This wonderful graphic novel series by David Petersen begins with Mouse Guard Volume 1: Fall 1152. In trade form, there are two volumes and then a collection of stories from a variety of authors featuring the protectors of the Mouse Territories.
At first glance The Mouse Guard books look like a graphic version of Brian Jacques’ Redwall series of novels. While there are similarities, this is a completely original story. In Fall 1152, mice live in tough and dangerous conditions and the book follows three warrior mice who try to protect the others from predators and other disasters.
The series opens with the Guardsmice searching for a missing merchant. As they stumble upon a plot to destroy the home of the guard, the mice must desperately fight and survive to defend their homeland.
While I would love even more depth to the story, the action and art are incredible. Petersen uses the mice to signify courage and fortitude in the same way J.R.R. Tolkien put his characters in nearly impossible situation after impossible situation.
In Volume 2: Winter 1152, Petersen continues to extend the expansive world of the Mouse Guard, as the brutal elements of winter take even more of a toll on on the mice. Then, late last year Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard was published. In Legends, several characters tell stories of their land and of the Mouse Guard. This is a great device to tell new stories in this series and allow several other graphic novelist to delve into Petersen’s creation. Like most collections, there are a couple of weak stories, but overall, this is also worthwhile.
So, there is your primer to the world of Mouse Guard. Fans of Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet or the graphic novel collection that he edits, Flight, will enjoy Mouse Guard.