So, we’re back with another review!
This week, I’m reviewing Guardian Heroes #1, published by Astounding Comics. (I’m going to talk about them in a minute.) This is written by Kevin Grevioux (who’s also the publisher), penciled by Leonel Castellani and inked by Eduardo Lemos (with assists on the inks by Mauro Vargas). This was colored by Javier Tartaglia, lettered by Simon Bowland, and edited by Vince Moore.
As always, I rate these by Prince songs. It’s a simple, three-song system: Adore means to buy it; Beautiful Strange means take it or leave it; and When Doves Cry means don’t buy it.
Okay, for those of you who don’t know Kevin Grevioux is both a writer and an actor. He wrote the first Underworld movie, and he acted in it, too. (He was the werewolf Raze.) I’m expecting a good story.
I’m actually writing part of this review as I read the comic, and it goes from bad to worse. It’s terrible. The only ones who seems to have done their jobs are the penciler and inkers. Everyone else should be fired.
The story: God has intervened, sending angels to have superheroes of the world go mentor and protect the next generation of heroes from the forces of darkness.
Like most first issues, this is all setup. It’s actually overkill. There are nine children to protect. So, there’s at least that many heroes and villains, plus the leaders of Good and Evil. You also get a shot of the kids in their grown-up, superheroic phase. So, basically, there are over 40 characters in this book, with the clumsiest of introductions for most of them.
I’m going to spend some time talking about the writing.
In natural conversation, you say a person’s name very rarely. You know whom you’re talking to. Here, everyone calls everyone else by name, and while I understand the need to name the characters for the readers, it’s very clumsy.
There also seem to be missing bits of dialogue. When the heroes are transported from their various locations from around the world and transported to Mount Ararat, there’s some missing dialogue when they’re meeting the angels for the first time. Missing dialogue seems to have happened a couple of times in this book.
Then there’s some artwork that doesn’t seem to make sense. One of the villains goes to “protect” a child being bullied on the playground. The villain is then pulled underground by a hero, and the child goes to look in the hole created, but behind the child, the hero and villain seem to be fighting in the sky. I don’t understand it.
So, while the story could have been interesting, it’s marred by extremely amateurish mistakes and dialogue that is very blunt at times. One of the heroes actually asks if they’re to be the “Guardian Heroes” of the children…
The art is decent, if cartoony. I wouldn’t have picked this artist for this project. I would have gone more realistic because of the subject matter. Clean lines are fine, but this is also just way too slick, even when talking about the creatures of Chaos (here, used as a euphemism for Hell). There are some anatomy issues here and there, as well as some storytelling issues where I couldn’t quite tell what was supposed to be going on, but the art in no way saves this book.
The inkers I’m not impressed with, either. Again, too slick. Part of the inker’s job is to fix anatomy issues when they see them, not just to trace the line that’s there. Fix the anatomy, push the figures into their respective planes, and add texture. There’s very little texture here.
The colorist doesn’t escape, either. If there is one trick that I hate, it’s lens flare. You see it very often with new colorists, because they’re enamored with them. While they’re soft and diffuse in this book, they’re still there, and still very much overused. Restraint is the colorist’s best weapon. That’s not much in evidence here.
After all that, you’d think the letterer would know how to do their job. Survey says: BZZZT! I’m not blaming them for the missing words. I blame the writer and editor for that. No, the letterer here played with the font size in order to make dialogue fit in a balloon in order to not cover artwork. That’s a no-no. Either find a better place for it, cover the art, or—I don’t know—make all of the words a uniform size. If you have to go down a point because there’s “too much” dialogue to fit in a balloon, then take everything down a point. At least in this way, it won’t stick out like a sore thumb when the book is read.
Also, the word balloons need more air at times. There are times when the words are cramped by the edge of the balloon. That’s another no-no.
All of the mistakes, though, can be laid at the editor’s feet. Bad dialogue? The editor is supposed to help the writer with that. Mistakes in art? The editor is supposed to say something about that and have it fixed. Colorist going overboard? The editor is supposed to reign them in. Bad lettering? The editor is supposed to say what they want and have it fixed.
I did happen to check out the website of Astounding Comics. It says “coming soon”, with an image of the heroes of the comic, and a copyright notice on the bottom. It says from 2011. That could possibly mean that this site has been sitting there, like this, for almost four years. It’s sad.
In all, this is just a sad comic. Intriguing idea, with an execution that fails on every level. And this, coming from a writer who had a movie produced and sequels made from his idea. He could afford to do better.
Final Verdict: When Doves Cry