GREATEST HITS: Meet Crusader

At this year’s New York Comic Con, Vertigo announced its first superhero team book since Grant Morrison’s seminal “The Invisibles” ended in 2000. The six-issue miniseries “Greatest Hits” - written by David Tischman (“American Century,” “Bite Club”) with art by Glenn Fabry (“Hellblazer,” “Preacher”) - features The Mates, a British-bred league of justice who may bring to mind a certain other Fab Four.

“They are not The Beatles. But they hold a place in the zeitgeist that The Beatles had for us. There is no one else like The Beatles - and that’s who The Mates are,” Tischman told CBR News back in April.

With “Greatest Hits” #1 now in stores, CBR News is profiling one Mate a week through to the release of “Greatest Hits” #2, on sale October 15. Why do we need five parts to profile a team of four? Check out the series.

Series writer David Tischman spoke with us last week about Solicitor, the self-taught crime fighter and ass-kicking Olympic-level gymnast and boxer, who most closely resembles a John Lennon archetype. Tischman joins us again this week, this time to discuss The Mate known as Crusader.

CBR: What is Crusader’s superpower?

David Tischman: Super-strong and near-invulnerable, with superior and enhanced senses -- but he can’t fly. Drop him out of an airplane, and he’ll sink like a sotne. He’s always been a little self-conscious of that. Crusader believes that the power he wields makes him the protector of those in need. He’s a good guy/cheerleader, in the vein of Captain America.

What is Crusader’s secret origin or how did he acquire said superpower?

Crusader’s father was in the British army, during World War II. Allied scientists performed experiments on him, hoping to find a chemical injection that would create a “Super Soldier.” These experiments failed, but the abilities surfaced in his offspring, when Crusader was born. Crusader’s sense of responsibility may be amplified by the fact that his mother had several miscarriages before and after his birth. He is an only child. His powers manifested early, and he was trained by his father to be a soldier for the Queen. In a sense, being a super-hero is the only thing he’s ever known.

What Beatle does Crusader most resemble? And why?

Crusader -- with that big smile -- is the one the girls fancy most. And he knows it. Without a Linda-like figure in his life to keep him stable, Crusader takes every girl who throws herself at him. He’s the dark side of Paul.

What is Crusader’s super-vice?

Other than his strong libido, Crusader enjoys a good Tom Collins. With a super-metabolism, his tolerance is pretty high. And he likes to be the center of attention. As the Mates become famous, he becomes more conscious of the Union Jack on his costume, and how he represents his country around the world. His military side -- and the ease in which he follows government authority -- also becomes deeper and more obvious. In the early ‘70s, Crusader goes on several Black Ops missions into Laos for the U.S. government. He’ll say he did these secret missions in exchange for leniency when Zipper was arrested on drug charges (and that his actions kept Zipper from being deported). But the truth is, Crusader bought into the “spectre of Communism” and would have done the job anyway. His belief in the “System” and in maintaining the “Status Quo” puts him in conflict with the Solicitor.

What do you love most about writing Crusader?

His unwavering sense of self, and his belief that what he is doing is right. This is a guy who always looks straight ahead, confident that he is making the right decision. I spend so much time looking to both sides, I don’t go half as far. In his heart, Crusader knows the Mates are special -- he tries so hard, and it breaks his heart that he isn’t able to keep them together. He considers that his only failure in life.

What do you love most about how Glenn Fabry draws him?

The mustache.

And finally, what’s one thing you can tell us about Crusader that will give us some insight into who we are dealing with?

Crusader is a good guy, and he knows it -- and it lets him walk a grey area line for himself. In other words, he’s always fighting for the little guy, so if somebody wants to give him a free plane ticket to Jamaica for the weekend, he’s all for it. He’s like a street cop who abuses the free coffee at a diner on his beat. As he gets older, he turns his desire to do good into philanthropic work around the world. This is a guy who gives away millions of free Malaria nets to children in Africa, but wants a blow job from the pretty girl in charge of the effort.

“Greatest Hits” #1 is in stores now. “Greatest Hits” #2 is due in stores October 15 from Vertigo.

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