Review – Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #2

Welcome back to a brief review of one of my favorite titles of the year so far, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard. Archaia Entertainment brings us the title with David Petersen providing the narrative pieces in between the stories, stories told by a bunch of mice in a pub to clear their bar tab. The competition has been a friendly one with typical verbal jabs being taken as the stories have progressed. The writing is superb and I just love the setup as well as the stories depicting heroic and unbelievable tales of mice.

The rules of the competition, to remind you, are simple. The judge June, waitress and owner of the establishment, has stated that the stories must: contain no complete truths, no complete falsehoods and never have been heard by her before. Sounds like a competition built for legendary tales of slightly embellished upon truths (and let me tell you, it makes for an incredibly entertaining comic). As with the last issue the stories within are drawn and written by different teams of artists bringing multiple styles of art and storytelling to each issue, providing something for everyone to enjoy. Petersen keeps the whole thing moving along with clever and witty writing and lead-ins in between the stories that make the whole issue work.

The first story, "Potential," comes from a mouse named Fenton and is a tale from the town of Barkhamsted and a Guard member. There is a beast that is hampering the town, and the guard member must fight it off. Written by Alex Kain and drawn by Sean Rubin I really enjoyed the way it described the role of the Guard in this world of mice. They are protectors of not only what is, but what will be. The art in this story contains great detail in the textures of things. I wish I had more technical training in art because I’m sure there is a name for the style of high texture with muted coloring, but suffice it to say I loved it.

Caitlin is the next mouse to take a turn with “The Shrike and the Toad.” Written and drawn by Terry Moore it is a tale of Sasha and the guard Max who find themselves suddenly under siege crossing a field with few options. This particular story was short but shows the ingenuity of the guard. How shall I sum it up? Have you heard the saying "curiosity killed the cat?" Well it doesn’t work in the favor of toads either. A little more text heavy this was a tale that was fun because it's just so outlandish that I couldn’t have thought of it myself.

The final tale told in this issue is the tale of “Worley and the Mink" with art by Gene Ha and story by Lowell Francis. Our first brightly colored tale is about Worley, the especially stubborn banker, whose stubbornness leads him to pursue a thief to his hometown Wolfpointe. The town has a problem with a Mink who is stealing its goods and kidnapped people. Worley must find a way to defeat the Mink and rescue a woman kidnapped. He is a clever banker indeed and his story is the stuff of legend.

What can I say? If you appreciate heroic tales from unlikely sources and some innovative writing from all parties involved, you need to pick this title up. The art never gets stale and all of the varying styles match up with the stories nicely. It provides variety and freshness to each tale that I really enjoyed. Petersen and Archaia have done a great job bringing in fresh talent and I am looking forward to the final two issues in this series. For some interiors see below and the book is in stores now.