Sunday, July 5, 2015

Comic Review: We Stand on Guard #1

My reaction before reading this book is exactly what the publisher is hoping for: excitement because the writer is the writer of Saga. After reading it, I have a reaction they would like but not what they would hope for: I'm not over the moon about it, but want to read more.

One of my problems is that it feels a little mundane, which is strange to say about a concept this out there. We are about 100 years in the future, following a main character living on the edge of a very hostile world. Her parents were killed when their house was bombed twelve years before by American forces, leaving her and her brother to grow up too quickly. I feel like I have seen Amber, this character, many times before, as well as the group of freedom fighters she gets involved with. The characters are not too different from standard types, and might be a lot to ask of a single issue, but it holds back my enthusiasm a bit.

What I found interesting, and makes want to read more, is how Canadian it is. Everyone understands both French and English, and the French is left untranslated. The forests they go through somehow feel Canadian, though I cannot put my finger on why. I don't know if it's that I've always been so close to Canada, or that few things feel this distinctly Canadian without verging into parody, but it really draws me in where the characters don't.

For all the Canadian flavor, what really intrigued me was a sequence people will probably just gloss over. One of the freedom fighters has a Superman tattoo, and Amber was disgusted that he would wear an American symbol like that. It makes the world of the comic feel truly different, since that kind of enmity between America and Canada is not there in our world. That was not the part that sticks with me, though; it was his response that sticks out. He starts to explain that Superman, even though he's about "Truth, Justice, and the American way", is really Canadian, starting with his creators being from Canada to making a number of jokes about how Canada and America usually interact. It had that feeling of an insane fan theory that you almost want to believe, and I found it hilarious the whole way through. It shows off a particular confidence, that they would take time out for that digression, but doesn't feel like showing off how funny the writer or artist think that they are.

Like I said, I'm not over the moon about this series, but I liked this first issue. It has enough promise that I'll probably be checking out future issues and seeing how they turn out.

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