The Old Guard #1 is an excellent first issue from writer Greg Rucka, and while Rucka doesn’t waste much time bringing the reader up to speed, he delivers with a script that is both inviting and thought-provoking. It is obvious that this series is going to feature copious amounts of ass-kicking teamed with the sort of depth that will continue to fuel a reader’s interest long after the bloodshed has gotten old…as if bloodshed ever gets old…
Per the publisher, Image, The Old Guard is, “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.”
Interesting, right? I sure do think so. What stands out to me most about this concept is that the focus will be placed on the inability to die as opposed to the ability to live forever. Seeing as though most of us (I think) want to live for as long as we can, it is interesting to see a group of people who view their immortality as a curse…especially since said group isn’t comprised of vampires.
I also find it very interesting that after centuries, these warriors—that the series centers around—continue to be warriors. I want to know why this is the case because I would think that having a seemingly unlimited amount of time on Earth would lend itself well to trying out new and exciting career paths.
In The Old Guard #1 there is little exposition, and before long, we readers find ourselves in the midst of battle and scandal, and while I typically love being tossed into the middle of a plot and fighting my way out of it, I would have preferred a bit more backstory so that I had someone to root for. As it stands, I only want the immortal warriors to be successful because this is their series. I’m sure that in coming months Rucka will teach us a good deal about these folks, but since this was the series’ debut issue, I was looking for some more substance.
The artwork in The Old Guard #1 stands out, and yet, is probably the most unique out of all the comic series that I am following. While I prefer traditional ‘comic’ illustrations and color work, this unique approach has piqued my interest. The color work is great and adds the excitement to the book, and I really love artist Leandro Fernandez’ use of negative space. Each page—and panel for that matter—is very balanced, and although the art style is a bit expressive, it doesn’t detract from the writing at all.