ADVANCE REVIEW! Guarding the Globe #4 will come out on March 9, 2011
There seem to be two schools of thought in the superhero genre. Some writers consciously avoid the tropes of the genre, whether it’s to cleverly subvert them or because they’re secretly ashamed to be writing superhero comics. Others, however, gleefully embrace what they’re doing and work within their confines, and if they’re any good, they produce work that stands above the piffle without simultaneously throwing the genre under the bus.
Nothing necessarily wrong with either, but Guarding the Globe is of the latter school, and I’m bummed that it took me this long to get into it. A spinoff of Invincible (which, shamefully, I’ve never read), Guarding the Globe follows a Justice League-like team called the Guardians of the Globe, who are in the midst of a big recruitment drive to give the organization a Justice League International flavor. Meanwhile, the supervillains are putting together their own team, The Order. If you know your 21st century comics history, you actually already know how this ends: The Order gets cancelled after 10 issues.
Guarding the Globe is the kind of comic that the mainstream doesn’t publish anymore, and the kind that people who complain about the state of superhero comics should be reading. It’s a six-issue miniseries with an overarching plot, but each issue is also self-contained. So you can pick up #4 and get a decent idea of what’s been going on while getting a done-in-one superhero story. This is more true of previous issues — this is the one where the Order begins staging its assault — but it’s no less accessible than the earlier ones.
Robert “Robert Kirkman” Kirkman and Benito “Tales from the Bully Pulpit, Hector Plasm, The Tick: New Series” Cereno script a comic that’s got superheroes kicking things, but also has character development and emotional beats. The characters that have been in previous issues never feel like types, and even the guys in suits who manage the team feel developed. With co-writing duties from Cereno, who’s never not funny, the book also has a nice streak of humor running through it.
So, in other words, Guarding the Globe is the new Justice League International. In other other words, this has the makings to be my new favorite superhero comic.
And, unlike the beloved Invincible, which is infamous for its excessive violence (I haven’t followed the book, but I hear things), Guarding the Globe is the sort of comic you can enjoy as a superhero-obsessed adult and the kind you can give to a 12-year-old without being afraid of going to jail.
Do me a favor, Internet: buy lots of copies of Guarding the Globe so it justifies its own ongoing. I want to read as much about these characters as possible.