I’ve been doing a lot of posts on Marvel and DC comic books and I felt it was time I focused on and indy title. I decided I’d do Mouse Guard an Archaia title written and illustrated by David Petersen.
Mouse Guard is a unique book in that the characters are all animals. As the name suggests the main characters are mice and other animals have appeared in the book and played various roles. Weasels, snakes, owls, other mice, and crabs have been predators and enemies to the mice. The initial story starts in a medieval 1152 setting. Everything you’d expect to see in a medieval time period is present in the book. The focus of the group is the Mouse Guard and how they survive being at the bottom of the food chain. Think of them as protectors of all mice in a fictional land, which I guess is earth, but there are many different cities and towns within the territories that the mice occupy. Mouse Guard has a Lord of the Rings vibe to it.
Mouse Guard Fall 1152 is the story and was originally published in 2006 and it follows the Lieam, Saxon, Sadie, and Kenzie three guard mice as they deal with a rebellious mouse named Midnight as his attempt to overthrow the Mouse Guard and take over Lockhaven the headquarters of Mouse Guard. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story as I really think it’s worth reading. It’s fantasy style story and art seems to be quite popular these days as well.
Petersen followed Fall 1152 with Winter 1152, and currently in the middle of the third story arc the Black Axe. All the stories are connected through the Guard Mice listed previously.
Petersen really created a detailed world with this book. Basically he created an entire universe with just about and seemed to take everything into consideration. The back of the trade paperback details a couple cities within the book and various jobs that mice have within those cities. I think this attention to detail and a really rich and engaging story makes Mouse Guard a winner.
As mentioned before Petersen also draws the book and he does a great job. The colors are slightly muted but it carries a medieval look and enhances the feel of the book. There are a lot of earth tones in the Fall story which reflects in the season. In the Winter story he uses a lot of blues to reflect the snowy cold weather.
He’s never had a down issue really and it seems he spends quite some time putting the issues together. Which leads to the one downside of the book; issues of Mouse Guard are few and far between. Being a fan of this book requires a lot of patience. Contributing to this is most likely other projects involving Mouse Guard. But trust me when I say the book is worth the wait.
If you dig medieval fantasy type stories involving characters other than humans and don’t mind long waits between issues Mouse Guard may be worth checking out.