Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Mice Templar #1

Bryan J.L. Glass & Michael Avon Oeming

The first issue of The Mice Templar from Image Comics is a 56-page introduction to a blood-soaked, dark mirror of David Petersen's popular Mouse Guard from Archaia Studios Press. And frankly, it doesn't hold a candle to the previously established title featuring cute mice with swords. While Michael Avon Oeming's pencils are beautifully wrought over the pages of this comic, it's kind of a disjointed mess in the end. The characters are hardly distinctive from one another in scenes that aren't very fluid, particularly in light of reading the gorgeous, seamless Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #1 that was released just one week ago. But really, this is not the same sort of all-ages tale. Oeming and Glass are going for your typical superhero-loving comic buyer, with violent arms-hacked-off battles and literal rivers of blood. Instead of trying to find the next Mouse Guard phenomenon, they're capitalizing on the recent success of a story with similar elements, and to quite an inferior degree. In this tale, the Mice Templar are legendary protectors of mice, formed out of the ashes of the warrior-priest Kuhl-En. Years ago, the Mice Templar became divided and fought one another in a bloody massacre before they simply disappeared. Years have past and as a village of mice are attacked by outside forces, a young mouse named Karic sees his home torn asunder and may rise as a new hope for mice everywhere, as a prophecy declares him heir to Kuhl-En's legacy. This book may have style and flair, but it's a watered-down tale with flat characters. I didn't exactly hate this book, but in the end, I didn't really enjoy it either. The art was nice. The designs of the mice were great. But there's nothing here to compel me to continue the series next month. This is probably going to do very well for Image in wake of Mouse Guard's success, but it won't have earned it from what I've seen so far. D+

6 comments:

The said...

I don't know if you're aware, but Mice Templar was created well before Mouse Guard.

It helps to do some research.

Bryan JL Glass said...

http://www.imagecomics.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=35775

Bryan JL Glass said...

Let's try to say something nice one more time...
www.imagecomics.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=35775

Scott said...

Oh I see that someone else already pointed this out, but yeah, the first Mice Templar story came out nearly ten years ago.

I find all the comparison to MG sort of annoying. Why not compare both of them to Redwall?

Why not compare SpiderMan to JLA when reviewing a superhero book? Makes about as much sense.

I enjoyed Mouse Guard and Mice Templar equally, but for very different reasons. MG is great because its very surface-level fun that I can read to my daughter. MT gives me the sense of a very deep back story that is hinted at in all the references to the gods and prophesy. I also enjoyed the blood -can't lie. Medieval warfare was as brutal as it gets and I think MT deals with it in a very acceptable way.

Dave Ferraro said...

Yes, I have pointed out Mouse Guard's comparisons to Redwall in previous reviews, and while Mice Templar may have come first (and I never said otherwise), the timing of it is obviously meant to capitalize on MG's success. I'm sorry if anyone finds my review offensive, but I call it like I see it and this is not a comic that I can recommend.

Dave Ferraro said...

And in all honestly, I could be wrong about the timing of the book. It could be a complete coincidence that this book came out when it did. This book may prove me wrong in the long run and turn into something great. I hope that's the case and I hope for the best for the creative team.