Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art, Cover: Steve Skroce
Colours: Matt Hollingsworth
It is the year 2124. Canada and the USA have been at war against each other since 2112.
In issue #1 of We Stand on Guard, in Canada’s Northern Territories, a girl was attacked by a US “dog of war” (a robotic dog) only to be saved and rescued by a group of Canadian freedom fighters, the Two-Four.
In issue #2 we got confirmation that the girl in question is Amber, whom we saw at the start of the first issue watching her parents being killed by the very first US attack. Her brother Tommy had sworn to their dying father that he’d always protect her. We also realise that the war is mainly about water. Clean, drinkable water. The US Army, vastly superior in strength, is struggling in the snowy, stormy Northern Territories, so much that they decide to send manned robots. One such robot is captured by the Two-Four, although the pilot has the time to kill a freedom fighter before being shot. We also discover that the Two-Four own a secret base hidden somewhere. At the end of the issue, the leader of the group is taken (barely alive) by some US soldiers.
This issue #3 opens, like the previous two, with a flashback to Amber and Tommy. This time we see them as stowaways on a transport, meeting a hobo who updates them on the general situation. In the present, Dunn (with his coywolf, a coyote-wolf hybrid) and Amber are looking for Chief Vic McFadden and LaPage, who was accompanying her.
Brian K. Vaughan keeps building on the general story, opening interesting threads that will sure be followed on sooner rather than later. The events in this issue of We Stand on Guard seem to be pointing at something big, that very likely won’t happen – but it will. See what I mean? No? Exactly. Vaughan is very skilfully creating doubt in the reader. His characters are interesting, mysterious but realistic.
Steve Skroce’s art is at its best when depicting futuristic technology – robots, transports, weapons. His characters, despite being clearly recognisable from each other, seem instead to share a too similar range of expressions. In reality, not everybody is surprised, shocked, enraged in exactly the same way; in Skroce’s art, they seem to be. Yes, I am nitpicking.
We Stand on Guard is shaping to be a really interesting series, with great writing and above-average art.