The Mighty Crusaders first appeared in Fly-Man #31 on May 1965. and were created by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, along with Paul Reinman. This ensemble of heroes were Archie Comics' answer to the superhero team fashion that was made possible by DC Comics' contribution with the Justice Society of America and Justice League of America and Marvel Comics' own contribution, The Avengers. The first version of this team consisted of Black Hood, The Comet, The Fly-Man, Fly Girl, and The Shield III, son of the original Shield. Their enemies varied from Spy Lord, Thornaldo, Bombor, to even The Hangman and The Wizard, two heroes who were inexplicably turned to villains. Their adventures lasted until October 1966, with Issue #7 being their last issue.
Red Circle Comics Incarnation
The next version of the Mighty Crusaders arrived under the Red Circle Comics banner, and made their presence seen on March 1983 with The Mighty Crusaders #1. This incarnation of the Mighty Crusaders was different from its predecessor, on the basis that Fly-Man reverted his name to The Fly, and that The Web, Jaguar, and Lancelot Strong joined the team, along with a Wizard that's back to being a hero once again, and having a new member in Darkling. Their series would last over twice as long as the original series, but it had to endure some deaths from the first Black Hood, Lancelot Strong, and Darkling. Their story would end in Issue #13 on September 1985.
Impact Comics Incarnation
DC Comics then decided to give a shot at making their own version of Archie's Mighty Crusaders, after obtaining the licenses to the characters to publish them under the Impact Comics imprint. The notable difference is that the adjective "Mighty" was dropped, and were just simply named "The Crusaders". Unfortunately, they lasted only eight issues, from May 1992 with Issue #1, to December 1992 with Issue #8.
In this continuity it was stablished than previous to the present day incarnation, a previous iteration of the team called the American Crusaders existed and included members such as Captain Commando, Firefly Doc Strong, Black Witch and an earlier incarnation of the Shield. The present day team had to deal with the consecunces of the actions of the team disbanded in 1963 as a starting point to thier own adventures.
DC Comics Red Circle Incarnation
A second chance in DC Comics for the Mighty Crusaders came with the Red Circle line of comics, under the guidance of Michael J. Strazcinsky. This time the characters were integrated to the main DC universe and appeared as guest stars in different titles. The team was reunited in The Mighty Crusaders Special #1 - Full Circle in 2010. The story of the team would follow in The Mighty Crusaders (2010), until issue 6. With the New 52 reboot at DC the Red Cicle line was closed, with all their plots revealed.
This version of the team is reunited under the direction of the General Latham, the man behind the Epsilon Group and included The Shield, The Comet, the Web, Inferno, War Eagle and Flygirl . A second secret team, the Shadow Crusaders, were in charge to deal with more extreme measurements in undercover operations.
New Crusaders/Mighty Crusaders Incarnation
Returning to Archie and to recovering the original continuity than tied to the previous characters, a new generation of Crusaders debuted under the Rede Circle digital imprint from Archie. This time, a new generation of Crusaders, sons and daughters of the originals, who died tragically in a fight against the Brain Emperor, rised to fought against the old menaces and stand against the evil. Under the guidance of the Shield, the only surviving hero from the massacre, the New Crusaders included new versions of the Comet, the Jaguar, the Web, Steel Sterling, Fireball and Fly Girl, who was later rebranded as Firefly. However they would the early deaths of Fireball and the second Steel Sterling, but new members Victoria Adams (The Shield) and Darkling and a resurrected original Steel Sterling would joins their ranks, becoming with this the Mighty Crusaders again.
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