The Superteens of Riverdale face off with the Mighty Crusaders for the first time! But how? And more importantly, WHY? Your Major Spoilers review of Archie’s Superteens Vs. Crusaders #1 awaits!
Writer: Ian Flynn, David Williams, Gary Martin
Artist: Kelsey Shannon, David Williams, Gary Martin
Letterer: Jack Morelli
Editor: Victor Gorelick
Publisher: Archie Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20, 2018
Previously in Archie’s Superteens Vs. Crusaders: Both born out of the same superhero craze of the 1960s, the Mighty Crusaders and the Super-Teens (sometimes known as the United Three) couldn’t be more different. One team consists of super-powered versions of Riverdale’s friendly neighborhood teens, the other is a larger assortment of Golden and Silver Age heroes, many of which were dead serious super-types back in the metaphorical day. What could bring such different teams together for the first time?
Sometimes, a comic book comes out that you feel is aimed directly at you personally. This comic is one of those for me…
NEVER TRUST THE SUBSTITUTE TEACHER
This issue opens with a sight gag (the Riverdale four crossing Abbey Road to get to school) that immediately brought a smile to my face. It’s right in keeping with the camp 60s-Batman-era aesthetic of the original Superteens comics of the day, leading right into Jughead getting his comic book (a classic 1965 Mighty Crusaders #1 with a back-issue value of about $120 bucks in mint condition) confiscated by the new substitute teacher. The rest of the story rolls out of that moment, as the substitute is responsible for the threat that brings the Crusaders (or at least, one of them, in his classic look) together with Riverdale’s teenage superheroes. There are a few tweaks to the heroes’ looks in these pages, pulling them out of their respective years of creation, but thankfully Captain Hero is still himself (though his chest emblem gets a little bit of good-natured mockery.)
TONGUE FIRMLY IN CHEEK
I generally avoid advance looks wherever possible, but when this preview came from Archie, I had to jump on it immediately and this issue didn’t disappoint on most levels. The art is really lovely and very much in keeping with the 2015 Archie relaunch. The kids all look very realistic (although not photorealistic, thankfully, as Jughead’s sharp features can easily look horrifying that way) and the action is well-handled. The three-quarter page reveal of the first Crusader is also impressive, making me want a regular monthly comic with those heroes again. The only major downside of the issue comes in the pacing: By the time we actually get the characters positioned, it’s time for the cliffhanger ending. With this series being solicited as two issues, I can’t help but wonder if one double-size comic wouldn’t have worked better from a story consistency perspective. Of course, that would have probably meant double the price as well…
BOTTOM LINE: DEFINITELY LOOK FOR IT IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS!
Even with my complaints about where the series breaks, this makes for an exciting read with some nicely handled humor (a Power Rangers shout-out is particularly welcome, especially Jughead’s punchline) and very attractive art. Archie’s Superteens Vs. Crusaders #1 ends up being a better than average comic book, appealing to my memory of the Silver Age comics past but delivering something that feels like more than just nostalgia, setting up a crossover 50 years in the making, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I know that they are giving us a monthly Mighty Crusaders title, but if Archie Comics were to expand on its superhero properties the way it has been building the Archie Horror books, they could have another huge hit on their hands…