Fensalir is the hall of the goddess Frigg, chief among the Ásynjur. The name means “fen halls” or “swamp halls” in Old Norse. Fensalir is attested in the Poetic Edda, in Völuspá (quoted above) and the Prose Edda, in Gylfaginning, wherein Snorri describes the hall as “splendid.” Whether this was a true facet of Fensalir or whether Snorri knew nothing other than the name and needed an empty embellishment, we cannot know. Several 19th century scholars believe Fensalir’s etymology denotes not a swampy area but rather a wet, sea-side atmosphere, making Frigg a water goddess. Some others believe that Frigg and Sága are the same goddess, and their names and the names of their halls are simply interchangeable forms, for use of alliteration in lines of Eddic poetry.
Brian K. Vaughan’s at it again. The subject of his latest great work? War. It’s nearly a hundred years in the future and it’s USA vs. Canada, and the Canadians are the good guys (though I suspect, knowing BKV, it will get more complicated than that). That’s right—the maple syrup-loving, universal healthcare-having, notoriously polite Canadians versus the aggressive and overly militaristic U.S. of A.
The story follows Amber, a Canadian who, at a very young age, lived through the U.S.’s first bombing of Ottawa, Ontario—a bombing that killed her parents. Now she survives wandering the frozen Canadian territories fighting off a vastly overpowered American military presence (in the form of huge robotic animals with laser weapons). Already pretty cool, right? It gets better—Amber soon meets up with a rag tag band of grizzled freedom fighters and together they go up against the biggest mother effing robot of them all, and this is just the first issue.
If you’ve ever read Saga, Runaways, Swamp Thing, Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, Pride of Baghdad, or any of the other tons of great books BKV has done, you’ll remember that his stories tend to be action-packed, filled with mystery, and feature really great characters. We Stand On Guard promises to be no different. Already the Two-Four, future Canada’s gang of renegade freedom fighters, boasts a few stand out characters, including a famous actor, a tire company engineer, a dude who walks a feral wolf with a harness commonly seen on teacup pups, and a guy who passionately proclaims that Superman is one of Canada’s greatest treasures.
Steve Skroce’s art is absolutely perfect for this kind of story. It’s gritty, epic, and grimy, while being clear, detailed, and expressive. His robots, weapons, and people all look equally awesome and dangerous, which is a feat considering how gigantic the robots are. Really, the power differential is nuts and I can’t wait to see how the Two-Four holds up against the US. If nothing else I’m excited for the scale of the battles to come because Skroce draws them in a way that feels really cinematic and real.