It Was Murder, She Said!
Episode 1 of The Guardians of Justice begins with the start of World War III in 1947. In this alt-historical world, an alien showed up and saved humanity from certain doom. Destroying our weapons and forcing humans to stop fighting in a single day, Marvelous Man is here to save us all. World peace appears possible… but forces conspire in the background to try and stop him.
We then fast forward to the eagerly awaited Marvelous Man Day, with the big hero due to give a speech in front of the whole world. Only, he’s clearly suffering from depression.
After keeping humanity safe for four decades, Marvelous Man decides to escape his fate, using a gun with a caltronite bullet and shooting himself live on TV. Caltronite happens to be the only weakness he has and as Marvelous Man passes away, The Speed (another hero) rushes over to see what this means for them.
Marvelous Man’s partner, Laura Louis, is convinced that her husband has been murdered. There’s no way he’d do this, and the only person able to try and get to the bottom of this is Knight Hawk. He connects with the rest of the Guardians, determined to assume control of them for now and make sure the planet stays protected no matter what.
The President of the US, Nicholas E. Nukem, gives an address on TV and promises to prevent the world from being consumed by nuclear war. Obviously with a name like Nukem, that’s easier said than done.
Anyway, Knight Hawk is well aware of this threat and urges the team to work together and continue fighting the good fight across the planet. This includes *checks notes* stopping cyborg dinosaurs with guns on their back.
However, their broadcast is interrupted by Adison Walker, who runs a private military group funded by a few dozen corporations. She points out that Marvelous Man was actually working on stopping nuclear war, and with the world on the brink of destruction, she wants Hawk to investigate the Guardians themselves, given one among them could be responsible.
As the episode closes out, we cut to a gnarly crime scene down an alleyway, with numerous bodies killed and placed in the shape of a smiley face. Uh oh.
The Episode Review
After the failed experiment of Jupiter’s Legacy, Netflix return with another superhero show, this time in the form of a hybrid animation/ live-action romp.
Whether this is supposed to be a campy, cheesy satire remains to be seen but it certainly hits those beats. The trouble is, there’s nothing particularly clever or original here.
There are elements of both Watchmen and Invincible blended in with the aesthetic of live-action Cowboy Bebop and a tone that can’t quite make up its mind what sort of show this wants to be.
However, it’s still early days yet and there’s plenty of time for this to change going forward but this superhero series gets off to a rather wobbly start.