The GeeksverseThe Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #1 – Advanced Review

The Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #1 – Advanced Review
Published on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 by

Published by: Archaia Comics
Written and Illustrated by: David Petersen

The Black Axe tells the tale of Celanawe and his kinswoman, an elder named Em. Celanawe is getting ready to return to Lockhaven from Frostic, when Em arrives to bring him on a quest. We don’t know what the quest is, except that it involves the Black Axe. We’re not given details about that aside from it’s across the Northern Sea.

Together Celanawe and Em have to evade and escape from two pairs of mating Fisher Cats.

I’ve never been a big fan of the talking animal genre of books. Watership Down was amazing. The Secret of Nimh was great. But beyond that, nothing has ever really caught my attention.

Until now.

My first exposure was an issue of Legends of the Mouse Guard and I enjoyed the various tales there. But none of them are as good as this tale by the creator of Mouse Guard.

From the tone of the narration, it seems as if Celanawae is telling the story from the future, speaking about his past. Not having read any of the previous Mouse Guard work doesn’t affect this at all, as it’s easy to just enjoy it for what it is. I’m sure prior knowledge will make this an even better story, but it’s not essential.

There’s a charm to the work as Petersen mixes human elements with animal aspects. The story flows across the page and reads as if you were watching a movie.

The art is just as good as the story. Petersen does an amazing job giving the animals human-like movements and attributes well at the same time keeping the animal natures. The Fishers, with their adornments of bones and other furs, conjure images of tribal warriors. There is a high amount of detail, from the scars on the Fishers, the cracks on the bones, and every individual piece of the animals fur.

Seeing an animal use a spear and then it’s claws and mouth to bite seems to fit, even though both means seem at odds with eachother. The way Petersen draws it together makes it seem natural.

Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #1 receives
5 out of 5

I’m definately tracking down the rest of the Mouse Guard series.

Go to the Pryde’s forums and share your thoughts on this issue.

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