Monday, February 28, 2011

Rayboy's Review: The Northern Guard #2 (Moonstone)

Thanks to Tommy Hancock over at Moonstone, I got an early look at another interesting title from their fine stable of books.

It's 2029 and most of the world has been without electricity for a year due to the actions of a renegade Russian scientist named Dimitri Tomkin, who attempted to render all nuclear stockpiles inert using updated Tesla technology. Tomkin’s alias is based on a heroic golden age character from Canada called The Red Rogue. The powerful energy beam that was unleashed worldwide did not effect nuclear material at all, but the conductivity of Earth’s metals was rendered inert.

A sole surviving zone, five hundred miles wide and three thousand miles long, stretching from Siberia across Alaska to Long Island, New York retains electricity. At the time of this great blackout, some people (and animals) inside this zone received bizarre abilities and many have organized under the leadership of genius scientist, Johnny Canuck as The Northern Guard.

Issue #2 is written by Ty Templeton (w/Sam Agro) and illustrated by David J. Cutler, whose art-style suits an all-ages sensibility. The story is both fun and well paced. Having not seen the previous issue, I’m not sure who all of the characters are by name, but there are a couple of standouts. Inuit goddess, Nanook Iluak is both powerful and somewhat at odds with the human woman she shares her form with. As Anne Knight, she is the romantic interest of Johnny Canuck, and there is a set-up for a romantic triangle with another hero called Freelance. He seems determined to put the moves on Nanook, despite the tension this creates with the other members of the team.

It is heavily suggested that Dimitri Tomkin’s (aka The Red Rogue) current efforts are in response to guilt over his previous actions, making him much more than a simple one-note villain. As a bonus feature, this issue includes a neat golden age reprint of the original Red Rogue.

If much of what passes for big universe heroics leaves you a bit cold these days, give The Northern Guard #2 a try. It is produced very much in the spirit of old school superheroics and that ain't a bad thing. Recommended!


Scott said...

So that's where Ty Templeton has been keeping himself!

cash_gorman said...

I looked at the first issue. Most of the characters are names of Golden-Age characters from Canada and I almost got it solely for the back-up reprint. But, the reprint also verified, these are pretty much JUST the names and not the actual golden-age characters themselves. Such as the Red Rogue. He was originally fashioned a bit after the fashion of Johnston McCully's and Frank Packard's rogue heroes: Men who fought crime but also to show up the police and thus often considered outlaws. Definitely not a renegade Russian Scientist.

Usually not a fan of superheroes set in the near future either. The book did at least make me stop and consider buying it though, most comics don't make it that far these days.