The Old Guard, Book One
Collecting the critically acclaimed miniseries by GREG RUCKA and LEANDRO FERNANDEZ. Old soldiers never die…and some of them don’t even fade away. Cursed with immortality, Andromache of Scythia and her comrades-in-arms ply their trade for those who can find—and afford—their services. But in the 21st century, being immortal is a difficult secret to keep, and when you live long enough, you learn that there are many fates far worse than death. Collects THE OLD GUARD #1-5

The Old Guard, Book One Details

TitleThe Old Guard, Book One
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 30th, 2017
PublisherImage Comics
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Comics, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Graphic Novels Comics

The Old Guard, Book One Review

  • Sam Quixote
    January 1, 1970
    Get ready to be knocked out with this original concept: people who can’t die! Woooah… yeah and that’s our protagonists in The Old Guard, a buncha unkillable soldiers-turned-mercenaries. And get this for a gripping storyline: they’re gonna grudgingly go through the motions of doing mercenary stuff because fuck it. I know, I’m on the edge of my seat too… zzz… You might’ve picked up that I’m not terribly impressed with Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez’s new Image series! But then I’m not sure who w Get ready to be knocked out with this original concept: people who can’t die! Woooah… yeah and that’s our protagonists in The Old Guard, a buncha unkillable soldiers-turned-mercenaries. And get this for a gripping storyline: they’re gonna grudgingly go through the motions of doing mercenary stuff because fuck it. I know, I’m on the edge of my seat too… zzz… You might’ve picked up that I’m not terribly impressed with Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez’s new Image series! But then I’m not sure who would be or by what. We have one-dimensional, unlikeable, forgettable characters, a pointless story and an overall unappealing weary tone (which made me feel as jaded as the characters behaved) to match the generic action scenes that fill up most of the book. I mean, there’s nothing exciting or tense about having invincible characters in a gunfight but there are numerous scenes where our heroes go up against nameless guards with guns, get shot at, shoot back, and carry on. If it’s that easy, why even bother having these scenes in there to begin with??? Not that I care because I’m already done with this title, but the immortal powers are arbitrarily allocated and it’s completely undefined how they work and why, making the whole thing feel even more haphazardly plotted. Maybe it was the Burj Khalifa in the finale but this book read like the kind of dreary garbage Tom Cruise craps out annually nowadays (have you seen those Jack Reacher movies? Jaysis, this guy’s name used to be synonymous with quality!). I really enjoyed Leandro Fernandez’s art which looked strikingly similar to Eduardo Risso’s but I love Risso’s art so I didn’t mind. And some of the historical flashbacks to the characters’ pasts were ok like the Crusades and the Napoleonic Wars scenes. Other than that though, The Old Guard was a bunch of old hat. I wouldn’t bother unless bland, mindless action is all you’re after.
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  • Artemy
    January 1, 1970
    Greg Rucka lifts the concept of a person who cannot die from his other book, Lazarus, and applies it to several far more interesting characters, and then gives them a much more compelling story, and that's The Old Guard. Yep, it's good!So, I hate Lazarus. I think it may be Rucka's worst comic. It's just so lifeless, characterless and bland, I can't see what's so great about it. So when I heard about The Old Guard, his new book with a similar premise, I felt skeptical. Surprisingly enough, it was Greg Rucka lifts the concept of a person who cannot die from his other book, Lazarus, and applies it to several far more interesting characters, and then gives them a much more compelling story, and that's The Old Guard. Yep, it's good!So, I hate Lazarus. I think it may be Rucka's worst comic. It's just so lifeless, characterless and bland, I can't see what's so great about it. So when I heard about The Old Guard, his new book with a similar premise, I felt skeptical. Surprisingly enough, it was nothing like Lazarus — it was actually quite enjoyable.The Old Guard is about a small team of immortal people, all of them different ages — some are a hundreds of years old, some thousands. They do risky and dangerous jobs for money, and try to stay off the radar so that the secret of their immortality doesn't get out into the world. Unfortunately, at one such job, they get set up, and the secret is out, so they have to deal with the consequences.It's not the deepest book out there. In fact, it's more of a violent action comic. The book offers plenty of bloody shootouts, as well as many creative executions of the main characters (they're immortal, so they obviously get killed a lot), all masterfully illustrated by the series artist Leandro Fernández. His style looks like a cross between Eduardo Risso and Gabriel Bá, and it's really cool, although it can be a bit tough to differentiate between some of the characters, especially when you just start reading the comic. I got used to it pretty fast, though, and by the second issue didn't have any problems with it.It's not all action though, as we also get to see the backstory of the main cast, and those flashbacks are some of the most compelling moments in the book. The historical perspective is fascinating, as we see events such as the French invasion of Russia, The First Crusade, the Byzantine Empire etc., all through the eyes of the main characters who now live in our modern world. Their relationships with each other are also quite interesting, at times sweet and touching, although not without their hardships.There are definitely some weak parts to the book, and the worst thing has got to be the villain, the one who set the team up for his own selfish reasons — I won't spoil anything here, but I just don't understand what this guy was hoping for. He goes down very easily, as expected, and doesn't pose any threat to them at all.Still, The Old Guard is a solid comic, and one of Rucka's better creator-owned titles. Just don't expect it to be too deep or thoughtful — this one is more on the fun action side.
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  • Craig
    January 1, 1970
    Not entirely sure what to make of this. The concept is a good one--a group of ageless, seemingly-immortal mercenaries on the run from a powerful billionaire who wants to find out what makes them tick. But I'm not sure there's really a story to tell. This first book pretty much sums up the storytelling possibilities inherent in this concept. I don't know that there's anywhere else for this to go. I suppose there could be any number of flashbacks to historical battles, etc., but there's not a whol Not entirely sure what to make of this. The concept is a good one--a group of ageless, seemingly-immortal mercenaries on the run from a powerful billionaire who wants to find out what makes them tick. But I'm not sure there's really a story to tell. This first book pretty much sums up the storytelling possibilities inherent in this concept. I don't know that there's anywhere else for this to go. I suppose there could be any number of flashbacks to historical battles, etc., but there's not a whole lot new that can be added to what we already know from this first story arc. The artwork by Leandro Fernandez took a while to get used to--people's faces are smushed and it isn't always easy to tell what's going on in his panels, or even what the sequence of events is. But he does a good job with the violence and the scenes of apocalyptic firefights (think the lobby sequence in The Matrix). I like Greg Rucka's work a lot and if anyone can make a go of this, he can. Just not sure there's anywhere to go.
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  • Devann
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest reviewI know the whole 'immortal mercenary' plot line is nothing new [in fact, from reading other reviews on this title I think it's something even this particular author has done before], but it's still one of my favorite tropes and I just really liked this book. I think it helps that I loved all of the characters and that they weren't just your standard posse of "straight white dudes that all have the same personality I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest reviewI know the whole 'immortal mercenary' plot line is nothing new [in fact, from reading other reviews on this title I think it's something even this particular author has done before], but it's still one of my favorite tropes and I just really liked this book. I think it helps that I loved all of the characters and that they weren't just your standard posse of "straight white dudes that all have the same personality" as so many of these stories often are. This was a really great opening volume to introduce the characters and the setting and I can't wait unravel more of their pasts in the next volume.
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  • Chris Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    Immortality stories seem to be popular right now. There are vampires, and there are other, more interesting takes, such as the anime series, Ajin and now this. Greg Rucka takes a more realistic approach with The Old Guard, if you can safely call a story about immortality realistic. Unlike Ajin, this isn't a fantasy, and unlike vampire stories, it's not a horror (or romance, if you count Twilight - heh). In The Old Guard, the characters don't know why they're immortal, don't know the rules of the Immortality stories seem to be popular right now. There are vampires, and there are other, more interesting takes, such as the anime series, Ajin and now this. Greg Rucka takes a more realistic approach with The Old Guard, if you can safely call a story about immortality realistic. Unlike Ajin, this isn't a fantasy, and unlike vampire stories, it's not a horror (or romance, if you count Twilight - heh). In The Old Guard, the characters don't know why they're immortal, don't know the rules of their immortality, and, in truth, they're not actually immortal. That's the neat part.I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected I would. After what I thought was a ho-hum first issue, the rest of the series was surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking. One thing I like about this series is that it is believable that the main characters have lived for as long as they have. So many vampire stories (Twilight, ahem) have immortal characters still stuck in adolescence, not an ounce of wisdom to their credit. Andy, the main character, has lived for over 6000 years, is filled with wisdom, and has the jaded view of life that somebody who has lived far longer than she'd like might adopt. The characters actually have interesting things to say. I like that.The art isn't my favorite. Leandro Fernandez uses what seems to me an old school comic book styles. It looks like the sort of art that may have come out decades ago, only more violent and sexual. Details are sparse, and the colors do a good job adhering to that old school style. Yet the art does take on a persona of its own, one that grew on me as I read. I can't imagine The Old Guard being told by a more detailed artist like that of Saga's Fiona Staples, or Monstress's Sana Takeda, or Regression's Danny Luckert, among others. Fernandez and the rest of the art crew fit this story perfectly. It's sad, though, that we have to wait until next year for a continuation of the story.
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  • Alex Sarll
    January 1, 1970
    Immortality without the mythology; just four old soldiers who found out that they couldn't die. There's no reason anyone can see, nor any reason as to why, one day, they'll take yet another killing blow which, unlike all the other ones, finishes them off. But in the meantime, they try to find something worth living for in a world of mayflies and, because it's what they do, they fight. I sometimes find Rucka's work lacking in interiority, but not here; we get to know them at different rates, and Immortality without the mythology; just four old soldiers who found out that they couldn't die. There's no reason anyone can see, nor any reason as to why, one day, they'll take yet another killing blow which, unlike all the other ones, finishes them off. But in the meantime, they try to find something worth living for in a world of mayflies and, because it's what they do, they fight. I sometimes find Rucka's work lacking in interiority, but not here; we get to know them at different rates, and the oldest remains the star, but by the end of these five issues they're all solid people in the way most of Lazarus' cast still aren't after five volumes. And Fernandez' art, perfect on that other Image tale of immortality The Discipline, initially seemed a bit distorted for this more realistic take...but by the end, I couldn't imagine anyone else doing such a great job of mirroring compositions across the centuries, or handling a concept which by its very nature is as much Looney Tunes as gritty ultraviolence. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the villain is blatantly Martin Shkreli, and thus an absolute joy to hate.(Edelweiss ARC)
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  • Moni
    January 1, 1970
    Old Guard is the newest ongoing series by Greg Rucka. It follows Andy, Joe, Nicky and Booker, 4 characters who are all effectively immortal. They have spend hundreds (and in the case of Andy thousands) of years fighting in various wars and are still fighting, doing jobs for hire. This first volume follows the team as they become separated due to a betrayal, and a new recruit, Nile.Issue one of this series was not very good, and I was tempted to drop it, but issue 2 was a massive improvement. The Old Guard is the newest ongoing series by Greg Rucka. It follows Andy, Joe, Nicky and Booker, 4 characters who are all effectively immortal. They have spend hundreds (and in the case of Andy thousands) of years fighting in various wars and are still fighting, doing jobs for hire. This first volume follows the team as they become separated due to a betrayal, and a new recruit, Nile.Issue one of this series was not very good, and I was tempted to drop it, but issue 2 was a massive improvement. The reason I didn't like it at first was because I found Andy's character very abrasive and unlikable, and though the premise of these amazing, immortal warriors living in the modern age was cool, the actual plot seemed predictable and uninteresting. The plot doesn't really change that much; it's still a pretty standard rescue and revenge mission, but the characters really improve. Andy grew on me when we got to learn a little more about her past and she showed a wider range of emotions. I also loved her dynamic with both Nile and Booker. My favorite thing was the running gag that she is so old and out of touch with the world that she can't use any electronics or technology, like the grandma she is. Yusif (Joe) and Nicolo (Nicky) were also great, and their romance was amazing and I'm curious to see more. I loved their banter in the medical wing, and how unimpressed they are at being tortured. Nile was also interesting, her gimmick being that she's had a 1000 jobs and I really am curious to see her relationship with Andy develop. The villains were fine, and I feel like one of them, might show up again in the series (which isn't a bad thing at all imo, I liked him).My favorite character (I see a pattern here) was by far Booker. I hope he continues to be a presence in the series, and I really enjoyed his development. He was the one most affected by his immortality, and if you know anything about me, you know I like characters who make mistakes and spend a long time trying to amend for them.The art was another aspect that grated on me a lot at first, because Leonardo Fernandez's pencils are very heavily stylized. I love Daniela Miwa's coloring and contrast, and I like how distinct all of the characters look, especially the male ones which can sometimes be an issue for this type of art. It reminds me of a blend between Hellboy and early Frank Miller, and I ended up really enjoying it, especially in the flashback scenes. All in all, a fun, action heavy series, and I feel like it can only go up from here.
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    The first quote on the back about the summary is that it is "a fairy tale of blood and bullets. I take issue with that description. Google describes a fairy tale as being 1) a children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands. This is most definitely not a children's story, and the lands are all real. 2) denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy. There is magic but it is neither idealized nor happy. 3) a fabricated story, The first quote on the back about the summary is that it is "a fairy tale of blood and bullets. I take issue with that description. Google describes a fairy tale as being 1) a children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands. This is most definitely not a children's story, and the lands are all real. 2) denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy. There is magic but it is neither idealized nor happy. 3) a fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive. Most fiction stories are fabricated, unless it is referring to the front the main characters present to the world.Otherwise, fairly good comic. I love Rucka, he's probably one of my top 2 or 3 favorite comics writers, so I was obviously going to read this. The art style was just a little too flat at times, for my taste. I found myself going back and forth on it. At times, it was very silhouette-ey, and pretty, and yet, during the action scenes, I found myself skimming them as quickly as possible, for the sheer simple fact that it was hard to tell what was going on. Mayhem, carnage, the basics. The backgrounds were also a little lacking. But this would have been a ripping yarn about old soldiers not being able to give up the fight long before the fantasy element was thrown in. How much more of an obvious metaphor can you get than literal soldiers from millenia before, essentially immortal until their time is up (literally, so far in the mythos)? Not much. Great war metaphor, or perhaps heist metaphor. Either way, there's plenty of action and quips and brotherhood.First arc was tied up fairly neatly whilst the main question of the series - how are these immortal beings going to die? - was left open-ended. Perfect start to a series: give it an obvious end whenever you feel like it's over, but leave plenty of room for adventures until then.
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  • Krutula
    January 1, 1970
    A group of immortals who become mercenaries - with that premise, I expected this book to be more interesting than it turned out to be. The canon of the book doesn't give any explanation for the creation of these immortals (indestructible to a point, more like), yet, but somehow they all became mercenaries. Their stories are varied, from a pair of warriors living from the time of the Crusades, to a soldier felled in a war 200 years ago. The oldest among them, Andy - she has been around for millen A group of immortals who become mercenaries - with that premise, I expected this book to be more interesting than it turned out to be. The canon of the book doesn't give any explanation for the creation of these immortals (indestructible to a point, more like), yet, but somehow they all became mercenaries. Their stories are varied, from a pair of warriors living from the time of the Crusades, to a soldier felled in a war 200 years ago. The oldest among them, Andy - she has been around for millennia and is tired of her long existence and the monotony of life. This ennui is a common theme for all of them, and a source of malcontent. While I was drawn in by the setting of the story, it really did not have much to offer besides that. It became almost predictable at a point, and that made it boring. Also, it serves more to be violent and gory, than actually develop some plot, so well, not my cup of tea. The art is good, though, and despite the old school style, I liked it. There are some characters that look too similar in the first two chapters to differentiate until later, though. It also contains canon queer characters so that is a plus. Overall, however, it's a on-the-fence kind of book for me. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Image Comics, via Edelweiss.
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  • Ron
    January 1, 1970
    Opening Fire is the first volume in an interesting series. Five people are immortal, well sort of immortal. They can be killed, but then their bodies rebuild (similar to Casca in the book series by Barry Sadler) and they pick up where they were. Until they do not survive a death. All fine and dandy, except that in today's world, they are finding it harder to cope and stay off anyone's radar. Especially when someone decides to betray them. The book reads fast and furious with plenty of action and Opening Fire is the first volume in an interesting series. Five people are immortal, well sort of immortal. They can be killed, but then their bodies rebuild (similar to Casca in the book series by Barry Sadler) and they pick up where they were. Until they do not survive a death. All fine and dandy, except that in today's world, they are finding it harder to cope and stay off anyone's radar. Especially when someone decides to betray them. The book reads fast and furious with plenty of action and interesting artwork. It will be interesting what twists Greg Ruka will pull in volume 2!I was able to read this galley thanks to Image Comics.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    Once again, Rucka knocks it right out of the ball park with this one. The Old Guard is a tale of immortality, and the repercussions it has on family, friends, love, and one's perspective in regards to the meaning of life. The art is very....non-traditional, but at the same time, very fitting for this sort of story. I'm glad this won't be the last we'll hear from Andy and the rest of the crew.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the storyline of this book. The idea of mercenaries across time is a great one and the authors do a wonderful job defining and humanizing the cast in such a compact narrative.I opened the book offhand simply to peruse the artwork and found myself immediately drawn in, finishing it cover to cover in one short sitting. I look forward to discovering what's in store for the characters in future installments.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    Picked this up on a whim not knowing whether I'd follow it, just that Rucka was reliable.Great decision on my part and I've finished out this arc.It's got a unique spin on a "immortals" premise, tons of action, good characters, and just enough depth to make it great.Recommended!
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  • Jamie Connolly
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome. Just what you want and expect from rucka.
  • William
    January 1, 1970
    GOD DAMN YES that is what I call a comic book. Fantastic new series from Greg Rucka, who I've never read before but am now a fan of.
  • Variaciones Enrojo
    January 1, 1970
    Recopilatorio de lo nuevo de Rucka y Fernández, que se estima será editado en 2018.
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