Archie Heroes to Have an Impact

So everyone's reported the addition of both the Archie and Milestone heroes to DC's mainstream stable, I'm guessing as part of Final Crisis' resolution. I see this as a good thing, despite the fact that there are already tons of characters vying for attention already.Look at the Charlton heroes integrated after the first Crisis. Can you imagine the DC Universe of the last couple decades without them? Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, the Question. These a pretty big names, and in some cases, legacies, even if they never quite made it to A-list status. (As for Peacemaker and Peter Cannon - Thunderbolt, well, not everyone makes it in this business.)

I didn't buy a lot of Milestone comics, unfortunately. The line came out around the time everyone was kick starting new superhero universes and while I sampled most, I couldn't begin to collect them all - Image, Malibu's Protectors, the Ultraverse, Valiant, Impact, Milestone, Dark Horse's Comics' Greatest World, etc. I liked the look and feel of Milestone's books and liked Hardware especially, but my cash flow couldn't sustain them all.

I have most of Impact Comics' output however (incluing their loose-leaf Who's Who). This was DC's first attempt at using the heroes from Archie Comics, reimagined for a new generation and in their own isolated universe of books. Though not excellent, they were at least competent, with some fairly big names attached to some of them, which could probably make them bargain bin favorites.

But DC isn't bringing back the Impact versions, instead sticking closer to the actual Archie heroes. But why not? All week: Reasons why and why not.

Background: The original Archie Shield used chemicals to enhance his strength and invulnerability, became an FBI agent and was the first superhero to wrap himself in the flag. Joined by an eventual boy sidekick, Dusty. When Archie relaunched its superheroes line as Mighty/Radio Comics (he was not part of the Red Circle relaunch), the Shield's son continued in the role, this time thanks to powers from a special suit. [The Absorbascon has more information.]

Revamp Method: Legacy.

Why Keep the Impact Shield?
1. It was based in current affairs
This Shield (Joe Higgins) was a government agent sent on black ops missions that reflected the real world's political climate, and in that sense had that Suicide Squad aura about it. Granted, the star-spangled suit didn't make those ops all that black. Nothing like invading Middle Eastern countries dressed as a symbol the terrorists hate to keep the region stable.

2. Fathers
The Shield's father was the Impact equivalent of Captain Atom's General Eiling, ruthlessly manipulating our hero (his son) behind the scenes. When the Shield went AWOL, a new Shield was named (Michael Barnes), who was married and had a young daughter. These relationships brought an interesting dynamic to the book, added to its realism, though perhaps at the same time being at odds with the "youth market" the Impact line was trying to tap into.

3. Legacy hero
DC is all about legacy heroes! In the Shield's case, they made a point of keeping an echo of the Golden Age Shield's continuity, with him AND Dusty showing up. Just the fact that Joe also got replaced over the course of the short series and the homage to the Golden Age's "Shield G-Man Club" (with kids running around in the Shield's colors) really showed writer/penciller Grant Miehm's reverence for the original material.

Why NOT Keep the Impact Shield?
Just one reason springs to mind:

1. The ponytail
It was the 1990s. What do you want from us?

Tomorrow: Everyone's favorite, I think (thanks to Mike Parobeck) - The Fly!


Sea-of-Green said...

The Shield is okay -- but, yes, the character I'm most looking foward to is the Fly. Isn't everybody? :-)

Thomas said...

Hey now, Peacemaker is doing just fine over in the Blue Beetle book. Just because he lost the helmet doesn't mean he's out of the business.

Siskoid said...

About as well as Nightshade, I suppose.

Still not the presence of a (former) Justice League member and/or legacy hero.

Matthew E said...

I was just going to say the same thing about Peacemaker that dreadful rauw did.

Also, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt has, as I understand it, reverted back to his original creator now because DC stopped using him. Or something like that.

mwb said...

Yeah, I've heard about this and it will be interesting to see.

Using the JSA model is most definitely the way to go.

hiikeeba said...

Can't wait to see your take on The Fly. I enjoyed Mike Parobeck's run on the title. Too bad he was taken so early. He was one of the best artists.

Diabolu Frank said...

I like Mike Parobeck, but never the Fly. My favorite of the !mpact line was Bill Loebs' Jaguar.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for commenting on (almost) all the Archie entries, Frank! It's nice to hear from someone who actually took an interest in the originals.

Diabolu Frank said...

Yeah-- all my Fly comments got tied up in other books...


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