Review: The Old Guard #1

It’s black ops espionage meets Highlander. Greg Rucka’s follows a lady lead quartet of immortal and seemingly invincible mercenaries. As expected living in the most photographed generation of human history, hiding your immortality is a little tricky. So when the group is outed by a shadow organization, things get complicated and violent.

It’s hard to ignore the influences Rucka carried over from his other espionage title Queen & Country, even more so when artist Leandro Fernández had worked with Rucka on the “Crystal Ball” story arc. Although the caricature design of Queen & Countryis certainly toned down, the smug banter and humor is still there. Between lifetimes of death, war, and unfulfilling sex the glamour of immortality and international wet work has been lost to the title’s lead heroine, Andy. Resulting in what could be a strong female lead for the rest of the series, no surprise here considering Rucka’s work on Wonder Woman.

Rucka doesn’t weigh down the story with over explanation, he knows his readers have seen the Highlander trope before. Instead readers quickly explore Andy’s many lives and identities throughout the ages including her most recent. The rest of cast have little dialogue, but are fleshed out via their shared banter as well as Fernández’s character design. What we get is a charming cast of flawed trained killers with hearts of gold.

Fernández excellently balances the world of espionage with the fantastical. Splash pages filled with bullets and gunfire along with battle axes and sword play, make this premier issue worth picking up in print. Unlike his recent work on The Discipline, The Old Guard is much cohesive. His panel composition, specifically during the climax action sequence is dynamic, taking up two pages.

The Old Guard hooks readers in with a solid cast of characters and solid artwork. As always, Rucka establishes a strong female lead, and finds a perfect balance between ambiguity and plot.

The Old Guard Rating:10/10

Alisha Weinberger is a comic book, video game, and animation enthusiast and critic. Along with comic reviews, she also maintains The Pop Break twitter feed. Alisha thoroughly enjoys the warm embrace of coffee, says “dawg” and “dope” ad nauseam, and shares a reluctant resemblance to Tina Belcher.