Disclaimer: I am aware I said N2N #1 would be a review of The Walking Dead; however, with Fourth of July and Canada Day recently passed we thought it a perfect time to review We Stand on Guard.
This review contains minor spoilers!
We Stand on Guard
Written by: Brian K Vaughan
Art by: Steve Skroce
Colored by: Matt Hollingsworth
We Stand on Guard is a comic I honestly had little interest in reading after the 5-or-so page teaser. This was disappointing in it’s own as Brian K Vaughan is an extremely talented writer and I was sure this would be a great read. It wasn’t until Carly informed me that it was much better as a full issue that I decided to give it a true chance, and O Canada, am I glad I did!
[10 out of 10]
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Our adventure begins in Ontario, Canada. The year is 2112 and the White House (you know, the one in the U.S. capitol), has just been attacked by an unknown threat. A family of four (mom, dad, son, daughter) watches the news of the attack from their home, debating on who could have attacked the United States. In a matter of moments they are interrupted by a barrage of U.S. missiles and our scene ends with the father telling his son to watch over his little sister Amber.
From this point we are thrust twelve years into the future, and are now in the Northwest Territories following who I can only assume is Amber, the young daughter from the opening scene. After being saved from an attack perpetrated by an America mech-fighter of sorts, she meets a group of Canadian civilian-soldiers, going by the name “the two-four. ” She is quickly questioned on whether or not she is actually an American spy, or truly a Canadian as she claims. We learn her brother has been taken by the Americans (more reason for my earlier assumption). Drama and action henceforth commence as we follow (possibly) Amber, and the rest of “the two-four,” including a dog named Hungry, as they do everything they can to defend their home and native land.
I love how BKV has written this story, with just enough Canadian to feel authentic, but not so much as to feel like a joke. Included references feature the appearance of a Tim Horton’s, an impromptu hockey quiz, and an entire monologue explaining how Superman is actually Canadian. You also can’t forget the French language while dealing with Canada. In true BKV fashion this comic in multi-lingual. Don’t worry, the majority is in English; however, some parts are in French, though the robots could touch up a bit on their Français. It is not necessary to understand French to get the gist though, much like Saga you can infer most of what is being said.
There also seems to be a slew of political jabs at the U.S. throughout the first issue. The depiction of the U.S. using countless bombs in retaliation to a much smaller attack on the White House, continuing to invade Canada over a decade after their military has seemingly been wiped out, and a hint at the idea of the Americans only staying there for the Canadians water supply are all present. It would seem as though BKV may be making a slight political statement within this tantalizing story.
Of course BKV is also not shy of killing off characters, as I have learned from reading Saga, and he is quick to do so We Stand on Guard as well. So don’t expect all your new friends to make it to the last page.
If the following issues are on par this could turn out to be yet another hit from BKV and Image Comics.
[9 out of 10]
Artist: Steve Skorce
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Skorce does an excellent job with the little details: this serves to add a better sense of realism to the environment. Everything from the people, the animals, the machines, and the scenery are very intricately drawn so that nothing seems out of place or ignored. This may be an odd detail but, I am always impressed when an artist can draw children that don’t like like adults with small bodies, so kudos to you Mr. Skorce. Though I was impressed with the art I can say it doesn’t bring anything new or unseen to comics that I have noticed so far, hence the 9 and not the 10.
We can not discount the other artists involved in this story, without Hollingsworth’s color we would be lost in a drab black and white story. Though this works with some stories I feel the vibrant colors and attention to detail really help add to the story that BKV has laid out.
[10 out of 10]
On the short list of comics I have read so far We Stand On Guard is top notch in my book. I truly hope the following issues follow suit and prove to be another BKV masterpiece.
Brian K Vaughan’s excellent storytelling abilities coupled with yet another skilled group of artists makes We Stand On Guard a must buy. Make sure you head to your local comic book shop ASAP to start your adventure if you haven’t done so already! I enjoy the idea of supporting your local businesses; however, if you have no shops to head to you can also pick it up here.
N2N comic reviews by me, Gordon Smith, are an adventure in their own. Follow me as I broaden my knowledge of the comic book universe, as well as strengthen my ability to write comic reviews.
Next Review: #1 The Walking Dead