REVIEW: ‘The Old Guard: Tales Through Time,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2

The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 is published by Image Comics, written by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Eric Trautmann with art by Valentine De Landro and Mike Henderson, colors by Rebecca McConnell and Daniela Miwa, and letters by Jodi Wynne. The first issue gave us a look at the history of Andy’s signature ax and a tale of Nicky and Joe in Nazi Germany.  This month, the new creative team takes us to feudal Japan and tells us a tale of the Old West.

Opening this book is Deconnick’s tale, focusing on an aged warrior as he tends his bonsai tree and ponders the choices of his youth. He was not always so thoughtful. In his younger days, he spilled blood freely for the honor of his Lord and the rewards his service could bring.  He remembers the individuals who fell at his blade, particularly one whose greatest failing was the mercy they showed him.

Deconnick does a solid job starting The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 with a strong contemplative tone. The aged warrior’s musings are laced with the regret of one who looks back on their lives with surprising honesty. It takes a great deal of strength to question one’s entire life. Even more so if they know they will not like the answers they find.

Deconnick’s strong tone here is complemented well by De Landro’s art. De Landro does a skillful job balancing the quiet, contemplative side of the story with the bloody memories woven through the warrior’s musings. McConnell’s strong color use further augments this artistic performance. This is particularly true of the color red. The usage of red here both draws focus to the violence in the past, while also creating a sense of weight in the present.

The second story in The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 sees a stranger rolling into the small town of Gothic, Colorado. The town greets this stranger via the town physician who is hanging from a noose in front of his sacked office. There is the distinct feeling that this hanging had nothing to do with due process.

Trautmann uses this setup and the story that unfolds as a backdrop for his stranger’s musings. In the form of telegrams, Trautmann gives us a look into the individual’s questions about the nature and purpose of their unique existence in this world.

These thoughts instantly create a strong contrast between our star and the far rougher personalities that await him in the town’s saloon. But it is people like those who create the conflict of this story that our protagonist suspects may be his very purpose in this world.

The art by Henderson in this second story does a good job of delivering the various emotions of the characters in the story.  And while the violence in this story is much sparser than its predecessor, Henderson holds nothing back when it happens, delivering imagery that makes the bloody moments impactful and uncomfortable.

While the linework does a good job capturing the story, I was slightly disappointed in the colors. There is nothing functionally wrong with the work by Miwa, but the colors come across as a bit flat. I feel like this story, particularly in the saloon scene, would’ve benefited from some stronger contrasts in the colors.

Wrapping up our look at The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 is Wynne’s lettering. Through both stories, Wynne provides a clear and easy-to-follow delivery of the narratives.

When all is said and done, The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 provides a pair of stories that focus as much on the nature of their characters as the actions they take. The intellectual approach to the main cast and their immortality is one of the driving features of The Old Guard, and I always enjoy seeing more of that philosophical side being explored.

The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.

The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2
3.5

TL;DR

The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #2 provides a pair of stories that focus as much on the nature of their characters as the actions they take. The intellectual approach to the main cast and their immortality is one of the driving features of The Old Guard, and I always enjoy seeing more of that philosophical side being explored.