The writers and illustrators for The Old Guard, are legends in their own right, so it makes sense that when you put them together, they make a great soup!
Image Comics has another hit to add to their list of great comics like (The Walking Dead and Saga). The Old Gaurd, created by Gregory Rucka (Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, Batwoman) and artist Leonardo Fernandez (Wolverine:Coyote Crossing, Northlanders: The Plague Widow) the ladder being another Rucka/Fernandez collaboration, is a powerhouse!!
Imagine Highlander, for our time, but with women in the lead add a little bit of the ol’ultraviolence, by the way, at what point during immortality, do you say “fuck fist, from here on out, I’m all about bullet punching!!!”? Anyway you have one great thrill ride!
So so much violence, but it makes sense, especially if you are a few thousand years old warrior like our protagonist Nicky or Andromache of Scythia if you’re Nasty!! She is the leader of a team of “immortals” (I use that term loosely) that have become “guns for hire” and or mercenaries, for any super dangerous “odd-job”.
SPOILERS ALL THROUGHOUT THIS MAMMA JAMMA!
When we catch up with the team i.e the last immortals “so far’ on the planet, they are gearing up for another dangerous job. The job turns out to be an ambush or to mention their mission is sidetracked when Nicky has a dream, I should explain that these people’s only way of knowing if another immortal is about to become “self aware” if you will, is another immortal will have a dream with that person in it. In this case, it’s a young American girl on tour of duty in the Middle East named Nile.
As I mentioned, they are ambushed by an army of guns that eviscerates everyone on the team only to have them get right back up and kill every one of them. These things happened all throughout Vol#1 and is cool and all, but as I mentioned, the books genius is the human element.
The toll that immortality has taken on all of them is unique in that as you read, you set aside your mortal mind and begin to really wrap your head around what it would be like to see everything you care about die, over and over again and never being able to stop it. I was particularly drawn into one of the characters story, Booker, who explains how he had to watch his son die of cancer, unable to help him as his son begged Booker for the secret to prolong his life of which Booker was unable to provide. In fact, none of them know how or why they became this way, but what they do know Is that despite the many years on this planet, they are not “truly” immortal”, but when and where they die is left up to fate.
Then there’s a band guy or guy’s, one of which is basically their agent (Copley), responsible for setting up their assignments and the other is Mr. Merrick, a wealthy heavily tatted, psychopath who wants what Nicky’s team has and will stop at nothing to acquire it.
The stories pacing is like reading a script, no wonder it has become a Netflix movie. Volume#1 is solid from beginning to end with enough clever moments to keep it very interesting, like this one “Groundhog Day” moment, when the team is cornered on the 34th floor of a high-rise building and Nicky suggest jumping to escape the oncoming threat. Nicky explains to newcomer Niles, that she has done this before and it’s all good. They jump and on the way down, just to add insult to injury Nicky ask Niles “ So…you read any good books lately?”. Niles response is “fuck you!” as the concrete below, makes worms meat of them. The rest is straight up “Death Becomes Her” as their battered bodies struggle to mend. It’s really a great moment and will hopefully translate on film!
The ending of volume#1, is a bit predictable, but there is enough really cool dialog, character development and of course blood, to keep the story, interesting ,gritty and cult! There are a lot of things that we don’t find out in the first volume, that I hope we learn about in the up and coming issues, so with that being said The Old Guard Vol#1 is highly recommended!!
The Netflix show starring Charlize Theron arrives July 10th