Paris is in ruins. Set and the Order have already destroyed it, so what can the Guardians do about it, when they fly in with all the bravado they can muster? Where do they get all that bravado, anyway? There’s a speedster, an angel, some guys who are good at throwing things, a tiny robot, a plastic man… without the Yeti their powerhouses don’t stack up well to the Order’s versions.
It all rests on the attitude of Brit, I suppose; he’s a pretty kick-ass guy, a crusty old pro who doesn’t intimidate easily, and demands a lot from his team. They keep disappointing him, but it’s a kind of neat twist when he makes the only significant blow to Set, by the simple expedient of ripping off his helmet.
The surprising result is confusing at first, because the script asks for something comics aren’t meant to do. The result freezes everyone in their tracks, literally, allowing the villain to rail about the injustice of it all to a paralyzed audience. It’s a result somewhere between horrific and goofy, made moreso since we can’t really tell the difference between the frozen shots of everyone and the action ones, since this is a comic book, where every image is already by definition static.
The wrap-up of all the other plots (even Chupacabra’s many failures seem small compared to the complete demise of Paris – Kirkman is not a fan of several major cities, it seems: he’s also destroyed Las Vegas and nearly New York, if I recall his other titles correctly) seem anticlimactic. The biggest problem, aside from the uneven art, is one of scale. If the heroes are this easily outclassed and ineffective, why should they even bother going on?
The most heartwarming part of the issue is when Brit goes to a dismissed teammate, and makes his day by revealing a loophole that will allow him to rejoin. Anka sells Yeti’s childish enthusiasm (he has the personality of the turtle from Finding Nemo) and even throws in a cozy familial setting.
The rest of the cast however is large and indistinct, not really going that far past their generic super-team role models. The team fits into the same world as Invincible, but that comic has so many more fresh takes on the superhero biz that come out of the strong cast of characters. Mark’s family is full of distinct individuals, something we don’t have time for in this villain showcase. The infrequency of publication may have added to my impression of major shifts in tone from issue to issue.
If Set is going to be their major foe, I’m not sure how much more Guarding the Globe we’ll need. They were more interesting fighting among themselves. While this is clearly Kirkman’s take on the super-team component of his established fictive world, it’s been a hit or miss affair.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.