You may not realize this, but Archie Comics have had serious superheroes in their stable of characters since before the publisher even had Archie. Though Archie himself has run continuously for decades, the superheroes keep coming and going and being reinvented. Twice they’ve even been licensed out to DC Comics (and if you can find any books from that Impact! imprint, they’re worthwhile). They’ve been published as MLJ, Red Circle Comics, Impact!, and most recently, Dark Circle. And they’re back again under the Dark Circle imprint, coming December 6 with a revival of The Mighty Crusaders.
The thing is, they’ve always been at their best when they are presented as fun. Because with the possible exception of the Black Hood (currently appearing in altered form on Riverdale), they’re all about truth, justice, and just being good role models. This new revival fits that mold — a great jumping on point for new readers though spinning from storylines in The Shield. There’s a new Shield and an old Shield (called “the Broken Shield”), and a variety of other colorful characters, some who have been around for decades and some that are new to this incarnation.
Opening right in the midst of a battle, the story by Ian Flynn gives every hero a moment in the spotlight. Despite a character named Darkling, it also never gets too dark. That’s aided by Kelsey Shannon’s art, reminiscent of Ernie Colon and Mike Parobeck, with bright colors by Matt Herms.
It’s fun, acknowledging a few of the previous attempts to revive the team but staying simple. You don’t have to catch up on other books to understand this one, but there’s a (small) bigger universe out there if you want to explore.
You can check out:
The Fox (not currently a member of the Crusaders)