We Stand On Guard #1 (Image)


Rating: 4.5/5 – Plucky Canadian Freedom Fighters Battle the Evil U.S.of A
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

The premise of this latest Brian K. Vaughan series set 100 years in the future is a United States invasion of Canada, apparently to get their hands on Canadian water.  Not a lot of information on the motivation behind the invasion in this 1st issue, which may be explored in future, we just see the seemingly unprovoked surprise attack by the US and jump forward 10 years to be introduced to a plucky band of Canadian freedom fighters, the Two-Four (and I did get a kick out of the genesis of their name).

Steve Skroce turns in some spectacular art which was, for me, the stand-out highlight of the issue.  The last thing I really remember him on was the series Doc Frankenstein, and that was 9-10 years ago.  I hope we see a lot more work from him moving forward.

Brian K. Vaughan can writer a great story, but then I need to separate the actual craft of the story from my enjoyment of it.  I didn’t particularly care for the story.  I get it.  We have a much closer to home riff on the U.S. invading countries half-way around the world to get oil.  Here we invade Canada to get their water.  U.S. foreign policy is bad and we’re aggressors in the eyes of the world.  I can see the allegory.  In these kinds of stories we are meant to sympathize with the oppressed and valiant freedom fighters facing off against horrible odds.   And you kind of need to do that.  To side with the unwarranted aggressor when it’s painted like this kind of means you’d have to have somewhat sociopathic leanings.  And there’s my problem.  Vaughan made me like the Two-Four.  And I don’t want to.  On the other hand, I don’t want to side with a U.S. that invades Canada in Star Wars inspired imperial walkers either, so I’m in a situation where I don’t particularly want to side or sympathize with either faction.   And Canada is bilingual, we get it.  Having the robots state everything in English and French so it could be ‘understood’ by the insurgents?  Seemed one step removed from having them all say ‘eh’ and refer to moose and back-bacon to set the location firmly in Canada, but that’s probably just me.

Vaughan and Skroce have put together a beautifully drawn series that riffs on one possible outcome of US foreign policy if something isn’t done to ramp it back over the course of the next 100 years.  It’s very well done, but I’m just not able to relate to the characters or situations.  Which means I’ll likely drop this series, even though it’s very well crafted.  That said, it’s well worth giving a try, everyone will have their own reactions to the art, tone of the story, etc.  I can easily see this becoming the favorite series of some readers.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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