Posted June 24, 2013 by Alvin Minon in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1

“Three rules: Tell no complete truths, no complete falsehoods, and tell me a tale I never heard.”

Given these, June, owner of June Alley Inn, shall clear the tab of anyone who would share the best story within the next seven days else the patrons will be paying their piled up debt. Which part’s the truth, which one’s false? Doesn’t matter, they just have to be the best and outdo each other. And all of them are very entertaining but sadly, June’s got the last say which one’s the best. A great tradition for a melting pot of a tavern, I’d say.

Mind you, what we have here is a story filled with mice and not men. Mice that, as small as they may be, have hearts and guts as great, if not bigger, than any other human being. David Petersen’s Legends of the Guard is an anthology comic that swerves from the main Mouse Guard story and brings us a collection of tales of adventure, romance, tragedy and so much more in the Mouse Guard world. For Volume 1 we have thirteen (13) stories brought to life by different authors and artists such as Jeremy Bastian, Ted Naifeh, and Alex Sheikman.

What’s notable with this spin-off is that every story reflects the author and artist that conceived them while at the same time merge together to form a collection of lore that would tell so much more about the Mouse Guard world outside the main storyline. Bit by bit we find out more of how the Mouse Guards came to be, when these perilous routes between settlements became secure and what happened to lines of royalty. None would seem irrelevant if you look at how each story pieces together the myths and lore behind the realm of mice.

What I didn’t like though is how hard it is to remember everyone’s name. When you reach the end, you might ask questions like “Who’s Carver again?” or “Which one was Bowen’s story?” because I did. Not to be sexist but, it’s even harder to notice which one’s male and which one’s the female mouse when they just wear swords and robes until you read the dialogue for context clues. Case in point: try noticing at first glance who’s Sasha and who’s Max in “The Shrike and the Toad”.

Still, I’d grab this one from the bookshelf anytime. You could see that there really is a competition between the patrons as there are stories better than the others and there are those that really stand out. For me perhaps it’ll be the mousey take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. The artworks and stories are good, revolving around the framework that Petersen set.

All in all, Legends of the Guard’s a nice read. It’s like taking a break from the Mouse Guard main story adventures, but at the same time, it’s like you’re not taking a break at all. Might sound weird and confusing but I’m sure you get my point.

PS: I really really can’t agree with June’s final decision there. Oh well, might as well wait for the next round of stories in the June Alley Inn.

Alvin Minon