Overview

Mice Templar Vol. 3 #1

Review

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Mice Templar Vol. 3 #1

Credits

  • Words: Bryan J.L. Glass
  • Art: Mike Avon Oeming
  • Inks: Victor Santos
  • Colors: Veronica Gandini
  • Story Title: Part 1: Precious Burden
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Dec 22, 2010

Mice Templar is generally as intense and brutal as anything Mark Millar produces, but thankfully, the series has a greater sense of restraint. Some may see its Knights Templar play on words in the title and mistakenly think it’s a cute fantasy tale, but to dismiss it so easily would be a mistake.

If you haven’t read the previous two volumes, you can still jump right in here without any confusion, though obviously long-time readers will receive the most reward, especially considering the cliffhanger conclusion. This premiere issue of the third volume, titled A Midwinter Night’s Dream, is accessible, thanks to its one page introduction that fills new readers in on the happenings in this rich world and the two page lexicon towards the end of the issue.

With the Order of gallant mice long disbanded from within, a few ragtag soldiers, including new Knight Karic, face a world in which their own race must survive against a harsh rat regime. This issue begins with Karic, wounded from decay from a reanimated feline corpse, being carried on the shoulders of his fellow exiled Templar Cassius before arriving at a camp for some deserved rest, but not relaxation, as a warning erupts for a rat invasion.

The last few pages are filled with the kind of frantic scenes of chaotic violence that Oeming (Powers) stages so well. He fills the space with so much kinetic energy that it seems like a lost sequence from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Being a first issue there is more dialogue than action, but Glass (Thor: First Thunder) never lets it slip into boring exposition. Every character is well rounded, and although there’s little seen of the bad guys, a sense of menace fills every scene. Sure, they may be rodents but comics have a strong history of intriguing anthropomorphic tales from Maus to Blacksad. As far as creating sympathy and interest in the welfare of these tiny, hairy creatures goes, Mice Templar could easily be compared to those two books.

Victor Santos and Veronica Gandini must also be praised, as their inks and colours add even more flair to Oeming’s dramatic visuals, and it also must be said that Oeming’s freedom on the page produces great results. From generous use of full page panels, to stark silhouettes in the battle scenes and Cassius’ recounting of his and Karic’s journey to wage war against the evil mouse king Icarus, there’s much variety in these handsome pages. Plus, the costume designs make it easy to distinguish mouse from mouse, and rat from rat.

Glass’ script moves at a steady pace with effective foreboding, and danger making its presence felt often. This is high stakes adventure and a world obviously created with much insight and care, and it works splendidly.

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