By Daniel Vlasaty
What do you do if you’re an immortal warrior? Not much you can do, so you go on fighting, hoping that your next fight, your next war, your next job will be the one that finally brings you death.
The Old Guard is the story of Andy, an immortal warrior just going through the motions at this point. She is tired of living, wants nothing more than death. But it just won’t come, no matter how many times she is killed. It doesn’t stick. Andy runs a crew of other immortals. They seem to be a renegade crew, kind of like mercenaries, but we’re not given too much information on them. Just that none of them can die and they occasionally do jobs for the CIA and MI-6 and so on. In this first issue the crew is hired by a former CIA agent who’s gone private now. He tells them of a kidnapping, seventeen schoolgirls taken in North Africa currently being held in a bunker. Andy reluctantly accepts the job and the crew gets to work planning the rescue.
Unlike in many first issues, Greg Rucka doesn’t spend much time with set up. He gets right into the thick of the story. Which leaves us kind of on the outside, knowing almost nothing of who these characters are, and not really giving us any reason to care about what happens to them. There is no explanation as to who these people are or how they came to be immortal or why they’re working together as a crew.
This kind of works both ways though. It doesn’t waste any time with back story or “boring” set up stuff, so we’re running at full speed right out of the gate, but it also leaves us with more questions than answers.
As far as Leandro Fernandez’s art goes, I wanted to like it more than I did. It’s good enough but that’s about it. It’s simple and spacious but sometimes that worked against it. There were some panels that were so sparse or open that they felt almost unfinished. There are a lot of heavy shadows and weird empty spaces that at some places I found it distracting. Overall, I would say that the art was inconsistent. Although I did really like his fight scenes. The issue’s climax at the bunker is a great few pages that really capture the chaos and frenzy of a gunfight. The panel work on these pages is very interesting and I thought this was the highlight of the book.
This book has a solid idea and I’ll be interested in seeing how it plays out over the next few issues. I’ll assume that the second issue will have some more explanations on what’s going on with these characters and their immortality. I sure hope that it does because this first issue left me wanting more. More from the story as well as more from the art.
The Old Guard #1
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colorist: Daniela Miwa
Publisher: Image Comics