Posted October 15, 2013 by Alvin Minon in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 #3

June Alley Inn’s challenge continues as stories are thrown in one after another in Archaia Entertainment‘s Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol 2 #3. Mice share their stories of action and adventure in hopes of having their tab cleaned.

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

The stories of the patrons of June Alley Inn are once again brought to life by David Petersen, only this time he’s joined by three other talented comic writers/illustrators including C.P. Wilson III, Cory Godbey and Eric Canete. Same as the other short stories featured in previous issues and in volume 1, tales in Vol 2 #3, stories of parables, myths and legends, give us a better image of the mythos behind the Mouse Guard Universe.

Canete’s “The Mouse Generals” is short and simple, but could also be seen as some socio-political parable tackling the dangers of power and vanity. I love how the generals’ headdresses represented power, position and glory. They’re made of bones, scales and feathers and whether these are remains of their group’s enemies or the generals’ political opponents, we’re not really sure. But, the headdresses do tell the story of how the generals got to their position: by surviving strife and conflict and coming out on top. And it’s also same headdresses that Canete used to depict the downfall of those who are corrupted by vanity, ultimately costing the lives of those who hold on dearly to greed and power. The art’s fierce and the battle with the weasels look grand even if relatively they’re on a much smaller scale.

The next story, “When Moles are Around” by Wilson, draws us away from the fierce and gruesome battles against weasels and instead takes us to a friendship story between a mouse and a mole and how they’ve dealt with society’s pressures. While the first tale is about perils and downfall, this one from Wilson tells us of friendship standing against prejudice, and in the process helping a community come together and unite. Wilson used rhymes and poetry to narrate the story and it made me think that the tale’s actually being told by some bard, allowing it to give off a more medieval feel. That in conjunction with the art that showcased linework and deep contrast gave this tale that Nottingham ambiance of a story out of a classic tapestry.

And the final one, which also happens to be my personal favorite in this issue,  is “The Thief, the Star-gazer, the Hunter and the Tailor” by Cory Godbey. It’s a story about brothers taking on their separate ways and then later on meet again to accomplish a great feat that would make not only their father, but also the kingdom proud. What I particularly liked is how visually mellow this story looks compared to the previous two, yet it tells of a story that deals with dragons and sea travel and saving princesses. Godbey also did a great job on differentiating the mice-siblings. This is evident not only in the color palette chosen to represent each sibling and his profession, but also with the look in their eyes and features each of them had such as what is shown in the panel where they are presented to the king.

Seriously, I can’t wait for June’s decision. Every issue I’m reassessing which tale’s my bet and which mice would have his tab wiped clean. All the stories have been enjoyable plus they allow readers to learn more about the perilous yet rich and fantastic world these mice live in. Even so, the wait’s becoming more unbearable and it’s getting tougher and tougher to judge. Though who am I to complain, it’s June who’ll have to deal with disappointed customers stinking of alcohol once her decision’s made.

MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOL. 2 #3 (of 4) is an all-ages 24-page comic book by David Petersen, C.P. Wilson IIICory Godbey and Eric Canete and published by Archaia Entertainment.

Alvin Minon