Thursday, January 16, 2014
"Say that you're bored."
As protectors of a city, being a hero requires a certain amount of investment and desire to save the day. When things are quiet though, they get bored just like the rest of us. Looking for action might not be the best choice, as Element and Chaos learn in Guardians #1. The issue is written by Todd Black and illustrated by Alex Garcia.
A bored Chaos and Element are palling around the rooftops, taking in the sights of a quiet town and waxing poetic on their lots as guardians. Delta City is full of people--some good and some bad---but the two of them are tasked with keeping an eye on all of them. The doldrums of being a superhero waiting for a gig are smashed when they encounter someone who has the power to manipulate the wind and poses quite a challenge. What they don't realize is that even their capabilities may not be enough to save the day.
First and foremost, Guardians #1 is very much a capes and tights book. The two characters are tasked with being guardians, but Black doesn't really give them much in the way of relaying that to the reader short of flat out talking about it amongst themselves. The dialogue is a little direct, not really letting the plot unfold without the characters holding the reader's hand to an extent.Secondly, the issue itself feels a little unevenly paced. Most of the issue just the two of them living a boring day, while the last few pages are them squaring off against a foe. It's extremely slow moving and then the pace picks up like a freight train, which makes the issue feel a little uneven. The story is interesting though, as the two heroes pose thoughtful, almost existential questions between the two of them about what it takes to be a superhero.
Garcia offers characters who display minimal physiology and kinetic energy, showing just enough to convey to the reader what's happening. The villain looks the most detailed of all three characters and Garcia chose to focus primarily on the two guardians and the antagonist. This gives the world they live in a sense that it's rather sparsely populated, which seems a little counterintuitive considering it's a metropolis. Garcia does some varying things in terms of dropping the characters in the settings; sometimes they look like they're cardboard cutouts, while other times they look like they're part of the scenery. There's an array of panel layouts that keep breaking up the action and keep things moving along.
Guardians #1 is aiming pretty big in terms of the questions it's raising. Superheroes often have a weight on their shoulders that comes with being a superhero and Black is very intrigued in exploring that idea. Garcia's art is consistent and has a sheen to it that works, even though the scenery is a little devoid of background activity. Still, it's an interesting premise that looks to be a capes and tights book but could delve deeper into the superhero psyche. Element and Chaos are a good pair and how they work together will make the read worth reading.
Guardians #1 is available now via Comixology and the Guardians website.