New Crusaders #1

I was really impressed with the first New Crusaders miniseries. While some of the stuff the Brain Emperor did I found disturbing in a all-ages comic, the key word is still all-ages so it might not be for really young kids, but later kids, teens, and adults can all find something in it.  (And I think Brain Emperor was supposed to be disturbing.) There was a good balance of heroism, fun, and drama and I enjoyed reading it, something I sadly don’t get as often from a superhero comic made recently.

I was looking over Comic Shop News #1346 as I go through the pile of letters and newsletters that have vexed me lately and the feature article centers on the upcoming next arc, Dark Tomorrow. And while I have been fooled before by DC and Marvel interviews, this one feels more like somebody understands why I read superhero comics.

Mention the Red Circle heroes and many readers think of those veteran characters from the Golden & Silver Ages. Those characters aren’t the stars of New Crusaders, however–the emphasis is on the “new”. “These are the next generation, the kids and protégés of the original heroes:, writer Ian Flynn told CSN. “This is the story of how the new kids learn of the legacies they’ve been born into, and how they deal with it.”

At a time where new writers and editors will get rid of legacy heroes they didn’t grow up with that’s already a bold move. I’m not sure they had to kill off or jail so many of the old heroes but seeing the new ones learn how to be heroes allows for continuity to remain but still keep things fresh and new. And it’s not me saying that, but I fully agree with it.

Why go with the next generation of heroes rather than the original characters? “This is the kind of reboot we were all interested in seeing as fans of the medium–a story that was able to start fresh while still keeping seventy years of continuity intact” (Executive Director of Editorial Paul) Kaminski explained. “We’ve got a great appreciation for those classic Red Circle comics, most of which predate the heroes of Marvel and DC Comics.

New Crusaders: Rise of the Heroes showed us that those heroes from the 40’s, 50’s, and beyond still existed–they had simply retired and had kids by this point. The New Crusaders are born out of them so we can effectively reinvent the Red Circle pantheon without losing all that came before. New readers don’t need to know a thing. Veteran readers will definitely pick up on nuances  and nods but the story is about the new characters…..as Ian has put it, ‘their journey is the reader’s journey’.”

Sure they get their butts handed to them in the next page, but that still looks cool

Sure they get their butts handed to them in the next page, but that still looks cool

Some may balk at killing off the old heroes to make room for the new ones, but they went down fighting, and not like chumps, allowing their kids to escape to become their successors. There’s also an “out” as there were no bodies. They were “vaporized”, which could just mean they were teleported. It could turn out they’re alive after all if someone decides to go that route.

There have been attempts to reinvent the old characters. DC had the “Impact Comics” line and later attempted to add some Red Circle characters to the main universe; both attempts went nowhere. Some years ago, I remember seeing Crusader origin stories in the pages of Sonic The Hedgehog, which I thought was an attempt to bring the superheroes back. I think this is the best way to go about it, and there are plans to do more with the original characters through flashback stories like the upcoming Legacy special (with a combination of new and classic names in the business and a cover by Jerry Ordway) and digital reprints, plus possibly returning some of the original characters. The article linked to in the previous sentence mentions The Fox getting a title written by Mark Waid with Dean Haspel on art duties., thus expanding Red Circle’s family of titles. If indeed they’re bringing the returning Red Circle imprint out slowly this might be a good idea. The relaunched Valiant titles did the same thing and it does make it easier for consumers to add a new universe to their limited comic budgets.

The new miniseries will see the kids adjust to their new lives, including the start of high school. But with a title like “Dark Tomorrow” and already dealing with the loss of their parents (or in the new Jaguar’s case her mentor) and one of their friends can their lives ever really be normal? Ian Flynn has already proven himself to me with his Sonic and Mega Man runs as well as the first miniseries, easily making him one of my favorite new comic writers. I’m looking forward to more from Red Circle. Hopefully they remember what DC seems to have forgotten, that superhero stories can be fun while still having drama. At any rate, they know how to mix continuity with keeping things fresh, something anti-continuity people seem to believe is impossible. Perhaps Red Circle will prove them wrong or just be an exception to the rule. All I know is I’m excited about superhero titles not written by Dan Jurgens again and that makes me happy.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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