Mouse Guard, Vol. 3
The Black Axe
Written and Illustrated by David Petersen
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Cover Price: $24.95
The legend lives on! Mouse Guard, Vol. 3: The Black Axe, the prequel chapter in David Petersen‘s epic saga has arrived. Join me as I recount my quest through the pages of this valiant tale.
It is Spring, 1115, 37 years before the events of the Fall and Winter of 1152. The Guard mouse by the name of Celanawe is recruited by his only living relative, an elderly mouse named Em, to venture out in search of the long-lost mythic Black Axe. Accompanied by a bitter, rugged ex-ship captain called Conrad — looking to reclaim his title and good fortune — the two set forth on a grand adventure that pits them against a group of vicious weasel hunters, deep sea creatures, thieving, murderous mice, and a giant fox. As Celanawe and Em embark on their journey, much is revealed about the legend of The Black Axe and what’s in store for the future of its next wielder.
The Black Axe is a wonderful installment to Petersen’s series. Focusing on the history of one of Mouse Guard‘s most intriguing characters — while offering a glimpse into the future of The Black Axe as well — Petersen tells a tale of bravery in the sight of danger; strength through despair; and triumph over loneliness all for the protection of the greater good.
Along with his outstanding story, Petersen once again excels with his storybook-like, larger than life world-building illustrations. He expands the already vast world with images of infinite, blue-green oceans; tall, regal ferrets who rule kingdoms among the rolling hills of far-off lands; and the small mice who traverse it all.
As per usual, Petersen also shares various maps and guides; a gallery of Mouse Guard art created by different illustrators; as well as a very important prologue and epilogue to the main story.
I always look forward to a new Mouse Guard book, and I was not disappointed with this entry. Petersen is a masterful storyteller both with words and beautiful drawings. The Black Axe is the perfect introduction to the Mouse Guard series and a great addition to Petersen’s wondrous world for those who have enjoyed his work before.