Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Alitha Martinez, Rick Bryant, John Workman, Steve Downer
Cover: Phil Jimenez with Steve Downer
On Sale Date: 6/17
Sounding like an ersatz Justice Society and Infinity Inc. riff, the New Crusaders are the progeny of the recently murdered Mighty Crusaders team. Under the watchful eye of The Shield, the new team consisting of The Comet, Fireball, Fly-Girl, Jaguar, Steel Sterling and The Web now face the returning enemies who are determined to destroy them.
This all sounds well and good and for Archie Comics imprint, Dark Circle Comics, it’s a revamp of the company’s previous attempt at superhero books. Long term readers will no doubt recognise the above names from various other attempts, such as DC Comics and Impact Comics. This then presents the first of my problems with the book. If these are in fact re-hash characters that didn’t work previously, why should I be invested now? The second is that the book is hopelessly derivative, from the JSA comment in the opening paragraph to the innumerable comparisons to heroes from other universes.
These problems wouldn’t concern me if the product was better. The writing from long-term Crusader scribe Ian Flynn moves along as expected, with the various situations trying to build the angst we have come to expect from teen team books, but comic book readers have moved on from the team relationship circa Claremont’s X-Men or Wolfman’s New Teen Titans. I am not sure if this is the vibe that Flynn is going for and if so, its admirable and complementary as imitation is nothing but flattery. However, that still means that the work needs to be of quality. It could be that, with Dark Circle being an imprint of Archie Comics, that they are playing to the squeaky clean hero fan.
The art is by Alitha Martinez who manages to deliver a very clean book. What I mean, rather than refer to clean lines, I am instead referring to the fact that it seems the style is aimed at young readers. There are no real shocks to proceedings, the battles are ok and despite the idea that there is angst present, the panels as drawn tend not to focus on the potential darker element which is ironic given the name of the imprint.
Whilst this book is a little bland for my taste, if I want “good old-fashioned superheroes” I would just go back and re-read All Star comics or JSA, I get that Archie will have their portion of the marketplace and this book seems to be tailor-made for them. This unfortunately tends to leave me a little bit disinterested in the book that seems to be aimed not at me or bring new readers to the brand.