Home > DC Comics > Red Circle: The Shield #1

Red Circle: The Shield #1

August 30, 2009

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: The Shield

How Joe Higgins became the Shield – and what does he have to do with the other Red Circle heroes?

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Scott McDaniel
Inks: Andy Owens
Last Page Art: Tom Derenick & Bill Sienkiewicz
Colors: Tom Chu
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Jesus Saiz
Publisher: DC Comics

The Red Circle closes with the introduction of the Shield. Lt. Joe Higgins, a soldier stationed in Afghanistan, is nearly killed while trying to save one of his comrades. His injuries are so severe his only chance at survival is to undergo a process that will transform him from being an American fighting machine to the greatest American fighting machine.

I’ve always felt the Shield is undervalued in comic history. True, Captain America is the greatest flag-draped superhero of them all, but most people tend to forget that the original Shield was the first, so while there are similarities between his tale and Cap’s, you can hardly call him a rip-off. The twist in this incarnation of the Shield is a pretty clever one, something that sets the new Joe Higgins apart from any of the characters who have used this name in the past, while still keeping him as a spiritual successor. There’s also plenty left unresolved, plenty to build on in the new ongoing series, which is nice to see. This is a worthy version of a classic character… and I will admit, I’m glad to see his uniform, unlike the other Red Circle heroes, remained relatively unchanged. It’s just too classic to start mucking around with.

Scott McDaniel does the art here, and he does okay. While he’s certainly more suited for a book like this one than the cosmic stuff he dabbles in from time to time, something about his Shield looks a little off – he’s kind of squat, almost squished, and that’s just weird to me. It looked a little bit too funky.

It’s a good launch for the character, and it ties off this month of one-shots pretty well. I’ll be anxious to see what the new creators do when the ongoing series launches soon.

Rating: 8/10

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