If you're worried that Brian K. Vaughan’s new book might not be as good as Saga, don’t. We Stand On Guard is a fantastic book that STANDS on its own. It is 100 years from the time you’re reading this (exactly, even accounting for the leap second). And good ol’ Murica has gone to war with the least expected of foes. Our neighbors in the Great White North. This story centers around Amber, whom as very young she watches war start right in front of her eyes, in the most horrifying of ways. And decides to take action along with a group of Canadians who resist invasion from the US at all costs.
The triumphant return of Steve Skroce to comics is nothing short of, exactly that. Triumphant. From the first pages, he hits you with beautifully drawn splash pages of pure destruction. It’s the sort of thing that makes you realize where people like Jacen Burrows got his style from. The pacing and tone of this book is carefully planned to make sure you savor those crazy world-world turning moments, and also allows you to look at the character and enjoy the background around it separately. I took a while for me to read (and reread) this issue, not just because of the 40 page count, which is awesome on its own, but because I stopped at every page and admired the panels and how well placed they were. The changes (and sometimes lack thereof) in facial expressions of Amber already gives you so much insight into the character.
BKV does it again, in his own way. This isn’t an adult sassy Space Opera like Saga. We Stand On Guard is an earnest story on what our main character has faced and will have to do in order to protect her land and her family. That’s not to say that there’s no fun in this book ot be had. Conversations are kept short and to the point, as this book relies a lot on imagery so dialog is mostly reduced to what’s needed to be said, given the world’s circumstances. But the few human moments it has, have their toll on you as a reader. I snickered at the casual conversations BKV had, which reminded me a lot of some of the more calm moments from Y the Last Man, and his very fashion, this issue also took the emotional toll it requires to read from him now days.
We Stand On Guard is a fairly straightforward story about what would happen if Canada and the United States would go to war, and the underdogs who are caught right in the middle of it.