Monday, October 12, 2015

Review - The Shield #1 (@DrkCircleComics)


"You are Victoria Adams. You are the Shield. You have always been the Shield. And now you have been reborn."

Fighting for one's country is considered to be one of the highest honors by many. Few get the opportunity to do it and even fewer get the opportunity to do it across eras that span decades. Wolverine and Captain America immediately come to mind as doing so. The Shield #1 from Dark Circle Comics wants to add another character to that list. The issue is written by Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig, illustrated by Drew Johnson, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Rachel Deering.

Since the dawn of the republic, whenever her country faces its blackest days, she returns: a spirit of the revolution sent to fight for what is right. But when she reappears for the first time in a generation with no memories—not even of her own identity—and encounters an evil force expecting her arrival, all the Shield can do is…run!

The power of revolution is the encouragement it provides to the revolutionaries and is something that The Shield #1 taps into. Christopher and Wendig introduce readers to a character named Victoria Adams shrouded in mystery, but seemingly full of lore. There's a lot of mystery wrapped around the main character and her seemingly endless revival as a modern (at the time) patriot, but the details are a little light on what she's doing in the present and why someone is after her. It's likely that more will be revealed in the next issue, but as it stands at the end of the first one there are definitely more questions than answers. What is made clear is the fact that Victoria clearly has special abilities (beyond the constant resurrections) that make her a formidable friend or foe.

For a book about being on the run, Johnson does a pretty admirable job of keeping up. Victoria is rendered in multiple states of motion throughout--running, climbing, jumping, rolling--all of which gives the book a frenetic feel. The panel layouts seem to maintain this energy as well, starting off relatively clean and organized before descending into an organized chaos of stacks and insets. There's a great two-page spread that highlights Victoria's history as the Shield as well, serving as one of the few moments when the book seems to take a breath. Many of the colors in the book are darker, but Fitzpatrick uses them effectively as a means of conveying Washington, DC, at night.

The Shield #1 wears its patriotic undertones on its sleeve, offering them in a way that works with the overarching tone of the property itself. Victoria is full of questions about herself and her role in this day and age, questions that will likely be answered in future issues of the book. Christopher and Wendig rush through the first issue of The Shield, giving the reader little time to keep up with the fast pace of its events. The artwork by Johnson is great at capturing Victoria's spirit of rebellion and persistence. The Shield #1 has a lot of answers to offer readers down the road, but at the very least they should be intriguing responses.

The Shield #1 hits stores October 21.

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