- Writer: Todd Black
- Artist: Alex Garcia
- Publisher: Black Magic Wolf Productions
- Release Date: 10-28-15
Guardians is a new indie title by Todd Black and Alex Garcia, focusing on the exploits of two artificially created superheroes, Chaos and Elemental, as they defend their city against various villains and criminals. In the previous issue, the Guardians are beginning to be upstaged by a newcomer, Captain Delta, who is a Superman archetype. At the same time, the city has been rocked by a series of explosions. While slow to trust this newcomer, Elemental spies something that to him shows that the Captain is a fraudulent hero and needs to be confronted. What is this supposed fraud? Is Captain Delta behind the explosions?
The confrontation is interesting; Captain Delta is actually well meaning in his intentions, but events in his past has him going out of the way to save the day at the last second to be more splashy, even if it means potentially putting people at risk. His backstory is actually kind of tragic, and you will want to sympathize with him. The reactions the Guardians have seem to be a bit overly blunt, but Chaos provides the classic pep speech to help raise the young man’s spirits. While interesting to look into the new hero’s psyche, the two main characters then come off as looking like overly brusque jerks with an axe to grind with the newcomer. Black’s dialogue can be a bit overly wordy, thankfully without being overly florid. However, the wordiness makes the dialogue sometimes sound awkward, and a bit clumsy. The rest of the story is pretty much by the numbers, leaving the moments with Captain Delta to be the more interesting parts of the issue. It seems that Captain Delta is upstaging the Guardians far more than just in the eyes of the city’s public.
The art also suffers from this stiffness. The action poses aren’t as fluid as they could be, and sometimes the faces look very awkward. However, Garcia captures Captain Delta’s emotions very well; when he flies for the first time in the flashback, you can’t help to feel his joy. The action scenes are well choreographed, with plenty of pyrotechnics provided by the bomber who has been bedeviling the Guardians for two issues. While Elemental’s powers are easily clear cut, I was more confused by Chaos’ abilities, not easily discerning what they were meant to be. At times, the proportions and foreshadowing are off, but by the time of the action packed sequence towards the end, these flaws are ironed out for a smooth and crisp image. The coloring is by far the standout, wonderfully vivid and well suited for superheroics. The Guardians sometimes look a little squished, and the faces may get scrunched, but the art is in the end enjoyable.
Guardians is an interesting book. While still a cookie cutter superhero book, it manages to eke out a major moment of looking into a hero’s psyche, and make us sympathize with a character that we’d normally find obnoxious. In contrast, the Guardians themselves look a bit by-the-numbers and bland compared to the hero they feel is a fraud. In the end, Garcia’s art elevates the plot into something interesting, and leaving us on a cliffhanger makes us wonder what will happen to all three of our heroes.
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