We Stand On Guard

Brian K. Vaughan, writer; Steve Skroce, artist; Matt Hollingsworth, colorist; Fonografiks, lettering & design.

Image Comics, 2016

We Stand On Guard is set 100 years in our future, and imagines a time when water is such a precious resource that the United States would invade Canada over it. The story opens with TV footage of a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C. No one has claimed responsibility, and a Canadian family is speculating on the possibilities: Algiers? Home-grown American terrorists? Suddenly they are interrupted by the sound of a U.S. missile attack, which kills both parents but leaves the two kids (a boy and a girl) with only minor cuts and scrapes.

Flash forward another twelve years, and the girl (now a young woman) encounters a band of Canadian freedom fighters. Much of the story centers around their efforts to fight back against the U.S. military invasion--beginning with taking down a huge military robot--interspersed with a few flashbacks giving background on the invasion, as well as what happened to the two siblings after their parents died. There is no question that the Canadians are portrayed as the good guys, and the Americans as an an evil invading force. For American readers it definitely turns the tables on the usual heroic narrative.

I can only imagine how readers elsewhere in the world would respond. Canada is probably more liked and trusted than the U.S. (especially currently), but this miniseries was created long before the recent Presidential election. Apart from the moral center of the story, it's really a somewhat predictable, albeit slightly futuristic, take on domestic armed resistance. The homeland calls them freedom fighters, the invaders call them terrorists. I expected more from Vaughan. It's a solid enough story, but nothing remarkable.

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