Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Villard)

mouseguardfall-header.jpgLavishly illustrated, beautifully detailed, and smartly paced, this tale of a legendary band of mouse warriors is more than satisfying.

 

 

200 pgs. Full Color; $17.95, softcover

(W / A: David Petersen)

 

In Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, the rodent residents in the town of Lockhaven sleep soundly under the protection of the legendary Mouse Guard. Led by Saxon, Kenzie, and Lieam, the Mouse Guard are not only protectors; they are also pathfinders, scouts, and bodyguards, responsible for the ongoing safety and continued survival of their tiny civilization. They inhabit dangerous territories rife with predators and traitors, who are armed and ready to strike with their own weapons and agendas. The colorful world that Eisner award winner David Petersen has created in Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 is a lavishly illustrated and beautifully detailed book; so much so, that it almost threatens to overwhelm the smartly-paced script. Fortunately, both Petersen’s narrative and aesthetic sensibilities dovetail into a strikingly original adventure that gains momentum as it reaches its satisfying conclusion.

The cover to Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen. Click for a larger image.The story itself is a deceptively simple one, based on a million timeless fables of men, or in this case, mice, overcoming insurmountable odds to not only survive, but to sustain justice and defend the innocent. The devil is in the details though, and Petersen does not shy away from flesh and blood trials that make the reader seriously question whether or not certain characters will see their journey through to the final chapter. In this compilation of the first six issues of Mouse Guard (first published by Archaia Studio Press, who also released a hardcover edition last year), Saxon and company are dispatched to find a missing mouse, a grain merchant who never arrived at his promised destination. When they finally discover the grain merchant’s unfortunate fate, they also uncover a path of lies and a sinister plot designed to destroy the Mouse Guard forever. This is a good thing, as it gives us plenty of excuses to see the Mouse Guard’s finest soldiers whip out their swords and kick lots of bad-guy ass.

Besides the first six issues of Mouse Guard, this compilation also features some pretty fun extras; among them a map of the mouse territories, an outline of common mouse trades, pinups featuring inspired interpretations of the characters by other artists, and an art gallery by Petersen himself.

Clearly, Petersen invested a lot of old-fashioned heart and soul into his creatures, their struggles, and their kingdom. The saga continues in Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 and, hopefully, Petersen will grace us with many more of their tales to savor for years to come. | Jim Ousley

Learn more about Mouse Guard at Dave Petersen’s official site!

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