Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mouse Guard #2

When I think back to the first issue of this mini-series, it really was a great way to introduce the world of Mouse Guard. A small band of mice searched for a missing grain merchant. Simple. But then they introduce the overlying thread of the mini-series as well, that of a spy among the Guard. It was a pretty self-contained story, with a little nudge toward the story arc of the series. Mouse Guard #2 starts off just as much its own story. In this tale, "Shadows Within," we follow Sadie, with her cute little swords and big mouse ears, as she attempts to discover what became of Guard member Conrad, who hasn't made contact for a season. The opening scenes of the book showcase the beautiful environment that the mice live in, of a lazy river with lush grassy banks and cattails, then moving into a sandy beach where a small house stands at the edge of wild grass. It really speaks to David Petersen's craft that much of the book is really a showcase of nature. It goes hand-in-hand with the beautiful mouse designs he's created for his book, simple but expressive. It's amazing what Petersen can do with the mice, given that most of their expressions are conveyed through only their eyes and ears. It just further exemplifies that he is really a thoughtful, interesting cartoonist. The battles of the book are illustrated with as much attention, and you realize your affection for the mice as their lives are on the line and battling hordes of giant crabs. This all-ages book captures the imagination with its epic feel and courageous characters. By the end of the issue, it's not as self-contained as the first issue, but it will certainly make for some interesting issues to come. Check out a preview of this issue, as well as the first, at the publisher's website.

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