The Mighty Crusaders Vol. 1 – Ian Flynn, Kelsey Shannon, Ryan Jampole, Matt Herms & Jack Morelli (Dark Circle)

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It would seem, that despite having submerged myself in the comics universe for nearly four decades, that there are still superhero teams that I’m not only unfamiliar with, but know absolutely nothing about. The Crusaders are one of those teams.  The Archie Comics answer to the likes of the Avengers and the Justice League of America, the Mighty Crusaders made their debut during the mid-sixties, promptly disappeared after just over a year and then resurfaced during the eighties for another limited run under the stewardship of Archie’s Red Circle imprint before finally finding a home with DC in the early nineties and then vanishing again. It would appear that the team has had, until now, a rather unglamorous and mostly forgotten history, which is bit of a shame because as superhero teams go, the Crusaders are actually mighty fine.

Over the course of a four issue arc, Ian Flynn catapults the silver age costumed crusaders squarely into the digital age, devotes enough page space to each member of the team to ensure that they all feel like they’re fully rounded, dysfunctional, three dimensional characters who come complete with their own personal baggage and issues, throws them headlong into battle and sets up a number of potential nemeses that the Mighty Crusaders will no doubt have to deal with in the near future.  It’s the sort of Herculean task that would break any number of writers, but Flynn handles it with consummate ease and turns in an involving, gripping story that, along with fantastic silver age influenced art of Kelsey Shannon, immediately endears the team to the reader. Stylistically The Mighty Crusaders is reminiscent of Geoff Johns JSA and gallops straight out of the gate and into the imagination and even though the breakneck pace of the plot might leave you a little breathless at times, by the time you reach the final panel, you’ll be desperate for more. These Crusaders really are mighty… Tim Cundle

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