Four Letter Nerd

4LN Comic Review: We Stand On Guard #1

Series: We Stand On Guard
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce, Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Image

Summary from Comixology: SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN teams with artistic legend and MATRIX storyboard artist STEVE SKROCE for an action-packed military thriller that will have everyone talking. 100 years from now, a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion…by the United States of America!

The hyper-detailed combat between badass freedom fighters and giant f***ing robots begins with a spectacular 40-PAGE FIRST ISSUE.

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Overview-
Let me preface this by saying I am not really a “read every Image #1” kind of guy.  I will say that the few Image titles I did pick up on a whim (C.O.W.L. and Descender) have been excellent.  When I first heard the premise of We Stand On Guard (WSOG) I was intrigued.  WSOG is set in the not too distant 2124, and follows a group freedom fighters defending their homeland (Canada) from their militarily superior neighbors (the United States).

Most of the time I wouldn’t like a series that places America into the role of villain (probably because I don’t live in the rest of the world), but Vaughan has a strong track record and if I hated it I didn’t have to read anymore of them — so it was really a win-kinda win scenario.  With that out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of this issue (they say “nitty gritty” in Canada right?) while being as spoiler free as possible.

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WSOG was an excellent debut.  Brian K. Vaughan spins a bleak tale that centers around Amber and her surprise introduction to the “two-four,” a rag tag group of freedom fighters lead by a slightly Katniss-esque Chief McFadden.  The action pretty much starts on page 2 and builds at a steady pace as first Amber, then the rest of the two-four, encounters the U. S. Military’s killer mechs (one of which is picture on the cover).  The story was definitely interesting, and there was never a dull moment throughout the first issue.

Steve Skroce’s art is equally impressive and works perfectly in tandem in Matt Hollingsworth’s color palette.  The characters are unique, the landscapes are bleak and beautiful, the mechs are cool and intense, and the colors are sharp.  Even in the more complex action sequences and two-page spreads, it’s easy to figure out what’s going on from page to page.I am definitely interested to see where the story is going from here.  It’s a very Red Dawn story if you replace the Russians with the U.S. and the U.S. with Canada and sans Patrick “Piss in the Radiator” Swayze… okay so maybe it isn’t EXACTLY like Red Dawn, but it IS a really fun story with great art and color.

We Stand On Guard is a visceral first issue that left me wanting more.  Fair warning: this issue has some brutal panels so it’s definitely not for kiddos.  Personally, I thought this was a terrific introduction, and I can’t wait to add it for my pull list.  If you like well-told stories involving unique protagonists in Red Dawnish type stories (or just well-told stories in general) then this issue is perfect for you!

 

Musical Pairing-
Because this issue reminded me of a Twilight Zone version of Red Dawn, why not listen to the main score from 1984’s Red Dawn while reading this book.  Seems like a perfect choice to me!

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Cam Clark

Cam is a husband, father, and a fan of many things. In college, he wrote his senior thesis on Mythological, Philosophical, and Theological Themes in Star Wars, and now spends his days causally specializing in Star Wars, Tolkien, and cubical work. No relation to Bill Clark.

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