Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Old Guard #3 Review and **Spoilers** (Image)

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 26, 2017

I’ve had a rough ride with Greg Rucka’s The Old Guard up to this point. It’s been a one character show, and not a strong one at that. With little to keep people coming back and seemingly little of an actual tangible conflict I’ve struggled to really grasp what exactly was at stake with this series. So I go into the current issue really not knowing what to expect or even what I could possibly desire from a new issue.
For the first time we don’t jump into the issue with a flashback clip of the main character reliving some ancient history. We pick up right after the previous issue with Booker, one of the titular Guards, with their head blown apart. We get some more internal brooding with Andy as she hates the idea that yet another person could be dying and it not being her.

Afterward we finally get some much needed backstory for a character other than the lead. We find out that Book was forcibly a member of Napoleon’s army after being plucked from jail. Eventually he is hanged as a deserter when invading the freezing cold of Russia, and left as an example for other possible deserters. After which, he is forced to play dead while hanged in the freezing cold for hours until the army moves on to leave the dead behind. It doesn’t give us a ton, but it’s an interesting backstory that is helplessly refreshing after knowing next to nothing about any characters other than Andy.

We find out it takes a little longer for the Guards to recover from death when the deaths are more severe, as Book finally comes-to to fill us in on what took place to lead to his death. Realizing men could be coming back, and it could all be a trap, Andy moves in to badass mode. We don’t see a lot of actual action here but the way everything comes to play out it really sells Andy on being a bad ass. She gets things done while putting people down and finally ends it all with an obvious signal for all clear.

Even more surprising than getting another character’s backstory is we get two more characters interacting with each other without them talking about the main character herself. It’s almost like a reverse Bechdel test, where it’s usually to see if two women in a work of fiction talk about anything other than a guy. But in this case it’s just whether any characters will talk about anything other than the main character. 

As the two characters, who have been shown to be lovers previously, were both captured by Copley’s goons and are currently in a truck mid transit. Although it’s refreshing to get more from these characters the interaction itself is pretty cliché as one professes their undying and immeasurable love for the other almost as a distraction or time saver to give the other time to recover. When they finally do arrive to their destination we learn they successfully dispatched the truck full of men in another off-panel display of badassery. But it was to no avail as no one in the truck actually had keys to their restraints.

Overall this issue addressed some of my major issues with the series to this point. It addressed other characters and we were given more to care about than just the main characters. It didn’t come off the absolute best in both cases, but it was better none the less. I liked the idea of off panels display’s of awesome action, but the use of it multiple times in one issue makes me it a little less effective. With things continually progressing and getting better in this series I’m really starting to come around on it. Still left wondering what the bigger picture of this book is as it still just feels like a small conflict and story that could possibly just be a mini.

Bits and Pieces:

I still have some complaints about this book overall but this issue really does a lot to address a lot of my previous complaints. With learning more about other characters than the lead and some nice alluding to action this book seems to pick up more and more with each issue.


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