Overview

Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #6

Review

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Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #6

Credits

  • Words: David Petersen
  • Art: David Petersen
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: May 27, 2009

There have been many good things spoken about this series from creator David Petersen. One glance and it becomes obvious why it’s been praised so highly. The first thing that struck me was Petersen’s art. These pages are beautiful in their simplicity. That was the first thing that stood out. It’s not something you see much of these days in mainstream comics.

Delayed many months by publisher Archaia, Mouse Guard, and many other great series from the publisher, have now returned in full, and it’s great to see. When the series debuted, so did another mouse-centric series called Mice Templar from Image. Inevitablly, comparisons were made. Both series deal with mice battling animals much bigger and scarier than themselves, and place a hefty dose of humanity on these cute creatures. There’s also a surprising maturity in the themes explored such as sacrificial heroism and destiny.

They are two very different series though. If Mice Templar is Lord of the Rings, then Mouse Guard is The Chronicles of Narnia. Petersen’s series is definitely a lighter touch. With far fewer words and simpler art it will be a more accessible tale for some. Petersen’s not afraid to slow things down when necessary and let the mood build, such as the trek across the snow and the lighting of a funeral pyre in this issue.

Children could easily enjoy this, even if just to look at Petersen’s artwork. His line work is exquisite, as are his colour choices. He sells the winter setting very convincingly and gives a real weight to the characters.

This issue is the last in the Winter 1152 mini-series, following Fall 1152, and will be released in HC form in July. Opening with the mouse known as Lieam battling an owl, it quickly shifts focus to two other mice attempting to convince some proud hares to lend their support in searching for their missing brethren, before concluding with a mouse reunion, though not a happy one.

Each mouse looks distinct and Petersen ably shows expression with very few lines, which is even more impressive considering all the hairy creatures in these pages only have tiny limbs. He also lends each species, and character, a remarkable realism. The artwork in this book is closer to one of those old-time tomes on bird spotting on your grandma’s bookshelf than anything resembling a comic book, but the skill lies in the presentation and use of space to create tension and drama. Essentially, this is a very well constructed sequential tale.

I’ll admit that I was somewhat lost when reading this, only because I came to this series as a newbie, but I can tell that there’s enough laid out here for the upcoming series, Black Axe, to keep these mice very busy indeed. It’s obvious that in reading only one issue I’ve missed out on something special with this unique series. Thankfully, the Winter 1152 hardcover is out soon and I can delve right in to this mouse mythology.

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