The comic book world has launched a full frontal assault on us readers this week, more than one hundred titles have come out and many of them first issues, among them all, We Stand On Guard #4 drops in full force and there’s nowhere to hide from it’s awesome. Like the last four issues, it’s the next chapter in the small history of young Amber and her brother on the run, possibly the last? They find themselves in a cabin in the middle of Manitoba, surrounded by a small troop of American soldiers with flamethrowers, which they’re more than willing to use unless someone comes out of the cabin. A daring escape, a heartfelt sacrifice, and many jaded years later, Amber is in the cave/Canadian resistance hideout, as it’s about to be stormed by a massive strike team armed with drones, combat robots, and dog-looking robots, to bring everyone down, all out, all-American, sleazy awful politics included.
This issue is jam packed with information and parallels. There are great comparisons and commentary on everything surrounding foreign policy in this issue. From Qabanni and Highway arguing about who would be more ironic to be using the recently acquired, ‘murican made war rig, the First Nations man whose culture is almost lost due to bigotry, or the descendant of Syrian refugees who were refused asylum in the United States after the biggest humanitarian crises in history. I’m not sure if Brian K. Vaughan is just a jaded fellow who knew who the Americans would react to such a current situation, or has been watching the news and decided to continuously update his script to make a very on-point commentary on the politics of something that should almost be considered common sense. Either way, We Stand On Guard #4 does a great job of shining a light on what history will possibly record the events of recent years, and how it will be seen in the future.
I don’t even know what to say about Steve Skroce. The man has been doing nothing but knocking it out of the park on every single issue. The way he made the comic feel vast and almost desolate when Amber was on the Canadian wilds, he turns it on its own head and fills the panels with everything that is happening at the same time, making the reader feel as suffocated as the two teens were in the small cabin, or the frustration the group feels as they know they’ve cracked one of their best and continuously have the upper hand. Even the splash pages have a lot happening, with attention to every detail and mayhem happening on all corners. His invading force panels resemble the old war propaganda pamphlets (and not for the good sides either). By the end of this comic it all ties together very nicely with another parallel, showing once more that a simple story allows you a lot of room for subtext, social commentary, and very clear to follow.
The only thing that bugs me is that, hitting past the halfway point of this limited series, I seem to see nothing more from the protagonist’s original goal. There is a lot of retrospect about Amber and her brother on the run from the invading forces, but that’s about the end of it. Regardless, this issue plays catch-up well with the reader, giving you the right amount of information for people not to feel lost 4 issues into the story, and making them want to go on that back-issue hunt to get themselves a complete run of We Stand On Guard.
So go ahead, pick up this issue. If your weekly budget allows only for so many, I strong urge you to think twice on other ones and maybe let them take the dive so you can enjoy a double dose of Brian K. Vaughan this week. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
We Stand On Guard #4 Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Artist: Steve Skroce Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 10/7/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital