Archie Comics’ Dark Circle imprint continues to revive long-forgotten Golden Age properties with The Shield #1, which sees this Captain America-style hero replaced with a different kind of lead and some more modern ideas on heroism. But can this American Icon’s new title fight the good fight on the shelves, or this one book which is just too revolutionary to succeed?
Publisher: Archie Comics/ Dark Circle Comics
Writer: Adam Christopher, Chuck Wendig
Artist: Drew Johnson (Artist), Rachel Deering (Letterer), Kelly Fitzpatrick (Colorist), David Williams (Cover Artist)
Price: £2.49/$3.99 from ComiXology
The Shield #1 tells the story of Victoria Adams, a young woman who discovers her unique skills, abilities and penchant for saving people is more than just idealistic nature. When arrested for assaulting a purse-snatcher, Victoria’s life becomes more complicated as government agents turn their attention to her, though maybe for shadier reasons than they let on. Therefore, with the help of a cop who seems to know more than she’s letting on, Victoria makes her escape and begins her journey to discover that she is the Shield, a superhuman reincarnation who has existed countless times throughout the centuries to fight the good fight.
Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig take the reins of this classic character, who pre-dated Captain America, however unlike other Dark Circle Books like The Fox or Chapter House Comics ‘ Captain Canuck, this version is more of an original creation than a simple update, with not only a different name, but a different gender too. Fortunately this gender shift has no direct bearing on the story as Christopher and Wendig deliver a truly entertaining and captivating read from cover to cover, drawing in readers with a fantastic, high-paced story. With an intriguing opening, The Shield #1 has the reader asking more and more questions as it progresses, some of which are left hanging by the issue’s end.
The concept too is a fantastic change of pace, especially compared to the other recent Dark Circle Comics releases like The Black Hood. The replacement of the protagonist to a female character is remarkably refreshing and the creative team never write her in cliche or as anything but a heroic character. Victoria Adams’ character in this first issue could be said to imbue a lot of qualities similar to the recent Captain Marvel comics in that she appears strong willed and willing to put the safety of others before all else. As a result of this depiction, she already feels like a well rounded, well-liked superhero which makes us want to read more.
The art from Drew Johnson does a solid job within this issue and, while not groundbreaking, does look incredibly detailed and feels very grounded and doesn’t rely on flamboyant colours to make it feel more ‘super’. That said, there are still panels, such as Victoria climbing a wall in a Spider-man like pose or her standing in front of an Washington monument, which do well to maintain the super-heroic aspects of both the title and the character and mean the whole book should appeal to any fans of the Big Two looking for a super alternative.