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‘Mouse Guard: The Black Axe Black & White Limited Edition’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by David Petersen
Published by BOOM! Studios
Released 5/23/18 / $99.99
(S&N; slipcased LTD. ED.)

 

Mouse Guard is a book that completely immerses you into its world in a few short pages.

David Petersen has been writing and drawing this book for a long time and he remains as passionate as ever.

I do have to be in the right mood for this, but it is completely excellent.

This is the third volume of the book and it a prequel to the first two volumes. It focuses on the character of Celanawe. Celanawe talks to the young Lieam.

He tells him the tale of the day he touched the Black Axe. It is after this that book springs into all our adventure mode.

Petersen makes the legend of the Black Axe as legendary as any token or talisman like it in fantasy literature. The way he portrays it, it’s like the ring everyone is after in The Lord of The Rings.

Because of the Axe, Celanawe goes on an adventure with Em to retrieve it. They travel by sea to track this item down. It’s exciting and lively and strangely emotional, like the best Mouse Guard books.

Petersen really makes full characters and puts them through their paces. Nobody is the same at the end of the adventure and the themes are strong in this book. They all lose something personal to themselves when this ends. It’s heartbreaking and has a natural flow to it all that doesn’t feel at all forced.

I only read the first two Mouse Guard books years ago but I reread them for this. And this one ended up turning out to be the best of them all.

Petersen really is the Tolkien of comic books (sorry Jeff Smith, I love you too). The world he creates is one that is the closest to Tolkien that you can imagine. I also like that there is enough for young readers to pick this up and enjoy. And they should. The themes and the emotions are up there with the best that fantasy storytelling has to offer.

RATING: A

 

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