In Old Guard, vol 1, we meet the team of nearly-immortal soldiers: Andy, Joe, Nicky, and Booker. They’ve been alive for centuries, and have fought in many wars and undertaken many covert missions in order to keep humanity on the up and up. The team starts having dreams of a new person, one of the tell-tale signs of a new immortal coming into their power, and they set off to find her. It’s Nile Freeman, a servicewoman, killed in battle in the Middle East and revived moments later. As technology has become more prevalent, it’s been harder for the team to hide and not be noticed. They draw the attention of a powerful businessman who wants the secret of their immortality, and the team is ultimately betrayed by Booker, one of their own. After his deceitful act, team-leader Andy has no choice but to ban Booker from the group. (This storyline should be familiar to those who watched the Netflix adaptation.)
As we open this second volume of Old Guard, Andy and team are in the middle of a heist at a mansion in Malibu. They steal two sports cars in order to create a diversion so Joe and Nicky can lead a van of human trafficking victims to safety. Interspersed with this action are Andy’s memories of the beginning of her life, a time full of battles and barbarous victories. In another part of the world, Booker, wallowing from his abandonment by his teammates, stumbles into his apartment to find this volume’s big bad: Noriko, a woman from Andy’s past who has much to settle with her.
Meanwhile, Nile has become an FBI informant, passing along secrets that will lead to major busts of human trafficking and drug circles. Agent Mustafa, aka “Moose”, demands more from Nile, and the young immortal gives in to his charms and suggestions. The volume ends on a cliffhanger that leaves Andy’s future in question.
Book Two: Force Multiplied is just as action-packed as the first volume, so that definitely won’t disappoint fans of the series. We also get a lot more insight into Andy’s past and just how old she is. All of the near-immortals have bloody pasts, but Andy’s is definitely one of the grittiest. Andy traces her life back thousands of years, and she’s done things to fellow humans that would be considered atrocities by today’s standards. It can be hard for the reader—and Andy’s teammates—to understand her. So far, we have no idea why these folks have been chosen for near-immortality (not true immortality, because they can eventually die – one of the times they are killed, it will stick, they just don’t know when or how). Andy has been alive the longest and has seen other near-immortals come and go, but she still has no explanation for any of her team, nor the audience, as to why they are how they are. This mystery is a constant thread in the story that weaves the past of each character together to their team.
Fernández’ illustrations can be a bit rough at times, with some characters having over-emphasized facial features. A few nondescript males have the same build, making some of the ancillary characters blend together. The coloring from Miwa is what really brings this series to life. Miwa chooses color palettes for whole pages based on the action, time of day, or mood of the characters, and this really enhances the action and story of each page.
This series is entertaining, especially for fans of action movies with interesting twists. With the Netflix adaptation, the series gained some new popularity, so some patrons might be interested in seeing the source material. This is definitely an adult title, with several scenes of full nudity, the aftermath of sexual encounters, lots of swearing, frequent use of tobacco and alcohol, and unabashed violence.
Old Guard, Vols. 1-2
By Greg Rucka
Art by Leandro Fernández
Image Comics, 2020
Vol 1 ISBN: 9781534302402
Vol 2 ISBN: 9781534313774
Publisher Age Rating: Mature
Series ISBNS and Order
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)