Thursday, 23 June 2016
The Original Shield #1 (Archie/1984)
The Original Shield #1 (Archie Adventure Series/ 1984)
Various (w) & (a)
The Shield was the first superhero to appear in a US flag themed outfit, predating Captain America by nearly a year having first appeared in Pep Comics #1 in 1939 (cover dated Jan 1940). Like Captain America , the Shield ended up "frozen", though this time as a statue by the Eraser who had been hired by the mob to get rid of this troublesome hero.
In the eighties Archie were once again reviving their super-hero line and this time there were two, not one Shields. In order to differentiate when he got his own book it had to be called The Original Shield.
As in the forties Joe Higgins (the Shield's civilian identity) worked for the FBI and this relaunch saw a retelling of his origin over several issues as the Shield sets out to confront foes new and old meeting old friends along the way.
As a result of a confrontation with a villain called Boroff our man becomes aware of three mechanical men( or robots to use modern parlance) that he had confronted on his very first mission as a superhero. perceiving them as a threat Joe accompanies his boss Lisa Carvin to New York where these machines are due to be put on display.
While Joe Higgins sleeps on the plane he dreams of his origin from being a child witnessing his father's death and getting help from Edgar J Hoover to gain his revenge as a g-man. As a scientist he makes a suit that enhances his physical prowess and becomes the Shield.
The original origin of the Shield appeared in Shield/Wizard Comics #1 (1940).
The next issue continues the story where we learn of his gaining a sidekick in the form of Dusty and marrying Ellie, having a son and being trapped by the Eraser.
Sadly this comic only lasted 4 issues, the last two not being in my collection so how this all pans out will have to wait until I come across a copy. The story is quite passable for the era it was written in as was the art but annoyingly varied the artist from chapter to chapter.
Archies attempts at rebuilding it's superhero line in the eighties did not succeed.
Today's re-launch sees a completely different Shield in it's Dark Circle line but their tardiness in releasing this and other comics in their range does not bode well for their future despite much higher production values than in the past.
Oh and the new Shield is a woman......