Twilight Guardian is a story told completely in interior monologue about a woman who fancies herself the guardian of “a nine block area between Sandusky and Aurora Drive”, as she says. “If you belong to the forces of injustice, don’t bring your evil ways here. Not on my watch.”
The entire story in this comic is told from the standpoint of this unnamed young woman. All we really know about this woman is that she works in a dry cleaner’s shop “in her civilian identity”, as she puts it, and that she has a single-minded devotion to the cause of keeping the peace in her small sliver of a city.
We see the woman preparing for her nightly patrols and witness a couple. Nothing much ever happens on her patrols — the most mysterious event might be a man sitting outside a closed Burger King for 40 minutes — but that just makes the story so much more intriguing.
Of course, the real drama of this story lies in its implications. Who is this woman and why is she so obsessed with crime? We know that she has a collection of 22,000 comic books, but have the comics really influenced her so deeply that she feels compelled to put on a bodystocking and hoodie to become a superheroine? We also know that she has a mother who cares about her: was there some tragic event in this woman’s life that motivated her to take up this bizarre obsession?
Obsession is definitely the word for what the woman is experiencing. Her evening ritual is firm and unchanging in its rigor and intensity. Every evening she spends time preparing for that night’s patrol. Each patrol must be different from that of the night before, because the forces of evil learn to expect patterns. Then some TV time to learn from TV detectives. Then lastly a read of a great old comic. Then on comes the mask and costume, and off she goes.
I really enjoyed Reza’s art in this comic. He does a wonderful job of conveying the slowness and dullness of this woman’s life, and really brings an interesting sort of poignancy to this odd woman’s story.
This comic is the opposite of most super-hero books. Nothing ever really happens in the story. It all happens inside the very small, insular world of a very strange young woman. And for that reason, I found it absolutely compelling. Troy Hickman does a wonderful job of making a very small story seem quite compelling. I don’t know how this might read if Twilight Guardian becomes a regular series, but as a standalone comic, this is wonderful.