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Guardian
Guardianjh.jpg
The Guardian by Steve Rude
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Star-Spangled Comics #7
(April, 1942)
Created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon
In-story information
Alter ego James Jacob "Jim" Harper
Species Human
Place of origin Earth
Team affiliations Science Police
Project Cadmus
All-Star Squadron
Newsboy Legion
Abilities The Harper clone has exceptional strength, speed and a healing factor, plus an indestructible shield.

Guardian (James Jacob "Jim" Harper) is a comic book fictional character, a DC Comics superhero, created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. He first appeared in Star Spangled Comics #7 (April 1942).[1] Guardian resembles an earlier Kirby and Simon character Captain America (first published in March 1941 by Marvel Comics) in that he had no super powers and carried an indestructible shield.

Contents

Jim Harper

Jim Harper was a police officer in Metropolis' Suicide Slum who became a vigilante to catch crooks that the law couldn't prosecute, describing himself as guarding society from criminals. He was aided by a group of boys known as the Newsboy Legion, to whom he was, literally, a guardian. The Legion grew up to become the heads of the Cadmus Project, subsequently saving Harper's life by transferring his mind from his old, dying body into a clone of himself when he was younger.[1]

It was later revealed that Jim Harper was the great-uncle of Roy Harper, who became Green Arrow's sidekick under the name of "Speedy".[2]

Other relatives include his niece Roberta "Famous Bobby" Harper, who was briefly a member of the second Newsboy Legion [3] and Jamie Harper, an African-American grandniece working for the Gotham City Police Department. She worked as Robin's personal contact in the GCPD, similar to the role Commissioner James Gordon plays for Batman.[4]. After helping Robin and Jason Bard expose two dirty cops in the GCPD, Jamie Harper was promoted to Detective Specialist and has since transferred to the Metropolis Science Police.[5]

Golden Guardian

In Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #135 (January 1971), Jack Kirby reintroduced the boys of the now grown-up Newsboy Legion as supporting characters connected with the DNA Project (later Project Cadmus), a genetics research laboratory. One of the Project's experiments was a clone of the late Jim Harper, who took up his predecessor's role, and became the Project's Head of Security as the Golden Guardian. Post-Crisis this character was simply known as the Guardian.

Harper remained Cadmus' Head of Security even after the former Newsboys had left. Eventually, he too was killed, although another clone was created and rapidly aged to adulthood, retaining all his predecessor's memories. This Guardian disappeared along with the rest of Cadmus following an altercation with Amanda Waller and President Luthor, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Post-Infinite Crisis

Following Infinite Crisis, the Guardian clone's backstory was retconned. As Dubbilex explained to Jimmy Olsen, Jim Harper was not killed in the line of duty, but shot by Cadmus's first head of security, Jonathan Drew, upon discovering the clone was already being created.

It was also revealed that the original Guardian clone had left Cadmus early on, and was now living in the town of Warpath on the Mexican border, where he assisted Sheriff Greg Saunders. Subsequent appearances of the Guardian had been new clones, each of which died within a year.[6]

The original Guardian clone has decided to move to Metropolis with Gwen, his adopted daughter (in fact, an adolescent female clone of himself that he rescued), during the New Krypton storyline.[7]

Science Police team leaders DuBarry and Daniels, along with several prison guards, were killed during the events of New Krypton when a team of Kandorians lead by Commander Gor assaulted Stryker's Island and demanded custody of Parasite.[8] The Science Police Control 'Rachel' tasked Guardian to act as a liaison between the Metropolis Police Department and a coalition of superheroes in bringing justice for the fallen science police officers and prison guards.[9] After the Kandorians left Earth, Guardian was appointed Field Commander of the Science Police, as replacement for DuBarry and Daniels, due in part to his cloned memories of Jim Harper as a police officer and Guardian as a superhero.[10] He was asked by Superman to help Mon-El, offering him a job with the Science Police and mentoring him on how to be a hero.

In the recent issues of Detective Comics published during One Year Later event, reveals that Harper has a grandniece, Jamie,[11] currently a detective of Gotham City Police Department and a former associate of Robin III.

It has been announced that the Guardian will soon join the Justice League.

Mal Duncan

In Teen Titans #44 (November 1976), the previously uncostumed Titan Mal Duncan took the name of the Guardian, wearing the original's outfit and an exoskeleton with strength augmenting abilities. The two Guardians finally met in Superman Family #s 191-193 (Sept 78-Feb 79), when Mal helped rescue the Harper clone from Adam, an evil clone created using genetic material from both Harper and Dubbilex who had taken control of the DNA Project.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths removed Duncan's career as the Guardian.

Jake Jordan

In 2005, Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers megaseries introduced a new character based on the original Guardian, Jake Jordan the Manhattan Guardian.

Millerverse Guardian

In the Frank Miller graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the Guardian is one of the superheroes killed by the Joker.

Other media

  • A teenaged reimagining of the Guardian appears in the Teen Titans animated series, going by the name of Private H.I.V.E. As his name implies, the Private is a student of the H.I.V.E. Academy as opposed to Cadmus, and is a member of the show's version of the Fearsome Five. Private H.I.V.E. possesses an identical costume and shield to those of the Guardian, albeit with a H.I.V.E. crest located on his chest, belt, and the center of the shield. Like the Guardian, the Private is extremely disciplined and militaristic, often ending sentences with the word "Sir". He was voiced by Greg Cipes.

References

  1. ^ a b Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Guardian", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 150, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017  
  2. ^ Superboy #82 (January 2001) DC Comics.
  3. ^ Guardians of Metropolis #1 (November 1994) DC Comics
  4. ^ Detective Comics #817 (May 2006) DC Comics
  5. ^ Superman #687 (June 2009) DC Comics.
  6. ^ Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen one-shot (October 2008)
  7. ^ Adventure Comics Special #1 (January 2009) DC Comics
  8. ^ Superman #682 (January 2009). DC Comics.
  9. ^ Superman #683 (February 2009). DC Comics.
  10. ^ Superman #684 (March 2009). DC Comics.
  11. ^ Detective Comics #819

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