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The Old Guard Volume 1 Blends Chaos with Soul Searching

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About The Old Guard Volume 1

The Old Guard Volume 1 is an action-adventure story from Image Comics reminiscent of Gladiator meets Mission Impossible. It’s created by writer Greg Rucka and artist Leandro Fernández, with colors by Daniela Miwa and letters by Jodi Wynne. Despite characters having the gift (or power) of immortality, Rucka never considered The Old Guard to be a superhero story; “It is a ‘fairy tale of bullets and blood.’”

The Old Guard Volume 1 Review

An adventure scaling across millennia, The Old Guard delivers thousands of years’ worth of a story in a finely tuned manner. Rucka does a fantastic job introducing the five main characters, while giving a sense of how they’ve all changed throughout the centuries. This is a bingeworthy read where intrigue, deception, and staying off the radar seems to blend together, while unravelling all within the first chapter. There isn’t any shy banter between these characters, so the reader knows immediately these immortals know everything about each other.

Their paths have led them to one another, through centuries upon centuries of epic battles, and among it all, there’s a sense of destined dread from the monotony of waiting for the end to come. But, it doesn’t and the anticipation of when it might come creates this underlying tension where you immediately hope their fates don’t meet an end throughout these pages.

Review: The Old Guard Volume 1 Blends Chaos with Soul Searching
The Old Guard – Opening Fire Cover

The Old Guard Volume 1 Story

Greg Rucka’s ability to create tension, while shifting that intensity with a sarcastic pun or a genuine declaration of love provides a wonderful balance within a story that fires a lot of bullets. There are thrilling sequences, and the experiences of these immortals who have hundreds of years’ worth of time as soldiers are not shy about their intentions when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan.

The Old Guard story is told by its main character, Andy, who presents this solemn account of what life has been like, dying again and again and again. The Old Guard Volume 1 is a “fairy tale of bullets and blood,” but the notion of living such a solitary life leads to a personal connection with these characters as one tries to contemplate what it must feel like to live so long and suffer so much.

As unlikely as it is to connect with characters who live well beyond a normal life span, these characters are filled with remorse, rage, and a wandering sense of finding meaning in a life that’s overextended its stay. With a cast of characters who distance themselves from longstanding relationships, a previous employer presents them with an opportunity to regain some semblance of meaning in their lives.

Rescuing abducted girls from a school is impossible to let slide by, especially when the pay is right, and this mission sends them on a duplicitous path where the final destination might make them reassess their monotonous existence. All of this will play out with the realization that their secret of long life has been discovered. From start to finish, this journey to protect their identities will be filled with pain, suffering, and plenty of head shots.

The Old Guard Volume 1 Artwork

The artwork by Leandro Fernández and Daniela Miwa adds significant elements to this story. The use of shadows to present glances or smirks pays off exceedingly well. These moments allow a reader to wonder what might happen next, or understand the hidden sadness of past memories. The artwork gives these characters something to hold onto, realizing their fates are lonely, while also hoping for more destructive firepower to be dished out by their immortal hands.

There is plenty of blood spilt, but the darker tones and shadowy scenes disguise those moments where it doesn’t feel over-the-top. It’s an action movie in the pages of a comic book and the artwork powers that feeling through, with its story blending in and out of scenes as if you were watching on the big screen.

The Old Guard perfectly fits its story and artwork together to make a phenomenal experience when reading it. The layout of Volume 1 is seamless, because the chaos within its pages is matched with variously sized panels where one page’s layout doesn’t seem to match the next. There are panels that hover overtop of a larger image, while there are also some scenes that bleed onto other panels. It’s a wild ride and the design of this book amplifies how easy it is to follow along and finish in one sitting. Plus, that chaos is also matched by Jodi Wynne’s lettering.

The Old Guard Volume 1 capitalizes on every inch of its pages, as explosive sounds pop from panels or even require their own space, highlighting how massive of a shockwave is being belted from powerful action sequences.

The Old Guard Volume 1 Conclusion

I dig this story. The idea of a story like this presents as if you’re expecting to watch a bunch of old gods who spend their immortality basking in their glory or the misery of others, but once you open the pages it’s the complete opposite. They are like these old gods where they live on beyond many loved ones and deaths, but they don’t bask in the sun.

As Andy puts it best, she struggles with an endless life, tired “of going through the motions. Of killing time.” It instantly softens this notion of a tough exterior that’s survived centuries of countless weapons. These characters are human and they do feel pain, physically and emotionally, so the trajectory of this story propels them into dire situations while also having to depend on each other when they’re all they have left in a world that’s long left them behind.

The Old Guard is a worthy addition to your comic book collection, so whether you enjoy trade paperbacks in print or digital form, this story has a lot of action and plenty of snarky moments that you’ll enjoy in the best possible way.

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