REVIEW: Guarding the Globe #1

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The Guardians of the Globe are back, but this time they didn’t bring Harry Potter! Phil Hester and Todd Nauck are given the reins of the Invincible spin-off series in this new ongoing from Skybound and Image Comics, and Major Spoilers gives it the twice-over!

GUARDING THE GLOBE #1
Writer: Phil Hester
Penciler and Inker: Todd Nauck
Colorist: John Rauch
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Cover: Todd Nauck and John Rauch
Publisher: Image Comics (Skybound Imprint)
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Guarding the Globe The Guardians of the Globe originated in Invincible as the team Omni-Man was a member of, and then murdered. They regrouped, drawing much of their membership from the Teen Team, and now–after having their own mini-series–they’ve fleshed out the roster and developed into a truly global group of guardians!

BEST TIGER ALWAYS HUNTING

Not only does this ongoing come from the previous Guarding the Globe mini, it also draws heavily from the Brit series, and of course from Invincible itself. I’ve only read the first trade of Brit, and that was really all the background that was necessary to have a cursory understanding of what was happening with him in this issue. There’s nothing in the issue that required knowing these characters beforehand, but you would have a better appreciation of what’s happening.

While the primary story of this issue is Brit-related, it does a good job of jumping around and showing us different members of the Guardians. While previous incarnations of the Guardians have had a tendency to be less global and more centered around America, Phil Hester is doing a great job of showing that this team is all over the world. The issue opens in the USA, then goes to Hong Kong, Kuwait and North Korea. The team also features a diverse (and very large) roster, and Hester does a great job of keeping a Kirkman-esque sense of fun and humor to the dialogue and situations.

The biggest concern about a book with such a large roster is how the characters will be handled. We’ve seen the giant team done successfully before (the Justice League Unlimited TV series is a great example, and I’ve also enjoyed Young Justice’s roster expansion), but it’s very easy to lose characters in the shuffle. This issue gives many members at least a brief nod, but I’m concerned that Hester may fall into making this too much of a Brit book and not enough of a team book.

BEST TODD NAUCK ALWAYS DRAWING

When I heard that Skybound was launching a new Guarding the Globe ongoing, and that the creative team was going to be Phil Hester and Todd Nauck, I was a little hesitant. I love Phil Hester’s art (Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow was part of what got me into comics, and Hester did the art on that) and he did a good job of salvaging the train wreck that was J. Michael Straczynski’s Wonder Woman, which showed me that the guy can write, and more importantly he can write based off someone else’s outlines, since I would imagine Kirkman is having a firm hand in the plotting of this series.

What I was most concerned about was Todd Nauck. I sort of liked Todd Nauck’s work on the Young Justice comics, and I haven’t been too fond of his other work, but I was willing to give him a try–after all, I couldn’t stand Mark Bagley’s work on Ultimate Spider-Man at first, but grew to absolutely love it over time. In this first issue of Guarding the Globe, Nauck does an admirable job. I wonder if part of the reason I didn’t like his work on Young Justice as much might have been related to Lary Stucker’s inks; in this issue Nauck is inking himself, and while the way he does eyes still doesn’t quite sit right with me, his body proportions and the small details have improved considerably.

Also worth mentioning is John Rauch’s work on colors. He’s the same colorist that’s currently doing Invincible, and having the two books be colored by the same person is a nice touch that helps bring a sense of continuity to the titles. I don’t often pay enough attention to the colors to comment on them in reviews, but it was actually noticeable that the same palette was being used.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH PICKING UP FOR INVINCIBLE FANS

I don’t think I’d pick this up if I wasn’t already a fan of Invincible, but if you are a fan of the adventures of Mark Grayson I recommend this. If you tend to be a trade-waiter for Invincible, there really isn’t anything in this series (so far) that would spoil anything that hasn’t already been on a cover of Invincible, so you could pick this up as a monthly and get your Invinci-verse fix! Hester’s writing is off to a good start, and hopefully he’ll be able to avoid the potholes inherent to a large team title. Nauck’s pencils and inks have developed, and I look forward to seeing how he continues to improve as an artist. Overall this title gets 3.5/5 stars from me, and it absolutely has a place on my pull list!

Rating: ★★★½☆