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, Fiction

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 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.
    more
  • Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 shinies :)“War never takes the wicked man by chance, the good man always.”- Sophocles, PhiloctetesThis graphic novel takes you traveling! The Old Guard refers to a small group of people who are near immortal…they have lived lifetimes and just not died. They are sort of like a secret society of mercenaries. Only a few people know of them and they try to keep it that way. As they get offered a job, they actually end up getting set up. Someone wants what they have!Despite the futuristic shoot 3.5 shinies :)“War never takes the wicked man by chance, the good man always.”- Sophocles, PhiloctetesThis graphic novel takes you traveling! The Old Guard refers to a small group of people who are near immortal…they have lived lifetimes and just not died. They are sort of like a secret society of mercenaries. Only a few people know of them and they try to keep it that way. As they get offered a job, they actually end up getting set up. Someone wants what they have!Despite the futuristic shoot outs that is part of their job, there are moments of flashbacks and memories that are told and reminisced about. To a new member of the team these guys and gals may seem tin hearted, more some then others, but you can imagine what it does to you if you had outlived all your family and loved ones over centuries ago. It hardens you. It makes you bitter and merciless. ***Old premise in a way, but still entertaining. The plot takes the reader from Barcelona to Afghanistan, Paris, London…as well as through the French invasion of Russia and The First Crusade and other historical events. This was my palate cleanser from novels. Will give the next one a try and see where it takes me next :)Sneak peek of pics on my blog!More of my reviews here: https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/
    more
  • James DeSantis
    January 1, 1970
    Greg Rucka is slowly rising to my top 10 writers of all time. I read a few duds but the more I read the more I'm enjoying his work. Especially his creator own stuff. The Old Guard takes a idea you've seen before. What if you couldn't die? Immortal? No. No quite. What if you could die, over and over again, and just keep coming back? Interesting huh? Now take a group of individuals who give you very distinct different view points about their powers and their life up until this point and you have a Greg Rucka is slowly rising to my top 10 writers of all time. I read a few duds but the more I read the more I'm enjoying his work. Especially his creator own stuff. The Old Guard takes a idea you've seen before. What if you couldn't die? Immortal? No. No quite. What if you could die, over and over again, and just keep coming back? Interesting huh? Now take a group of individuals who give you very distinct different view points about their powers and their life up until this point and you have a crazy team all together in this full, explosive, very bloody, action packed adventure. Andy is the main character here and she's pretty much that badass miltary solider you'd expect except she isn't the norm. She fucks, drinks, and kills. She's also 3,000+ years old and when you can never die is there much else to do but drink, eat, and fuck? No right. Well except kill motherfuckers who need some killing. Anyway she is sent on a mission and betrayal and twist begin and end up giving us some crazy high action packed fighting and whooping ass. Good: Let me just say I love the cast here. All of them. The all shine, all have their moment, and the more you get to know the characters the better you enjoy them. Also the dialog is fun and bouncing, everyone just having a good old time. There's also some great twist, and some that actually made me re-read it. Bad: The art can suffer at moments of high action. Sometimes had trouble following it. Also the first issue or two I was unsure about this and kind of started similar to every other action movie/comic but soon changes. Still, the start is shaky. Overall The Old Guard Book 1 is VERY much worth owning. I really hope Greg continues this one and was just enjoying every moment with these characters. Give me more! 4/5!
    more
  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    The story of a team of immortal mercenaries who are discovered and must cover their tracks. I'm a Greg Rucka fanatic but this was a dud. There's no explanation why these guys are immortal. Or worse, why they have dreams when a new immortal shows up. And then one day after being shot and stabbed thousands of times and living for a thousand years, they just die. For an action oriented story, this was boring. Leandro Fernandez is a wannabe Eduardo Rizzo. But where Rizzo's art is clean and concise, The story of a team of immortal mercenaries who are discovered and must cover their tracks. I'm a Greg Rucka fanatic but this was a dud. There's no explanation why these guys are immortal. Or worse, why they have dreams when a new immortal shows up. And then one day after being shot and stabbed thousands of times and living for a thousand years, they just die. For an action oriented story, this was boring. Leandro Fernandez is a wannabe Eduardo Rizzo. But where Rizzo's art is clean and concise, Fernandez action scenes are a mess. There are so many lines on the page, none of which are weighted to differentiate the various elements on the page. Plus he draws women's necks like they are giraffes.
    more
  • 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.
    more
  • Skye Kilaen
    January 1, 1970
    High-action, high-violence graphic novel about immortal warriors that has already been optioned for film, and yes please, especially if they keep the diversity. It stars a small team of mercenaries in current times, all hundreds of years old, who come back to life when killed - until they don't, and they won't get any warning that this end is the last one. Andy, one of the two female leads, is bi or pan. Nile, the other, is African-American. Two of the male team members, Nicky and Joe (formerly High-action, high-violence graphic novel about immortal warriors that has already been optioned for film, and yes please, especially if they keep the diversity. It stars a small team of mercenaries in current times, all hundreds of years old, who come back to life when killed - until they don't, and they won't get any warning that this end is the last one. Andy, one of the two female leads, is bi or pan. Nile, the other, is African-American. Two of the male team members, Nicky and Joe (formerly Yusuf), are lovers who were on opposing sides during the Crusades.The main plot is that a powerful billionaire has discovered their secret, and wants to replicate it, so they have to run and/or fight to avoid becoming lab rats. The deeper issue laced throughout is that immortality means losing everyone you care about, over and over and over. There's a lot of history brought out through in various characters' memories, and substantial character development even for the secondary characters. It's found family, queer, and things blow up, which pretty much makes it perfect for me. And maybe you? So far there is one collected edition, which includes existing issues 1-5, but it's fairly recent so I have hope there will be more. Rucka can be very slow with his creator-owned projects.
    more
  • Crystal Starr Light
    January 1, 1970
    Bullet Review:This isn't original in the slightest. In fact, it feels like a blend of two other Rucka specials, Stumptown and Lazarus. But damned if I didn't enjoy the hell out of it. Yes, the characters are cliched (especially Nile and Andy), the story goes along the route you would expect for something like this - but again, I can't help it, I really enjoyed reading about this.Totally wouldn't mind seeing where this story goes, especially how this one ended (most interesting way to deal with Bullet Review:This isn't original in the slightest. In fact, it feels like a blend of two other Rucka specials, Stumptown and Lazarus. But damned if I didn't enjoy the hell out of it. Yes, the characters are cliched (especially Nile and Andy), the story goes along the route you would expect for something like this - but again, I can't help it, I really enjoyed reading about this.Totally wouldn't mind seeing where this story goes, especially how this one ended (most interesting way to deal with the betrayal plotline I've seen in awhile).
    more
  • Frédéric
    January 1, 1970
    The Old Guard is a bunch of immortal mercenaries. Well, not exactly immortal but I won't spoil it for you.From this Rucka gets a great action-packed thriller. Most of the situations our characters are involved in aren't new. Moreover their resilience to death should obviously kill any suspense. Then the question isn't "who'll die?" but more "how will they get out of it?" (Same question as always actually)Easy.With a Bang!Through good characters and excellent lines (off monologues as well as The Old Guard is a bunch of immortal mercenaries. Well, not exactly immortal but I won't spoil  it for you.From this Rucka gets a great action-packed thriller. Most of the situations our characters are involved in aren't new. Moreover their resilience to death should obviously kill any suspense. Then the question isn't "who'll die?" but more "how will they get out of it?" (Same question as always actually)Easy.With a Bang!Through good characters and excellent lines (off monologues as well as dialogues) Rucka manages make the whole old lot shine as new. Each character is introduced at a different period of time which gives way to cool period battle scenes. When you get past her moody bitch act Andy grows on you after a while, the rest of the cast being immediately sympathetic. Action is fast tracked and intense.Artwise Leandro Fernandez really does try to emulate Eduardo Risso. The net result is the best Fernandez I've seen but not the best Risso. He tries hard though and really does a comendable effort in storytelling with some very good action/battle scenes.
    more
  • Roy
    January 1, 1970
    The story was a bit confusing to begin with. The immortality was never explained, it was just kind of thrown at us. Once the story developed it became a full blown espionage action plot. Some cool action sequences but I found the art at times pretty simple and confusing. The twist I actually didnt see coming, which I commend the team for. It has potential to be a pretty cool series, just in the infancy stage atm.
    more
  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    review- https://youtu.be/oi3DWG8eT98
  • Sud666
    January 1, 1970
    The Old Guard was a nice read. It's the story of two women and three men who can not die. They are centuries old and have fought in almost every major conflict in history. They have led secretive lives and are always on the move from mission to mission.But now someone knows their secret and wants the gift of everlasting life. That's the gist of the story. It is a pretty good story and violent too boot. The artwork may be the weakest part of this volume. It isn't awful, but still, is not to my The Old Guard was a nice read. It's the story of two women and three men who can not die. They are centuries old and have fought in almost every major conflict in history. They have led secretive lives and are always on the move from mission to mission.But now someone knows their secret and wants the gift of everlasting life. That's the gist of the story. It is a pretty good story and violent too boot. The artwork may be the weakest part of this volume. It isn't awful, but still, is not to my preference.The fact that they are not functionally immortal is interesting. They can die but they never know when their "power" will stop working. You could die 99 times and it might be the 100th that you don't wake up from. Or it could be hundreds of times you've died. As is the case with Andy, she is almost 6,000 years old.Still nearly immortal special operations units are quite a cool concept. The story is exciting and the plot is pretty good. I am impressed by this Rucka effort and I hope to see more of the Old Guard if there are any more volumes to this series.
    more
  • Shannon Appelcline
    January 1, 1970
    Immortals who have lived through the historical eras of the world is an intriguing concept ... and it feels like Rucka does about the least interesting thing possible with the concept: his immortals are mercenaries who run around and kill people and can't be killed. The actual plot is a bit stronger than that premise, as it's about people finding out about the immortals, which could be a major turning point for their story. Maybe it still will be here. But here it just turns into a kill-fest Immortals who have lived through the historical eras of the world is an intriguing concept ... and it feels like Rucka does about the least interesting thing possible with the concept: his immortals are mercenaries who run around and kill people and can't be killed. The actual plot is a bit stronger than that premise, as it's about people finding out about the immortals, which could be a major turning point for their story. Maybe it still will be here. But here it just turns into a kill-fest with characters who are mostly undimensional.With all that said, Rucka does write exciting action-adventure, but I'd be more excited if I thought there were any chance of the immortals losing.I also find the artwork pretty ugly.I'm likely to pick up another volume, but this book still hasn't grabbed me.
    more
  • Myriam
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely adored this. I can see why people are clamoring for more and will absolutely buy any more issues that come out sometime in the far future :) But, I think that with this story the magic lies in how much room the worldbuilding leaves for the reader to fill in the blanks. I am SERIOUSLY down for the movie version with Charlize Theron though!
    more
  • 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 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.
    more
  • Kira Thebookbella
    January 1, 1970
    This is a graphic novel, it began with some military themes and the rescue of some girls that had been kidnapped. But the story line was a bit all over the place and choppy and after the first chapter we never heard about the rescue of these girls again, or if they were even rescued. The rest of this was a look at the main group of immortal characters that couldn't die. They are all different ages, and they discover each others existence of new immortals through their dreams. A big wig decides This is a graphic novel, it began with some military themes and the rescue of some girls that had been kidnapped. But the story line was a bit all over the place and choppy and after the first chapter we never heard about the rescue of these girls again, or if they were even rescued. The rest of this was a look at the main group of immortal characters that couldn't die. They are all different ages, and they discover each others existence of new immortals through their dreams. A big wig decides to hire someone to seek them out and kidnap them to try to study and replicate that immortality. This jumped all over the place, and it never felt like a smooth progression from one chapter to the next. We always ended up at a new scene at the beginning of every chapter with little to no explanation of how we ended up there. I liked the overall concept for this book. I think it had so much potential, but it fell flat for me. They did leave it open to make more of these but I dont know that I would continue on with this series.
    more
  • 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 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.
    more
  • Kenny
    January 1, 1970
    Poignant, elegaic, whipsmart. This is the way to write a story about immortal warriors. Damned!
  • Aildiin
    January 1, 1970
    I actually really like this !I want more.
  • The_Mad_Swede
    January 1, 1970
    As a fan of Greg Rucka's work on Gotham Central and what I have read thus far of his run on Wonder Woman , not to mention his own series Lazarus and Queen & Country , it was not a difficult decision to check this out from the library, and it did not disappoint me.The premise is quite simple: there are a number of humans who are, if not truly immortal, at least very long-lived and highly difficult to kill (think along the lines of the classic film Highlander, but without the "there can As a fan of Greg Rucka's work on Gotham Central and what I have read thus far of his run on Wonder Woman , not to mention his own series Lazarus and Queen & Country , it was not a difficult decision to check this out from the library, and it did not disappoint me.The premise is quite simple: there are a number of humans who are, if not truly immortal, at least very long-lived and highly difficult to kill (think along the lines of the classic film Highlander, but without the "there can be only one" motto). In this volume, we get to follow Andy, Nicky, Joe, Booker, and Nile (all of various lengthy life spans thus far), who make a living as mercenaries, but also by keeping out of the spotlight, which gets harder and harder in modern times. And what happens if someone figures out their secret?Rucka is joined by Leandro Fernández (whose work I have previously enjoyed in Garth Ennis' Punisher Max volumes 1, 2 and 3) and his artistic sensibilities are eminently suited for this series.On the whole, the story-world of The Old Guard may not (yet?) be quite as impressive as that of Rucka's Lazarus, but the basic premise and mythos has a lot of potential, which this first volume only is beginning to tap into. I really hope there will be more.
    more
  • k
    January 1, 1970
    so like, when are nile and andy gonna kiss tho
  • 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 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.
    more
  • 47Time
    January 1, 1970
    Too bad that the ending is so sudden, but the road to it is pretty fun. The immortal characters have a distinct view of life that regular humans can't experience. While being immortal might seem amazing for us, they have gotten bored of life. Then there's the impossibility of growing old with the ones you love. Seeing them die while you go on is traumatic enough to not want to get close to anyone ever again.One character made the mistake of revealing his immortality to his family. They, of Too bad that the ending is so sudden, but the road to it is pretty fun. The immortal characters have a distinct view of life that regular humans can't experience. While being immortal might seem amazing for us, they have gotten bored of life. Then there's the impossibility of growing old with the ones you love. Seeing them die while you go on is traumatic enough to not want to get close to anyone ever again.One character made the mistake of revealing his immortality to his family. They, of course, wanted to gain his ability as well, but couldn't. This eventually led to his whole family hating the character and cursing his name. The experience marked the character deeply and got him to want to die by whatever means, even if it meant betraying his friends. It's a most emotional scene when he tells his life story.There are other mature scenes displaying human nature, plenty of shootouts and visceral action, so this comic is a far cry from being superficial or boring. It would have been fun to read other stories in this universe, but nothing else seems to have been published.Andy is the leader of a group of highly sought-after mercenaries. A former CIA agent tricks them into a shootout in front of a camera. He records their ability to heal from any wound, a result of their immortality. Andy doesn't want the recording to go public. They also have to worry about visions about another immortal.(view spoiler)[Nile Freeman is the new immortal Andy's team dreamt about. Andy quickly tracks her down and brings her along for the most serious challenge her group have faced so far - being ousted as immortals by Copley to his employer Steve Merrick. She finds Booker left for dead after Nicky and Joe are captured by Merrick's forces. Andy, Booker and Nile are also hunted by Merrick, but the trio is harder to handle. They find Merrick's headquarters where Booker shows his true colors - he has always wanted to end his life, so he agreed to work for Merrick. Andy and Nile escape the trap, and after some soul searching Booker rejoins their side. They easily free Nicky and Joe, then have their revenge on Merrick. (hide spoiler)]
    more
  • 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)
    more
  • Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom
    January 1, 1970
    The characters are pretty cool, the story is decent but, kinda hard to figure out where it's going -unless the point is just gratuitous violence, which is cool with me- but I'm not a fan of the artwork at all. Maybe it's cause I'm an old man that grew up in a different era of comic books, but I just can't deal with the artsy, ugly illustration that a lot of comics/graphic novels use now-a-days. Either the publishers just don't want to pay for quality work, it's the new hip thing, or both, but I The characters are pretty cool, the story is decent but, kinda hard to figure out where it's going -unless the point is just gratuitous violence, which is cool with me- but I'm not a fan of the artwork at all. Maybe it's cause I'm an old man that grew up in a different era of comic books, but I just can't deal with the artsy, ugly illustration that a lot of comics/graphic novels use now-a-days. Either the publishers just don't want to pay for quality work, it's the new hip thing, or both, but I hate this crap. Whatever happened to crisp, clean, exciting, realistic-but-with-flare, artwork of the artists that made the genre what it is?
    more
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    This book has a simple premise, immorttals walk among us. Well, not immortals per se, but people who live a *really long* time. Rucka mixes classical elements with introspectively constructed speculation to present a fun romp through a mystery story. When you have finished reading it, you will find that satisfying feeling of completion, yet knowing there is more story to be told. Recommended.
    more
  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    A band of undying weirdos, joined together only by their weird predicament? Sign me up. Not exactly sure where this is going, but I'm pretty much on board with anything Rucka writes. Excited to see where this goes.
  • Hisgirl85
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars. I read this because of the Netflix series coming out that will star Charlize Theron and be directed by one of my favorite directors, Gina Prince-Bythewood. I enjoyed it, though I am a bit squeamish with all the blood and gore, the art style fit the story perfectly. Great introduction and good ending place for the volume.
    more
  • Paul Spence
    January 1, 1970
    “The Old Guard” is the nickname for the oldest active-duty regiment in the U.S. Army, but the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment has nothing on the team of immortal soldiers at the center of The Old Guard. The group’s leader, Andy, has been alive since ancient Greece. Two of its members were on opposing sides during the Crusades. These characters have lived through many wars, but they’ve finally encountered a genuine threat to their survival: a sociopathic businessman who wants to discover the secret to “The Old Guard” is the nickname for the oldest active-duty regiment in the U.S. Army, but the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment has nothing on the team of immortal soldiers at the center of The Old Guard. The group’s leader, Andy, has been alive since ancient Greece. Two of its members were on opposing sides during the Crusades. These characters have lived through many wars, but they’ve finally encountered a genuine threat to their survival: a sociopathic businessman who wants to discover the secret to eternal life for himself. But maybe death isn’t such a bad thing.Greg Rucka’s story for The Old Guard is rooted in the tragedy of immortality, and these characters have all suffered endless loss because life never stops for them. Each issue reveals new details about the past, and it forces artist Leandro Fernández to draw a wide variety of characters, locations, and cultures as the story takes massive jumps back and forth through the timeline. Rucka previously worked with Fernández more than a decade ago on Queen & Country and Wolverine, and they’ve both grown considerably in that time. Rucka has written for so many different artists that he’s developed a talent for crafting stories that play to his collaborators’ specific strengths, and Fernández has made major leaps refining his linework and composition without losing the bold graphic elements that energize his artwork.Daniela Miwa’s vibrant pastel coloring is totally unexpected for a high-octane action thriller, and the more figurative palette works well with Fernández’s linework to set the tone and amplify the tension. The flat rendering of bright colors intensifies the contrast of the inks, and while the coloring is loud, it never distracts from what Fernández has put on the page. It’s hard not to compare The Old Guard to Rucka’s other two ongoing Image series, Lazarus and Black Magick, and each has a distinct storytelling voice and art style that separates it from the others. Fernández’s exaggerated artwork and Miwa’s expressive coloring give The Old Guard a drastically different look from what the art teams of those other series are doing, and Rucka tells a more dynamic, quickly paced story to capitalize on the energy in the visuals.Rucka knows how to write compelling narration that flows smoothly, and Andy’s inner monologue elucidates key themes while providing important pieces of information about the very long history of the characters. The reader is in the same position as new recruit Nile, learning more about this group in the midst of a major crisis that is getting worse with every issue. Andy has a complicated relationship with her memory, and as much as she wishes she could regain the memories she’s lost, she’s also bitter about the memories she does have, reminding her of people she used to care about. Rucka has been spending a lot of time exploring the idea of war from different angles during the past year: Lazarus takes a more grounded, political approach in its current World War storyline; Wonder Woman uses superhero fantasy to explore war as a more abstract concept; and The Old Guard delves into the lasting trauma of war through the experience of characters who can never stop fighting. The Old Guard #4 ends with a cliffhanger that blows up the established character dynamics, and it’s a betrayal that gets back to the curse of immortality that is at this series’ core. Life never ends for these characters, and if they had a chance to end their suffering, why wouldn’t they take it? For one member of this team, betrayal is a reasonable act if it means that his eternal war can end, and Rucka has done such strong work establishing the tragedy of these characters’ existence that this motivation makes total sense.
    more
  • Tony Laplume
    January 1, 1970
    The funny thing about immortality is that it’s at once humanity’s fondest desire and, conceptually, a complete living nightmare. It’s kind of weird that there aren’t more books about it, fiction, beyond vampires. Last year’s Logan was Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine. It borrowed a concept from the comics, Mark Millar’s “Old Man Logan.” In the movie, Wolverine is finally slowing down. This is the inevitable result of finally exploring the implications of his mutant healing factor. An The funny thing about immortality is that it’s at once humanity’s fondest desire and, conceptually, a complete living nightmare. It’s kind of weird that there aren’t more books about it, fiction, beyond vampires. Last year’s Logan was Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine. It borrowed a concept from the comics, Mark Millar’s “Old Man Logan.” In the movie, Wolverine is finally slowing down. This is the inevitable result of finally exploring the implications of his mutant healing factor. An earlier comic explained that Wolverine was indeed old, born in the 19th century. His first solo movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, shows what kind of life he led until the rest of the world finally caught up with him (how he became Wolverine). I’m talking about Wolverine because The Old Guard reads a lot like these two bookending movies. And even the second one, The Wolverine, should seem very familiar to the story you’ll find here, someone trying desperately to snatch immortality from Logan.I’m not saying Greg Rucka borrowed anything from Wolverine’s adventures, in comics or in film, but it’s great context for anyone struggling to understand what he does in Old Guard.Since this is only the opening volume of whatever he otherwise has planned for Andy, Nile, Joe, Nicky, and Booker, and I haven’t read any subsequent material, all I can say is that this is a (heh) killer way to explain the mythology. It’s full of violence, but the art of Leandro Fernandez, and the now-familiar recent Image penchant to define its comics with distinctive coloring, emphasizes Rucka’s literary musings on what it all means, keeping the reader engaged in the story rather than lingering on gore.And there’s plenty of ways this can go. Having only in the last few years read Neil Gaiman’s complete Sandman, I can say with fresh experience and some confidence that Old Guard is the closest I’ve ever seen something come to matching its storytelling scope. Whether or not Rucka exploits this potential, or ever considered such a thing, that’s for him to decide.As with a lot of his stories, Rucka centers Old Guard on a woman, Andy, who happens to be some six thousand years old. She’s the oldest of this group of extremely long-lived individuals, and like Shawshank Redemption before her is marveled by the extreme accelerated pace of modern life. Helpfully, new recruit Nile is young enough to catch her up a little, but that’s mostly a matter for the future.Outside the work of Tom King, I haven’t found a lot of truly fascinating new comics recently. I’m glad I finally read this. None of the Wolverine movies have been overly successful. Maybe a movie based on Old Guard could sell their ideas better, and some of its own.
    more
  • Monika Spancheska
    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.
    more
Write a review