The first issue of the new monthly "Invincible" spin-off series, "Guarding the Globe," introduces readers to the Guardians of the Globe team, a band of superpowered costumed characters brought together to fight the kind of random bad guys that pop up across the globe. With a potential cast in the dozens, writer Phil Hester focuses mainly on team leader, Brit, and his troubles at home as well as with the team. But there is also subplot involving Best Tiger that's setting things up for the next issue. Along with a couple of scenes meant to show the cast together in the same place, the first issue has a distracted feeling. There are lots of elements laid out there, many of which are sure to be played out in the months ahead, but there's no focus to the issue to give the reader a strong grasp of why this title or this cast of characters is something worth reading about. Issue #1 is a collection of scenes that sort of set things up to introduce characters or future plot lines.
Todd Nauck's art looks like you'd expect it to, but with one big change. He's inking himself now, though I wonder how much of it is pen and ink versus computer inking. There are backgrounds that look like unfinished pencil work, waiting for an inker to come and vary the line weights enough to make it look like more than a light wireframe drawing. It's particularly pronounced with the classic establishing shot of The Pentagon, where the lines don't look finished. You can almost see the different tones in the lines depending on how hard Nauck pressed on his 2B as he was drawing all the windows on the building, rather than a clean finished look.
The lines around the characters in the foregrounds look strong, though some of the color holds (where the black lines are replaced with a color) are distracting and unevenly applied. Colorist John Rauch's style and palette fit perfectly with this book, as he also works on "Invincible," but this technique needs some honing.
There's great potential in this series. In the text page at the end of the book, Robert Kirkman discusses how each issue will shine the spotlight on a different character. That's a great idea, but I hope the focus is even tighter than in this first issue. It might create some potential new fan favorites while expanding the scope of the "Invincible" universe. As the creative team finds its rhythm and masters its techniques, the qualms expressed in this review should be easy to overcome.