by Rik Offenberger
TITLE: THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1
PUBLISHER: Dark Circle Comics
WRITER: Ian Flynn
ILLUSTRATOR: Kelsey Shannon
COLORS: Matt Herms
LETTERS: Jack Morelli
EDITOR: Alex Segura and Vincent Lovallo
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Stephen Oswald
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jamie Lee Rotante
COVER: Kelsey Shannon
VARIANT COVER: Matthew Dow Smith
SUMMARY: “Back in the Saddle” – The mightiest team of superheroes are back! A throw-down with a prehistoric terror in the heart of Washington D.C. sets the stage for the dramatic return of a wayward hero! Meanwhile, half a world away, a sinister plan begins to awaken an ancient evil!
COMMENTS: We have two different stories going at once.
One is in Washington D.C. with the team battling Dino Rex.
The other story is an occult mystery in Nea Kameni with Dr. Iddh. (He clearly needs another vowel in his name) I am assuming he is an updated version of the Druid, but I am not 100% sure.
In Washington D.C. the team has a standard superhero slugfest to introduce the Team to new readers, Dino Rex is cool enough. Dino Rex is not a classic Might Crusader villain, he is a video game character from Taito Games, I assume Ian used to play the game at one point.
Ian has done a good job showcasing each team member. There is a brief recap that helps get readers up to speed on the history of the crusaders. We have a long conversation between the Shields so clarify the personalities of the characters and their relationship to the team.
Then we are back to Dr. Iddh who has found Eterno frozen in stone. That is interesting in that the Eraser had turned the Shield into stone in the original Might Crusaders series. Just one of the “Easter Eggs” for long-time readers.
The art is beautiful with a lot of strong design work. Kelsey has updated the costumes with a more unified look. Although they are all different from each other they all have elements from Victoria Adams Shield costume. Everyone has stars on their shoulders. Darkling, Jaguar, Firefly and Steel Sterling all have red shirts. The Eagle and Shield on Victoria Adams chest is now the emblem for the M.L.J. so it’s on the wall, the desk, drinking glasses, and sweatshirts. These unifying images give more of a team feel. Kelsey’s facial expressions are strong and well done. Especially in the places where there is less action and more talking.
There is talk in the comic about branding and celebrity which makes me think of Youngblood. I am surprised that with the rise in branding and the cult of personality that drives reality shows, and presidential elections these days , more superhero teams don’t talk about their branding. You see the “No Symbol” with an extra crossbar in all the X-Men comics and on many of the costumes but they don’t talk about branding. I think the branding makes the comic more real-world based.
There is a mix of Golden Age Heroes, with Broken Shield, Dusty and Steel Sterling, as well as the New Crusaders Comet, Flygirl/Firefly, Web, and Jaguar. In addition, the New Shield joins the team and so does a brand new Darling.
This isn’t the Original Might Crusaders. It doesn’t give the fans Joe Higgins as the Shield. There is no Fly and no Lancelot Strong. It’s also not the New Crusaders. It’s a mix of new and old with a wink and a nod to the original that only adds to the fun for older fans without bogging down younger fans with a lot of old continuity.
In no way does this comic feel less than or not as good as the Avengers or the Justice League. This is a strong start with a fun story and I hope it lasts as long as Archie and his pals have.
If you are on the fence and don’t know if you should give this comic a try. Let me tell you it is worth your time and money. I should know, I wrote the book on the Mighty Crusaders. Literally.
BROKEN SHIELD ♦ Joe Higgins
COMET ♦ Greg Reeves
DARKLING ♦ Darla Lang
DUSTY ♦ Dustin Simmons
FIREFLY ♦ Kelly Brand
JAGUAR ♦ Ivette Velez
SHIELD ♦ Victoria Adams
STEEL STERLING ♦ Jack Sterling
WEB ♦ Wyatt Raymond
DINO REX ♦ (First Appearance)
DOCTOR IDDH ♦ (The Druid or a First Appearance)