I've been critical of the Guardian Project and I don't really see that tend changing all that much as we near the NHL All Star game. Since the few heroes I profiled, five more have been released to varying degrees of success. The observant among you might note that I used the phrase "varying degrees" to indicate that they weren't uniform in their complete awfulness. They may also see that I actually used the word success to describe these next five Guardians as opposed to terrible. You see, The Flame... wait The Devil (every time I look at The Devil I see this Calgary Flames jersey, The Wild, and The Oiler were all uniformly terrible. I will give bonus points to the Wild for having Celestial Incinerators, something that sounds and looks cool, and ties into the subtleties of Minnesota's awesome logo.
But then yesterday we met The Lightning and today The Predator, two unoffensive and occasionally cool Guardians. These two recent heroes share several elements in common that I believe makes them far more successful attempts compared to their fugly brethren. The first major factor is that Marvel seemed to exercise restraint when it came to the appearance and powers of The Lightning and The Predator. They aren't burdened with crazy color patterns and skin tones or tacked on accessories and powers. Both Guardians are solid embodiments of the teams' themes.
The second major factor is that neither concept seems to tied up in a previous Marvel superhero. Sure electric based powers aren't original, but when you're giving powers to the Tampa Bay Lightning's Guardian it needs to be lightning/electricity or nothing. I admit to not knowing much about Tampa, but The Lightning sure looks like he could be right at home in Florida. My only gripe: his official description notes that he's supposed to look like a young teenager, I don't see it. Below you'll be able to see The Predator. Much of what I said about The Lightning and the concept tying in with team theme is applicable. I don't imagine a Preds fan would have guessed that our Guardian would be anything other than a muscled out version of Predators mascot Gnash. Obvious similarities between The Predator and X-Men villain Sabertooth or X-Man Beast, but seriously what are you going to do? Sabertooth... sabertooth tiger... Nashville's logo... Beast is catlike in the face and blue. I'm acknowlegding that the similarities are there, but I don't feel like those two inspired Marvel in the creation of a saber tooth weretiger.
Believe it or not, all the powers work really well for The Predator as well. His powers make sense, even the the radioactive plasma blasts. Fellow Predators blogger (though far cooler than I) and Cellblock 303 inmate Patten Fuqua put it best when he said, "as much grief as I've given the Guardian Project, the Predator doesn't suck, I mean a cat who shoots radioactive hairballs? Hell. Yes." How can you not love a giant metal cat that spits deadly hair balls. I guess licking his titanium fur causes some sort of displacement of ions that can be stored in some sort containment canister in his stomach until the blast is ready to be let loose.
Hey, anyone notice that we're 11 Guardians in and there are no women? I don't know if that's a reasonable expectation, but the NHL has traditionally had the greatest balance between male and female fans of all the major sports. They are also smarter, prettier, and way more dedicated to the sport than any other female sports base, though I may be biased.