I’m a firm believer that whenever Brian K. Vaughan releases a new comic book, the entirety of comic book readers should stand up and take notice. As such, when I picked up my books last week, We Stand On Guard #1 was as the top of my stack. Paired with artist Steve Skroce, a legend in his own right, this book was my most anticipated of the month.
We Stand On Guard tells the story of a war between the U.S. and Canada in the not too distant future. The book follows Amber, introducing her along with her family during a happier time before the war. The technological advancements of the fictional society had led to a period of prosperity, though there are hints that it isn’t a time of peace. Cut to raining missiles and Amber’s life being shattered by an all-out, robot-fueled war between the two nations. Amber ends up meeting and joining the Canadian resistance, a group called the Two Four, in their fight against America’s drones.
Brian K. Vaughan knows how to set up a story. From page one there’s an overarching sense of dread in each panel. The setup in the beginning with a happy family on the brink of destruction reads beautifully and still manages to feel like a kick in the gut, despite the peace obviously being fleeting. The premise here is fascinating and it’s a world I already want to know more about. The only problem here is with the characters. The book is over-sized: 40 pages with no advertisements. In all of that space, there’s almost no attention given to the details of the characters. At this point they feel like cardboard cutouts roaming an awesome world.
Steve Skroce absolutely nails it on the art. His work is impeccable. The level of detail in each panel makes for some breathtaking moments and he takes full advantage of numerous splash pages in the book. The action sequences are executed with precision that keeps the book flowing and draws the eye quickly through the pages. Matt Hollingsworth is the colorist on the book and as usual turns in great work.
I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased, but We Stand On Guard is absolutely a book that you should be picking up. If you missed it, go out to your comic shop now (or when they open) and pick up a copy. You’re going to want to get on board now for what’s sure to be awesome ride.