Review: We Stand On Guard #1

I LOVE Canada.

I first visited the country when I was around 14 years old, and just fell in love with the place. The people were polite, Toronto was amazing, and everything there was just so pristine that I couldn’t help but love the place. Plus, you know, hockey.

It being Canada Day, it’s only befitting of our incredible neighbors to the north that We Stand On Guard was released today. Set 100 years in our future, the story revolves around a young girl, who lost her family when she was 5 years old after the United States retaliated for a perceived attack on their soil. Being America, the retaliation was swift and mighty, and the occupation of Canada has been brutal. 12 years have passed, and we find ourselves with our main character, Amber, now alone in the Northwest Territories, hunting and surviving.

Until, that is, she meets what can only be described as a DARPA robot on steroids, one of a fleet of American robotic drones set to wipe out the Canadian resistance. She is saved by the Two-Four, though they’re immediately suspicious of her presence and behavior. Ultimately, the ragtag group is ambushed by a giant mech called a Gorilla, somehow moving silently, thought hey work as a well oiled machine in order to take it down – then, things get interesting.

I’ve long been a Brian K. Vaughan fan, and the added bonus of one of my all-time favorite artists in Steve Skroce on art is icing on an already spectacular cake. The two of them (along with colorist Matt Hollingsworth) have crafted an incredibly deep and intriguing world, and the mysteries of the series are just starting to unfold. Is this a war of retaliation, or an act of aggression by the US to make a resource grab in the not-too-distant future? Is there more to the Two-Four, or are they really just a ragtag group of (incredibly well-trained) freedom fighters?

It’s all a beautiful tapestry of intrigue, and one I am deeply interested in reading more about. It’s incredible to see the tonal shifts in Vaughan’s writing over the years – Runaways was a teen drama, Ex Machina a political thriller, Pride of Baghdad a continuous stomach punch, and Saga a family biography. And, now, we settle into We Stand On Guard, a military drama told in a real world in real cities. You’re in for a treat with We Stand On Guard.

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