Sometimes a book is improved by its inclusion in a shared universe. While I like Eric Trautmann's writing, I wasn't sure if I'd dig The Shield. It turns out that the book is actually pretty decent. The core idea is a strong one. The Shield is a moral, upstanding member of the American military, and he uses all his resources (both personal and the military's) to do what is right. He doesn't like killing, he believes America can help, and he does his best. Most of the military heroes we get these days are almost bad guys, so the Shield is a welcome change. Trautmann does a nice job with his powers too. There is a great sense that the military was smart about this experimental nanotech. In the second issue, when a villain tries to dominate the Shield's mind, his suit takes over and starts busting heads, since the suit is programmed to keep itself out of enemy hands. It's a neat idea. It could end up being over-used if the programming gets him out of every problem, but on a limited basis it is a great example of competence from the supporting cast.
The excellent use of the shared universe comes in with the use of Magog. As a military character, his appearance makes sense. But rather than having the two heroes get along, Trautmann plays up a competition of toughness and efficiency. These two would actually be great leads for a buddy book, at least as they are portrayed here. The surprise villain is a nice get too. This guy is in a lot of comics but using him like this instills a more dangerous feel on this DCU mainstay.
Marco Rudy does a serviceable job on art. He's not fantastic, but his storytelling is clear and his rendition of the big villain is downright chilling.
The Inferno by Brandon Jerwa and Greg Scott is starting to "heat up" a bit, but I'm still not very interested in what's going on. The shadowy group as villains is sort of played out. I'm not too concerned for Inferno either. I mean, he's going to be on the run, and that sucks for him, but I don't really think he's in danger of getting killed. He took on Green Arrow and Black Canary and came out on top, so he's pretty darn tough.