Last October, J. Michael Straczynski undertook a task of revitalizing the long forgotten heroes of Archie's Red Circle Comics, primarily focusing on The Web, The Hangman, Inferno, and The Shield, in the same style he has done beforehand with Marvel's The Twelve. Now, after successful debuts, yet disappointing overall sales from the ongoing monthly issues from both The Web and The Shield, it has culminated into a last gambit to attain relevance to these characters through the formation of the Mighty Crusaders, in both story-wise and in this 6-issue mini-series. Thus, here is my review of The Mighty Crusaders #1.
Eric Trautmann and Brandon Jerwa, coming off their respective tasks on Shield, Inferno, and most recently, The Fox
, have joined their talents in order to make a story, that has made its own identity in terms of telling a story about a government-sanctioned superhero team. This time around, when it comes to character dynamics, it has been fleshed out, save for Web, who seemed less exposed than what readers are used to. The action in the story is pretty standard, but it increases its tempo when it counts, such as the confrontation with the Machinistas, and the near-capture of Arvin Halliday. The humor in both the fights and in regular scenes is very appreciated, in a sense it's a nod to the comedy nature that Archie Comics are mostly known for. I also appreciate how quickly Trautmann and Jerwa establish Shield as the leader of this squad, without having to exaggerate his position. Lots of supporting characters were shown as well, in the forms of Kenny Wisdom
, paying attention to continuity. In short, all the characters in the Red Circle weren't left behind or underexposed, and the ones that were, they'll be probably shown in the next issue.
The bad? I really, really, don't care much for the style of Julian Lopez at pencils. He shows inconsistency with character designs, specifically with how he has Web without gloves in one panel, and with gloves in the next panel. Maybe I've been spoiled with having Javi Pina's art when he was in The Mighty Crusaders Special
, but it simply doesn't pull me into the story, visually. John Lucas' inks were, at most, hit-or-miss, at best, meaning his inks made a good panel, as shown in the introduction of the team, or it was hard to watch, such as the shots with Hangman, which made him look even more depressing that what he is. And a small problem I have with the plot, the arrest of the team's Media Liaison basically just gave away what was going to happen in the next issue, made even more concrete with the ending of this issue.
For a starting issue, it did modestly good. Not as great as its predecessor, but it manages to hold its own. While the dynamic of the story seems to be at a slow start, it also manages to tell an interesting story, with the references to the 100 Minute War, the inclusion of the Durlans, amongst other things. If you enjoyed reading the Red Circle One Shots and have read both monthlies of Shield and Web, pick this issue up. But for those looking for a good read, give it a shot, but take it with a grain of salt. Especially on the visuals, for which the only saving grace, was Artgerm's cover. 3.5/5 GOOD BUY