This week the immortals take over as Greg Rucka kicks off his new Image series The Old Guard, and IDW starts up a brand new Highlander series!
The Old Guard #1 (Image Comics)
Greg Rucka has made quite the name for himself thanks to books like Lazarus, and now he’s starting up another creator owned series with Image Comics, The Old Guard. Billed as a mixture of “John Wick and Highlander”, The Old Guard is an awesome mash up of immortals, black ops, and super violence, but has the same strong characterizations that you would expect from a book with Greg Rucka’s name on it.
The Old Guard focuses on five immortals that have been battling or centuries. They’ve seen everything, and Andy, our lead character, is constantly searching for the one battle that will finally kill her. When the group is sent on a simple rescue mission, their secret is revealed thanks to a hidden camera, leading to a whole mess of new problems for them.
The idea of Immortals being tired of being immortal isn’t a new one, but Greg Rucka is able to tap into that mindset in a really interesting way. Andy is extremely world-weary, but doesn’t allow this to get in the way of her being a leader. There are definitely shades of Lazarus’ Forever in her, but Andy, while not having any hesitations on attacking her enemies, definitely has a sense of being over the whole idea of fighting for the rest of eternity.
Leandro Fernandez’ art instantly made me think of Sin City era Frank Miller, and it works extremely well for this series. Fernandez’ artwork melds so seamlessly with Rucka’s script that I honestly cannot imagine anyone else drawing this book. Fernandez is able to craft some great haunting images as Andy reflects on her long life of fighting, but he really shines when Andy’s team dives into their rescue mission. The action comes so fast that you’d think you were right in the middle of the battle.
The Old Guard definitely lived up to the hype that I had been hearing, and I’m pretty excited for the next issue to hit. This is definitely one of those ideas that I can’t believe hasn’t been done before, and it appears that Rucka and Fernandez are chomping at the bit to expand on this world. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about with Greg Rucka’s writing, then this is the book to try.
Highlander: American Dream #1 (IDW)
I love Highlander, faults and all. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that IDW was going to be bringing Connor MacLeod back to the paneled page. While Connor had a Dynamite series a few years back, that series was quickly canceled after a few issues. Aside from that and rumblings about a reboot movie, it’s been relatively quiet on the Highlander front for the past few years. However, with a new series from IDW from Brian Ruckley and Andrea Mutti, it sounds like Highlander: American Dream will have a focus that should last for some time.
Taking place just before the events of the first movie, Highlander: American Dream introduces some new characters into the franchise, but luckily for us writer Brian Ruckley doesn’t introduce anything that completely breaks the franchise as a whole. In fact, much of what Ruckley brings to the table in American Dream not only fits really well into the story of Connor MacLeod that we know from the movies, they’re also better than the ideas from the numerous sequels that plagued the franchise. While prequels can be a little tricky to pull off, with American Dream it’s a benefit, as Ruckley doesn’t have to try and make his story fit in with all of the crazy crap that the Highlander franchise has gone through.
Andrea Mutti handles the artwork for American Dream, and he’s able to craft pages that are reminiscent of the look of these characters from their movie counterparts, but not so much that they look super distracting or super stiff. Highlander stories are known for jumping through different time periods, and Mutti is able to showcase this aspect of the story really well. However, there’s not a lot of action in this issue, so it remains to be seen how Mutti will be able to handle the swordfights that the franchise is known for.
While the bar wasn’t that high, Highlander: American Dream is easily the best comic book that has sprung from the franchise, and definitely something Highlander fans need to check out. Ruckley and Mutti have crafted a loving nod to the franchise that honors the original movie while also adding some cool new elements to it. The movie reboot may never happen, but as long as IDW is going to put out comics, Highlander fans will have plenty to be happy with. All that’s missing is a rocking Queen soundtrack.