We've seen many stories and comics about war but from what little we see in the first issue of WE STAND ON GUARD, it already feels like something different.
Brian K. Vaughan starts out the story in the year 2112. It almost feels like the current day with some minor signs that we're in the future. Steve Skroce's art and Matt Hollingsworth's colors sets the tone for the quiet before the storm.
That's another angle we don't usually see. In the war stories and comics, we don't always get to see what things were like before or what started the war. Seeing an event leading up to the a big splashy moment gives the reader an easier way to connect and feel part of the story.
The other thing that makes this war feel a little different is who's involved. It's the United States and Canada. We see and feel the first wave of the attack. Vaughan and Skroce show us that war is not a friendly concept. It's brutal. It doesn't matter we we're seeing a seemingly innocent family. Things are going to get ugly. Yet, at the same time, while there is a brutal scene, it doesn't feel over the top. It just punches the point home. It also sets up the direction for two possible main characters in the story.
The story jumps forward a dozen years and we see one of the characters, Amber, out in the Canadian wilderness. Without giving us a ton of intricate details that would weigh down the story, we get the idea that the war is still going on in some capacity. Her introduction here gives us her place in this world and what her personal mission is.
Along the way, we do get a look at the type of warfare involved. We don't get full details yet but if the war has been waging for this long, how are patrols handled? What sort of weaponry is being used? This first little glimpse shows how things have evolved.
Of course that is just the tip of the iceberg.
We also meet a group of freedom fighters to add to the cast. Will they stick around throughout the series? Is everyone safe? Vaughan does a great job giving us a taste of who they are, where they came from, and what things have been like for them. We get a feel for some of the characters with some humanity given to help us connect to these new characters.
It's a good start for a first issue. We don't have all the answers and we don't need to have them all right away. We have a good sense of where the story can go. At the same time, the skies the limit.
WE STAND ON GUARD is a book you won't want to miss. There's a big scale feeling bubbling under the surface. You can see and feel the story building and get plenty of reminders that you can expect the unexpected. It's also a pretty book with some not-so-pretty moments. Catch this one on the ground floor.