Shield #3

Written by Eric Trautmann and Brandon Jerwa
Pencils by Marco Rudy, Eduardo Pansica, and Greg Scott
Inks by Mick Gray, Eber Ferreira, and Greg Scott
40 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I’ll admit it, after the lackluster The Red Circle mini-series, I was ready to write off the newly-licensed group of characters owned by Archie Comics. After three issues of The Shield, though, I find myself glad that I gave it another chance. The lure to get me to read some more was due to Eric Trautmann as writer than anything else, and Trautmann has not disappointed. He’s using The Shield as a book about a military man in a world of super-heroes, and it’s something that works far better than it should. His missions are orders from the higher-up, and his methods are slightly different than what you normally see from super-heroes.

At the same time, Trautmann makes sure not to fall into an obvious trap, and does his best to keep the character likable. (I’m not sure what it says about society today that it seems almost expected to have a military character in comics end up unlikable.) Add in some beautiful art by Marco Rudy and Mick Gray (plus an assist by Eduardo Pansica and Eber Ferreira), and this has turned into a well-crafted and entertaining book. Even the parade of DC Universe guest-stars moving through the title hasn’t annoyed me like I’d feared; Trautmann’s done a good job of picking the right characters to appear here.

Even the second feature starring Inferno by Brandon Jerwa and Greg Scott is working out better than I’d have thought. Inferno was the most nebulous concept from The Red Circle mini-series, but Jerwa uses that to his advantage—think The Fugitive with amnesia—to create a conspiracy thriller. This is actually the issue where it’s finally clicked into place for me; Scott’s moody art (which I loved on Gotham Central) makes the Neutralizers sufficiently creepy, and the ever-moving target of the main character is starting to turn out some good stories even with the shorter page count. If you’d been turned off of The Shield from The Red Circle, go on and give it another chance. It’s an enjoyable, solid book.

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