by Todd Black and Alex Garcia
Guardians #2, from Todd Black and Alex Garcia, is an issue putting the heroes of this city face to face with their first real foe. The guardians, a pair of super powered brothers, have come to protect Delta City from the rising crime. In a response to the pleas of the people, the pair were created and made to protect them. As this man named Tempest descends upon Delta City, the brothers realize that he is not like the criminals with whom they have been battling. Instead, something new faces them, and they must adapt in order to survive.
The story of the two brothers touches on some core elements of story telling in this genre. These individuals are not like the people they protect. Despite such a core difference, they stand by and protect them because it is their purpose. Element and Chaos approach their roles quite differently. It is in their very likeness, in how they are drawn, that the two are quite starkly different. The sun-tanned, blonde-haired hero known as Element longs for human interaction. Chaos, pale, black-haired and stoic, remains steadfast in their purpose as protectors and nothing more. The difference in desire to interact with the people makes for some interesting dialogue and curious points about such alien beings and how their involvement may better or worsen their purpose.
As they are threatened by Tempest, the wind-powered man, the brothers decide they must finally interact in order to better their chances at victory. Though the moment is a good one in plot, forcing them to become involved, the matter in which the decision is made struggles a bit. This is often the case in the story. Black has many great ideas and often times they deal with visiting familiar territory that previous superhero stories will have covered. He approaches some of these story elements refelctively. Often times, though, the way in which the sequences flow detract from the statements he attempts to make. In addition, the issue is dampened by the dialogue. At times the lines feel like plot service, and others simply fall flat.
There is an uncertainty Black’s intentions in the series thus far. The book feels like it is written by someone with a love for Silver Age stories. There is an attempt at capturing that type of story structure and dialogue in this book, but it falls closer to derivative than homage. There is certainly a sense of concept here that shows signs of promise. But much of the make up of Guardians is unoriginal. Mixed with some problems in the finished product with typographical errors, the issue gets in its own way.
Alex Garcia is the only credited individual related to the art of the book. Chua Eng Chee is noted as the penciler on the #0 issue. However, his name is not credited in more recent issues. In fact, there is no credited penciler to the series after its prelude story. Garcia’s coloring is decent, though basic. There visual storytelling in Guardians is serviceable. There are some well rendered pages at times in the series, but readers will rarely find themselves spending much time with the individual panels. Ultimately, that is the case with much of Guardians #2. Black and Garcia may have something in mind, but they have some hurdles to overcome in order to capture an audience with their story.