The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 is published by Image Comics, written by Greg Rucka and Andrew Wheeler, art by Leandro Fernandez and Jacopo Camagni, colors by Leandro Fernandez, and letters by Jodi Wynne. When one lives for millennia you find yourself with lots to talk about. Stories, adventures, and old acquaintances long gone litter the mind’s eye. And even as time blurs so much of what has come before, there is much to remember, and many stories to tell.
Approaching an anthology series for a group of protagonists that, as this book’s opening boasts, have 10,000 years of life experience between them, has to be overwhelming, to say the least. Where does one even start? In a stroke of genius, series creator Rucka starts this anthology with perhaps the most visually iconic part of The Old Guard: Andy’s axe.
As The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 opens, we find Andy and Nile doing armed combat training on a beach. When the training stops and the two catch their breath, Nile inquires about when and how Andy got her signature weapon. When Andy replies that this is the only axe she’s ever owned, a gift from her mother over 6,000 years ago, Nile doesn’t believe it.
Andy goes on to talk about how parts have been replaced and the struggles she’s had with maintaining it as time has moved on, particularly in the modern age. When Nile points out that she has replaced every bit of the axe, multiple times over no less, Andy acknowledges her point but reaffirms this is still her mother’s axe.
The concept of continuation pretend here makes this moment my favorite in The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1. Andy’s perception of her axe is incredibly deep and offers a comparison to humanity itself.
Scientists have come to estimate the average person will completely replace every cell in their body not once, but multiple times throughout the average human lifespan. This physical replacement does not separate who we are, and who we were. The same is true for Andy in regards to her weapon of choice. Whether this is an intellectual deduction on her part, or simply a desperate attempt to keep some piece of her world stable despite her 6,000-year lifespan is unknown, but I love that Rucka thought to give Andy this outlook regardless.
The second of The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1’s two stories finds Nicky and Joe in 1930s Berlin. They are simply trying to have a nice, quiet night out. But, shocking no one, it turns out Nazi Germany might not be the simplest place for a gay couple to have a peaceful night out.
This story is wonderful for the amazing twist ending Wheeler writes for it. Through it, we see the sort of moment that must help our immortal heroes keep pushing through their days, as well as reminding us that, no matter how big our world feels, it can truly be quite small.
The art for both of The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1’s stories do a great job of delivering their plots. While Fernandez continues to deliver the setting with all the power and raw emotion that has been seen through the series, Camgani does a great job presenting Joe and Nicky’s night out.
I also love the decision to have Fernandez color both stories. Not only do the colors bring out the emotions present in each story extremely well, but having the same colorist work both stories gives them an added sense of continuity.
Rounding out the presentation is Wynne’s lettering. The letters here are delivered proficiently and guide the reader through the story without ever getting in the way of the art.
Taking it all in together, The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 delivers a pair of enjoyable reads that flesh out its cast and its history in the world. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about The Old Guard’s immortal protagonists.
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 is available April 21st wherever comics are sold.
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 delivers a pair of enjoyable reads that flesh out its cast and its history in the world. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about The Old Guard’s immortal protagonists.