If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Volume Three!
I’ve never read Mouse Guard. I don’t really know what it’s about other than a story about mice that seem to wear armor and carry swords as they have adventures. I’ll even be really honest and tell you I have mistaken it for Mice Templar, and don’t truly know what the difference between the two is other than creators and format. (Mouse Guard prints in a small square book, standing apart from the traditional comic format.) But I read it for the first time this week, and I don’t know that it lived up to what I thought it would be.
Its possible I simply tried jumping on at a lull in the series, but the story focused around a tavern where the innkeeper was out to collect on tabs owed. She had gathered many of her patrons that owed in various amounts, and offered to erase the debt of the mouse that told the best story. All others would have 7 days to pay their debt or it would be passed on to a collector. All in all, there were three stories told in this particular issue.
The first was of a “rotund” member of the Mouse Guard who helped a miller get rid of a goose that kept eating his stored grain. It was a fun story, but lacked in any action that I could get excited about. It played out reminiscent of one of Aesop’s fables, and was enjoyable, but lacked in any real excitement.
Next up was a story illustrated by the fabulous Skottie Young! I thought I was in for a treat! The story was small and short. Again no action to energize me, and although the art was typical Skottie and fun, it wasn’t his best work in my humble opinion.
Lastly was the story of an armorsmith who dreamed of wearing the armor he made day in and day out. This might have been my favorite of the three, and yet still there was no true battle or adventure. It was well told, and I enjoyed it let me be clear, but it did not meet my expectations.
I suppose the fault was my own in that my expectations were set in a different direction than the book’s. With a title like “Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard” I anticipated seeing swashbuckling mice on an adventure to save, defend, or avenge something or someone! I thought an epic battle would be brewing, or a key quest would be undertaken! I received no such adventure though, and although I enjoyed both art and story, it was a bit disappointing. And at the end of the book, I didn’t even find out whose story won the innkeeper’s contest!!!
I’m not giving up on the book based on this one let down though. I feel like there may be adventures of higher energy in the pages of other volumes of Mouse Guard, and I’ll keep an eye out for them. In the mean time, just for the sake of comparison, I may give Mice Templar a read now to see if it can quench my thirst for mouse sword fighting.
Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!
The World is Ours to Make!