Continuing on in theme with my recent articles; this week I will be discussing a small fantasy comic called MouseGuard. It shares similarities with my past comic recommendation, Bone, by making use of non-human main characters. However the main difference is that while in Bone the three main characters are solid white cartoon caricatures; the characters in this comic take the form of mice. And although this is quite a dramatic shift in tone and race, that fact that the characters are mice add’s an uncommon yet fascinating twist to an already entertaining tale.
MouseGuard shines in many ways with one of the most prominent being the artwork itself. Artwork shown within comics is almost always stunning to look at, yet the artwork in MouseGuard is one step higher. Beautiful graphics the moment you open the book and turn to the first page. The background is drawn with interesting small details that seem to catch your eye while the characters and their opponents seem to pop off the page. If art is something you’re interested in, I would recommend picking up a copy of the book even if you do not care for the story, and while the artwork alone is a good reason to pick up a copy, the story and characters are written remarkably as well.
Although choosing the characters to be portrayed through that of a mouse body is an interesting choice by the author, it in turn makes for very interesting situations that the characters can appear in. For example in the first book the three main characters face off against a snake and a group of crabs. Seemingly mundane and small creatures in our eyes become giant monsters of myth for our characters to fight against. This new perspective makes for a great deal of interesting situations and unique experiences one would not be able to read in other comics. The perspective is not the only thing the author does correctly; the three main characters, and actually almost all characters introduced, have different character traits that play off on another and add that extra step of depth and feeling to really increase the quality.
The story accompanying these characters is also quite gripping. The main characters are part of a group of soldiers that help maintain the peace of their fellow civilians called the MouseGuard. The three main characters are dispatched to investigate the disappearance of a trader only to find him eaten by a snake. After defeating the foe and upon closer inspection of the merchants goods, they find the merchant a traitor. They then get swept into a huge plot to overthrow their organization. A fun yet simple plot carries the first series quite far with its many twists and turns. The comic combines many enjoyable moments with great characters and art. I definitely recommend this series; it’s fun, unique, yet simple tone is what makes this comic definitely worth a read.