Review – The Old Guard #2 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Leandro Fernández
Release Date: 29th March, 2017

If I was to come up with a hook for Greg Rucka’s latest, THE OLD GUARD, it would be “QUEEN & COUNTRY meets HIGHLANDER.”

The Rucka hallmarks are stamped firmly across this book – strong but flawed female lead, spy craft with a lean, no nonsense approach. It’s almost as if Rucka’s well documented experiences in corporate comics have driven him to focus solely on books he cares about. Make no mistake, this is not work-for-hire shlock. THE OLD GUARD is a modern thriller, wrapped up in the tropes of fantasy.

I will say this right now – those who have lamented the loss of QUEEN & COUNTRY need to stop reading my drivel, go to their nearest comic shop and pick up this comic. This is pure Rucka, you can sense the author’s obvious glee with every word.  There is more fun and entertainment to be had here than in a hundred issues of the latest company-wide crossover.

Indeed, the past year has seen Rucka return to comics in a big way, with 4 or 5 ongoing books; THE OLD GUARD being a perfect distillation of his current occupations. The man is prolific lately, with fresh ideas and genres being explored within the prism of his already established tone and style.

It would be remiss, however, should this review only focus on the author. Leonardo Fernandez, a highly underappreciated artist, provides equally lean and sharp pencils. Indeed, the art here is more suited to a European album than a US comic. Looking like a perfect fusion of Eudardo Risso and Steve Lieber, this is a striking book that delivers shocking violence and brutality with a no fuss precision.

Without going into spoiler territory, the second issue picks up on the revelations of the first, while adding further detail and texture to the world Rucka and Fernandez are building. In a similar vein to the equally brutal and stark world of LAZARUS, Rucka is intent on not spoon feeding the audience, despite the fantastical conceit at the heart of the book.

If you are a fan of Greg Rucka, intelligently written fantasy or simply want a good comic to enjoy over a cuppa (or perhaps something stronger) this is the comic for you. Greg Rucka is back, and this time it is on his own terms, and you should be on the journey with him.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Craig Gorman.

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