In recent Invincible reviews, I have talked about how that book has become more about the universe instead of Mark Grayson. My concerns seem to have been answered with the release of Guarding the Globe #1; a book set in the Invincible universe that is full of the characters that we have come to love.
Phil Hester digs his feet into the Invincible universe fast with Guarding. It’s full of the supporting cast of characters who have been popping up in the main title for a few years. What is a real surprise is how little super hero work goes on in this book. The majority of this issue is about establishing these characters and how Hester will be writing them. Invincible was always meant to be a “back to basics” superhero book. and Guarding feels like that for a team book. The characters are flawed, and face problems that can’t be fixed by punching. It’s not a revolutionary story, but it is still interesting. The balance of drama/comedy/super hero fighting is great, and is a big point in the win column. Many comic writers struggle to jump back and forth between these different styles, but Hester makes it look easy. They switch up organically, benefiting the characters instead of the story. It seems as if Britt is going to be the reader’s window into this book, as his story takes up the most pages. But every hero has enough room to talk and make sure the reader knows who they are. I didn’t read the mini-series Guardians of the Globe, so a few of these characters were new to me. But Hester has a way of writing them that makes them feel as if they have been around for ages.
Guarding the Globe could fix a lot of the problems that I have been having with Invincible. Not to say the book is bad, but it’s been sad to not see Mark Grayson in the forefront of the book anymore. He has to split time between the Guardians of the Globe, the Robot/Monster Girl story, and the rest of the Grayson family. This book gives Invincible some breathing room story wise. But Guarding doesn’t feel as if it was created so Robert Kirkman could have more pages, but has its own agenda. That’s one of the big problems in comics these days; making comics to piggyback on a higher selling series. After reading Guarding the Globe #1, my worries have been set aside for a while, but they aren’t gone for good.
Todd Nauck has been a comic staple for years. His artwork is consistently great and he never falls behind when it comes to deadlines. That great reputation continues with Guarding. Facial expressions could use some help, as different people have the same expression when talking in different tones. The same could be said with the look of some characters as well. Characters like Britt stand out, but the woman don’t fare as well. It doesn’t distract from an otherwise great issue, but something worth noting. Nauck switches between big action and quiet moments without missing a beat. With the Invincible universe being back to basics, Nauck’s artwork fits this mission statement better than most artists. The pencils have a classic look to them that is always appealing to a reader.
Guarding the Globe #1 gets 4/5.