Welcome to Comics Beat, in which we review comic books a few times throughout the week. Individual issues, collections, graphic novels – they’re all good enough for our comic geeks to cover.
The Old Guard #1 (Image)
Series Description: Introducing 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.
Issue #1 is called THE OLD GUARD.
Andromache of Scythia is now known as Andy, and she’s 5000 years old. For most of that time, along with her comrades, Joe, Nicky, and Booker, she has been a soldier: fucking, fighting, dying, and going on living, over and over, and she’s getting bored.
Now, in the 21st Century, Andy and her friends are basically the A-team. For the right amount of money, or for the right cause, they will fight. Their one rule: no repeat clients, the better to avoid hard questions like why none of the team changes. Unfortunately for them, they decide to break that rule, suckered by a good cause, and are caught on camera surviving a ton of damage, and killing a whole bunch of soldiers. It looks like their secret is out.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, an American Marine named Nile Freeman is killed in combat. Despite her untimely death, she soon wakes up, feeling fine.
First things first: Andy has this weird sheath for her axe on her back, and it’s really dumb. A small thing, but I hate it.
This is the first issue in a five-issue series – one with a strong chance of returning at some point – so there’s a lot of set-up and introduction. But I enjoyed it. Greg Rucka is a pretty familiar name to comic readers. A lot of what happens, especially the badass female protagonist, will probably seem familiar, but it’s well done. Rucka describes the series as “John Wick meets Highlander,” which sells me right away.
Leandro Fernandez’s work reminds me a lot of old Frank Miller (back when he had better control), but with the added bonus of Daniela Miwa’s brighter colors. In the end, I’m interested in seeing where Rucka goes with this, especially with just five issues to tell the story. I like the bored Immortal angle, as well as the idea of the protagonists suddenly catching the attention of what looks like shadowy governmental/corporate interests. That could fun.
I’m also intrigued by something Rucka said in an interview, that the characters are “only Immortal until they aren’t.” That’s an interesting wrinkle that suggests Andy will most likely die heroically, leaving Nile to walk off into the future with Joe, Nicky, and Booker – but who knows. Either way, I’m sticking around to find out.