Mouse Guard #5


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Mouse Guard #5


  • Words: David Petersen
  • Art: David Petersen
  • Inks: David Petersen
  • Colors: David Petersen
  • Story Title: Midnight?s Dawn
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Nov 1, 2006

As a harsh red dawn rises over Lockhaven, both Saxon’s party and the rebellious forces of The Axe rush towards their inevitable meeting.

Once a proud force of warriors, adventurers and protectors, a faction of disillusioned mice have broken away from the Mouse Guard, forming the secret organization known as The Axe. United under a charismatic commander, the band of rebels plan to infiltrate and overthrow the city of Lockhaven. At the same time, an old hermit claiming to be the legendary hero of the Guard, The Black Axe, has joined the loyal Guardsmice Saxon and Kenzie. Under the ominous red dawn, the inevitable meeting between the two groups will determine the fate of the Mouse Guard, and perhaps, all mice.

As with previous chapters of Mouse Guard, "Midnight’s Dawn" is a short read, but far from simplistic. Having already crafted a rich world that blends cynics and idealists, heroes and traitors, Petersen fully immerses the readers in the building confrontation between the loyal Guard and The Axe. Using his trademark economy of words, he denies readers a clear enemy with this issue. In answer to Lieam’s question, "Why?", Petersen casts The Axe in the role of revolutionaries – not true villains, but rather mice of a different vision, frustrated by the bureaucracy to the point of open revolt. Contrasting the new Axe’s vision for the Guard with the legend of the Black Axe, readers are left to wonder if there really is any difference between the two mice.

Presenting the fantastical tale of anthropomorphic mice in a realistic style has gained Mouse Guard acclaim for its gritty and grounded style. Whether it is in Lieam’s defeated stance, the weary poses of Saxon and Kenzie or the determined silhouettes of The Axe, each mouse offers extraordinary body language. With this issue, Petersen’s use of shadows, rain and wind all add to his world, with an appropriately simple metaphor for the coming storm in Lockhaven’s streets. Continuing to immerse his readers in the entire reality of Mouse Guard, Petersen uses muted tones during The Axe’s tale, and several lushly detailed pages of illuminated manuscript to relate the origin of The Black Axe. The harsh red tones of the warning early morning sky also add greatly to the tone, not only warning the Guard, but readers as well, of something ominous that comes with the new day.

David Petersen’s Mouse Guard may be small in size, but not in scope. "Midnight’s Dawn" fully immerses the reader in the tense moments before an epic clash of tiny proportions.

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