Sunday, March 27, 2005

Review: Guardian #1

I had read this book rather hurriedly when I first picked it up because I wanted to read it before driving back home. And really it kinda hurt the book to do that. After I got home I read it again to take in everything the way it was meant to be.

So the new Guardian is Jake Jordan, a former cop and he's a mascot for an Enquirer-style newspaper in Manhatten. Of course, this being the DC Universe, "Enquirer" isn't all that outrageous. Space-monsters and four-headed freaks are bound to be real in this reality.

The concept is a great one and Morrison adapts Jack Kirby's original character ideas into a more modern vessel. He even makes the Newsboy Legion practical! And useful!! Kirby would be proud.

I was expecting more of a cartoonish look from Cameron Stewart, who I loved on CATWOMAN a while back and who's also just recently worked with Morrison on SEAGUY. His art in GUARDIAN is not only surprising but incredible.

I must also say that I really like the Guardian's outfit as it's actually more of a uniform than a traditional costume. It sorta reminds me of Judge Dredd's look. And for this character it works.

I was a bit bothered by how the pirates in the story call each other by their names constantly. Of course they're pirates, I can't blame them for over-acting.

As the story progressed I saw more of Morrison's great skill of getting you to like characters by showing just the right amount of information. And Jake's life and problems became more real.

The "interview" was predictable and I'm sure Morrison expected that from the readers as the importance wasn't on the outcome as much as it was on Jake's reactions to it. The Golem fight gave a bit more insight into Jake's personality, as well.

Reading this story it didn't seem like it was anything above standard comic storytelling. Until about page seventeen or eighteen. The introduction of the car and the costume was part of it but what really clenched it was the appearance of the Newsboy. It kinda hit me as part GLOBAL FREQUENCY and part Silver Age comics. That's when I realized it. When the kid's giving his bike to the hero to help him get the bad guys. It was a sense of community. Something that was prevailant in the Silver Age but replaced with reclusion and loner vigilantism in the '80s and '90s. That's when I stepped back for a second and took a look at what I was reading from a different perspective.

GUARDIAN is a modern day telling of an old Golden Age and Silver Age archetype- the People's Hero. Someone that you can root for.

Although I found the ending to feel a bit "staged" as it just happened to involve his family it also left me with questions and suspicions. There's a part of me that thinks his father is part of the Newsboys (or was).

Guess I'll have to wait until next issue to find out.

For more info about Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, check out my continually updated feature.

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