The Old Guard
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colorist: Daniela Miwa
Letterer: Jodi Wynne
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Greg Brothers
At some point, you have probably had the discussion with your friends. What would it be like to be immortal? Sure, in the beginning it might seem like a good idea as you make dangerous choices knowing that you could not die. But what happens after one hundred years, a thousand years, or five thousand years. At what point, does it become more of a burden than it is a gift?
In the Old Guard, we are introduced to Andy and her conquests and failings, both on the battlefield and in the bedroom. As she leaves her latest one night stand we meet the rest of her team which consists of Booker, Joe, and Nicky. All four of the members of the team are old, like old, like thousands of years old. Over time they have met each other and realized they had the same special gift of immortality. Through becoming friends, they had formed a mercenary team that goes out and takes the most dangerous jobs with only one true rule and that is no repeat customers. As simple as the rule seems to be it becomes a lot more complicated when a former client comes to them with job that involves saving children who could end up either sold to the highest bidder or worse.
Rucka is known for his strong female characters and in The Old Guard he introduces us to another. Andy is the defacto leader of the group do to the fact that she is the oldest of them all. Being the oldest she is also the most bitter about the fact that she cannot die. Rucka’s development of Andy particularly in this first issue helps you to understand and feel her pain. The confidence that she carries continues in how Rucka represents her sexual behavior, including a one-liner that is uttered at one point that normally would be saved for the cockiest of male heroes celebrating their latest conquest. While it is more than likely coming in future issues it would have been nice if Rucka had given us a little bit more information and character development for the other three members of the task force. The development of Andy is done well, in addition to the introduction of another person away from the group that seems to have the same powers.
Fernandez’s art in The Old Guard is a nice combination of gritty yet colorful and inviting at the same time. The contrast between the brightness of the battlefield versus the darkness of the bedroom lets you know immediately know where you are. The grit of the characters works well for the feel of the book. The one complaint that I do have about some of the other characters is they look very similar and, with the gritty style, it makes it hard to distinguish between them.
Buy it! The Old Guard does a great job of taking an old idea and making it new. The idea that after a time people that are immortal would become bitter and just want to die is very much in the realm of possibilities. You also have the story of how these characters have gotten their power and if it can somehow be weaponized that can be explored later. All of it is put together brilliantly by Rucka to start what should be an interesting series.