REVIEW: The Old Guard #1

Ah the old trick about immortality.  Despite your age, the world will continue to grow around you, with the threat of your immortality causing you to stagnate.

This book from Image, features three such Immortals who happen to be soldiers of fortune.  During their time on Earth, they have become very good at what they do, what with all the practice they have had.  Although, smart phones still manage to confuses the elderly.  This issue is all about the setup, how three leads Andy, Nicky, Joe and Booker all interact with each other and in the world around them, whilst mainly focusing on Andy and her desire to find “the one”.  The team are sought out by a repeat customer who needs them to go and recuse kidnapped children.  But with familiarity breeds contempt as the team stumble upon a nefarious plan even as events further afield start to move promising further danger or at the very least complications into their existence.

Greg Rucka is no stranger to writing strong characters who live in murky waters.  Given that this isn’t his only string in his writing bow, its good to see him shake the shackles of DC and create something that is far more enjoyable than the current past/present flow of Wonder Woman.  Reading this book, there are similarities between Andy and Diana and I wonder if the Andy could actually be Rucka’s idea of how a “mature” Diana might well act.  Both are warriors, both are strong characters and both are used to having a voice and in being heard.  Amazingly, for all the fall out over the Frank Choi covers, this book does feature a healthy dose of sex, handled in a frank and matter of fact manner.  At this stage of the game, the rest of gang are a little faceless, but Rucka does well to give them some life, even hiding the deus ex-machina in the dialogue.

Leandro Fernandez provides the art, with a style that seems to infer past influences.  There seems to be some Mignola in there, maybe some Mazzucchelli with a cartoony element added to some faces for good measure.  Now, showing your influences is all well and good, but I am sure I am not alone in preferring to see Fernandez’ own style.  I understand that a style may be forming so with the fantastic storytelling on show as well as contrasts between the lines of characters and the heavy shadows indicating the shadowy world in which they live, I am quite content to see how Fernandez’ work progresses.  Again, visually, Andy has a look of a certain Amazon giving my earlier theory a tad more credence. If Fernandez is channeling Mignola, then its a fair assessment to  say that colorist Daniela Miwa is channeling Dave Stewart.  Look how one color is used for entire panels, how the light from the window encroaches the early bedroom scene practically rendering Andy’s conquest as faceless to us as he is to her.  Superb.

Image have done it again.  They have shown that with the correct talent on a book, you do not have to devolve comics into just the superhero crowd.  True, the immortality of this gang could be seen as a super power, but its the ramifications of their “skills” that is going to make this book a very interesting and very enjoyable read.

Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars

Story: Greg Rucka
Art / Cover: Leandro Fernandez

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