by Matthew Szewczyk
I wish I could express to you just how excited I am that the Mighty Crusaders are back and that their new series is better than I could have expected. When the series was announced there were a lot of questions about how the new series would be connected to the previous ones. When I asked writer Ian Flynn if the New Crusaders was its own thing and this would be a reboot he would only say, “I wouldn’t say that, no. All will be answered in the story.” The Mighty Crusaders #2 answers more of these questions and further confirms the continuation of both the classic Red Circle comics as well as the previous New Crusaders series, a fact that pleases the Archie super-hero fan inside of me greatly.
Picking up where the first issue left off, the new team is still trying to adapt to working together under the leadership of The Shield despite their success defeating Dino Rex. The blend of personalities from the older series (Broken Shield, Steel Sterling), the New Crusaders (Comet, Jaguar, Web) and the downright strange (Darkling) are providing difficult to gel into a cohesive fighting unit and that provides the conflict for this issue.
It is a nice issue that gives each character, except for Darkling, room to breath and expands their characters personalities. The Web, in particular, stands out as the groups more lighthearted personalities and brings a nice balance to characters that often are gloomy or antagonistic. The big take away for me as a reader is that the group just feels right, it is a group that compliments each other and provides just enough drama and conflict to keep things interesting.
Ian Flynn continues his run of strong super-hero writing that began with the New Crusaders and makes these Archie titles such a pleasure to read. He gets the balance between drama and humor and characters who are not best friends but also do not leave the readers wondering why they are even on the same team.
Relative newcomer (at least he is new to me) Kelsey Shannon provides the artwork again this issue and it is just as strong as the previous issue. His artwork has a retro vibe to it but it is not emulating those classic artists, it is hard to explain but you will know it when you see it. When I saw the splash page for the cliffhanger ending it felt so perfectly in tune for what the series is but also gave me a classic feel that looked like it would have fit in perfectly at Marvel back in the early eighties.
After years of false starts, changing agendas and creative changes it looks like Archie may finally have hit upon the successful formula for a long-term super-hero comic book. Hopefully, they give it a chance to grow the universe and attract an audience rather than abort and reset yet again. There has never been a Mighty Crusaders series that hit thirteen issues (7 issues in the 60’s, 13 issues in the eighties, 8 issues in the 90’s and 6 issues in 2011) as hard as that is to believe but everything seems to be lining up perfectly this time.
The Mighty Crusaders #2
Archie Comics – $3.99