BIN SIFTIN’ with Rene LeClair: WE STAND ON GUARD #1 (Image Comics)

July 2015 – We Stand On Guard #1 (Image Comics)   Written by Brian K. Vaughan with Artwork by Steve Skroce

received_10155777972000277There isn’t too much out this week that I wanted to read, so we’re going to go back in time. A more innocent time, to visit a comic that, not by accident, came out on Canada day, July 1st, 2015.  I never said we’d be going back very far.

There was NO WAY this book was NOT going to catch my eye. First of all, it’s a new series by Brian K. Vaughan, who has written some of the best comics out there such as Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and Pride of Baghdad. There are many more. I find his stories to be quite good, and I recommend checking out the collected graphic novels of his work for some excellent downtime.

Secondly, as a Canadian, the cover just jumped out at me. The title “We Stand On Guard” (you know, from our national anthem?) is in bold red letters on the cover. In the foreground, the topmost part of the Peace Tower, still flying a torn Canadian flag, is laying in the rubble that was once the parliament buildings. On top of that, a U.S. flag sporting mech so huge that we can only see one of its legs standing in the background. What the hell is going on around here!?!

I knew I wouldn’t make it through Canada Day without reading this shit.

It’s the year 2112 (of course) and Amber is in Ottawa with her family, watching and discussing the current event of what must be a terrorist attack on the White House. As the news unfolds on their holovid (or whatever it’s called in the future), BAM! Canada is knocked back to the Stone Age.

Missiles fall from the sky. Ottawa is blown to bits.

wsogI’ve been away from Ottawa for 5 years now and I can safely say that I spent my time there living, loving and rocking that great, but somewhat stuffy government town for sixteen fun-filled years. It’s all very romanticized in my mind, I’m sure. There were good times, there were bad times, but I miss Ottawa and everyone there all the same. Knowing Ottawa intimately, it was awesome to see a splash page with beautifully rendered parliament buildings, sided by futuristic skyscrapers that are the Ottawa downtown and the waterfront of Hull, Quebec. You can see the path along the Ottawa River that separates the two provinces because the vantage is from high above where the Museum of Civilization is currently on the Hull side.

It was also pretty cathartic that in the same panel, there are hundreds of missiles raining down, destroying everything in sight.

Fast forward 12 years. Amber, who had survived the bombing along with her now absent brother Tommy, is now traveling solo in the wilderness that is Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and encounters the “only group of freedom fighters Canada’s got left”. They are called The Two Four, since they know more about drinking than fighting”. I thought that was cute. Things continue to happen. Blah, blah. End of the book. Read it yourself.

Interesting characters in a neat story unfolding here. Amber is on a quest to find her brother Tommy. What have those two been up to for the last 12 years? What’s the story behind these freedom fighters anyway? What events led to the White House being attacked? Why was Canada invaded by the United States and is now being patrolled by their mechanical robots that range in size from small to gargantuan?

One character says: “They’ve never given a damn about land” in reference to Canada, “This has only ever been about our water”.

We Stand On Guard #2 is out in August and I really must find out what happens next. – RENE

(Rene LeClair is an avid comic book reader and works at Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, spreading the word to all who love comics as well.  He is also a fantastic musician who currently plays with a great band called FEAR AGENT.  Rene has been at his music for years, including stints with Longtimers, Four Frames, and the amazing Dead City Rebels.  At the Comic Hunter (Moncton/Charlottetown) they easily have the biggest selection in the Maritimes for all your nerdy needs. They specialize in comic books w/ over 250k back issues, an immense library of graphic novels as well as a seemingly endless selection of board/card games. Whether you find yourself that side of Quebec or not, they’ll ship anywhere. Visit their website and contact them here.)