Review by Frank Plowright
Although now appearing under the legacy title of The Mighty Crusaders, this is essentially the same batch of second generation youngsters introduced in The New Crusaders, but Ian Flynn has tinkered slightly. He’s moved forward in time, accentuating the teenage personalities and providing some greater focus. It’s handled nicely, via a debrief meeting between those running the team, the field leader unhappy with what she’s being provided with and some attitudes, a variation on the sports club coach having to mould a team around the players provided by management. It’s one of several good ideas Flynn has about team dynamics as he drags the Crusaders back from young adult territory into more general superheroics.
It’s obvious from the foreshadowing and the planning that Flynn was setting The Mighty Crusaders up for the long term, and premature cancellation meant that not everything introduced is completed here. Don’t be put off. The four primary chapters here are good, and greatly enlivened by Kelsey Shannon’s cartooning. He broadly follows the style of the New Crusaders, but is a better artist, having an eye for effective page designs and an emotional range to his cartooning.
That’s very apparent when Shannon’s work is compared to the pages supplied by Alitha Martinez in this collection’s bonus material. These are for a story originally intended as a continuation of the New Crusaders series, and also written by Flynn. It’s nowhere near as effective as the main feature, and while both have a throw them into the deep end view with regard to legacy and characters, it’s far more effectively handled over the newer story.
It’s inevitably damning with faint praise to note this as the best Mighty Crusaders there’s been, as the standard of the competition is appallingly low. It’s not intended as insulting, however, as this is very readable and offered a hope for the future absent from those previous incarnations.