A most cruel past returns for Andromache in the final issue of "The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #5"

Cover art by Leandro Fernández

The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #5 is the fifth and final chapter of the Force Multiplied series. To recap for a bit, #1 reveals Noriko, one of the immortals and a former lover of Andy's, is alive, having survived centuries of drowning in the ocean, after being wiped out in a storm. She and Andy, better known as Andromache, met thousands of years ago after Andy dreamed about Noriko for a thousand years, then went in search of her. Now out for revenge against the immortals who left her for dead, Noriko sets her plan into effect. To get to the others, she kidnaps Booker, also an immortal who was kicked out of the group of the original five immortal warriors. Noriko is no longer the person she once was, now intent on causing great pain for mankind by way of crimes such as human trafficking. Andy, Nicky, Joe and Nile, the newest immortal, fight these kinds of fiendish acts without knowing Noriko is behind it. In issue #2, Noriko surprises the crew with her existence when she quite literally blows Andromache away.

Interior art from issue #3 by Leandro Fernández

Issue #3 enlightens us on Andy's and Noriko's romantic past and the tragedy that brought about the end of it. The betrayed makes it clear she's not out to make nice with anyone from the group of immortals. It doesn't make any sense to Andy, who makes it a point to find a way to talk to her ex one on one. While this is all taking place, James Copley, an FBI operative who has discovered the truth about the immortal warriors, looks to make amends for his past transgression of selling them out to Steve Merrick in The Old Guard volume. In #4, Copley makes nice with the warriors and offers to help rescue Booker from the sinister Noriko. Andy's talk with Noriko doesn't go well and the issue ends with her inside the trunk of a car at the bottom of the ocean, suffering the same fate Noriko did for centuries.

Interior art from issue #5 by Leandro Fernández

In 6,700 years of life, give or take, Andromache has had a millennia of lifetimes to make mistakes and try to right the wrongs of her past. In this fifth and final installment, the greatest wrong of her life comes back to haunt her. Even with all the work she does with the immortal warriors to fight the crimes of the world, it is not enough of an atonement. Nile, makes it a point to give Andromache an ultimatum: continue with their battle against evil or be part of the problem. Even with how green Nile is to the group and to her immortality, she seems to heavily criticize Andromache for what she does and does not do. Nicky and Joe have known her for hundreds if not thousands of years and they know when to give Andy some breathing room. In a way, this part of the story is reminiscent of our current political climate, no longer permitting the allowance of gray areas.

The rest of the issue revolves around the rescue of Booker where the immortal warriors will have to face off with Noriko once more. It is a bloody mess with tons of action, but much more heart and story overall. By the end of the issue, many questions arise with the cliffhanger we are left with. Artist Leandro Fernández truly shows the grit of the warriors' lives while leaving most of the blood and guts in muted tones within the shadows. He does a great job of bringing to life Andromache's ferocity even in her still moments. It appears writer Greg Rucka has decided to see his successful franchise through to a third series. Will it truly be the end? That remains to be seen.

The Old Guard: Force Multiplied #5 is published by Image Comics and is available July 15, 2020.


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