Tag Archives: we stand on guard

We Stand On Guard Wears its Canadian Flag Like a Patch on an American Backpack in Europe

I probably shouldn’t take We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce too seriously as a political commentary on Canadian-American relations or American military-industrial imperialism. On its face, as an action comic, it’s pretty paint-by-numbers, relying on standard set pieces and cardboard characters, which essentially serve to get us from one highly-detailed, impressively-rendered explosion to the next.

But I’m a Canadian. A Canadian who grew up an Army brat in 70’s French immersion schools, graduated high school on a Cold War base in Germany, opposed the 1987 Free Trade Accord, demonstrated against the 1990’s-era budget cuts, got tear-gassed by my own military protesting the 2001 Free Trade Area of the Americas, froze my ass off protesting the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and is writing this as Canada “celebrates” (if that’s the right word) the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge and lines up behind President Trump as he sets up another regime change.

I’d like to say that We Stand on Guard plays with a number of Canadian myths and symbols – we start, for instance, in the year 2112, two hundred years after the War of 1812. For certain Canadians, including one of the kids in the book, this represents the first, last, and only time that “Canada” (although as is rightly pointed out, we weren’t yet an actual country) beat the USA in a shooting war. The British burning of the White House in 1814 is one of those things that we pull out every now and again (usually over beers during a gold medal hockey game).

In the book, the White House has indeed been burned to the ground – and the American invasion begins with the bombing of Ottawa in retaliation (although it is never proven – nor disproven – that Canadians did it). Of course, it’s all a pretext for expropriating Canada’s fresh water. A simple enough idea – but one that rests on a fundamental mischaracterization of how Canada actually works.

We’ve had our differences with the USA, certainly, mostly due to our being a British colony. My current home of Montreal was captured during the Revolutiionary War in 1775; in 1812, the US and UK went to war; in the 1860’s a group of Irish-Americans called the Fenians conducted a series of raids against British North America. You could say that one of the chief purposes of creating the Dominion of Canada was to defend British subjects against America. But at the same time, we have always relied on the size and proximity of the American marketplace as a customer for our abundant and cheap natural resources.

Seminal economic historian Harold Innis famously wrote of the Canadian economy as essentially being “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” From our beginnings as Nouvelle-France and Rupert’s Land to the present day, Canada’s value has fundamentally been as a supplier of natural resources – cod, coal, fur and felt, timber, nickel, wheat, potash, oil and gas, etc. As we evolved politically, we have remained pretty much the same economically.

Which brings me to the point where We Stand On Guard is pure fantasy: America would never have to invade Canada to get our water.

First, American or multinational companies would simply buy pumping rights, one lake at a time. And we would happily sell it to them. After all, as the chairman of Nestlé put it recently, “water is not a human right.” It’s a natural resource, as marketable as any oil, wheat, or timber, and we’ve never put up too much of a fight to think of it any other way.

Second, if Canada or any of the Canadian provinces put up any resistance, they would be sued under NAFTA’s infamous Chapter 11 Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism. Private corporations are allowed to sue public government against expectations of potential profit, and decisions are made by a secret and binding tribunal. Canada is the most-sued nation under NAFTA, most often for environmental laws. The US has never lost a NAFTA Chapter 11 case.

Third, if the White House ever did give us the stinkeye and ask us to dance, there’s no way we’d drop the gloves on them. Justin Trudeau, having dreamily campaigned on being the progressive option after a decade of Conservative reign, promptly approved the Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL pipelines, over the objections of the First Nations he promised to respect. Trudeau, while in opposition, voted for an anti-terrorist bill which gives the government unlimited rights to spy on citizens, and also created the term “economic terrorist” in order to dispose of pesky anti-pipeline treehuggers. Much the same way the Harper government jailed – er, detained, sorry – hundreds of G20 protestors in Toronto, the way Chrétien pepper-sprayed his G20 protestors, the way Trudeau the First rounded up hundreds of Québécois under the War Measures Act, the way that Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis padlocked the doors of anyone he suspected of being a Communist, the way that Japanese Canadians were jailed – sorry, interned – during World War Two, the way that Ukrainian Canadians were similarly interned as “seditious aliens” during World War One, the way that First Nations children were rounded up to have the “Indian-ness” beaten out of them in residential schools. Canada is not now, nor ever has been, a nation of saints.

True, we do occasionally put up some resistance: I’m thinking of how Lyndon Johnson grabbed Nobel Peace Prize winner PM Lester B. Pearson by his lapels for not following the US into Viet Nam, growling, “You pissed on my rug!” Trudeau and Nixon were not exactly best buddies: Nixon once called Trudeau an asshole. Trudeau replied, “I’ve been called worse things by better people.” And, thanks in part to a protest in Montreal in 30-below zero (Celsius – that’s minus 20 degrees F), Canada didn’t follow the US into Iraq. But I can guarantee you that, had the Prime Minister been a Conservative from Alberta and not a Liberal from Quebec, a Montreal protest would have meant about as much as Quebec anti-conscription protests meant in 1917 and 1944: rien pantoute, nothing at all. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney sang “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” for both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

Now, I understand that We Stand On Guard is meant to be a fun action book. But surely there could be more creative and subversive ways of portraying an entirely fictional Canadian resistance to an American military invasion. As I was reading, the missed opportunities piled up like timber. For instance: while I was happy to see my family’s hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan get a shoutout from the captured resistance leader (complete with ladypart joke about the Queen City’s pronounciation), Vaughan could have just as easily made her an actual Mountie (Regina is the HQ of the RCMP and its Academy). “The American” counter-terrorism commander is revealed to be from Canada – but where she could have made a very simple argument about shocking and aweing her own countrymen (the Canadian military being under American command in NORAD, for instance), she’s given a story about having moved to New York as a kid. The resistance cell calls itself the Two-Four (after a 24-bottle case of beer): why not the May Two-Four, in celebration of the most Canadian of holidays, Victoria Day? It’s even something else in Quebec, where the third Monday in May is the Journée des Patriotes, in honour of the 1830’s rebels from what would become Ontario and Quebec fighting for representative  democracy. And never once are we actually treated to a rendition of “O Canada”, in either official language (the French version, by the way, is the original).

Speaking of which: to use Vaughan’s own line, the French in this book sucks. They couldn’t have asked someone to check it? I’ve had the same issue with Chapterhouse’s Captain Canuck and Northguard comics. Language is the linchpin of the Québécois identity – the ability to speak not only French, but the local joual vernacular, is what, in the ears of many, makes you a “real” Quebecker or not. At any rate, to my ear, a Québécois who doesn’t utter a single “criss de câlice de Saint-Ciboire de tabarnak” under fire is just as wrong as a Jewish character who doesn’t speak a word of Yiddish. It’s absolutely essential to character. Never mind the straight-up grammatical and spelling errors that a French proofreader should have caught.

So We Stand On Guard is a comic full of lazy shortcuts by an otherwise good writer who has access to Canadian culture (as he’s married to a Canuck, and his artist is also from the Great White North). Why he couldn’t have, or just didn’t, take the time to invest in something more genuinely interesting, is maddening to me. Not only does this book not dig into a certain set of Canadian myths and symbols, it doesn’t even present them accurately. It’s neither subversive nor playful; neither serious enough nor fun enough. This comic wears its Canadian flag like a patch on an American backpack in Europe.

I must say this, though: I would buy a comic called The Littlest Robo in a heartbeat.

New York Times Bestselling Miniseries We Stand on Guard Hits Paperback this April

Image Comics has announced that the New York Times bestselling miniseries We Stand on Guard, from Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce, will be released as a trade paperback this April.

Set 100 years in our future, We Stand on Guard follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians-turned-freedom-fighters who must defend their homeland from invasion by a technologically superior opponent…the United States of America.

We Stand on Guard TP (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0141-2, Diamond code: FEB170725) arrives in comic book stores Wednesday, April 5th and bookstores Tuesday, April 11th.

We Stand on Guard Attacks this May

We Stand on GuardWriter Brian K. Vaughan and legendary storyboard artist Steve Skroce’s We Stand on Guard’s jaw-dropping military thriller will be collected for the first time into a deluxe hardcover edition—which will include original sketches and other never-before-seen extras—available this May.

Set in a future where a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion by the United States, We Stand on Guard launched to critical acclaim and blends the episodic up-tempo pacing of Y the Last Man with an invasion story full of suspense and action.

We Stand on Guard Deluxe Hardcover (ISBN: 978-1-63215-702-7) collects the complete series, issues 1-6, and hits comic book stores on Wednesday, May 4th and bookstores on Tuesday, May 10th, and will be available for $24.99.

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week and we’re getting closer to a new year! We’re thinking through our best of 2015 list, but what do you all think should be on?

While you think about that, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The ComiChron – Miller’s Dark Knight returns to top of comic sales charts in November 2015 – A slight improvement for DC.

M Live – Longtime collector to open Grand Rapids comic book store – Great to see new shops open.

AFP – New Dutch graphic novel reveals life with disabled mum – Sounds very interesting.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Batman News – Batman #47

The Rainbow Hub – Constantine the Hellblazer #7

The Rainbow Hub – Detective Comics #47

The Rainbow Hub – Gotham Academy #13

The Rainbow Hub – New Romancer #1

The Rainbow Hub – Starfire #7

CBR – We Stand on Guard #6

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Monstress02_coverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (DC Comics/IDW Publishing) – If this comic doesn’t excite you in some way, then I don’t really think anything I say here will change that. But this is a comic I’ve been waiting a decade for.

Ninjak #10 (Valiant) – A new story arc sees the technologically advanced ninja cross into the supernatural. I’m looking forward to seeing Ninjak as a fish out of water, so to speak.

We Stand On Guard #6 (Image Comics) – I’m sure there’ll be an epic conclusion here, and with all the rich connotations that have been sown throughout the series I don’t know how comfortable it’ll be to read. Which is exactly why I want to.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Monstress #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue blew me away with a deeply layered comic that mixed genres, concepts, and packaged it all with beautiful art. The first issue was oversized and I still craved more, it was that good. One of the best debuts of the year, I expect the second issue to be just as good.

Detective Comics #47, Gotham Academy #13, Grayson #15, Red Hood/Arsenal #7 (DC Comics) – All Robin War tie-ins. The lead in comic kicking off the event was solid, and this is event is one that I’m really looking forward to.

The Massive: Ninth Wave #1 (Dark Horse) – The original series tackled the concept of survival in a post ecological disaster world. I could debate that ending for along time, but the rest of the series was good. This prequel takes us back before the collapse and features the familiar crew of the Ninth Wave. This is environmental activism in comics.

Tomboy #2 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – The first issue of this series was one of the other best debuts of the year. It completely caught me off guard, and holy crap was it good. I can’t wait to read the second issue, it’s one of the first comics I plan to read this week to see what happens next and where this series goes.

The Walking Dead #149 (Image Comics) – After the ending of the last issue how could this not make it on the list? We’re one away from the big 150, and I expect something huge for that issue, so need to see the build up too.

 

Elana

Constantine the Hellblazer #7 (DC Comics) –  Constantine reunites with Swamp Thing: the herbacious hero in who’s book he first appeared! This is my favorite DC series now. Creative, funny, dark and damaged.

Gotham Academy #13 (DC Comics)Brand new story arc for my favorite teenage characters in my favorite fictional school. It looks like they’ll be forced to take sides in a currently political debate over teenage vigilanteism going on in Gotham. Can’t wait to hear these kids hash out a serious issue. Enjoy Karl Kerschl’s beautiful art on this book while he’s still there!

Monstress #2 (Image Comics)Easily the most imaginative new fantasy series in ages. Breathtaking art. Complex fantasy world-building that feels entirely fresh. The series touches on real world evils like war crimes, slavery and eugenics. And there are no bearded white dudes that you can’t tell apart. Actually, I think there’s no white people in this at all!  Marjorie Liu was our podcast guest: listen to our interview with her to learn more.

No Mercy #5 (Image Comics)College bound kids on a “charity” trip to pad their resumes now find their lives in peril. This series is both extremely suspenseful and thus far, extremely realistic in ways that make it even more disturbing. The cast of teens are so damn familiar because you’ve met them all in real life. Yet no reader could have a clue about what’s going to happen next. Check out our podcast with writer Alex Di Campi to hear more.

Snow Blind #1 (BOOM! Studios) Alaskan teen trying to get to the bottom of his messed-up family’s mysterious past. Quirky art, heavy on the symbolism. Promising start for a new series.

 

Javier

Limbo #2 (Image Comics) – This is my pick of the week.  Yes, yet another supernatural detective story. This one is set in Dedande (Dead End?) City.  A sort of Magnum PI based Mexican purgatory I’m guessing, but Dan Watters hasn’t revealed much yet. This urban fantasy has a voodoo queen with a fetish for 80s mixtapes, and Wijngaard’s art is captivating.

Ninjak # 10 (Valiant) – I’m a big fan of Valiant books; they put out quality work. This is a good jumping point for new Ninjak fans. Operation: Deadside, a four issue arc written by Matt Kindt, starts this week. Plus Shadowman makes an appearance.

Saints #3 (Image Comics) – Saintly super-powered teenagers on a road trip. I’ll admit I’m into the religious themed good versus evil themed books (i.e. Tithe is another favorite). Mackey’s snappy dialogue and Lewis’s sacrilegious art has me hooked; but I can see how this is going to be one of those books you either love or hate.

Snow Blind # 1 (BOOM! Studios) – This new four issue series from Boom!Studios, written by Ollie Masters (The Kitchen) and drawn by Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust) promises to be a witness protection noir story set in the snow-covered landscape of Alaska.  If this is consistent with Ollie’s work on The Kitchen we are in for a cold-blooded treat.

Ultimates #2 (Marvel) – Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ms. America Chavez, Spectrum, and Blue Marvel are back this week to tackle the Galactacus problem.  This issue can make or break the series.  Issue #1 I thought was spectacular, and I’m rooting for them to do more of the same this month.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Scarlet Witch #1 (Marvel) – Wanda has her own title.  That is all :)

Secret Wars #8 (Marvel) – This series is trudging along to the finale….I just want to see how it all ends already!  But I am looking forward to the Thing laying a king size smack down.

Ultimates #2 (Marvel) – How do you solve a problem like Galactus?  Apparently the Ultimates have the answer…but does Galactus even want to hear it?  This is going to be interesting.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Klaus_001_A_MainWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: We Stand On Guard #5 (Image Comics) – The six issue series is heading to it’s conclusion, and it’s been one hell of ride so far. I’ve had this on my top picks ever since it  debuted back in July.

Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – It’s been a LONG time since I read an X-Men book, and I really enjoyed seeing Old Man Logan interact with the characters during his Secret Wars mini series.

Hercules #1 (Marvel) – The whole idea that Hercules is trying to remind people who he is seems so very meta to me, as I think that’s what Marvel are doing, too.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns up in the MCU at some point.

Howard The Duck # 1 (Marvel) – This was one of my favourite comics before Secret Wars launched, the off beat humour was right up my alley, and I can’t wait to see where Mr. T Duck ends up now.

Johnny Red #1 (Titan Comics) – I was fortunate enough to have already read and reviewed this comic, but what I’m most looking forward too is getting my hands on this comic and seeing those double page spreads.

Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Grant Morrison reinvents Santa Claus. ’nuff said.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Citizen Jack #1 (Image Comics) – Wow is there a lot of great comics this week. This horror-comedy for anyone who hates politics! This Presidential candidate worships the devil. Hopefully this is as smart satire as it can be.

James Bond #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – I’m a huge James Bond fan and so excited for this new series.

Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new take on Santa Claus which is a bit more Conan, and the art is amazing. Such a great first issue.

Monstress #1 (Image Comics) – Marjorie Liu’s new series that’s a beautiful fantasy series and a fantastic story.

Unfollow #1 (Vertigo) – A new series from Vertigo? That alone will get me to check out the series.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Papergirls #2 (Image Comics) – Stand By Me meet’s Repo Man to paraphrase J9’s review of issue 1 which see also described as “an admirable pack of sharp young women who are actively trying to integrate their school smarts with street smarts.” Issue 1 was incredibly good. a compelling cast of girls standing up to bullies like cops, and teenagers, and aliens (?!). The art and dialog both nail the 80s setting.

Top Pick: Monstress #1 (Image Comics) – Marjorie Liu’s new creator owned fantasy series is “a dark fantastic adventure set in an alternate 1900s Asia.” This is a series concept that is all new and much needed from an excellent writer (her Black Widow series was The Best) and the art looks pitch perfect and stunning.

Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel) – The relaunch looks funny (it’s by one of the funniest writers in the business) and Howard’s scene with Doctor Strange in the park seems oddly touching. Give the new series a shot!

The Humans #9 (Image Comics) – EVERYBODY DIES! I mean, clearly, from the stakes established in the last issue of the world’s best apesploitation-biker-gang-historical-fiction comic, that is on the table.

Niobe #1 (Stranger Comics) – The actress who played Rue in The Hunger Games and who did a masterful takedown on cultural appropriation in her web video is cowriting a new fantasy series with a black elf girl in the lead. It looks good!

Velvet #12 (Image Comics) – Brubaker writes the best noir mystery thrillers. period. This one has an awesome older woman in the lead and you need it.
Kenny

Top Pick: Klaus #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I had no idea I ever wanted to know Santa Claus’ origin until I saw this comic. The fact its based on ideas of Viking lore also speaks to the inner history buff in me. Oh, and Grant Morrison. I cannot wait to read this just to see how strange it gets.

Drax #1 (Marvel) – Honestly, this pick is more out of curiosity than pure excitement. Former WWE wrestler CM Punk makes his big debut at Marvel with my favorite character from the Guardians of the Galaxy. This could be a fun action packed adventure or pure disappointment. Either way, I have to know how it turns out.

Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – I’m a sucker for milestone issues. I’ve been a fan of Brian Michael Bendis for a long time too. So, anytime one of his great runs ends, I am always excited to check it out.

 

Mr. H

Amazing Spider-Man #3 (Marvel Comics) – Seeing Peter Parker take his friendly neighborhood crusade on a grand scale has been an absolute joy to watch. I didn’t think Slott and Co. could go higher after Superior Spider-Man but they did. It’s a new and exciting take on Peter Parker and having Hobie Brown and his cast join Parker Industries has been awesome. Plus how can you not be excited about Spidey and the Human Torch meeting again! One of the longstanding great on again off again friendships in comics, gets another chapter. No doubt things will be heated. Flame on!

Green Lantern #46 (DC Comics) – Hal teaming with the Black Hand? Color me interested. A must see for me for sure!

Justice League Darkseid War: Superman #1 (DC Comics) – I absolutely enjoyed the Batman tie in last week and I’m anxious to see what they can pull off with Big Blue. The design looks great and anytime Lex Luthor is the voice of reason, you get a fun tale out of it. Hopefully the momentum continues here.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – I am excited that the X-Men are back!  I am excited for this team line up (Colossus and Magik together?  Yes please!)  However, I am not excited with the prospect of the mutants facing yet another extinction level threat.  Haven’t they been through enough?  Just when the world was seeing new mutants again, a new threat wants to wipe them out; and now they will be pitted against the Inhumans.  Very curious to see how this plays out..but a little leary about another extinction looming over our merry mutants.

Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – This series started out with such an interesting premise….Cyclops, leading a revolution for mutants, ushering in a new era.  To be honest, we haven’t seen that pan out…all the fanfare, but nothing to show for it.  Nor have I been a huge fan of Bendis’ work on this book *coughresearchyourcharacterscough*.  I have liked the new mutants assembled at Cyclops’ school; Emma Frost is always reason enough for me to read a book she’s in and there have been a few bright points in this book that kept me coming back (Eva Bell and Dazzler especially).  So yes, I will include this as a ‘top pick’…at least to see how it concludes..and hope Bendis doesn’t muck it up.

 

Troy

Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – Well we’ve gotten a tributary re-numbering, marking the end of an era. Whether you loved or hated Bendis’ run on the core x-titles this issue is bound to be essential reading for any X-Fan moving forward. For myself personally I am itching to see how the transition to the new status quo for the X-Men is undertaken, and I am really dying to see the final verdict on Scott Summers “Revolution” It will also be nice to see Hank McCoy held to account for his actions as well.

Unfollow #1 (DC Comics) – When I first read the plot for this story, it sounded to me like an experiment put together by Arcade from Marvel, with Phillip Zimbardo and Stanley Milgram.  I really enjoy a good social commentary and what better social commentary than our Faustian addiction to social media? This dark and hunger games-esque story detailing what happens when a network of random strangers must kill each other to procure a cash prize is sure to be water-cooler talk for some time. I’m here for it.

Review: We Stand On Guard #4

WeStandOnGuard04_CoverWe Stand On Guard has been one of the surprise highlights for me the past few months, and this issue was no exception. Brian K Vaughan and Steve Skroce continue to explore a world where one hundred years into the future the United States of America has rather successfully invaded Canada using giant mechanized robots in retaliation for an unprovoked attack. Whilst there, the United States have decided to make use of Canada’s prodigious fresh water supply.

If you have been reading the series so far then by now you’ve probably noticed that there are some interesting, and not always subtle, parallels to other conflicts in our more recent history. The shades-of-grey nature of this story adds another layer to the conflict and occupation of Canada. The story has been gradually expanding beyond the initial group of Canadian Resistance characters we met in the first issue (the superbly named Two-Four) to take in commanding officers of the US military of gradually increasing seniority, giving us new layers to the military fiction. By doing this, Brian K Vaughn pulls the reader past the futuristic technology on display here and into a commentary that’s pretty indicative of the current state of affairs.

I mentioned in my review of the last issue that series hasn’t explicitly identified the good or bad guys in this series, which is something that really encourages the reader to think about where their sympathies lie; neither side has been entirely wholesome, and as the story proceeds the grey areas mentioned earlier only deepen, allowing readers to get a fuller picture of the world in which this war is taking place, and the factions involved.

Steve Skroce is on top form with this issue, as he has been all series, and the layouts he gives us are superb. There’s a level of detail in his panels that is easy to miss unless you really stop and admire his artwork, and as easy as it can be to want to read the comic for the story, don’t forget to drink in the work of Skroce and colourist Matt Holingsworth; it’s fantastic. We Stand On Guard is a great comic book that does ask some interesting questions of it’s readership, but if they’re not questions you want to answer, then it’s still enjoyable as the creative work that it is; a story of two sides – one side seeking retribution for an unprovoked attack on their home land, and the other side fighting back from what they perceive as an unjust invasion as they seek to free their country from an oppressive regime.

It’s good stuff, and well worth reading, but as the six issue mini series is starting to wind to a close, this issue is not a good jumping on point; if you’re not reading We Stand On Guard by now, then you should start at the beginning. However that being said, whether you wait for the trade or pick up the individual issues, this is a series that you simply must read.

Story: Brian K Vaughn  Art: Steve Skroce Colours: Matt Holingsworth
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8
Recommendation:  Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

Also posted on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan

Sell-Outs and New Printing Roundup

Writer Brian K. Vaughan and legendary storyboard artist Steve Skroce’s We Stand on Guard’s action-packed military thriller about a future where a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion launched to critical acclaim this summer and has been rushed to a second printing in order to meet customer demand.

In We Stand on Guard #1, it’s 100 years from now and a heroic band of Canadian civilians must defend their homeland from invasion… by the United States of America! The hyper-detailed combat between badass freedom fighters and giant f***ing robots begins in this spectacular 40-page first issue.

We Stand on Guard #1, 2nd printing, arrives in stores on October 7th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is September 14th.

WE STAND ON GUARD 2nd printing

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

DC_Bombshells_2_5575d95d36ac86.74035338Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Plutonia #1 (Image Comics) – A new series by Jeff Lemire? Well, that alone gets this on my list, but the idea of him tackling a coming of age story through the lense of the superhero genre is too awesome to not look forward to. Add in beautiful artwork by Emi Lenox, and this is the first comic I’m reading this week.

Imperium #8 (Valiant Entertainment) – Harada and Divinity, two of the most powerful beings in the Valiant universe have come face to face. This is the climax to “Broken Angels,” continuing the awesomeness that is this series.

Midnighter #4 (DC Comics) – Writer Steve Orlando has made punching to solve problems cool again. I’ve never been the biggest Midnighter fan, but Orlando has given me reasons to be as he’s given the character a fresh mix of a personal life and superhero life. Such a fantastic series.

The Omega Men #4 (DC Comics) – Superhero terrorists? This series shows the gray and that there’s a fine line between terrorist and revolutionary, all in space! A very cool sci-fi series that does what sci-fi does best, explore our society through entertainment.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #44 (IDW Publishing) – I’ll keep plugging the various IDW Transformers series until you people wake up and see that it’s more than just giant robots and fighting! Every series has been an interesting mix of political intrigue, action, and religious philosophy. It’ more than meets the eye (sorry had to).

 

Alex

Top Pick: X-O Manowar #40 (Valiant Entertainment) – I’ve become a huge fan of this series over the past few months, and after the way the last issue ended, I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks.

We Stand On Guard #3 (Image Comics) – I have been really enjoying this series so far. We’re almost at the half way mark, and I’m really looking forward to see where the story takes us.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Danger Girl: Renegade #1 (IDW Publishing) – Love’m or hate’m, the Danger Girl team is back, and this time focuses on one of the team’s unanswered questions, Abby’s past.  Those that like the series can expect more tongue-in-cheek humor combined with decent action.

Jem and the Holograms #6 (IDW Publishing) – More fun abounds for this series which has been focused so far solely on the battle of the bands, and while it has been a simple enough concept, the creative team fills these pages with life.

Lazarus #19 (Image Comics) –  The ongoing battle of Duluth proves to be an issue for Forever after she is nearly killed in the last issue.  How thia works from here on will be interesting as numerous clans are trying to take down the Carlyles.

Star Lord and Kitty Pryde #3 (Marvel) – A lot of the Secret Wars tie-ins have either mostly ignored the crossover or told a crossover-centric story.  This is one of the few that does both while maintaining the charm of what made the pair of heroes so special to begin with.

Wonderland #39 (Zenescope) – Zenescope’s stand-out series returns with higher stakes as Calie faces threats in Wonderland and on Earth.

 

Elana

Top Picks Tie: 8House: #3 Kiem Part 1 (Image Comics) – Brandon Graham’s inter-connected fantasy world series begins a new storyline. The art by Xurxo G. Penalta is beautifully detailed and creative. The world has an air of Dune mixed with cyberpunk. The story involves astrolprojection. This will be unlike anything else you buy.

Top Picks Tie: Heavy Metal #276 Jack Kirby Issue (Heavy Metal) – Jack Kirby made art for the CIA’s secret Operation Argo plan to free American hostages. Never before published, we can finally see it in this issue! It is based on Robert Zelazny’s famous fantasy series “Lord of Light.” The rest of the mag sounds good too. But the Kirby cover alone with worth the cost of admission.

Jem and The Holograms #6 (IDW Publishing) – The Food Fight of the Century is over and now it is time for the Battle of The Bands! A really fun series for people of all ages and genders. Which band would you be voting for: The Holograms or The Misfits (not the Danzig Misfits, the entirely fictional Misfits that the artist has said sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)? I think Black Sabbath singer Dio would vote for Jem and the Holograms but Black Sabbath singer Ozzy would vote for The Misfits. Please tweet me your own wild speculations to @Elana_Brooklyn #JemBattle (this is just me, not an official IDW tag).

Midnighter #4 (DC Comics) – I’m addicted.

Toil and Trouble #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I’m fairly discriminating about my “re-imaginings of Shakespeare” but this new mini series looks stunning, innovative and feminist.

Silver Surfer #14 (Marvel) – A title that had felt at the periphery of the Marvel U (in an interesting, exploratory way) now finds itself at the middle of it. It looks like the rebuilding of the post Secret Wars Marvel U starts here. The last issue ended on some absolutely stunning art. Among the best I’ve seen in ages. I was very frustrated with Slott’s response to the Hercules bi-erasure story but he’s apologized so I’m still reading this.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: DC Comics Bombshell #2 (DC Comics) – Making this story a period piece has me interested in the many ways they could take Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Supergirl, after a solid set up in the first issue. But it’s mostly the gorgeous art that has me most excited about diving back into this world.

Daredevil #18 (Marvel) – Honestly, I could break down the multitude of reasons this comic is worth reading but, to keep it simple, when Mark Waid is writing Daredevil it is always worth checking out.

Deadpool vs. Thanos #1 (Marvel) – Deadpool messing with anyone is usually all I need to be happy, but watching him send Thanos into a massive rage has me feeling extra giddy inside.

Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla #6 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Being a history junky, I am all for any type of twisted history tale. And just the potential of watching Mark Twain versus a book golem is enough to make me want to read this right now.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Deadpool vs. Thanos #1 (Marvel Comics) – The one who personifies death vs. the one who can talk you to it? Oh yes this is a must see even for me. Viva la Deadpool!

Daredevil #18 (Marvel Comics) – The final chapter. See how it all ends. I am on the bench with anticipation.

DC Comics Bombshells #2 (DC Comics) – The Womens’ Super Revolution continues. Is Steve Trevor going to make it? We shall see…

Green Lantern #44 (DC Comics) – Hal as a renegade just really fits and I’m liking this fun little space chase, I’m hoping that some incoming Thanagarian influence can shift it into over drive though!

Thors #3 (Marvel Comics) – Move over CSI and every other crime drama. This one is how it’s done.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Thors #3 (Marvel) – This is one of my favourite books to come out of Secret Wars.  The Thors have been hunting a murderer who has been targeting Jane Fosters from different areas of Battleworld, and now they have a suspect.  This is a great cop story, following the Thors as they uphold the laws of Doom, and I can’t wait to see the interrogation of their suspect.

Age of Apocalypse #3 (Marvel) – Issue 1 was fantastic and took me right back to the AoA I remember…and then issue 2 totally left me flat, basically a rehash of the first.  I am really hoping they pick this story up and we get more into the thick of things.  I’m really enjoying seeing the story from Cypher’s point of view, but I want to see more then some observations on character behaviour.  There’s been hints of a virus that could end all the mutants…can we please see more of this story?

Squadron Sinister #3 (Marvel) – I was surprised that I enjoy this book as much as I do.  I’m familiar with the Squadron Supreme, and Hyperion from his time in Avengers…and it’s a fun read to see Battleworld’s version of this team being nothing more then an organized gang, quietly taking over realms to expand their power…but how long will this go before Doom steps in?

Review: We Stand On Guard #3

WeStandOnGuard03_CoverBrian K Vaughan and Steve Skroce have delivered two fantastic issues in this series so far, set one hundred years into the future where the United States of America has rather successfully invaded Canada using giant mechanized robots. With the third issue of We Stand On Guard, we find out what interrogation looks like in the future.

If you have been reading the series so far then by now you’ve probably noticed that there are some interesting, and not always subtle, moments  where Brian K Vaughan is showing us that war isn’t exactly pleasant. The series has also been very cagey of explicitly naming a hero and a villain in this series, and while my sympathies lay primarily with the Canadians thus far, there have been moments in both issue #1 and #2 where I understood the other point of view. Brian K Vaughan has framed this story in such a way that he is able to tell the story without giving us the typical good verses evil nature of typical fictional conflicts. This story is told in shades of grey, and by doing that it allows us as the reader to get a fuller picture of the world in which this war is taking place.

We Stand on Guard #3, however, may cause readers to drop off the fence in many ways; if you’ve read any of the previews, or even the opening paragraph of this review, then you’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about. The scene in question is uncomfortable, and yet very well done. Steve Skroce captures the emotions involved expertly, and (thankfully) we get to understand just enough of what is going on without explicitly seeing anything – which the begs the question; just how far should we be willing to go to get information?

Brian K Vaughan and Steve Skroce have a story here that isn’t shying away from the horrors of war; and the parallels to more recent conflicts in our history can’t be ignored. By using a comic book to tell the story of a fictional war, and one much closer to home for many of us, the creative team are asking us some hard questions of where each person stands regarding conflict, and the occupation of a nation. We Stand On Guard is a story of two sides defending their nation, and both sides are doing what they think is right; one side bringing justice for an unprovoked attack on their home land, and the other side fighting back from what perceive as an unjust occupation and defending their home.

This issue is not a good jumping on point; if you’re not reading We Stand On Guard by now, then you should start at the beginning. This is a series that you should absolutely read.

Story: Brian K Vaughn  Art: Steve Skroce Colours: Matt Holingsworth
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8
Recommendation:  Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

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