Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Global Guardians #1 - Who's Who?

Back last year, I had some great fun - okay, some of it wasn't that great - looking back over two incarnations of the Justice League, specifically the much derided Justice League Detroit and the mostly forgotten but should be remembered and derided a bit more Jurgens League.

While I was wondering where to go next, commenter Jeremy Patterson wrote:

"How about instead of looking at another League, let's try to focus on some of the 'lesser light' superteams of the DCU, either:


*  A look at one of DC's two attempts at revamping the MLJ heroes: The early 1990s Impact Comics or the 2009-2010 attempt to integrate them into the DCU. (With 'New Crusaders' coming in 2012, it is time to take a look at the subject!).


*  Or at the many attempts to give focus to the Global Guardians, as the Global Guardians seemed to have never existed at all in the DCnU, so it is intriguing to see what went wrong with the G.G.!"

Having never read any of the Impact / Red Circle comics, I decided to go with Jeremy's second suggestion and take a look at the Global Guardians.

Please . . . try to contain your excitement.

First things first, let's have some background, shall we?

Click to enlargenate
Although the team appeared several years before the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths it was in the pages of Super Friends, the spin-off comic from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series and thus not in continuity . . . though what the heck "in continuity" means these days since the New 52 is anybody's guess. It was in DC Comics Presents #46 that some of the team, called the Global Guardians for the first time, appeared, making that their canonical (at least until they appear again post-Flashpoint) arrival in the DCU.

A super team with members from across the globe, they were decidedly less America-centric than the Justice League. The Middle East, Europe, South and Central America, the Antipodes, Africa and the Far East were all represented with the only American being Owlwoman. Tellingly, she was a Native American. The team was headed by the mystic Dr Mist, an immortal African who "appeared briefly in Chapter 18 of Wisdom's Daughter by H. Rider Haggard" according to the Who's Who entry above.

Moonlighting as a literary character was no guarantee of bigger success, however, and when the rest of the DCU was running round fighting the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis, the Global Guardians had just a brief cameo or two. In his couple of appearances in Crisis... Rising Sun takes second billing to the then-newly created Dr. Light though he does get to defend Japan in the final throes of the conflict as seen to the right. At the same time, Godiva and Jack O'Lantern team up to save Dublin while Thunderlord works with Thunder and Lightning in Vietnam.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at such a small showing in such a large event. The team was relatively new and little known at the time (at least in terms of the pre-Crisis continuity) so there was no real reason for them to have a bigger part in the story. And as I mentioned last year, if the Justice League itself was a bit-player in the biggest event ever to hit the DCU, what chance did the Guardians have?

To round off this introductory note, I'll make quick mention of the team's appearance in the companion book to both Crisis... and Who's Who, the two part History of the DC Universe.

After the Crisis was over Harbinger told the story of what the world and the rest of the DCU was like now that the Multiverse had never existed. While she admits to concentrating on the Northern American heroes, the Guardians get a nice one page look in, listing all the heroes shown in the Who's Who spread along with adding in Red Star, representing Russia.

All these write ups and rosters, however, didn't really matter. The days of the Global Guardians as a team of heroes sanctioned by the United Nations were numbered as in just over a year's time, they would be replaced by another, better known team.

Tune in next week to find out who it was (as if you didn't know already) and what happened to the Guardians afterwards.

7 comments:

  1. One little thing: both The Seraph and Jack O' Lantern featured in a rotating back-up series in Super Friends circa 1979/80. I felt ENB tapped right into the Silver Age with these guys and I wish they had been part of James Robinson's Justice League. I think he's the one modern-day writer who could have made them vital and contemporary.

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    Replies
    1. I wasn't really a fan of Robinson's League; I just hope he does a lot better with Earth-2.

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  2. Oh and !mpact's Fly by Mike Parobeck is one of my favourite comics of the 90s. Delightful. The Comet began very well and had a great, simple look. It all went wrong very quickly, unfortunately.

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  3. I'm looking forward to this series, Gary, I always liked the GG (apart from Jack O'IRA). Given that ENB occasionally tied the Super Friends into the regular DCU, I always considered their stories canon, and so the GG tales were official too.

    Bring on the Leymen!

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    Replies
    1. I admit my decision to not deal with the Super Friends series is simply because I don't have the comics!

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  4. I sent some letters to DC regarding the future of the Global Guardians, mostly to 'DC Universe Presents', but also to other DC titles and even to 'All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold'!

    Jeremy

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    Replies
    1. Awesome - let us know if they respond!

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