interesting is how when you open up this comic for the first time, you immediately find yourself thrown into the action which seems to be the method of operation for the Impact line, but Waid and Augustyn keep things flowing along quite nicely whenever its the personalities of each hero bouncing off each other to making sure every element of the plot is impactful (No pun intended) until the last page (We find out what’s in the bunker **NO SPOILERS**)
The Crusaders is a nice throwback to the silver age era of “The Avengers” that has the amazing advantage of being set in the 90s, but like all of the Impact titles, it doesn’t go for such hokey factors such as the heroes having tons of Rob Liefeld-style pouches on their costumes or being bloodthirsty or moody, but instead celebrates classic superhero troupes with old-school storytelling that elevates the fun of this iconic team.
Well, that’s it for me this week. Next week I’ll take a look at the final issue of The Crusaders that unfortunately wraps up the Impact Comics era so be on the lookout for that. Thanks for sticking around and I will see you all next time.