The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4 is published by Image Comics, written by Matt Fraction and David F. Walker, with art by Steve Lieber and Matthew Clark, colors by Daniela Miwa and Rebecca McConnel, and letters by Jodi Wynne. While the last issue’s stories ranged from loving and gentle to brutal and hard, this month’s pair of tales keeps its feet planted purely in the brutal as we see the Old Guard dealing with some of humanity’s worst aspects.
Humanity is capable of amazing wonders and the most despicable of deeds. Incapable of even letting others simply live their lives, people often feel they have to destroy anything different from their own normal views and subjugate what they call inferior, but really is simply different. It is the worst our species manifests in itself. Always has been and it seems it always will be. And in the end, all that remains is ” thunder and blood,” as this issue posits.
The opening story of The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4 serves as a fitting continuation to Andy’s previous tale from issue #3. While not directly connected, the narratives align in a way that makes them feel linked. In this issue, Fraction pens a story of Andy as she looks back at a period of happiness in her life.
It was long ago, in the Wild West when she settled down for a time with a man that loved her and she, him. But, given her particular nature, a time came when she needed to leave. And what came after is what one would expect of the worst of people.
Fraction’s writing here delivers the story’s shifting tones beautifully. But the writer’s greatest achievement here is his understanding of Andy in the way she handles her trademark battle-ax. This element of Andy’s character is the one perpetual part of Andy’s existence. And Fraction utilizes it perfectly to highlight Andy’s mindset both at the beginning and the end of this tale.
The art in the opening story of The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4 delivers the narrative in a simple but effective style. Artist Lieber’s lines capture the changing emotions of the story with skill. As the story marches on, Lieber delivers the moments in a way that keeps the emotions present but at what feels like a low simmer until the very end when the moment boils over. This strong emotional presentation is also delivered through Miwa’s complementary color choices throughout the story.
The second story in this month’s pair is placed amidst the American Civil War. Writer Walker delivers the thrust of this story through a pair of written letters that coincide with the main character’s emotions throughout the war. The letters are the flowery, poetic sort of prose that I will always be a sucker for. Juxtaposed against the brutality of the war, Walker manages to deliver humanity at both its most elegant and cruel.
The art in this story brings all the hurt, cruelty, and pain of its central conflict into harsh light. Artist Clark brings all the hardship and endlessness that the conflict heaps upon its protagonist into stark focus.
The art is further helped by McConnel’s colors. The colors in this story frequently are presented with a more muted tone to them, imparting a feeling of age, and wear.
Through both of The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4’s stories, letterer Wynne brings the narratives to the reader in a clear, grounded style that complements the pair of stories well.
Taken together, The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4‘s tales deliver some hard, but impactful moments in this latest entry in the anthology series.
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time #4‘s tales deliver some hard, but impactful moments in this latest entry in the anthology series.