The Old Guard: Volume 1

Hello my loves!

So, I finally, finally read the first volume of The Old Guard. Anyone that knows me already knows I’m utterly obsessed with the Netflix film (which I saw first before realizing it was a comic), but I kind of put off reading the comic for a while once I received it from Secret Headquarters (the best comic book shop in the world, fight me). One of those random things, like I enjoyed the movie so much that I wasn’t sure I wanted to read the comic just in case they were either entirely different (I, Robot, anyone?), or I didn’t like the source material and was just disappointed. That would have sucked monumentally.

However, this weekend I got over myself. I’ve been hard out on my thesis and work the last couple weeks, the shit having hit the fan at mach 4, so I wasn’t able to read anything for review last week and I really wanted to have something for you all this week. The best (and least time-consuming, let’s be honest) method of accomplishing this is to choose a comic or graphic novel, and I really do love The Old Guard film. Fortunately for me, I really liked the comic as well!

There are obviously some differences – any book-to-film adaptation is going to require, you know…adaptation. BUT: I was utterly astonished at how well they kept to the comic plot, for the most part anyway. I don’t want to ruin anything for you because I am very much in favour of you all going and either borrowing (from the library or a friend) or buying this book (if you’re an Australian reader, go shop at SHQ. They’re friggin’ awesome), so I won’t say much more in terms of plot differences, but the differences that are there both fit well and pleased me greatly. So there’s that.

The art style isn’t what I usually gravitate toward, but it suits the plot and the characters perfectly. I don’t think any story about the members of the Old Guard could or should be perfect; the gritty, almost draft-like style of the art complements the characters and the story arc really well. They also managed to cast the characters fantastically for the film, so it really was like a film was running in my head while I was reading this one. An odd sensation to be sure, since the film running was of the comic and not the existing screen adaptation that I love, but enjoyable nonetheless. It’s easy to see exactly why this was chosen for film, and why they were able to keep so close to the original plot.

This was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to the second volume. Which, yes, I do already have (it was released in September), and which, no, I’m not going to read straight away. Why? Because I am trying not engage in instant gratification, first of all, because I find that waiting for something you know you want makes having the thing more enjoyable. And second, because I like knowing that the next time I have a free hour, and I’ve made enough headway on my thesis to feel comfortable taking that hour for a leisurely activity, I have something on hand that I know I will enjoy. There is a satisfaction of its own in that knowledge.

Well worth a read, habi.*

Image credits: my photos of my copy of the book

*Over the years, I’ve learned bits and pieces of many languages, one of which is Arabic. I hope to learn it fluently one day, because there is a beautiful musicality to the language and the writing is an art form in and of itself. As I was writing this review, mulling over the characters (one of which, Joe, would have originally spoken Arabic, I think), a series of three words swam back up to the surface of my memory. Habibi, habibati, habi. My darling (masc.), my darling (fem.), my darlings (plu.).

Categories: Comics/Graphic Novels

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