Sunday, October 25, 2015
Review: WE STAND ON GUARD #1
IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics
[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]
WRITER: Brian K. Vaughan
ARTIST: Steve Skroce
COLORS: Matt Hollingsworth
36pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (July 2015)
Rated M / Mature
We Stand on Guard is a new comic book series from writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Steve Skroce. Vaughan is best known for the comic book series, Saga and Y: The Last Man. Skroce began his career as a comic book artist, drawing the late 1990s Gambit series and a four-issue story arc of Wolverine. He found fame as the storyboard artist for the 1999 film, The Matrix.
We Stand on Guard #1 opens in Ottawa, Ontario in the year 2112. It is a scene of domestic tranquility until the United States launches a devastating military strike against Canada. The story moves to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in the year 2124, where we meet Amber, who survived the 2112 strike as a child. Hunting for food, Amber finds herself facing off against an American war machine when she is rescued by “The Two-Four.”
This Canadian resistance group is both curious and wary of Amber. She could be a spy, or worse, a collaborator with the Americans. The next time they face an American war machine, Amber will have to prove herself, but is she willing to do so?
I did not know what to expect from We Stand on Guard #1. I am not a regular reader of Brian K. Vaughan's work, having only read the first 10 or 12 issues of Y: The Last Man several years ago. I have not read Vaughan's popular and award-winning series, Saga. I am a fan of Steve Skroce, and I read his comics whenever he produces any.
Having read the first issue, I now have high expectations for We Stand on Guard. The concept is intriguing and plausible. The majority, or at least a sizable minority, of the American ruling and political class seems increasingly belligerent and jingoistic when it comes to international relations. The characters in this comic book do not play to type, and I want to get to know them. And surprise, surprise: we have a science fiction comic book series that has an actual Black male character.
Skroce's art and storytelling is as striking as one would expect, but the graphical storytelling is focused on drama, character, and setting rather than on bells-and-whistles and on over-rendered illustrations. I would say that this clear storytelling is closer to Skroce's work on The Matrix storyboards than it is to the busy, detailed oriented art found in his Wolverine (1988 series) story arc, “Blood Debt,” (issues #150-153).
I am ready for the second issue of We Stand on Guard, which is in comic book shops as I write this review. I heartily recommend that you, dear readers, find this comic book.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
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