Friday, September 17, 2010

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152

Mouse Guard is a delightful comic book series that I recently stumbled across.  This volume, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, collects the first story arc (six issues of the comic series) into a single paperback graphic novel.  It is fabulous!

In the world of Mouse Guard, intelligent mice live in isolated settlements scattered throughout the land.  The mice, being small and delicious, are constantly on the alert for predators lurking within their domain.  The Mouse Guard was formed to do just what the name suggests--protect mice and their interests in the wider world.   Comparisons to the Redwall books by Brian Jacques are inevitable, but Petersen's creation can easily stand on its own.

The story picks up as the Guard is recovering after a hard fought war with the weasels and getting back to its peacetime functions--escorting merchant mice, blazing new trails, and generally keeping watch over the mouse population.  Three members of the Guard (pictured on the cover) are sent to investigate the disappearance of a merchant on a routine journey through the mouse lands.  During the routine mission, they uncover evidence that there is a traitor inside the Guard and the rush is on to save Lockhaven, the Mouse Guard's fortress home.  It is a cute, short story with fairly predictable character types, but what do you expect from a short comic pilot series?

While the story might be slightly lacking in complexity, what really makes Mouse Guard stand out is its absolutely beautiful art!  I'm not sure any description if mine (vibrant color, rich texturing, great small details) could really do it justice, so take a peek at a couple of panels:

While there is a fair amount of violence, it is not overdone. In fact, there were times that I was having some trouble figuring out who was injured in a given fight sequence.  This being said, I probably wouldn't recommend mouse guard for your really little ones due to its fairly realistic portrayals of battle.

Given that this is the pilot series, I can forgive the light plot--the artwork more than makes up for it.  Did I mention how good the art is?  I am now an affirmed Mouse Guard fan and can't wait to read the second volume which covers the events of winter 1152.

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