The Mighty Crusaders Special (One-Shot) Review
The Shield, The Web, The Hangman, and Inferno, join forces to prevent having a mystic safe box from falling in the wrong hands.
As unfortunate as it sounds, both Web and Shield ongoing series will be axed next month. In the meantime, this one-shot sets the landscape ready for The Mighty Crusaders mini-series, and thankfully, the issue doesn't require you to read both Shield and Web #9 to get a grasp of the story.
The team of Matt Sturges, Eric Trautmann, Brandon Jerwa, and John Rozum have managed to make a story, that apart from sounding cohesive, it transitions from one character into the next seamlessly. From the wisecracks of The Web, to the commanding jump of The Shield, to even the cold seriousness of The Hangman, this issue hits it out of the ballpark. And whenever a one-shot special does that, you know great things are expected from here on out, even if just a six-issue miniseries comes out by July. The story itself was hard to ignore, it commanded you to follow every single nuance, from the introduction of the Global Concern, to the cameos of Sivana, Gentleman Ghost, Black Beetle, among others, to the debuts and returns of The Persian, The Buzzard, and The Eraser. It fully sank into the history of Archie Comics, without having to explain everything, thankfully. Artistic-wise, Javier Pina's art has given much needed life to both Web and Hangman, something Roger Robinson hasn't applied visually, and that makes Tom Derenick's work look almost elementary in comparison. To be fair, I find both Robinson and Derenick to do great renditions, it's just that Pina elevated it to another level.
Well, there really isn't much to complain about the issue, save for how Inferno's involvement, aside from being a standard double agent, and from having his obligatory talent of emulating fire, he didn't really stood out. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger in End of Days, he was just "the choirboy". To make things a little more bad, Comet's rendition seemed forced, as if we're supposed to like him, while it does the opposite. The epic fight in the issue wasn't bad, but it wasn't outstanding either, even more with Hangman being out-of-commission for the time being.
While everyone is hyped about The Heroic Age, Brightest Day, the rising crescendo of Batman titles, The Red Circle stands out once again with this one-shot, without having to shout to the four winds that they're here to stay. Aside from being underestimated, this issue just managed to enthrall in its exploits, that once you give it a peek, you'll end up wanting to read more. If you want something away from the ordinary, or if you're just looking for a really good read, this one-shot issue is just for you. 5/5 UNDERDOG OF THE WEEK