Last year Archie Comics through their Red Circle imprint released a new series featuring some familiar characters from the Mighty Crusaders team who originally appeared in the 1940s. DC Comics had attempted to release updated comics in the early 90s under the Impact line which was my first introduction to the characters.
With NEW CRUSADERS, you don't need to worry about any previous history. The series starts out, it's a time of peace. The heroes had virtually put a stop to the villains. Of course if the six-issue series continued at this pace, it wouldn't make a compelling series. In the opening pages, we are introduced to all the characters along with their family and offspring. Through a series of events, the unthinkable occurs and it's time for the next generation to take on the mantle their parents brandished.
Ian Flynn does a great job in establishing the characters and world. With tiny mentions of cities like Riverdale, Red Circle and Impact City, it's little touches like this remind you of the history and fact that they are in a bigger world.
Ben Bates' art is immediately welcoming. Combined with Matt Herms' colors, there is a pleasant look to the story and it almost makes you feel like this is pure innocent superhero fun.
Let's be clear that this is not exactly an innocent story. There are some scenes of violence. Don't assume that this is along the lines of other Archie comics. We have superhero-fights and we also see people dying.
The violence is an odd thing. In many ways, it does seem like a fun and innocent comic that readers of all ages could enjoy. As you can probably guess, the reason we're seeing the next generation take on the mantles is because of many deaths. There is also some scenes of people getting shot and so forth. The scenes aren't graphic by any means. But something parents should be aware of.
While we do get a good introduction to the new characters, there are some moments of stereotypical behavior. It's not unbearable by any means. But you might find yourself rolling your eyes a couple times.
NEW CRUSADERS is a fun book. It was first released digitally last May and then was released in print last September. There is a new volume beginning this May so this trade paperback collecting the first six issues is a nice package. There might be some minor scenes of violence but we get a great introduction to some new characters following in the footsteps of previously existing characters. Readers looking for something new without a multitude of connecting series tied to it can easily jump right in. It also makes a great read for a someone looking to get started reading comics.
Thoughts from a 9-year-old
But don't take my word for it. Here's what my nine-year-old daughter, L'il G-Girl, had to say about the series:
I saw this comic book on our counter and I picked it up because it had a very interesting cover. I began to read it and was immediately sucked in to the world of the New Crusaders. After I read the first few pages I felt like I had known the members for many years. The characters all looked really cool and I liked the details of the battle.
The story kept me guessing and I always felt very curious about what was going to happen next. I was happy that I didn't have to wait for the next issue since it was all in one book. I don't think I would have been able to wait for the next issue to come out.
Some people die in the story but it wasn't scary and didn't show the actual death. I felt a little surprised the way the sixth issue ended but I know from experience that things usually get better in comics. People come back or are reborn in comics. I was disappointed that there wasn't a seventh issue but I am glad that there will be another volume. I can't wait for the next story.