Posted September 13, 2013 by Alvin Minon in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 #2

Here comes Archaia‘s Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 Issue #2! We have a new line-up of storytellers and artists, new stories, yet the same adventurous feeling from the mice-starring universe of David Petersen.

David Petersen’s storytelling and art’s top notch and he has proven that with the past Legends of the Guard comics where it’s Petersen who takes charge with the editorial, narrative and the backbone story’s artwork. Well, it’s still the same here, except that this time it’s him plus a new pool of storytellers and artists that provide their stories and takes on the realm of mice. This issue tells another night at the June Alley Inn where June’s challenge is still ongoing, patrons try to tell the best tale they could and after seven days the winner shall have his tab clean. For those who have just jumped in, just keep that quest in mind plus a few rules that give the challenge a twist. As June puts it:

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

Just look at Slade’s linework.

First up is Christian Slade‘s “Love of the Sea” which for me stands up from the rest of the stories in all Legends of the Guard issues. Even a mice commented on how different and unique this one is: it’s a silent love story that has various elements such as sea travel, monsters (or maybe they’re just normal sea creatures, only seeming bigger in comparison to our mice heroes), and mer-mice. It might lack the words but Slade has proven that a good love story doesn’t need any to get the feelings across. Even kids would understand the story, yet the artwork’s so intricate that I can’t help but get mesmerized when I first saw Slade’s linework.

Rick Geary follows with “Over the Falls“, a story that takes us back to the perilous air of the Mouse Guard world. Geary uses a more cartoony approach, shifting the ambiance of the book from the mellowness of the first story to the jumpy action familiar to Mouse Guard. This one opted for less detail, with light colors and simpler illustrations but I see the story working well for the younger readers considering the pace and the lightness of the story.

Finally there’s Jemma Salume‘s “The Shade“. Compared to Geary’s work, Salume’s artwork is definitely much more simpler with the characters looking more cartoonish, the colors being more solid and the lines heavier. Her artwork here easily reminded me of recent Legend of Zelda games, with its solid yet softer palette. However, the same cannot be said with the story. This one’s the darkest I’ve seen in the series as the story uses the idea of a lingering quest of vengeance, taking a dark turn at the end. I just love how Salume used the simpler artwork to the story’s advantage, using varying shades to depict difference in location, characters and tone. Unexpected ending, but I definitely loved it.

The stories stand alone on their own but this issue feels incomplete as it doesn’t even have any afterword from June at the end of the issue. It’s just sad that there’s only a few stories here and the contest’s far from over. I hate it how each issue only has three stories and when you’ve gone into the stories, poof…it’s the back cover already. This is the second issue of the second volume but I just haven’t gotten used to that yet, with the stories being so interesting and immersive as they are.

Ah whatever. This one’s still the same excellent work from a collectively working excellent group with varying styles in art and storytelling. Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol.2 Issue #2 is still the same as past Mouse Guard titles: amazing and something that everybody should grab and enjoy.

MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOL. 2 #2 (of 4) is an all-ages 24-page comic book by David Petersen, Christian Slade, Rick Geary, and Jemma Salume and published by Archaia Entertainment.


Alvin Minon