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Northern Guard # 2 – Review

Short Version

The action and adventure continues right where the last issue left off as Nanook rescues her counterpart's boyfriend Johnny Canuck. Afterwards Johnny and the rest of the Guardians race the clock to stop the Red Rogue before he finishes his plans that rendered the world without electricity or any sort.

Long Version

The beginning of the issue really is used to wrap up things from the first issue as Nanook quickly saves the injured Johnny. He wakes up in a hospital with Commander Steele standing over his bed chewing him out. Johnny is a national treasure as he may be the only person to be able to reverse the effects of the black out (The event that left the world without electricity). After a while Anne (Nanook) and Johnny are left alone to share a personal moment. Johnny's brain never turns off though and they quickly return to talking about the case. He can't help but wonder who the man in red they saw was. Luckily for them Anne's other half Nanook can see everyone's spirit selves and knows the man to be the Red Rogue aka Dimitri Tomkin. Tomkin is responsible for the black out and was believed to be dead.

Northern Guard 2Canuck is up and out of his bed immediately even though he was just shot several hours before. He has to warn the Prime Minister and President that Tomkin is alive and help launch an assault to stop him. Meanwhile, Tomkin the Red Rogue is already launching an attack of his own. He and his men are  attacking a Canadian military base to take several aircrafts so that he can head to New York. Johnny and the Guardians are several hours behind them as they finally figure out what may be Tomkin's plan.

The thing about this issue is that it breaks up the action with a lot of dialog between the characters. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you do not want to learn about the characters in the story you may not like this. It does make the pacing a bit strange as well, but nothing that harms the book or makes it difficult to read. You may just find yourself expecting something to happen sooner than it actually does.

The writers Ty Templeton and Sam Agro do a decent job of keeping the story interesting while sprinkling in action. Their dialog is not always the best at times, but their attempts at banter are usually pretty good. I will say that they put way to much importance on Johnny's character. There are better ways of showing his importance rather than having other characters point out the fact. Johnny is definitely the most flush out character, but at times he comes off a bit goofy and childish. The writers also do a good job with Anne and Nanook by making them act and talk like two different people. There's also a great scene with two soldiers talking about how lucky they've been since the blackout just moments before the base is attack and they're killed. You'll literally find yourself disappointed by the fact that they didn't make it out of there to see their families again and that's some powerful writing. The writers also do a good job of making the book feel like G.I. Joe which is pretty cool.

The art is interesting. It's very detailed at times mostly when it comes to the characters, then at other times backgrounds will be rather flat and boring. Especially when it comes to the skyline, sometimes there's nothing there but color. I can understand there being nothing but snow, but then add some clouds some varying terrain to the background. Otherwise artist David Cutler does a great job on the book. His style matches the action and sci-fi/superhero feel of the book. Also he really puts a great amount of detail into the characters no matter their role in the book. Each fight is extremely detailed with even the "red shirts" having a unique look and distinct facial expressions.

Overall this book is just a solid fun read. The story is actually pretty interesting but the amount of characters the book has makes it hard to focus on the plot. It becomes who's that and what are their powers rather than this is the story we're telling. I will say I like that the book doesn't pull any punches and actually goes for the kill. There are a lot of soldier deaths in the book from both sides. If you're looking for solid story with an interesting cast of characters then I'd say check out Northern Guard and see if it's for you, after all it's the only all Canadian book on the market.

Story – 8.0
Plot – 8.0
Characters – 7.5
Pencils – 8.0
Colors – 8.3
Overall – 8.0

I actually read the first issue when it came out as well and you can find my quick thoughts of it in Buy, Read, Pass Indie Edition.


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