Guarding the Globe #1 Review
“What’s going on in the book reminds me of the end of Kurt Busiek’s run on the Avengers, where he had the team divided up, responding to multiple threats at any one time – a ‘realistic’ take on global threats not waiting for each other to play out before they begin – and comparisons with Marvel and DC super-hero books here is inevitable.”
As we open in North Carolina, the majority of the crew – Brit, Japanadroid, Kid Thor, Samson and Knockout – are taking on a bunch of rampaging Magmanite lava creatures. Leader, Brit, who’s a fair bit older than the typical super-hero, is more concerned about this making him late for an appointment with his son’s schoolteacher.
But the gang take the goons down and Brit calls their resident teleporter (who’s just got out of bed) and has her ‘port him into the schoolteacher’s office, joining his wife and son – where, once recovered from this entrance, the teacher informs the parents that their son has been diagnosed as autistic.
Meanwhile, two other Guardians – Best Tiger and Kaboomerang – are enjoying a night on the town in Hong Hong; Kaboomerang unaware that the underground club Best Tiger’s escorting him into is a Triad den. Besty’s brought ‘boomerang along to help him take them down!
While they go about that business, Brit’s gone to play catch and get a pep talk from another team-mate – Donald – but it’s not a great time for Don – who’s recently come to realize how much he’s lost since being transplanted into a cybernetic body – including his connection with his wife and son.
On the roof of the Guardians’ HQ, the team’s speedster, Outrun, and dog, Le Brusier, are smoking cigarettes and hanging out with their teammate the new Invincible (formerly Bulletproof). Invincible’s frowning on their unhealthy leisure activity, what with nicotine not being exactly the greatest thing for a Speedster–and y’know, a dog. This is cut short, though – as is his attempt to complain about the HQ’s food – when the whole team are called for a meeting. Here, the distinctly unrobotic-looking Robot brings the team up to speed on current happenings: including that Kaboomerang and Best Tiger have been successful in routing their Triads – who had been kidnapping people and shipping them to the Middle-East in exchange for heroin and cybernetic weaponry; and that the Guardians’ government overseers have been easing ex-teammate ‘reformed alcoholic’ El Chupacabra “slowly back into duty;” something Brit is less than crazy about.
But there’s more trouble on the horizon, in both Kuwait and North Korea, where two of the Guardians old foes appear to be up to no good.
I say “appear to be,” as someone who didn’t read the original Guarding the Globe mini-series. This isn’t the smoothest introduction. Living up to the implications of a book called ‘Guarding the Globe,’ we’re dealing with a lot of characters here, and more name-checks – both in and out of costume – and exposition would have been welcome.
What’s going on in the book reminds me of the end of Kurt Busiek’s run on the Avengers, where he had the team divided up, responding to multiple threats at any one time – a ‘realistic’ take on global threats not waiting for each other to play out before they begin – and comparisons with Marvel and DC super-hero books here is inevitable.
Released under Robert Kirkman’s Skybound imprint, Image’s Guarding the Globe is heavily influenced by the tropes of the ‘Big Two,’ from its ‘super group’ (in the rock band sense) set-up, to their shady government overseers, to the threats being taken on, to its very capable, traditional super-hero art style, courtesy of Todd Nauck.
Writer Phil Hester throws quite a lot at us in this first issue, grounding his characters with more ‘normal’ flaws and ticks than is commonplace in the world of tights and capes; but for me, there’s not enough ‘bringing-up-to-speed’ here for readers, like myself, who didn’t pick up the original series. For example, I assume Le Brusier’s talents extend beyond smoking cigarettes and that there’s a reason Robot is called ‘Robot’ despite this not being evident in his physical appearance – but am left wondering.
Also, Guarding the Globe is competing for the same buck as Marvel and DC, and despite its endearing character quirks, there’s not enough originality or ‘pop’ here to make me favor this over the Big Two’s output, and this first issue is missing the ‘special something’ that would make me want to follow these characters.
Geek Smash rating: 88/100
For more on Guarding The Globe and other great reads, check out Image Comics.
See Sam Johnson’s blog here: http://samjohnson-comics.