We Stand On Guard has been one of the surprise highlights for me the past few months, and this issue was no exception. Brian K Vaughan and Steve Skroce continue to explore a world where one hundred years into the future the United States of America has rather successfully invaded Canada using giant mechanized robots in retaliation for an unprovoked attack. Whilst there, the United States have decided to make use of Canada’s prodigious fresh water supply.
If you have been reading the series so far then by now you’ve probably noticed that there are some interesting, and not always subtle, parallels to other conflicts in our more recent history. The shades-of-grey nature of this story adds another layer to the conflict and occupation of Canada. The story has been gradually expanding beyond the initial group of Canadian Resistance characters we met in the first issue (the superbly named Two-Four) to take in commanding officers of the US military of gradually increasing seniority, giving us new layers to the military fiction. By doing this, Brian K Vaughn pulls the reader past the futuristic technology on display here and into a commentary that’s pretty indicative of the current state of affairs.
I mentioned in my review of the last issue that series hasn’t explicitly identified the good or bad guys in this series, which is something that really encourages the reader to think about where their sympathies lie; neither side has been entirely wholesome, and as the story proceeds the grey areas mentioned earlier only deepen, allowing readers to get a fuller picture of the world in which this war is taking place, and the factions involved.
Steve Skroce is on top form with this issue, as he has been all series, and the layouts he gives us are superb. There’s a level of detail in his panels that is easy to miss unless you really stop and admire his artwork, and as easy as it can be to want to read the comic for the story, don’t forget to drink in the work of Skroce and colourist Matt Holingsworth; it’s fantastic. We Stand On Guard is a great comic book that does ask some interesting questions of it’s readership, but if they’re not questions you want to answer, then it’s still enjoyable as the creative work that it is; a story of two sides – one side seeking retribution for an unprovoked attack on their home land, and the other side fighting back from what they perceive as an unjust invasion as they seek to free their country from an oppressive regime.
It’s good stuff, and well worth reading, but as the six issue mini series is starting to wind to a close, this issue is not a good jumping on point; if you’re not reading We Stand On Guard by now, then you should start at the beginning. However that being said, whether you wait for the trade or pick up the individual issues, this is a series that you simply must read.
Writer: Brian K Vaughn Art: Steve Skroce Colours: Matt Holingsworth
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8
Image provided a FREE copy for review.
Also posted on Graphic Policy