Written by Rob Liefeld and David Gallaher
Drawn by Rob Liefeld
Published by Archie Comics
I feel obligated to start off this review with a bit of a background. The Shield is a superhero created back in the 1940’s, he’s actually considered the first “patriotic-themed” superhero, predating Captain America. The company that published the hero would later introduce the Archie characters which became much more popular, eventually leading to the publisher renaming itself Archie Comics, focusing more on publishing those iconic characters rather than superheroes. Over the decades Archie Comics would periodically attempt to revive The Shield and some of it’s other early superheroes in new series’ but they never seemed to stick. I’d heard of them but never read any of them.
In April it was announced that Rob Liefeld would be revamping the Archie Comics superheroes in a series of one-shots that he would write and draw, starting with a comic featuring The Shield. Even though I personally prefer when Rob works on his own creator-owned characters, I was intrigued enough to at least check out The Shield comic, if only to see him working on another patriotic-themed superhero following his previous work on Captain America and The Fighting American.
But then Rob got mad when some art was leaked, which he said spoiled a major plot-point of his Shield story, so he said he was quitting the whole project. Archie Comics later announced that they were taking the artwork that Rob had already completed and assigning writer David Gallaher to write a story and complete the issue. Rob didn’t seem to have a problem with this, and have even been promoting the release of this issue, which came out yesterday, on his social media. So how is it?
Well, not very good, in my opinion.
I went into this issue blind, as I said, I had no real knowledge about the history of The Shield or the other Archie Comics superheroes, and this issue doesn’t do much to rectify that.
The issue opens with a splash page of a The Shield, a caption says he’s William Higgins and he’s the “original” version of this hero, he’s an old but still tough-looking man. Then we’re quickly introduced to a group-shot of a bunch of other superheroes, the team named The Mighty Crusaders. Brief captions name each one with a brief description of what they do. They’re being lead by a female version of The Shield, a younger woman named Victoria Adams, she tells the other heroes that the older Shield is “displaced from our time” and traveling through time, which seems like a big deal but then that’s dropped as she then brings up a man named Joe Higgins, who is another version of The Shield. He’s the son of William Higgins. He’s sitting alone in some room, struggling with memories gaps, when a bunch of armed men burst into the window and attack him. He beats them all up in an extended multi-page fight sequence, and then we’re back with The Crusaders where the team have all voted to hunt down and kill Joe, for reasons which are not explained in this issue. The issue ends with “THE END?” complete with a question mark, so…is the story meant to continue in the next one-shot or not?
I can’t tell, and honestly don’t care. Nothing in this issue hooked me enough to make me want to pay to find out what happened next. I don’t know how much of the blame goes to David Gallaher, as I don’t know of Rob left behind any story notes with his art, or if Gallaher was just handed a bunch of artwork and told to write dialog for the pages, but the bottom line is that the finished product is uninspired. The art is fine, I always say that when it comes to Rob Liefeld you either like his art or you don’t, and if you don’t you wouldn’t be buying this book anyway, but if you do you’ll be satisfied with how it looks. But it’s not enough for me to be able to recommend this issue.