The premise on this comic is a simple and compelling one: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t die?
Previously in THE OLD GUARD: Eisner-winning writer GREG RUCKA (LAZARUS, BLACK MAGICK, WONDER WOMAN) and critically acclaimed artist LEANDRO FERNANDEZ (THE DISCIPLINE, Deadpool, Punisher: MAX) team up together to introduce THE OLD GUARD, the story of old soldiers who never die… and yet cannot seem to fade away. Trapped in an immortality without explanation, Andromache of Scythia – “Andy” – and her comrades ply their trade for those who can find-and afford-their services. But in the 21st century, immortality is a hard secret to keep, and when you live long enough, you learn that there are many fates worse than death.
A STRONG SCI-FI CONCEPT
Death is a subject I don’t deal with well. When I’ve lost family, friends and even pets, it usually destroys me, at least for a while.
So suppose you never had to face death? And you had friends who were in the same condition? Hey, life would be a lot easier, in my opinion.
Writer Greg Rucka often comes up with these deep kinds of subjects, and I always love it when that happens. His scripting is always thoughtful, and he can bring characters to life regardless of the weirdness they’re have to deal with.
Let me share the initial words in the comic: “This is a fairy tale of blood and bullets. It is the story of one woman and three men who cannot die. Mostly. Their names are Andy, Nicky, Joe, and Booker. It is a story about time, and age, and ages, about friendship, and love, and regret.” And of course, we’re treated to the General MacArthur quote, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” Very appropriate for this comic.
The beginning shows a woman regretting having to go through a cycle of death and destruction, and how she’s tired of it. You get a sense that the comic is going to be a deep, dark one. And you’re right.
Nicky is the woman and the leader, which I like because Rucka tends to put strong females in charge in his stories. Wish more writers could do that effectively.
The group is working for hire, and they are requested to take on a mission. When they get down to business, we see them get shot and otherwise maimed, but their bodies reconstruct rapidly, so that hardly even slows them down. They’re something like Wolverine in his heyday. But they aren’t really heroes, so it affects them very little as they go about their work.
The mission is about rescuing a group of captured girls, and there’s a big surprise waiting for them when they attempt to free them. And it’s going to make their lives a LOT more difficult.
Along the way, we also get flashbacks to explain just who they are and how they came to be immortal.
The characterization is effective, and the plotting fast-paced. I was fascinated by who they are and what’s going on with them. The action is more human than your average video game, which I enjoyed. Well done!
ART THAT WAS A LITTLE SKETCHY FOR MY TASTES
Fernandez’s art is geared toward action, although his facial expressions were pretty good. I never wondered what was happening or how someone felt.
However, I found the art style somewhat sketchy in that things could have been clearer. At times, there’s a lot of detail, and at other times, I felt more would have made the image visually more compelling.
The use of color was also somewhat mirky, with certain palates being used on certain pages and in certain situations instead of lifelike coloring. Again, some color a little more lifelike would have helped me enjoy it more.
BOTTOM LINE: Everything ‘Old’ Is New Again
I like the way these characters were challenged in this comic. Instead of always knowing what’s going on, their situation requires that they have to live with the consequences of their actions. And this time, they won’t be pretty.
This story just screams TV show to me. A miniseries would be perfect to bring this tale to the small screen, and I could already picture several actors in the rolls. Pretty good.
This series is scheduled to be an ongoing one, so the creators are certain to have some really twisted and amazing things in store for these people. I’m anxious to see how this problem resolves as well as what challenges they’ll face in the future. Worth picking up this initial issue and sticking with, so I recommend it!