The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #2 (Review)

The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #2
Image Comics

Story: Greg Rucka
Art: Leandro Fernandez
Colors: Daniela Miwa

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Greg Rucka has said that this is the team book that he has avoided writing. Which if you look at Rucka’s career it’s a hell of an achievement for a writer whose work is so celebrated within the medium to feel that there are still hurdles like this left to accomplish. Then you read this comic and you start to hate Rucka just a little bit. You turn a slight shade of green with the envy you feel at how effortless this master storyteller makes writing a team book feel. It’s like watching a savant in guitar sit behind the keys of a piano and crank out a flawless overture without missing a note on the first try. Some creators just know how to create.

That’s what you get in this series. Whether Rucka wants to admit it or not he has the gift for comics, regardless of subject matter or cast-size. You get what you expect from the scribe’s work. The dialogue is natural and on point, the plot and action move when it needs to at a lightning pace. The characters feel lived in and familiar. This is a Rucka book.

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The added unexpected bonus was the art of Fernandez and Miwa. This book could have been titled “The Lost 100 Bullets Story” and I would have sworn that Eduardo Risso drew this comic. It is uncanny how Fernandez’s style in this book mimics the famed Argentinian. The use of shadows, the smart use of negative space, the angles, the expressions… all of it seems to be a homage to one of the best in the business when it comes to grim and gritty.

This raises a dilemma for a reviewer. Am I enjoying the art itself or am I enjoying the art that it reminds me of? So I read the comic again. I poured over the panels, study it, gave it a critical eye. Fernandez’s style is a little less refined and a bit more fluid. Which is like arguing the difference between a gem and a jewel. (Fun fact: a gem is a raw material; a jewel is a finished product)

The only thing that this comic lacks is the built-in backstory. There is nothing for new readers to really grab onto. You get a cryptic paragraph and then you’re dumped headfirst into the story. I haven’t read the series “Old Guard” that this sequel is based on I had to try and suss out the details as I went. There is a group of five immortal hitmen (?) or assassins (??) working together to stop what they think is a human trafficking racket. The details aren’t too clear, but even with the limited knowledge this comic caught my attention early and didn’t let go.

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I’m adding this title to my pull list pronto and I need to go back and start from the beginning to see what I’ve missed. It takes one hell of a good comic to get me to commit to that kind of effort these days, but what the creative team of Old Guard has built here demands it and I’m willing to take the ride.

A very high recommendation!

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