The Mice Templar, Volume II: Destiny #1


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The Mice Templar, Volume II: Destiny #1


  • Words: Bryan J.L. Glass
  • Art: Michael Avon Oeming & Victor Santos
  • Inks: Victor Santos
  • Colors: Veronica Gandini
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 25, 2009

How exhilarating it must have been to be the kid on the street who was the first in town to get in on and read The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring lighting the fires of fantasy, but to be the kid who waited for The Two Towers. An agonizing experience of torture that was released into bliss. I guess I had The Empire Strikes Back. My daughter had Harry Potter and now, Twilight.

Mice Templar gives that feeling to comics. You know that you are reading a touchstone of fantasy; the kind of story that will be handed from father to son as if some kind of rite of passage.

That rite has been at the heart of this Saga. Karic takes the mantle of his storied heroes. Now that Pilot’s treachery has been revealed, he is under the tutelage of a new and less compassionate mentor. Nevertheless, Karic is determined to set out and save his family from the evil hands of the rats.

This chapter opens with Cassius reliving the final moments of the Templar. The civil war that scattered the remnants of the order to the far ends of the Earth. Reluctantly, he has taken on his former foe’s apprentice, the so-called "savior of the Wotan." His relentless training regimen and seemingly random path brings the companions to the edge of the Haunted Wood. Here, the legacy Karic wishes to raise from the ashes has new revelations shared.

Glass and Oeming touch on the evil and insanity of war here, but the majority of this issue deals with visions that threaten to end the pair’s quest before it has even begun. Karic is plagued with doubt and Cassius is thrown into dark guilt. They crawl closer and closer to the brink of the abyss of their minds until the younger mouse is forced to use a trick he may regret.

Now the already strained relationship between the two is on a more perilous precipice. Karic is the pupil of two masters, a child of two worlds. He is a mouse of destiny at odds with himself and his future. Will he live up to the potential that so many see in him?

Oeming takes on a different roll for this issue.  He is ready to sit back as co-creator and let his creation take on a new life.  Providing the cover and the pencils for only the first eight pages of this issue, he hands the reigns to Victor Santos.

Santos knows he is behind a hard act to follow, so he pulls all the rabbits out of his artistic hat here. There is a breathtaking splash page, one of the most magnificent ever, certainly among those that feature owls.  There are fiery visions, monstrous creatures, eerie forests, and illuminated spirits.  What is most astonishing is that it all works seemlessly with Oeming's opening sequence -  a bloody battle sequence that plays like the opening D-Day salvo of Saving Private Ryan, only here, it's with mice and swords.

The dynamic layouts, the emotional fortitude of the cast, the sturdiness of the graphic narrative all dazzle, but pale in comparison to Cassius’s recounting of the legend of the wood. The page is turned and like the technicolor brilliance of Oz, there is a water-colored surrealism that literally sucks the oxygen out of the room.

The Templar are back and sword and sorcery has never been more exciting!

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