Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at the first volume of Mouse Guard, Fall 1152, by writer/artist David Petersen…
I go waaaay back with Mouse Guard, before Petersen ever sold the book. I noted on Snark Free Waters that it was ridiculous that Petersen’s beautiful work had not yet been picked up by a comic book company – the guy was THAT amazing.
And sure enough, soon afterward, Archaia Studios Press picked up Mouse Guard and it became a bit of a sensation in the comics world – sort of like, “Holy crap, where did THIS guy come from?!?” That’s how striking Petersen’s work is.
One of the most important aspects of Petersen’s work is that while yes, obviously the artwork is the MOST impressive aspect of Mouse Guard, but the story is quite strong, as well. Particularly in this first volume, as he had to introduce a concept while still getting across an interesting over-arching plot – and he succeeded seemingly with ease.
Fall 1152 (that part of the title was added when the story was collected – later volumes are all sub-titled by the year they take place) opens by introducing us to the Mouse Guard, the elite fighting force of the Mice Kingdom.
Pretty quickly we see our heroes thrown into pitched battle when they discover what happened to the mouse…a snake!!
They escape the snake’s first attack and regroup. Two of the group kill off a nest of snake eggs, leaving a lone Guardmouse alone for one of the most awesome scenes of the book…
I still remember showing those two pages to people back when this book first came out – it was the easiest way to get someone into the book – just show them those two pages and it is like, “Oh yeah, okay, this is awesome. I will buy it.”
And here’s where Petersen really impressed me back then – the opening mission to avenge the death of the mouse peddler? It turns out that that mouse peddler was part of a conspiracy to do a coup upon the Mouse Territories, specifically Lockhaven, home of the Guard. And that leads into the overarching plot of the series – stopping the conspiracy. I love the idea of a conspirator being killed for a reason totally unrelated to his part of the plot against Lockhaven.
There’s a stunning sequence in the second issue where a fourth member of the Guard is sent for information from a missing Guard member and they are besieged by a legion of crabs. The older Guard member sacrifices himself so that the warning to Lockhaven can get out…
Here’s a sequence from later in the series, as the warning arrives JUST in time…
As you can imagine, though, there is quite a spectacle to see in the final issue.
So what more do you want? Beautiful, stunning artwork plus an interesting story!! Go buy the collection of this story! Plus go buy the second volume, and the first issue of the current “Legends of the Mouse Guard” series!!