We Stand On Guard #1
By Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce & Matt Hollingsworth
The minute it was announced that Brian K Vaughan, of Saga fame (among many others), had a new Image title coming out, I was elated! The premise sets the story in the future where America invades and occupies Canada. A group of freedom fighters known as the Two-Four struggle to reclaim their homeland from their neighboring country and its robotic forces.
The basic concept is fascinating, but upon reading this premiere issue, the plot seems to include material that has been presented before. Now, this is the first book, so some leeway should be given. Considering Vaughan’s past work he definitely deserves time and patience to develop this series. He has set up some interesting characters and what appears to be several strong female protagonists, which is always a positive. Brian is no stranger to implementing political commentary/subtext into his work; luckily he hasn’t been too heavy-handed with it yet. To maintain that fine balance is no easy task, but Vaughan is a pro after all.
Arguably the best part of this comic is the amazing artistic collaboration between Steve Skroce and Matt Hollingsworth. Skroce is known for his storyboard work with the Wachowskis (Matrix, Speed Racer, V for Vendetta, Jupiter Ascending) and going through this issue, his cinematic talent is clear. Every page has iconic imagery that is well framed and designed. One full-page shot in particular is a brilliant example of depth and forced perspective.
Hollingsworth brings such a careful, colorful touch to the art. It seems more subdued than some his other work, but that’s what this material called for. His use of white gives new meaning to the Great White North! Matt makes certain that Skroce’s details and lines are never lost, which brings the beauty of the designs to the forefront.
Even if this was a scathing review for We Stand on Guard, Brian K. Vaughan has such a loyal fan base that it wouldn’t matter. The book will no doubt sell well. The real test is how will the next two to three issues fare? Despite a familiar premise, this comic does have promise. Readers should give this series at least four to five issues to really get its feet wet. Also, this book is 40 pages for $2.99 – you can’t beat that!