This week Brian K Vaughan starts the war with Canada in We Stand On Guard , and Green Arrow starts to take back Seattle!
We Stand On Guard #1 (Image Comics)
Brian K Vaughn is a creator who demands attention whenever he releases a new series, and with We Stand On Guard, he’s created something truly special. With artist Steve Skroce in tow, Vaughn creates a new series that feels as lived in as the worlds of Saga, Y: The Last Man, and Ex Machina, and has a great premise that stands alongside those stories.
100 years in the future, the United States of America is at war…with Canada. Yes, we’re battling with the great white north. Years after US forces killed her family in an attack, Amber, our protagonist, is trying to make her life in the wilderness of Manitoba. When she comes across the local rebels “The Two-Four”, she realizes how hopelessly unmatched her country is against the US, who have gigantic mechs and drones alongside their soldiers on the ground. After testing her loyalty, the Two-Four bring Amber along their patrol.
That’s about it for this opening issue plot wise, and while it’s not much to go on, We Stand On Guard is still extremely engaging. Vaughn is a master of pacing, and he gives us just enough information to understand that the two countries are at war. While we don’t know the exact specifics of this conflict, we do see the catastrophic damage it has caused within the first few pages. Vaughn’s characterization of Amber is also really cool, presenting a badass female lead that takes no prisoners and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
Steve Skroce’s artwork is, simply put, fantastic. Much like Fiona Staples on Saga, Skroce is the perfect fit on We Stand On Guard, and he delivers some incredible pages here. From the attack in the opening pages of the book to the massive robots that roam the frozen Canadian wilderness, Skroce’s art is stellar, and captures the scope of this war perfectly.
If you for some reason aren’t picking up We Stand On Guard, you’re going to miss out on something really cool. It’s completely different from anything else Vaughn has done, and looks to be another massive success like Saga. Seriously, don’t miss out on this. Everyone will be talking about it.
Green Arrow #42 (DC Comics)
Green Arrow was one of the big surprises for me in last month’s “DCYou” publishing initiative. Ben Percy and Patrick Zircher started a storyline that was considerably darker than any run on Oliver Queen I’d read in the past (yes, including Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s), and I really liked it. Now, with the second installment of the storyline in Green Arrow #42, more starts to be revealed, and while the revelations aren’t exactly what I was hoping for, they don’t completely wreck anything that the two have set up.
More and more people are being murdered in Seattle, and Oliver Queen is determined to stop it. However, at the same time a new robotic drone is being used by the Seattle Police. Named the Panopticon, it’s a weird squid like robot that can determine the likelihood of what kind of an individual will commit a crime, and then stop that person from committing said crime. It’s also financed by Queen Industries, a fact that doesn’t sit well with Oliver Queen, who heads out to put a stop to it.
Ben Percy’s script still has a great sense of character, but at times I felt like this book was in fast-forward. In fact, Green Arrow #42 moves so quickly that I had to go back and make sure I didn’t miss anything. It almost seems like Percy is so quick to get the story moving that he neglects to let it flow naturally. Despite this, there are still fun character moments, like when Queen calls the CEO of his company and asks how the Panopticon was funded, only to find out that he signed the deal without looking at the contract.
Patrick Zircher’s style is perfectly suited for this take on Green Arrow. This guy is really great, and puts some really dynamic panels on the page. His take on Oliver is a mix between the New 52 version and Stephen Amell’s portrayal on Arrow, and he looks fantastic. Zircher has been under the radar for a while now, but with any luck this series will get more eyes on him and his work.
While the second issue of this new storyline didn’t live up to my expectations, I’m still very much looking forward to what Percy and Zircher have planned for the Emerald Archer. So far, this reads nothing like any of the New 52 Green Arrow runs that came before it, and the pseudo-supernatural spin on the character works surprisingly well. Despite the few small problems this issue has, it seems like Oliver Queen is back in good hands.